Porsche: A Brief HistoryIn 1951 little thought was given at Porsche to competition. The nascent enterprise was struggling simply to survive.
The first Porsche had been conceived on paper only (with the immortal designation 'Porsche 356' in the Porsche design records) in the middle of 1947, and the first Porsche wasn't tested in rolling-chassis form until March 1948. The mid-engined roadsters received its hand-built body, designed by Irwin Komenda, in May and debuted to the public at the Swiss Grand Prix in Bern on July 4.
The second Porsche prototype developed nearly in parallel and was dramatically different. A coupe, its Volkswagen-derived engine was rear-mounted, curing the erratic handling that the mid-engined roadster's reversed VW rear suspension induced. The 356/2 coupe brought Porsche its first orders from Switzerland, which also was the home of Porsche's first retail owner, R. von Senger, who acquired the Project 356 roadster upon its introduction, as well as committing to purchase the first run of Porsches based on the 356/2 rear-engined design.
Some of these first Porsches, assembled in Gmund, Austria, and sold through Switzerland, used small-bore cylinder barrels to reduce displacement to 1,086 cc in order to qualify for the under-1100 cc racing class. It was apparent that while competition might not get much attention at Porsche it was of intense interest to its clients.
In those difficult days following the war, the Porsche family and organization were occupied wîth more immediate concerns. In addition to trying to build Porsche cars in Austria's completely disrupted economy without hard currency or reliable sources of supply, Porsche moved its operation from the sawmill at Gmund to Salzburg and then back to its factory in the Stuttgart suburb of Zuffenhausen, Germany, where it re-established its design relationship wîth Volkswagen. Complicated by the logistical needs of the American army occupying Germany and the beginning of war in Korea, Porsche struggled wîth temporary, makeshift quarters that dispersed personnel and functions. Porsche body production was farmed out to Reutter and final assembly of cars were stuffed into 500 square meters (5,380 square feet) rented from Reutter in 1950.
While commercial survival may have preoccupied Porsche during these busy days and months, the idea of competing wîth a Porsche also must have seemed farfetched. Porsche knew what a racing car was, intimately, and it wasn't a Volkswagen-based rear-engined machine. Competition meant glorious, complex, powerful, purpose-designed and built machines that employed the latest materials and technologies. They had, after all, designed and overseen construction of the great Auto Únion grand prix cars of the '30s. They had bootstrapped themselves out of penury - and Dr. Ferdinand Porsche out of jail - wîth the 4-wheel drive supercharged 1.5-liter Cisitalia grand prix car designed for Piero Dusio. Intricate finned lightweight castings, an abundance of precisely machined and fitted gears, shafts and valves, low-friction bearings and high-strength forgings were the elements of a proper racing car, and all of them were essentially unobtainable in postwar Austria and Germany when even simple components like spark plugs had to be surreptitiously hand-carried across the borders secreted in the pockets of tourists.
It was the initiative and enthusiasm of individual clients who kept entering their Porsche in races, and doing well wîth them. One of them was Walter Glockler, who went Porsche one better by creating his own sports-racing specials around Porsche parts.
The Glockler Specials
Walter Glockler was a successful Frankfurt auto dealer who obtained on of the first Volkswagen dealerships after the war and rode the VW's success to prosperity. An accomplished amateur motorcycle racer before the war, he took up auto racing as well and plunged into postwar racing wîth enthusiasm backed both by money and by the facilities and staff that his dealership supported. The Glockler shop was run by Hermann Ramelow who had worked on the prewar Adler sports cars, and in 1948 Ramelow created a mid-engined Hanomag-powered special for Glockler to race.
For the 1950 season they adopted the newly available L1-liter Porsche engine, mounting it mid-engined wîth the rear suspension reversed as on the original Porsche 356 roadster in a tube-frame chassis wîth a central driving position and lightweight aluminum bodywork by C.H. Weidenhausen of Frankfurt. It weighed in at under 1,000 Lbs., and even wîth under-50 horsepower Glockler won the 1950 German 1,100 cc sports-car championship wîth it. Converting the Porsche engine to run on alcohol brought it to 62 horsepower and kept the Glockler special competitive in 1951.
Glockler's success, and the attention to quality and detail that his car evidenced, brought recognition from Porsche, and a collaboration was begun wîth Glockler agreeing to badge his cars as Porsches to bring publicity and recognition to the company and its products. Porsche in turn assisted wîth the latest engine developments - now coming fast and furious from the company's success and continuing development. The line of development wîth Glockler and Ramelow began would eventually flow back to Porsche in Zuffenhausen where in 1953 Porsche began to build its first series of racing cars, Project 550.
Glockler and Ramelow built their next special for the 1951 season. Its construction details were similar, but behind the driver sat the latest 1,500 cc Porsche engine, and it rode on beautifully detailed magnesium alloy wheels wîth integral brake drums made by Alex von Falkenhausen. Extensively lightened, meticulously constructed to balance strength wîth light weight and streamlined to the point where it even had a full belly pan, the 1951 Glockler weighed only 990 lbs. Its Porsche engine again was tuned to run on alcohol (a wise choice not only for performance and engine cooling but also because of the erratic quality of gasoline in postwar Germany) and pumped out 85 horsepower.
With his special, Glockler set 1,500 cc international speed records at Montlhery in September 1951 at distances up to six hours, covering 1,104 km at an average speed of 184.11 kph (114.35 mph) in the diminutive racer. For this and some other outings Glockler fitted a lightweight removable hardtop that was carefully conceived and constructed wîth windows fit flush to preserve smooth air flow.
It came to the attention of Park Avenue's import genius Max Hoffman, who bought shortly after the record runs and brought it to the Ú.S. He raced it in Florida in the winter of 1951-52, winning his class and placing second overall in a one-hour racer at Vero Beach in March 1952, then in the Northeast where he won wîth it at Thompson in Connecticut and finished second in the Mecox Trophy race at Bridgehampton on Long Island.
The one shortcoming of the first two Glockler-Porsches was shared wîth the original Project 356 Porsche roadster, the toe-in that deflection of the rear suspension produced because of the leading arm layout of the reversed rear swing-arm suspension. Its effect was ameliorated by the lightweight, stiffly sprung Glockler-Porsche, which minimized body roll, but it was apparent to Hoffman both in cornering and particularly under braking.
Glockler and Ramelow decided to deal wîth this specific issue in the third Glockler-Porsche in 1952, the car shown here.
The third Glockler-Porsche adopted the standard Porsche rear-engined layout wîth the rear suspension in its 'proper' trailing-arm configuration. Based on a standard Porsche cabriolet floorpan, Ramelow undertook the now-standing lightening modifications, removing everything that was nonessential and drilling out much of what was left. A 1,488 cc Porsche engine, again tuned wîth high compression to run on alcohol, made 86 horsepower.
Weidenhausen created the body from aluminum wîth a nose that bore close resemblance to the 356 Porsche but had semi-skirted rear wheels and cutaway rear corners similar to Glockler-Porsche 1 and 2. The standard two-seat interior layout of the cabriolet wîth the driver on the left was retained although very lightweight bucket seats were fabricated and installed. Its standard Porsche floorpan and two-seat interior brought a weight consequence even wîth Ramelow's extensive lightening efforts, and Glockler-Porsche Number 3 weighed some 1,133 lbs.
Like the earlier Glockler-Porsche, Number 3 had a full belly pan below the Porsche floorpan and had an air intake low on the nose for an oil cooler. Small air intakes on each side of the nose brought cool air to the front brakes. It was designed from the outset wîth a removable coupe roof wîth flush-fitting windshield, side windows and rear glass for minimal surface drag. The low windshield was integrated wîth the body. At various times both the AFM magnesium wheels and knockoff steel wheels were fitted; the steel wheels, like the rest of the Glockler-Porsche, were drilled for lightness and brake cooling.
Walter Glockler turned the driving over to his cousin, Helm, who won his class and set a new class record in the spring of 1952 race at the Nurburgring (running without the hardtop) on his way to winning the 1952 German championship. In August, Hans Stanek, of the Swiss VW/Porsche importer AMAG, hill-climbed it, then it was sold to Max Hoffman in the Ú.S., complete wîth the hardtop and AFM magnesium wheels.
Úpon receiving it, Hoffman entered the May 1953 road races at Bridgehampton on Long Island but turned the driving over to Johnny Von Neuman, soon-to-be successful Porsche distributor on the West Coast. Von Neuman finished third in the 1,500 cc class and brought the Glockler-Porsche and Hoffman valuable publicity, including the cover photo in the September-October 1953 issue of the SCCA magazine, Sports Car. Shortly thereafter Hoffman sold Glockler-Porsche Number 3 to Fred Proctor, Jr. of Connecticut.
Porsche took his new Glockler-Porsche to the Giant's Despair hill-climb and Brynfan Tyddyn road races in Pennsylvania in July 1953 and finished second in class in both events. Another second followed on August 8 at Lockbourne Air Ford Base in Ohio, then a third at Thompson Raceway in Connectiuct.
After that, the Glockler-Porsche Number 3 disappeared for several years before showing up in 1958 in Denver in the hands of Alex Thompson. Its appeal and quality apparently endeared it to Denver-area enthusiasts, and it passed through several hands including Charlie Lyons' and possibly even Bob Carnes', the creator of the Bocar specials, before ending up wîth automotive sculptor Larry Braun of Loveland, Colo., in the late '60s.
Braun began a restoration which languished semi-finished for many years stored in an open shed, but the car was fortunately preserved by the arid Colorado climate unit it was eventually located and acquired by the present owner in 2000. A comprehensive restoration was needed, and for this the Glockler-Porsche was sent to Tempero Restorations in New Zealand, specialists in restoring and constructing lightweight aluminum body work. The restoration has only recently been completed.
This historic and important Glockler-Porsche roadster is correctly marked wîth only Porsche identification, indicative of the close cooperation between Glockler and Porsche in the development of high-performance sports cars for competition. Its influence upon Porsche, and particularly on Max Hoffman's insistence that Porsche develop the lightweight Speedster for the Ú.S. market, makes it one fo the most important of the Glockler-Porsches. It is brilliantly restored in Porsche Silver wîth black interior and carries a yellow nose band similar to its livery at Nurburging when it was raced by Helm Glocker in August 1952. The workmanship is absolutely of the highest quality and includes careful restoration of the elaborate brass fuel tanks surrounding the spare-tire pocket in the nose, specially constructed and sealed to withstand the corrosive effects of its alcohol fuel. (concept carz) The removable hardtop has been meticulously re-created using a surviving portion of the fire-damaged original top as the pattern, along wîth the low windshield to which it mates for high-speed tracks. It rides on BMW 328-style disc wheels, but a pair of the original magnesium wheels have survived. It has been restored wîth the engine that was wîth the Glockler-Porsche in Colorado; however it is believed that the aluminum and magnesium in the original engine, as well as several that followed it, were corroded beyond repair by the alcohol fuel. (concept carz)Source - Gooding & Company