33 YEARS OF PORSCHE: Rennsport and De­vel­op­ment, Peo­ple, Cars, Sto­ries

New Zealand Classic Car - - AUTOMOBILIA -

Peter Falk with Wil­fried Müller Pub­lished 2016 by Mck­lein Pub­lish­ing (mck­lein.de), which sup­plied the re­view copy. ISBN 978-3-927458-87-1. Avail­able from Oc­tane Books Re­view by Mark Hol­man Any new ti­tle from the Ger­man pub­lisher Mck­lein is a treat, and this book is no ex­cep­tion. Peter Falk held a num­ber of key roles within Porsche for a pe­riod of ex­actly 33 years, three months, three weeks, and three days, un­til he re­tired in 1992. Think about what Porsche achieved in those years, and you will get an idea of what Falk’s book cov­ers — from the early de­vel­op­ment of the 911 to a suc­ces­sion of class and then out­right vic­to­ries at Le Mans, plus the Paris–dakar Rally. Falk came up through test­ing and de­vel­op­ment, an amaz­ingly thor­ough process, which was very de­mand­ing on all who were in­volved, es­pe­cially be­fore teleme­try and com­puter sim­u­la­tion. He was the kind of hands-on man­ager who led and learned by ex­am­ple, rather than throw­ing his weight around. He clearly be­lieved in the im­por­tance of work­ing and cel­e­brat­ing (or com­mis­er­at­ing) as a team, and his long ex­pe­ri­ence paid off time and again in terms of suc­cess on the track or sand dunes: Falk was on the spot, and ac­tively in­volved. He also co-drove an early 911 to fifth place in the Monte Carlo Rally! One of the many de­lights of the book is the way it com­bines the ‘big pic­ture’ with fas­ci­nat­ing small de­tails that only some­one on the in­side would know, from the sad end of Rolf Wütherich (James Dean’s pas­sen­ger in the ac­tor’s fatal crash), to the very ba­sic ho­tel and garag­ing the works team used at Le Mans for many years, to one of the team’s African helpers on a Dakar rally be­ing able to buy a new house with the four used wheels he had been given at the end of the event! He also pro­vides great word por­traits of many key Porsche driv­ers. Within these 408 large pages, sup­ple­mented by hun­dreds of ex­cel­lent pho­tos, are count­less sto­ries that help ex­plain why this Ger­man mar­que met with so much suc­cess and how Peter Falk was such a key con­trib­u­tor. The For­muala 1 and Indy­car pro­grammes get only a few pages, be­cause he had limited in­volve­ment with them, but the rapid road cars, the 906, 917 and 956 sports rac­ers, the Monte Carlo ral­lies, the 959 Dakar cars, and the amaz­ing ul­tra-light­weight hill-climb cars all fea­ture strongly, both in terms of their races and the painstak­ing de­vel­op­ment that went into them. It’s a must for any Porsche en­thu­si­ast (it even has a Porsche part num­ber!), but this su­perb book de­mands an even wider au­di­ence than that — it’s just bril­liant.

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