MILE­STONE

60 YEARS OF PORSCHE IN SOUTH AFRICA

Driven - - Ev News -

Porsche is cel­e­brat­ing its 70th an­niver­sary on 8 June this year, as this is the date on which the first Porsche, 356/1, made its maiden voy­age af­ter it was reg­is­tered in the state of Carinthia in Aus­tria.

While it is not clear when the first Porsche road car landed in South Africa, the first race car, a 550A RS Spy­der, was im­ported by Ian Fraser-Jones, or Frones as he was known, sixty years ago in early 1958.

Af­ter some suc­cess­ful out­ings in the erst­while Rhode­sia, Mozam­bique and at the Roy Hes­keth cir­cuit in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, FraserJones en­tered for the in­au­gu­ral South African nine-hour race to be held at the Grand Cen­tral cir­cuit in Jo­han­nes­burg in Novem­ber – not with the RS Spy­der, but with a 356 Speed­ster run­ning a four-cam Car­rera en­gine.

Such was the pace of Frones and team­mate Tony Fer­gus­son in their Porsche Speed­ster, that at the six-hour mark they were lead­ing by four laps and when the che­quered flag dropped, they had cov­ered 902.468 km – win­ning the race out­right and fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the In­dex of Per­for­mance.

The next year Fraser-Jones and Fer­gus­son com­peted in nine-hours again – this time in the RS Spy­der – and they fin­ished fourth over­all, also win­ning their class. Shortly af­ter that, Fraser-Jones sold the Spy­der to Dawie Gous, and in Oc­to­ber of that year, Gous and John Love won the fi­nal Grand Cen­tral nine­hour in the Porsche.

The pair again teamed up for the 1961 event, the first one to be held on the new Kyalami cir­cuit, and they won again, cov­er­ing a dis­tance of 1,082.509 km – and giv­ing the mar­que the first of many 9-hour vic­to­ries at the track that now be­longs to Porsche South Africa.

Gous then sold the Porsche RS and bought Her­mann Muller’s 1963 Euro­pean Hill­climb Cham­pi­onship-win­ning Porsche 718 RS61, which he man­aged to im­port into South Africa as spares, Gous won the 1963 South African Sports Car Cham­pi­onship in that car.

Mean­while, Gous sold the RS Spy­der, and in 1963 new owner, Peter En­gel­brecht was killed in an ac­ci­dent with the car at Kyalami. The 550A Spy­der #140 was sold on to Lad­die Ch­ester, and in 1966 his step­son, 21-year-old Paul Richards, was killed when he crashed in his first race with the car. Le­gend has it that his step-dad was so up­set by this that he buried the car.

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