Del­wyn Mal­lett goes to Good­wood in search of horse­power – and Porsches

Classic Porsche - - Contents - Words & pho­tos: Del­wyn Mal­lett, with Good­wood Fofs

This year marked the sil­ver ju­bilee of the Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed. The fes­ti­val has grown ex­po­nen­tially since Charles Set­tring­ton, the then Earl of March, now Duke of Rich­mond (and a batch of other ti­tles), in­vited a few like-minded en­thu­si­asts for a blast up the drive of the fam­ily pile


In the last quar­ter of a cen­tury, the FOS has grown into the most glam­orous and eclec­tic classic car event in the world – amust at­tend oc­ca­sion for own­ers of au­to­mo­tive ex­ot­ica (and, to be fair, the not so ex­otic – this year the hum­ble Citroen 2CV was fea­tured) fro­mall over the world as well as mo­tor rac­ing roy­alty past and present. The FOS now en­com­passes ev­ery­thing with wheels, from ac­ro­batic bi­cy­clists, via mo­tor­bikes to ev­ery facet of four­wheeled mo­tor­ing, off-road, on-road rac­ing, and rang­ing from the turn of the 20th cen­tury to freshly-minted hy­per­cars. And rather omi­nously for we petrol­heads, for the first time a driver­less and elec­tric-pow­ered ma­chine nav­i­gated the hill in the out­ra­geous shape of the Rob­o­race pro­jec­tile.

The core of this yearʼs event was of course a cel­e­bra­tion of Porscheʼs 70-years as a man­u­fac­turer, and the Duke and Porsche pulled out the stops to en­sure the week­end was a suc­cess. The Mu­se­umʼs con­sid­er­able con­tri­bu­tion com­menced with a rare ap­pear­ance of the car that set the ball rolling 70 years ago, 356/001, and pro­gressed through the decades with some of Porscheʼs finest to the cur­rent Nür­bur­gring lap record hold­ing 919 Evo. Crowd pleasers such as ʻMoby Dickʼ were on hand as well as less of­ten seen pieces of his­tory as the ʻParisDakarʼ four-wheel-drive 953 and the not-as-suc­cess­ful-as-hoped CART 2708 sin­gle-seater. The Porsche Mu­seum also sent the 1.5-litre 804 flat-eight pow­ered F1 car that in 1962, in the hands of Dan Gur­ney, gave them their only F1 vic­tory. Richard Attwood pi­loted it on its demon­stra­tion runs.

Hol­landʼs Louw­mann Mu­seum sent an­other sin­gle-seater in the form of the ex-carel Godin de Beau­fort 718/2. Fin­ished in the vi­brant or­ange Dutch na­tional rac­ing colour, the 718/2 was an evo­lu­tion of the Spy­der se­ries, us­ing the four-cam Car­rera en­gine and re­bod­ied as a sin­gle-seater. Also in or­ange and mak­ing a wel­come change from sil­ver was the ex-ben Pon 904.

Or­ange also fea­tured on the mas­sive wing adorn­ing the recreation of the Porsche 550 Spy­der that Swiss en­gi­neer and racer Michael May cre­ated in 1955 – and which was promptly banned. This pi­o­neer of aero­dy­namic down force made an in­ter­est­ing com­par­i­son with the be­winged Chap­ar­ral 2E of a decade later parked else­where in the pad­dock.

As ever, fa­mous rac­ing driv­ers past and present were in abun­dance, amongst the many ex-porsche reg­u­lars Richard Attwood and the ubiq­ui­tous Derek Bell, who I am sure must have been cloned as he seems to be ev­ery­where where classic cars gather, were much in de­mand from fans. Rally ace Wal­ter Rohrl, and Porscheʼs Nür­bur­gring ex­pert, was at the wheel of some­thing more se­date than the fire-breathers he is nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with – a 356A coupé, al­beit a Car­rera.

The spec­tac­u­lar gi­ant sculp­tures cre­ated by artist Gerry Ju­dah and an­chored to the lawn in front of Good­wood House have be­come a much an­tic­i­pated fea­ture of the event but, to th­ese eyes at least, this yearʼs was not amongst his best ef­forts. A sin­gle 52 me­tre ver­ti­cal col­umn (the same height as Nel­sonʼs) soared sky­wards into a star­burst of Porsches, which were al­most too far away to be iden­ti­fi­able. This gi­ant may­pole did come alive briefly when a mag­nif­i­cent pa­rade of Porsche his­tory, led by 356/001, cir­cled its base for a crowd-pleas­ing flag wav­ing photo call.

The Porsche pres­ence in the Cartier ʻStyle et Luxeʼ Con­cours was also a lit­tle on the un­der­whelm­ing side, as well as puz­zling. As usual the Con­cours cars were grouped into head­lined cat­e­gories. Some quite ex­cru­ci­at­ing puns pro­vided the themes – Bright Sparks, for pre-ww1 elec­tric cars be­ing in­of­fen­sive, while ʻFins ainʼt what they used to beʼ for a batch of 1950s and ʼ60s Amer­i­can ex­cess had a high squirm fac­tor. ʻFresh Air (Cooled) Mo­tor­ingʼ as the theme for the Porsche pres­ence ob­vi­ously sat­is­fied the or­gan­is­ers at the plan­ning stage but turned out to be rather dis­ap­point­ing in ex­e­cu­tion.

Of the six cars dis­played three were Speed­sters – which seemed to be an op­por­tu­nity lost to show other open Porsches. Why not a Con­vert­ible D, or a Road­ster, or a Cabri­o­let? Noth­ing wrong with the cars them­selves, each be­ing a su­perb ex­am­ple of its type, but the fairly sub­tle dif­fer­ences be­tween them would be lost on the ma­jor­ity of spec­ta­tors. Jay Kayʼs 1955 Pre-a, and Edoardo Tabac­chiʼs rare and de­sir­able 1957 Car­rera GS/GT were both fin­ished in black, while Amanda Neweyʼs 1956 car, sport­ing US spec bumper guards, was painted red.

A 550 Spy­der com­pleted the ʻmade in Zuf­fen­hausenʼ quar­tet, the two other cars be­ing only par­tially Porsche. The 1957 Swiss­built Enz­mann 506 Spy­der is es­sen­tially a VW Bee­tle chas­sis with a glass­fi­bre body bolted on to the floor­pan. This par­tic­u­lar and unique ex­am­ple man­aged to edge into the Porsche dis­play as it was fit­ted with a 1300cc Porsche en­gine and brakes from new. The Devin-porsche also scraped in on the ba­sis that it car­ries a Porsche en­gine, one of the mul­ti­ple op­tions avail­able in the chas­sis and glass­fi­bre body pro­duced by Cal­i­for­nia-based Bill Devin be­tween 1955 and 1964. Given this yearʼs theme there were sur­pris­ingly few Porsches in the Bon­hams auc­tion held on the Fri­day. The fa­mous As­ton Martin Za­gato, ʻ2 VEVʼ, and the late John Sur­teesʼ BMW 507 both set world records for the type but, for Porsche fans, in­ter­est fo­cused on what su­per­fi­cially was an un­re­mark­able 1977 US spec 911S. How­ever, due to its star­ring role in the Scandi-noir thriller, The Bridge, in­ter­est was high. Driven in the se­ries by the enig­matic po­lice de­tec­tive Saga Norén, the car had ac­quired over the last four years quite a cult fol­low­ing. Now sur­plus to re­quire­ments as the se­ries has fin­ished, it was do­nated by the pro­duc­tion com­pany to raise funds for the in­ter­na­tional char­ity, Wa­ter Aid.

The de­lec­ta­ble Sofia Helin, who plays Saga in the se­ries, was on hand to en­cour­age bid­ders into open­ing their wal­lets, which seemed to work as the ʻJager Grunʼ 911 was fi­nally knocked down for £125,000 (£141,500 with premium), four times over what, ad­mit­tedly, most thought was a sur­pris­ingly low es­ti­mate. Ametic­u­lously re­stored yel­low 1972 911S fetched


£166,700 with premium. A 993 Turbo achieved £116,300 and that was it for Porsches.

One newly re­stored and ex­tra­or­di­nary Porsche de­sign made its world de­but at Good­wood with barely a men­tion of the word Porsche. Per­haps not sur­pris­ing as itʼs a Mercedes – the ex­tra­or­di­nary six-wheeled T80 record car built be­tween 1937 and 1939. Pow­ered by a mas­sive 3000 hp, 44.5 litre su­per­charged in­verted V12 Mercedes aero en­gine it never ran in anger as WW2 in­ter­vened. The ex­per­i­men­tal en­gine was re­moved and re­turned to the war ef­fort and the car put into stor­age.

Un­like Porscheʼs Auto Union Grand Prix cars at the Warʼs end, the T80 was lib­er­ated from its hid­ing place by the Al­lies rather than the Rus­sians and re­turned to Mercedes rather than be­ing shipped east as repa­ra­tions. The ex­tra­or­di­nary stream­lined body has long been on dis­play in the mar­velous Mercedes mu­seum but mi­nus, we now learn, the me­chan­i­cal in­ter­nals. Mercedes has cre­ated a see-through tubu­lar space frame that de­fines the shape of the body around the orig­i­nal and re­con­sti­tuted rolling chas­sis car­ry­ing a pe­riod cor­rect but par­tially sec­tioned en­gine. Mag­nif­i­cent. Not yet a ʻclas­sicʼ but, as all Porsches even­tu­ally reach that sta­tus, the lat­est 911 Speed­ster ʻCon­ceptʼ is surely des­tined to be­come an­other hugely in­flated in value ʻin­vest­mentʼ ve­hi­cle. The car, on dis­play in the ʻmod­ernsʼ pad­dock, was some­what marred by the ʻboy racer ʼ graph­ics (surely, not des­tined for pro­duc­tion!) but the con­ver­sion to Speed­ster for­mat is aes­thet­i­cally more pleas­ing than that of ear­lier 911 Speed­sters.

Iron­i­cally, un­like the orig­i­nal Speed­ster which jet­ti­soned all frills in or­der to make it a cheap ʻpoor manʼs Porscheʼ, the new one is from the ʻEx­clu­siveʼ depart­ment of Zuf­fen­hausen. In other words pro­duc­tion, if it makes it, will be very lim­ited and the price will be ex­clu­sive, too.

We sug­gest you watch out for it at the 2043 Fes­ti­val of Speed Golden Ju­bilee. CP


Left: Porsche brought a whole host of cars from its col­lec­tion to help cel­e­brate 70 years of the mar­que, in­clud­ing the orig­i­nal Porsche No1, 356/001 Right top: Richard Attwood took to the wheel of the Type 804 For­mula One car, pow­ered by a 1.5-litre flateight. In the hands of Dan Gur­ney, this car gave Porsche its only Grand Prix vic­toryRight: We al­ways imag­ined the ‘Mary Stu­art’ RSR to be big­ger than this… Far left: Mag­nif­i­cent cen­tre­piece fea­tur­ing Porsche road and race cars was de­signed by Gerry Ju­dah. At 52 me­tres, it matched Nel­son’s Col­umn in height

Right: Some fa­mous faces lined up in the pad­dock. Easy ac­cess gave spec­ta­tors a chance to ex­am­ine the cars up closeLeft: Porsche’s stun­ning 961 (race sib­ling of the road-go­ing 959) hur­tles up the hill­climb

Left: Wait­ing their turn in front of Good­wood House for the pa­rade up the hill

Above right: Type 804 along­side RSK – an­other hard choice for the sea­soned racer

Be­low left: Martin Eyears’ gor­geous Car­rera Abarth ran in the 1961 Le Mans 24 Hours and Targa Flo­rio

Above left: 956 or 962? Take your choice – just as long as you don’t mind the iconic Roth­mans liv­ery

Be­low right: David Piper’s 917 is al­ways pop­u­lar with the pho­tog­ra­phers

Above left: Edoardo Tabac­chi’s rare and de­sir­able 1957 Car­rera GS/GT Speed­ster was per­fect

Above right: The ever­green Derek Bell al­ways has time to stop and chat with the crowds

Be­low, clock­wise from top left: New 911 Speed­ster con­cept at­tracted at­ten­tion all week­end; the ex­tra­or­di­nary Mercedes T80 record-breaker – de­signed by Fer­di­nand Porsche, nat­u­rally; Moby Dick – the ul­ti­mate in­car­na­tion of the 935; heaven on earth? It just could be…

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