Back in the late ʼ40s and early ʼ50s, entrepreneur and race enthusiast Walter Glöckler built a small series of cars, the design of which clearly influenced the development of the Porsche 550. Classic Porsche caught up with Californian Herb Wysard, who div
Some folks envision retirement as a time to relax and occasionally do, well, nothing. Not Herb Wysard. Now in his 80s, the California resident shows little sign of slowing down, remaining professionally active in real estate to this day; but he also enjoys playing with his small fleet of vintage Porsches during his free time.
His love for automobiles started at an early age, leading to a string of domestic cars once he got his driving licence, including a handful of hot rods. He later came to appreciate European vehicles, along with a range of motorsports, which led him to own a full-fledged racing team during the late 1970s and ʼ80s. Fans of Indycar competition might remember Wysard Racing and some of its drivers, such as Derek Daly, Johnny Parsons and Hurley Haywood (who incidentally won Le Mans three times with Porsches).
With his trackside days behind him, Herb can now concentrate on his trio of street-driven classic Porsches. They certainly arenʼt your run of the mill models, starting with a rare 1957 356A 1500 GS-GT Carrera sunroof which has been used heavily over the years, including Franceʼs Tour Auto competition in 2007. He also enjoys a mind-boggling, road-legal ʻPrototypeʼ built in small numbers by Kraftwerkz (Australia) that accurately replicates the first Le Manswinning 917. Herb and his always supportive wife Rose often cruise the local freeways, travelling to a concours dʼélégance in Palm Springs for instance – itself a four-hour round trip.
While we appreciate these two vehicles, the purpose of our visit is another stellar sports car, which has more ties with the Porsche brand than many realise: the 1952 GlöcklerPorsche. Herb, who purchased the silver roadster a decade ago, owns quite a piece of history, the work of Walter Glöckler (1908–1988). The German entrepreneur built half-adozen ʻPorsche Specialsʼ between 1948 and ʼ54, all recognised for their historical significance, largely due to their success in competition.
Walter became a motorcycle and car dealer between the two world wars, although his career blossomed during the second half of the 1940s when he ran a Volkswagen dealership in the Frankfurt region. In 1950, he turned his attention to Porsches as well, soon opening another major local agency. The company Otto Glöckler Sportwagen Gmbh still exists to this day, though Frankfurters know it better as ʻPorsche Zentrum Frankfurtʼ. (In case youʼre wondering, Otto Glöckler was Walter ʼs father.)
Before becoming involved with Porsches on a business
level, Walter Glöckler already had a deep appreciation for racing automobiles. Money was tight in Germany after WWII, leading resourceful enthusiasts to use plenty of imagination when building race cars. Glöckler assembled his first ʻSpecialʼ in 1948 using mechanical components from Germanmade Hanomag production vehicles.
In 1950, he and colleague Hermann Ramelow concocted another unique creation, this time using Porsche parts. And so was born the Glöckler-porsche (GP) 1100, featuring an aluminium body over a tubular frame. Motivation came from a tuned 1086cc flat-four that produced 50bhp with regular fuel, although output reached 62bhp when using alcohol.
Walter and Hermann then concentrated on building a second Porsche Special in 1951, the G-P 1500, equipped with – you guessed it – a 1.5-litre Porsche motor, delivering 85bhp. That same year, the vehicle was sold to the New York-based Max Hoffman, best known for his involvement with the import of European cars into the United States. Think Mercedes 300SLS, BMW 507s and, most famously, Porsche Speedsters…
Glöckler constructed four more Porsche Specials afterwards, starting with the subject of this article (weʼll get to it in a minute), followed by the G-P 1100 Roadster in 1953. Later that season, Walter unveiled his G-P 1500 Super, another roadster, fitted with a 1500 Super engine, which made 100bhp.
The Porsche factory took notice once again and some historians even argue that the lightweight tub influenced the
“GLÖCKLER ASSEMBLED HIS FIRST ‘SPECIAL’ IN 1948…”
development of the Porsche 550 Spyder. The sixth and final Glöckler-porsche was a coupe with a panoramic rear window and a four-cam Carrera engine, built in 1954 to run the Mille Miglia; sadly it never competed, not being finished in time. This car was featured in Classic Porsche issue #6.
Back to the topic of this piece: Herbʼs Glöckler-porsche No.3 was known as a ʻ1500ʼ model, being powered by a 1500cc motor – 1488cc to be precise – located in the back, unlike Herr Glöckler ʼs previous mid-engined Specials. The car ʼs design involved a complete Porsche 356 chassis, #10447, purchased new from the factory in 1952 and covered with a full belly pan.
This platform, which retained its factory wheelbase, was fitted with a handcrafted aluminium body made by Glöckler and Hermann Ramelow; however, to their dismay, the car proved heavier than the previous G-P, weighing 1133 pounds even after plenty of lightening holes had been drilled wherever they could. Another interesting note, this Glöckler was built by Frankfurtʼs Weidhausen shop in 1952, while the same carosserie handled Porsche 550-01 and 02 in 1953…
Among the details, youʼll notice the semi-skirted rear fenders/wings, while the nose accommodated 356 headlights and an air intake for the oil cooler, plus two slots to improve front brake cooling. The vehicle was conceived as a roadster, although it also ran with the neat removable aluminium hardtop seen in our photos.
The windshield remained attached to the body but both Plexiglas side windows can flip up to facilitate entry into the cockpit. In accordance with Walter ʼs previous Specials, the shell received a few coats of silver paint, complemented by a yellow stripe across the front, a ʻGlöckler Racingʼ trademark.
Motivation for the roadster came via a 1.5-litre Porsche motor equipped with a high-lift camshaft and dual carbs, which were fed from a pair of custom-made tanks located in the trunk. These were made of brass, because of the type of fuel used in some of the races: corrosive alcohol. As a side note, we should mention that the vehicle as seen today hasnʼt retained its original 85horsepower engine, as the crankcaseʼs mix of
“THE SAME CAROSSERIE HANDLED PORSCHE 550-01 AND 02…”
magnesium/aluminium did not survive the alcohol use!
The first two Glöckler-porsches, both mid-engined, suffered from delicate handling, as Walter had opted to reverse the rear suspension arms (like the early 550); but installing the flat-four in the back and keeping 356-style rear suspension with lever shocks solved the issue on his third Special. Braking relies on BMW drums, fitted over aluminium backing plates with cooling scoops and holes up front. Based on pictures from the 1950s, the vehicle sat on either magnesium rims or disc wheels à la BMW 328, drilled for lightness and improved brake cooling.
The car did well in competition from the outset, with Walter ʼs cousin Helm winning his category and setting a class record at the Nürburgring, ahead of more victories and a German championship title in 1952. With Hans Stanek behind the wheel, it also participated in a hillclimb competition in the summer of that same year, before being sold to Max Hoffman in the United States.
Hoffman entered the car in a Long Island road race in May ʼ53, though his friend John Von Neumann handled the driving duties, finishing a commendable third in the 1500cc category – as is well known, Von Neumann would later become a successful Porsche distributor in his own right.
Realising that G-P No.3 was heavier than No.2, which he had purchased in 1951, Hoffman sold the former to Fred Proctor Jr, who entered his new toy in a few races with different drivers, leading to three second in class and a third
“THE WHEREABOUTS REMAIN A BIT OF A MYSTERY…”
in class. The vehicleʼs later whereabouts remain a bit of a mystery until 1958, when it belonged to Alex Thompson, who would be followed by several other owners. In the late ʼ60s to early ʼ70s, automotive sculptor Larry Braun became the next custodian and embarked on a restoration, which quickly stalled. It then sat in an open shed for years; thankfully, the dry Colorado climate helped preserve the aluminium.
A private collector eventually managed to purchase the sports car from Braun in 2000 and went on to embark on an ambitious restoration, certainly worthy of the vehicleʼs history. So, G-P No.3 was shipped all the way to New Zealand, where Tempero Motor Body Builder performed miracles on the chassis and aluminium shell, in 2004–2005. It now wears its distinctive silver colour adorned with a period-correct yellow stripe, as seen on the roadster ʼs earliest version when raced by Helm Glöckler in ʼ52.
As the removable top had been damaged in a fire, the team used the remains as a template to create a new one. The restoration includes a bunch of accurate details, from the leather hood straps and Hella taillights, to the BMW wheels and instruments. Notice the removable Banjo steering wheel, along with the shift gate with a locking plate to avoid engaging reverse. As you might expect, the unique gas tanks remain in place, too.
Herb and Rose Wysard have been wonderful caretakers of this fantastic survivor, with Herb even occasionally ʻgentleman racingʼ it until a few years ago. Besides participating in prestigious American events such as Pebble Beach, the couple have travelled abroad to show the car, including Goodwood in the UK and Concorso Villa dʼeste in Italy. Herb adds: ʻWe are still competing in Historic Racing, like Porsche Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca in September this year, the car now being driven by son Jeff.ʼ
The importance of this Glöckler-porsche cannot be underestimated, not only due to its Porsche ties, but also its role within motorsport history. Who knows, maybe without the series of Glöckler-porsches, many of us would not be daydreaming about owning a 550 Spyder, right? CP
Above: He may be in his 80s, but Herb Wysard has no plans to take things easy, enjoying his small but impressive collection of Porsches whenever he can. The rare Glöckler-porsche is the jewel in the crown…
Below: Incredibly, the Glöckler-porsche sat outside for several years, the ‘victim’ of a stalled restoration project. Fortunately, the dry Colorado climate helped preserve the fragile aluminium body
Below: The original hardtop had been damaged in a fire, so an accurate replacement was made during the extensive restoration carried out in 2004–2005
Above: In the early 1950s, the roadster was a regular competitor at events in Germany, appearing with and without the aluminium hardtop. Note the heavily drilled disc wheels
Above: Small grille in the nose fed cool air to the oil cooler, while slots on either side ducted cold air to the front brakes
Below left and right: The interior is sparsely trimmed, with bare aluminium panelling in plain view. The hub of the removable steering wheel is a veritable work of art
Above: The car is powered by an 85bhp 1500 Porsche engine. The original crankcases were lost, having been damaged by the use of alcohol as a fuel
Below left: The body restoration was carried out by Tempero Motor Body Builder Ltd in New Zealand
Below right: Fuel tanks were made of brass to withstand the corrosive effects of alcohol-based race fuel
Below: Herb’s 1957 356A 1500 GS-GT Carrera sunroof has been used extensively over the years, including 2007 Tour Auto
Above: One of Herb’s other cars is this Australian-built Kraftwerkz 917 recreation. The road-registered replica sees regular street use