SOME­THING SPE­CIAL

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

Classic Porsche - - Contents - Words & pho­tos: Stephan Szan­tai Vin­tage pho­tos cour­tesy Herb Wysard

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

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