Porsche in Amer­ica: three key fig­ures

Total 911 - - History Of Porsche In The Usa -

Max Hoffmann

None of this story would have been pos­si­ble with­out the tal­ents and am­bi­tion of Max­i­m­il­ian Ed­win Hoff­man, born in 1904 just out­side of Vi­enna. The out­break of WWII saw Max liv­ing and work­ing (very suc­cess­fully) in Paris, but as the hos­til­i­ties in­creased he moved to New York in June 1941. His em­pire be­gan with mak­ing cos­tume jew­elry, but when the war ended he saw the po­ten­tial for bring­ing Euro­pean cars to the US, set­ting up the Hoffmann Mo­tor Com­pany in 1947. His first coup was im­port­ing Jaguars, but he’d be linked to a whole host of mar­ques over the years, in­clud­ing Mercedes-benz, BMW and Porsche, of course. An in­flu­en­tial op­er­a­tor, one of his real skills lay in be­ing able to per­suade car com­pa­nies to pro­duce unique mod­els (like the Speed­ster) know­ing he could sell them.

Peter Schutz

The CEO of Porsche AG from 1981 to 1987, Schutz is some­one that needs lit­tle in­tro­duc­tion within these pages. The first Amer­i­can to head the com­pany – hav­ing been in­vited to ap­ply by Ferry him­self – his im­pact on the firm’s for­tunes was leg­endary in more ways than one. Firstly, he saved the 911 from ex­tinc­tion, fa­mously spot­ting the end of the de­vel­op­ment line on a chart and tak­ing it upon him­self to ex­tend it off the page and across the wall. But, just as im­por­tantly, he lis­tened to the con­cerns of Porsche’s US dealer net­work, act­ing on their com­plaints about qual­ity and do­ing much to im­prove both rep­u­ta­tion and re­li­a­bil­ity. And, if that wasn’t enough, he was in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing the 911 Cabri­o­let to the US, not to men­tion cham­pi­oning the cause of the 959 supercar.

Roger Penske

The quin­tes­sen­tial all-amer­i­can rac­ing hero, Penske was a de­cent driver in his own right. His ca­reer be­hind the wheel had be­gun back in 1958, but he’s best known for his ex­ploits as a team owner, the story of Penske Rac­ing in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked with Porsche’s motorsport suc­cesses in the US. The 1960s saw Penske team up with leg­endary driver Mark Dono­hue, and the pair would go on to help Porsche with de­vel­op­ment of the fear­some 917 Can-am car. When Weis­sach wanted to re­turn to rac­ing in 2005 it was to Penske they turned, his ex­pe­ri­enced team en­ter­ing the RS Spy­der in the LMP2 class of the Amer­i­can Le Mans Se­ries. It’s no sur­prise that vic­to­ries quickly fol­lowed, with wins at Petit Le Mans and Se­bring, and the team would se­cure ALMS LMP2 ti­tles in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

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