911 Porsche World
PORSCHE WORLD MOURNS DEATH OF EBERHARD MAHLE
Born on 7th January 1933, Eberhard Mahle was European Hill Climb Champion in 1966 and the first driver to take an international title in a 911. He’d previously achieved success with other brands, notably the 1957 German GT Championship with an Alfa Romeo and the 1959 German Hill Climb Championship in a Volvo. He was a works driver for Abarth, Borgward and for Porsche’s Stuttgart rivals, Mercedes-benz.
When Mahle wanted to try out a 911, Porsche racing manager, Fritz Huschke von Hanstein, was sceptical. He only had rally cars available and told the eager racing driver he could never win in a 911 while Ferrari and Ford were competing with more than 300bhp. Undeterred, Mahle bought a used 1965 911 with power boosted to near 165bhp. True enough, Ferrari and Ford dominated at his first event with the Porsche, but he exceeded expectation by finishing third thanks to the 911’s ability to take corners quickly.
In 1966, Mahle proved himself to be the best. The Swabian driver won all the other races in the GT class, with the exception of the finale on the Gaisberg, where he collided with a guardrail. No drama — he had an unassailable lead in the European championship before the accident. Our thoughts are with his wife, Karin, his family and the clubs in which he was active into his old age.