Art: Hanns Lohrer & Porsche
The 1950s and 1960s were the years that the foundations for the Porsche legend were built. As with all brands it is not only about the products when creating a brand, it is also about communicating a story and desires. This was no different to Porsche, only Ferry Porsche wasn't very keen on advertising. According to Dieter Landenberger, head of the Porsche archive, Ferry put more value "on personal contact with customers and the common word-of-mouth communication in the sports car scene". But when Ferry saw Hanns Lohrer's work he changed his mind. Hanns Lohrer, was the graphic artist and painter from Stuttgart who basically created the 'world around the cars' that appealed to Porsche buyers. He was soon doing more than making posters depicting trophies of the many race wins the Porsche cars were accumulating all over the world in the middle of the fifties. Examples of his work are a series of ads from 1961 where the Porsche 356 was depicted in the context of sports like golf, hunting or horse riding. In the golf ad for example the car didn't even take centre stage, the main vocal point was a set of golf clubs! Effectively showing what else you could go and do with a Porsche beside driving. The Porsche Museum now recognises Lohrer's work and has set up an exciting exhibition at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart to celebrate the early years of advertising Porsche.Add a comment
Oldtimer Grand Prix 2012
Normally the weather in the eifel mountain range can drastically change within a few minutes, but last weekend the Nürburgring was treated to a bout of enduring sunshine. It turned out be the perfect weekend to go and look at some old cars. Well, old cars, rather classic cars and many of them hugely valuable classic race cars. The Oldtimer Grand Prix was the right event to enjoy these cars in their natural habitat. Arriving on Friday I catched some of the action on the Nordschleife (that's the proper 20.8 kilometre Nürburgring). I was pleasantly surprised with a combined field of three race series, albeit all with the same kind of cars; GTs and touring cars. The highlight was surely the 210 minute AvD Historic Marathon, which, traditionally opens the Oldtimer GP weekend. For some the race wasn't a highlight though, walking along the track through the woods I suddenly heard someone with an english accent uttering the words "You ....... idiot". The issue here was clear, the pretty TVR Grantura of the McInerney family had crashed and one of the McInerney's wasn't at all happy with how the car was towed away, he probably had a point as I heard a German marshall with a strong Rhinish accent bellowing more of the same from across the track: "Sag mal, bist du bescheuert oder wie?". The range of cars that didn't crash was eclectic though, read on and I'll guide you through some of the highlights.Add a comment
Commemorating Felix Wankel
Yesterday, on what would have been his birthday, 13 August, Felix Wankel would have been 110 years old, if he were still alive of course. This post is a little tribute to the man that gave us the Wankel engine. The what? Well, there is of course the 'normal' piston engine, the 'Otto engine' that can be found in just about any car these days. Felix Wankel though, thought he had a better idea and in 1954 introduced his Wankel engine which featured a very simple tri-angular rotor encapsulated within an oval-shaped housing. Not surprisingly Felix Wankel was German, and from the Baden-Württemberg area at that, where most brilliant inventions towards the motor car were thought up (think Karl Benz, Wilhelm Maybach, some of the Porsche boys etcetera, they were all Swabians). The result of his design was a brilliantly simple, yet highly effective engine. It had some teething problems though, high fuel consumption and unreliability mostly. But that didn't deter many manufacturers picking up his engine design and introducing and developing it in their cars, perhaps best known is the use of this type of engine in a variety of Mazdas (to this year) and the advanced NSU Ro 80. Sadly, it never became 'mainstream', but nowadays much-loved by enthusiasts for its power potential and tuneability (think boy-racers) and great soundtrack. An example of which can be seen in the video below, showing a mental Mazda RX-3 powered by one of the Wankel-inspired Mazda rotary engines. Felix Wankel then, he sadly never saw much of his legacy, like the 24 Hours of Le Mans win in 1991 of the Mazda 878B featuring a rotary engine. The only win of a pistonless engine at Le Mans to be precise. That, despite his shady past during World War Two (to put it mildly) makes him one of the greats, one of those few people, that made us move better, faster and, in his case, differently.Add a comment
The Marketplace: Daimler V8-250 - LOL!
While doing some weekly (well almost) ebay browsing for old tat I came across this rather sorry looking Daimler V8-250 from 1967. With bidding still at the ridiculously low amount of €23.50 (but with 8 days to go) this might be one of those sheds to look into more closely. But on the other hand seeing the numberplate and looking at this machine in more detail, this might be a clear-cut case of 'it does what it says on the tin,' it says LOL or 'Laugh out loud' as we tend to call on the tin so it can't be much good. Its bodywork is battered and bruised, with various gimongous dents and holes and rust practically all over the place. The outside, the passenger cabin, the engine bay, the boot and whatever else might be lurking behind those pretty body lines is affected by rust. Looking past that, which is indeed difficult, we find an interesting car, a car that has most of the stuff that makes its cooler, better, brother, the Jaguar Mk2, one of the most desirable classic cars on the market today. But whereas a project Mk2 will set you back at least €5000 (if you find one that is), one these nearly identical Daimlers go for much lower and are (by the looks of it) readily available. But then again, you have to put up with a woefully underpowered V8 engine more suited to classic cruising than classic car chases.
Sold for €893.88.Add a comment
Photography: Racing through Chemnitz in the early 50s
Just imagine: it's a sunday morning in August, the sun's out, you've made yourself a proper breakfast that you'd like to eat in the garden, but oddly enough you feel there's something missing; noise and the smell of burned oil and rubber somehow. If you're like that, then you should've been living in the city of Chemnitz, Germany in the early 50s. Racing there was literally taking place on the doorstep. Just look at these somewhat inconspicuous photos and you'll see what I mean. These were taken in Chemnitz in either 1952 or 1953 during one of the racing weekends held there. There were cars, but also motorbikes partaking in various race sessions. Cars and motorbikes flew through the city at high speeds (on cobbled roads!) without any safety fences or straw bales present whatsoever. Just look at the people in the first photo, the inhabitants of the house could just go and sit in front of their home to see something of the action. In this case some single seater car flying past at probably no more than 5 metres. And what about the sportscar underneath?Add a comment
Some inventions turn out to be great, others turn out to be not so great. The Goodyear 'Illuminated Tyre' certainly falls into the last category. It was 1961 when the engineers at Goodyear thought up a system to lit up a tyre made from a single piece of synthetic rubber by mounting various light bulbs on the inner wheel rim. The idea was that customers could choose out of a various, differently, coloured tyres (were any sold at all?). One of those colours was red, as illustrated by the photo underneath. The photo is lightened up with a Goodyear Zeppelin in the background, which makes me wonder; why didn't they illuminate that? Now that would have boosted brand awareness! Granted, the lady in the first photo probably drew quite a crowd as well back in the day..Add a comment