This blog will expand on themes and topics first mentioned in my book, "The Automobile and American Life." I hope to comment on recent developments in the automobile industry, reviews of my readings on the history of the automobile, drafts of my new work, contributions from friends, descriptions of the museums and car shows I attend and anything else relevant. Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 , 2016, 2017, 2018, by the author.
Saturday, July 1, 2017
Porsche History: The One Millionth Porsche 911 and the 904 Carrera GTS: back to the Garage at Teloche, near Le Mans
Teloché was chosen for its handy proximity to the circuit, enabling Porsche to drive its race cars straight to its southernmost access gate, avoiding the traffic that choked the roads to pits in the north.
As we coast gently down the Rue de 8 Mai, what strikes you first is just how quiet it is. Shutters closed against the heat of the early afternoon sun, empty streets providing welcome shade. How different it would have been, all those years ago, a melee of mechanics and cars littering the pavements, support trucks mounting the high kerbs and crowds of fascinated onlookers of every generation surrounding the race cars that haphazardly dotted the road. Inside the garage, a frenzy of activity, as final checks and last minute changes were made to cars in various states of disassembly.
Where the drivers celebrated their victories with the team
The villagers would have woken early each morning to the sound of newly tuned racing engines firing into life, flat-twelves revving to an ear-splitting crescendo before the cars turned up the road for free practice, qualifying and ultimately the race itself. Absolutely everything happened here. This compact two-door garage, with its freestanding fuel pumps and simple corrugated roof, was Porsche’s mission control.
Across the road from the garage sat Madame Peschard’s Café des Sports, now a hairdresser’s, but then another critical part of the Porsche campaign. For here, late into the night, mechanics and drivers would return from high speed testing to fuel themselves before a few snatched hours of sleep in rented rooms around the village. And it would be here, far away from the modern demands of media and sponsors, that the drivers would celebrate their victories with the team, sharing simple food and local wine, drunk from their winners’ trophies.