IAIN ROBERTSON 

Book Review

It is that time of the year, when book sales increase and both coffee-table and readable materials assume fresh levels of relevance, writes Iain Robertson, as he contemplates another fine hardback, either for giving, or personal possession.

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111 More Porsche Stories That You Should Know

By Wilfried Mueller

ISBN: 978 3 7408 0904 1

£20.00

emons: (cservs@nbinternational.com)

Porschephiles, while not common are certainly not uncommon. They constitute a worldwide group of ardent followers of the German Porsche sportscar marque. On a purely personal, if regretful note, had I not taken up ‘professional’ smoking for the best part of 35 years (I no longer do so), I could have acquired a Porsche, a car that has long been on my wish list. Sadly, it will remain out of reach.

However, as a motoring scribe for almost 45 years, I have driven almost every Porsche model since the mid-1970s and the cars and marque still fascinate me. Naturally, the author, Cologne-born but now New Zealand resident Wilfried Mueller, is also a motoring writer of some note and has written several automotive books, while discovering his passion for Porsche, a theme that occupies him up to date.

Across eleven chapters and (unsurprisingly) 111 sub-headings, this is actually the second volume of unexpected, amusing, spectacular and captivating tales that are all Porsche related. It helps, if you are fan, or even (like me) just a distant admirer, but having missed the first volume, I am now going to seek out a copy. As you turn the pages, unique and unheard-of stories emerge, each accompanied by an appropriate monochrome, or full-colour plate. Of course, only 111 engaging stories appear in this 304pp hardback book but I shall defy any reader to put their copy down.

There is no chronological ordering, with stories from the 1950s butted alongside other tales from the 21st Century, but it does not seem to matter, as the chaptered headings create appropriate collations of material and each page of text is concise enough to avoid tedium. In this respect, the book is totally charming and works extremely well in building knowledge and enthusiasm levels.

With access to Porsche’s inner sanctum (helped by Mueller’s local repute), the author has been able to delve into files not normally in the public domain. The result is like opening Pandora’s Box, with surprises galore and little flashes of brilliance that underscore the value of the Porsche marque. Yet, Mueller is unafraid of upturning some unfortunate stones that reveal animosity shown towards Porsche but also some of the errors made by the Zuffenhausen carmaker. There is even a story about the Porsche tractor, of which more than 25,000 examples found homes, before the production licence was sold to Mannesmann AG (in the mid-1950s).

Reliably informed that Volume 2 is not a virtual repeat of the first edition, I understand that Mueller is working on a third volume for the future. Of course, as the manufacturer of one of the most popular sportscar ranges in the world, owned by VW Group, there is sure to be a plethora of Porsche stories yet to tap into, even if some of them amount to little more than anecdotes.

Needless to say (but I am going to anyway!), with motorsport figuring highly in Porsche’s timeline, this excellent book is peppered with race and rally memories, supported by photography that has not seen the light of previous publishing efforts, regardless of how close some writers have been to the brand. It is Mueller’s inside information that enriches the content and engages with the reader. In fact, the final chapter (‘Watts & Punch’) highlights the electrified past, present and future for Porsche. Priced at an affordable £20, it would make a great seasonal gift for the Porschephile in your life!