There was once a time in motorsports when race tracks were not hermetically sealed 3.5 mile circles. Many of them were run on complex strings of open roads including the likes of Spa, the Targa Florio, Le Mans, & Hockenheim. The word “run off area” hadn’t been invented yet, the cars were insanely powerful, had very little grip, crashed often (usually going 150+mph) and drivers died frequently along with spectators.
For over 50 years, the pinnacle of viewing this ludicrous display of carnage was a track hidden away in Germany called the Nurburgring Nordschleife. It is a 14 mile, 160 turn beast of a road built as a test track in the late 20’s by German auto manufacturers in order to test the extremes of their vehicles. And oddly enough, it’s open to the public.
Trying to describe the experience is fairly pointless, to drive around it quickly is to wrestle for your life at every corner. Most of the turns are blind, off camber, and the radius decreases as you get further in, with all three of these characteristics having uphill and downhill variants on constantly changing surfaces. The track is so large that it is often raining on one sector and completely dry on the rest, making tire choice that much more of a gamble. Most drivers who have set lap records seem to agree: it was the scariest 7-10 minutes of their lives.
Two particular sectors within the circuit [pictured above] used to produce a fair amount of drama, Quiddlebacher Hohe and Pflanzgarten. The first is a short downhill/uphill straightaway that used to crest so abruptly, most cars would get all 4 wheels off of the ground (especially in qualifying) in an effort to maintain speed through the long sweepers ahead. The latter is a truly frightening downhill heart-stopper with a steep dip that drops the car about 6 feet in less than a second, if you’re not careful you’ll damage your suspension and body work. Both were gradually leveled off over the years, and since Formula 1 moved across the fence it has been less of an issue. Needless to say, I still laid up the rental a bit approaching both.
The Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen, Germany is nothing short of mind blowing. The ultra-clean, super-minimal building houses over 80 exhibits chronicling the auto-maker’s rise to prominence. The whole thing leans pretty futuristic, would have liked to have seen a few classic cues here and there, but I’m certainly not complaining. Has anyone been yet? Looks like a must-see if you’re anywhere near Stuttgart.
Porsche Museum via Designlenta
Pelican Parts has a fairly sizable collection of Porsche Racing posters and have kindly posted high-res scans on their site. There are several eras represented, each with their own distinct style. Really shows off how classic the Porsche logo is, it seems to work pretty much anywhere you put it. Note the various 917’s in there.
I remember seeing some similar posters up on Grain Edit a while back with a link to VP Racing where you could buy some. I always meant to pick one up, but I just checked back and pretty much all the ones I wanted are gone. Someone really needs to reprint these.
There’s an article over at the Porsche site about Eric Strenger, who designed a lot of the Porsche racing posters during these periods. Looking through his work it’s amazing how much range he had as an artist. I would never have guessed some of these were by the same person.
Source Pelican Collection via a time to get
Clutch’d has a gallery of beautiful Porsche 917 photos up. The legendary racer celebrated it’s 40th anniversary last year. Such an amazing design, and always love the vintage racing graphics.
It’s funny how a lot of those things that you thought were boring when growing up, are now actually really fun things to do. I never would have thought I’d spend a sunny Seattle Saturday sifting through tubs and tubs of posters and ads. But its a damn good thing I did because I found these vintage Porsche ads. I was tempted to purchase all of them but instead I wrote down some info and looked them up online. All of these ads I found on eBay and were from the 1980’s. A few of them might be late 70’s, but it’s tough to tell.
The thing I really like about these ads is that they feel authentic. That’s not to say that ads nowadays aren’t authentic but there is certainly more than enough CGI being done to them. It also seems like it’s rare to see such nice large type of this treatment in ads anymore.
Sander from the comments informed us that Helmet Krone was the designer behind these ads—more info here.
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