With a company like Porsche developing powerful and efficient race engines, it was inevitable that other body and chassis builders would plant a Porsche engine into one of their own creations. With so many builders doing this, it was therefore inevitable too, that an author would sooner or later pick up on this and produce a book about this side of Porsche’s history. With Powered by Porsche – The Alternative Race Cars, Roy Smith has done just that, and what a worthwhile project it has turned out to be.
The book starts out with a history lesson on where and how Ferdinand Porsche started his career, and here Smith has sourced some really great images to illustrate these early days. The author then launches into a decade-by-decade account of every car that has been powered by a Porsche engine, from the wonderful Glöckler Porsches of the 1950s, through numerous hill climb specials and single-seaters, to the better known makes such as Elva and others.
At the front of the book, the author has included a handy alphabetical index listing all the cars covered in the book, from A to U (no Z here). An additional section covers other vehicles such as aircraft, tractors, boats and motorcycles. The variety of race cars that have used Porsche power over the years is quite staggering, and includes a 962-powered Ford Sierra Thundersaloon that is shown racing at Brands Hatch.
This is the first time a book has been published covering all the non-Porsche race cars, and the author is to be congratulated on the depth and scope of the material in the book, it is really commendable. Readers may feel that seeing a 935 Porsche or a 962 Porsche amongst the non-Porsche population is perhaps stretching the truth slightly, but this is not the case. Race teams such a Kremer and many others were well-known for obtaining engines and even some other components from Porsche, but then designing and constructing their own chassis or bodywork around the Porsche power. There were numerous constructors in America who did the same, Dave Klym and Fabcar being just two such names. So, these would be quite legitimate and colourful inclusions by the author.
Many constructors over the years, from the 1950s through the 1980s, have taken what Porsche produced and built their own interpretation of that for racing. The Glöckler brothers mentioned earlier, bucked this trend in that Porsche actually took what they produced, and developed the 550 family of race cars that we know today. But apart from that example, the 935 family, the 956 and 962 cars from Porsche, these all offered such a wide range of opportunities for reinterpretation. One of my personal favourites has always been the Kremer CK5, but there are so many others.
The book is also well supported with tables of race results and features many interviews with team owners and drivers, as well as Porsche engineers too. The period covered by the author stretches from the birth of the hybrid car in the 1890s right up to the present day, including the Daytona Prototype series. The book is well written and well illustrated, with many previously unseen images and despite its length (468 pages), it is not too weighty.
The publisher has described the book as an encyclopaedia of all non-works, Porsche-powered race cars, and that pretty much sums it up. This book, of which there are only 1500 copies being printed, will set you apart from any other Porsche enthusiasts who you would be able to challenge with ‘did you know’ type questions. If Porsche is your favourite marque, you need this on your bookshelf.
Powered by Porsche – The Alternative Race Cars
Veloce Publishing Ltd
Pages & images
468 pages, 799 images
25 x 25cm, hardcover
£100.00 + P&P (eBook prices vary, and delivery is free)
Written by: Glen Smale
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