Porsche Parade

Porsche, Le Mans

This huge crowd is standing on the pit straight at Le Mans on June 12, 1954 not long before the start of the 24 Hour race. The cars are all Porsche 550 official works-entered spyders. This was the second year for Porsche 550 sports-racers at Le Mans and continued their prior year’s success of winning the 1500 cc sports class.

Car 40 with a 1500 cc motor, nearest to the camera, would be an early retirement due to engine failure while being driven by the German journalist/driver Richard von Frankenberg, his co-driver Helmut Gloeckler not getting a chance to drive. Car 39 will finish 12th overall and first in the 1500 sports car class, driven by Belgians Johnny Claes and Pierre Stasse. Car 47, with an 1100 cc motor, would complete the race in 14th overall, and taking its class win. It was driven by Belgian-American Zora Arkus-Duntov (yes, Mr. Corvette-to-be himself) running with the French driver Gustave Olivier.

The Porsche dual class victory was not without considerable good fortune as the two works O.S.C.A. MT4s looked to have the 1500 class locked up until late in the race when one was eliminated in an accident while the other suffered disqualification for outside assistance. Even as it was, each had covered many laps more than the Claes/Stasse Porsche.

Photo by Yves Debraine ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com

To see more photos from our archive go to: http://www.klemcoll.com/TheGallery.aspx



One comment

  1. Jim Sitz · · Reply

    To see this pit scene with Porsche 550 cars reminds me how
    their German factory drivers also had real Jobs.!

    von Hanstein was of course team manager,, who i had met in
    California 1953 and running a borrowed Porsche America
    roadster–the Red one owned by John von Neumann. Hillclimb
    held at Willow Springs and 2nd Fastest time of the Day..!

    Richard von Frankenberg published their house journal . Lovely
    publication it was too, I was able to make sale of photos i had
    taken at local race events, and their checks from New York Bank
    for same amount as paid by Road & Track then.

    As friend Jesse Alexander commented then, “They ran their team
    more like British Club drivers.”

    Jim Sitz
    Oregon USA


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