History of Porsche Club GB (1961 - 1969)
In the beginning
The story begins when a certain Jeff May returned his car to the Porsche factory at Stuttgart to have it re-bodied. It was there he met Roger Holliday, Porsche’s overseas public relations manager. During their conversation, Roger suggested to Jeff that as there was “...no Porsche Club in Great Britain, why not start one?” He gave Jeff the name of Arthur Sheffield with whom he had held a similar conversation at Stuttgart when Arthur had visited the factory a few weeks previously.
When he returned to the UK Jeff contacted Arthur and they arranged to meet.
The first meeting
Following the meeting between Jeff and Arthur, an advertisement was placed in Autosport magazine. It proposed that Porsche owners may like to consider forming a motoring club and inviting those interested to a meeting at the Grand Hotel, Birmingham on 1st September 1961.
Unfortunately this notice appeared in the edition that hit the news stands on the day of the meeting, 1st September 1961! Thus there was little chance of attracting a large audience. This proved to be the case when it is recorded that only nine people turned up however, this small band were determined to make it happen and arranged a better attended meeting on Sunday 22nd October 1961 at Chateau Impney, Droitwich – the first official meeting of Porsche Club Great Britain, which set the joining fee at 25 shillings.
The Club magazine
Porsche Club’s first magazine in A4 called the ‘Journal’ was published in January 1962, quickly followed by a second ‘Journal’ in the summer of 1962. The first Porsche Post, A5 size, was published in the summer of 1962 which set the format for the next 28 years until the first A4 format was published in 1990.
Regions, only four at this stage, were beginning to find their feet organising meetings and events. For example, London Region organised a spring weekend in the New Forest on 12th and 13th May 1962 to take in the Montague Motor Museum as well as driving tests, based on the regulations of the R.A.C., the first Club motor sport event. Motor sport was an important part of club life with members competing in the their cars both on the track and hill climbs with many members following the international scene. In particular, the Le Mans 24 hour endurance race was eagerly reported in the Club magazine.
Of course the 1960s will be best remembered in Porsche circles for the launch of the 901. This is the car that, after a hasty model name change to avoid a potential trademark conflict with Peugeot, would later become the now legendary 911.
Up to now the Club had been organised by Region with only a few issues such as the magazine and national event being dealt with centrally but in 1967 the decision was taken to disband Regional committees, replacing them with a Regional Organiser, and introducing a central committee, to include the Regional Organisers, which would take responsibility for the Club nationally.
The summer of 1969 was the first of what has become for many members, an annual pilgrimage to Porsche’s factories in Germany. This first trip was featured in the Summer edition of the Club's magazine, now titled Porche Post and was bound and printed professionally.