History of Porsche Club GB (1980 - 1989)
A time of change
The 1980s saw a number of significant changes within the Club and the way it operated. One of the most significant was the growth in the number of its Regions, which had been accelerated to cater for the growing number of members (approximately 1,500 members in 1980 rising rapidly to approximately 5,000 by 1985) and the introduction of Registers to record the various Porsche models. Also, the Club was rapidly outgrowing its ‘front room’ Club house and a more professional arrangement was required to run the day to day requirements of what was becoming a growing business.
At the beginning of the decade, the Club boasted nine regions representing the Club across the country. These were: South Wales; Midlands; North West; North East; South West; Southern; South East; Essex and London. With this expansion, the Committee recognised that they needed to give serious consideration to forming a limited liability organisation to improve corporate identity for legal purposes. This was approved during 1980 with the name of the company being Gmünd Heritage Limited, recognising Porsche's connection with the small village of Gmünd in Lower Austria, where the first 356 was produced. Another giant step occurred in 1981 when Dr. Ferry Porsche accepted in a personal capacity the invitation to become the Club’s Patron, a role he was to fill until his death in 1998.
A new HQ
The 1st November 1985 was a red letter day and a very significant milestone in the Club's history. This was the day that the Club completed the purchase of a freehold commercial property in the centre of Northleach, Gloucestershire, a small Cotswold town on the A40 between Cheltenham and Burford. This building was to be used as its operational and adminstrative headquarters and general offices to manage the affairs of the rapidly growing membership organisation.
By 1988 the Club structure was becoming unwieldy and following a report by a management consultant, and with the approval of the membership, the Club Committee was disbanded and replaced with an elected board of seven Directors. This structure remains today. Another significant change in organisation was the way in which Regions operated. Up until the late ‘80s Regional Organisers, and what was the Committee (now the Board), operated very much at ‘arms length’ and autonomously. However, this changed with the first Regional Organisers' meeting held in the Autumn of 1987. This was followed with another meeting in November 1988 and has been regularised more recently with one and sometimes two meetings a year.
The end of the decade brought what was advertised at the time as the end of an iconic model line, on Wednesday 19th July 1989, the very last so called 911 was rolled off the production line at Zuffenhausen and into history. After almost 26 years, the car that became a living legend has been overtaken by new technology and production techniques. From now on, although still notionally, and continues to be know as ‘The Porsche 911’ it would be constructed more and more by computer driven robots and would take on the factory designated model or type numbers such as 964, 993, 996, 997, etc.