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Porsche remembers Racing Baron von Hanstein

Porsche remembers Racing Baron von Hanstein

Stuttgart. 3 January 2011 would have been the 100th birthday of Fritz “Huschke“ von Hanstein, one of the greatest personalities in the company history of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart. As Press Director, racing manager, and a racing driver, from 1952 to 1974 Huschke von Hanstein helped fashion the unique image of the brand name Porsche. As Sports President of the AvD, the German Automobile Club, President of the Supreme National Sports Commission (ONS), and as Vice-President of the International Automobile Sport Association (FISA), he also represented German motor sport and the Porsche name to the entire world.

Born in Halle, the son of a nobleman and major entrepreneur, after passing the final school examination, the Abitur, Huschke von Hanstein became one of the most successful racing drivers of the pre-war period. He competed in his first motorcycle event in 1929, the ADAC Time Trials Event, while he was still a student of business studies in Hamburg. He pressed ahead with endurance events over the next few years on motorcycles from FN, Ardie, BSA, and Norton, but soon switched to four wheels, and scored success after success all over Europe as a works driver with Hanomag, Adler, and BMW, in endurance events, hill events, and circuit competitions. From 1936 he was already a regular competitor in the legendary Le Mans 24-hour race, and two years later became German hill events champion with a BMW. In 1940 von Hanstein scored a huge success in the substitute Mille Miglia event, when he led the German national team to overall victory with a BMW 328.

After the war, he initially continued with his motor sports activities with own-build VW sports cars, before coming in contact with Porsche in 1950 by way of introduction from the former Auto-Union Racing Manager Dr. Feuereisen. By September 1951 he was already a member of the Porsche drivers team, which set 17 world records at Montlhéry. A year after the “Montlhéry Adventure“, Huschke von Hanstein took on the dual role of Racing Manager and PR Director at Porsche. During the ‘fifties and sixties which followed, the baron played a key part in shaping the sports style of the still young House of Porsche. As a manager and driver he not only entered European events such as Le Mans, Targa Florio, Giro di Sicilia, and the classic Lüttich-Rome-Lüttich endurance contest, but also helped boost the image of the young company of Porsche all over the world by racing appearances in the USA, Mexico, Venezuela, and in the Bahamas.

With the bearing of a man of the world and self-assured elegance, matched with a gift for rhetoric and mastery of many languages, Huschke von Hanstein achieved a great reputation in the automobile world. Together with his wife Ursula he was renowned as the perfect host, and the soirées at his house in Stuttgart’s Kräherwald district were legendary. As an ambassador for the brand name, he not only represented Porsche to the international media, he was also an honoured guest at countless international Porsche Club gatherings.

As a leading sports official, Huschke von Hanstein was closely linked to Porsche as a company even after his departure, and remained so to the end of his life. He died on 5 March 1996, and takes his final rest next to his father Carlo von Hanstein in the cemetery at Wahlhausen. In homage to this famous member of the company, the Porsche Museum keeps one of Huschke von Hanstein’s service vehicles on permanent display. The dark green Porsche 356 A 1600 S Coupé with its cream-coloured interior still bears witness today to the good taste of the legendary “Racing Baron“.

From Porsche AG


Best,
Grady
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:39 AM
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Grady, did you ever meet Baron von Hanstein? The way I understand it, he, in no small way, carefully crafted Porsche's image around the world.

How about a story or three?

Brian
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:17 PM
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:07 PM
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Good first hand account on the AAR website. Dan Gurney's wife is a former Porsche employee who worked for him.

Eagle Eye: Huschke von Hanstein's Biography
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:35 PM
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Thanks Grady, and thanks Joe; both very interesting.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:15 PM
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At the airport: "Often he asked us to page him there over the loudspeaker, 'Porsche Rennleiter von Hanstein to the phone please.' He loved it. Porsche was in the news, the people of Stuttgart knew he was flying out to a race, PR at every level."

Classic.

Brian
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:51 PM
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Fascinating personalities... found a 1981 Nurburgring pic of him in an 804 demo.

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Old 12-15-2010, 06:17 PM
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From what I've read, he was one of the great racing personalities. A real character.
Old 12-15-2010, 06:48 PM
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Had an interesting encounter with Huschke in Germany. It must have been in 1990 or maybe 91 at the Holiday Inn in Waldorf, Germany which is very close to The Hockenheim Ring. It was F 1 weekend and many of the teams were staying at this hotel. For those who could get into the hotel and pool/bar area during GP weekends it was always great fun to watch all of the goings on. The bar owner was a friend of mine and also a very good buddy of Keke Rosberg...but that is a whole different story. Anyway, this was my hangout during many German GP weekends. On this particular day as I am about to enter the front door of the hotel von Hanstein is, at that moment, claiming a very choice parking spot adajecent to the door in a new blue Porsche 928. In his haste to dive into the parking spot he scrapes the pristine left front fender of ther 928 on a vertical structure which was part of the hotel entry way. He immediately looked around to see if anyone noticed and since I was the only one there...I as it! He immediatly jumped out, quickly inspected the damage to the car then started to profusely apologize to me. He obviously thought I was part of hotel management for some reason. It didn't take but a quick glance to see the damange to the hotel could be barely noticed. He was pretty upset. By this time we were standing pretty close and I simply put my arm around his somewhat frail shoulder and softly told him not to worry about it. He gave me a big grin, vigorously shook my hand and walked into the lobby.

Later in the evening, while at the bar and watching someone tell a funny story, I feel a hand on my shoulder, turn around and there was Huschke. He shook my hand again with that BIG smile, said thanks, bought me a drink and then walked off to join a group in another area.

Neat memory. A very first class guy who obviously had a big influence in how Porsche was perceived in the early days.
Old 12-16-2010, 12:45 PM
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Every time I read a story about Baron von Hanstein I think that it's too bad Porsche doesn't have someone like him advising them on their marketing and racing programs. But then again, how often does someone like him come along? Truly a unique character.
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbryan View Post
On this particular day as I am about to enter the front door of the hotel von Hanstein is, at that moment, claiming a very choice parking spot adajecent to the door in a new blue Porsche 928.
Great story. A highly recommended book: 'Huschke von Hanstein - The Racing Baron' by Tobias Aichele. There's a photo of Huschke with his blue 928 in the book.

And anybody who takes a 550 Spyder around an indoor boardtrack is OK with me




Old 12-16-2010, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Garfield View Post
Every time I read a story about Baron von Hanstein I think that it's too bad Porsche doesn't have someone like him advising them on their marketing and racing programs. But then again, how often does someone like him come along? Truly a unique character.
Indeed, a character among so many characters who, together, gave the company its soul.

Brian
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:06 PM
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I recall reading back in the '80s one of those Warbonnet Region tech session transcripts that would be published in Panorama (some of these are reprinted in the Up-Fixin der Porsche volumes). Anyway, in the report, then-PCA Tech Chairman Chuck ******** talked about how all of these guys (Huschke von Hanstein, Helmut Bott, Norbert Singer, etc.), essentially Porsche's best and brightest, could all drive. Exceptionally well.

Brian
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:16 PM
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