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Petrol in the blood!

Manfred Schmale is the President of the Porsche Club Monasteria e.V. and talks about cars as a "common thread" running through life.

Experiences can happen best in a community of common interests: a Porsche Club.

One of the first words I spoke was “car”. When I was in elementary school and sitting in front of my parents' television set, I eagerly took in reports in the daily news about Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips and his successes in Porsche races as well as Formula 1. At that time, I did not know that he was one of the early Porsche Club members. Without any alternative, Porsche developed into a personal automotive dream during this time. An unforgettable memory is the ride in the back seat of a red Porsche 356, which one of my father’s acquaintances made possible after winning in the lottery.

I attended my first automobile race, the International Alpine Mountain Prize in Rossfeld, on June 9, 1968, while on a school trip to Berchtesgaden/Bavaria. From then on, there were constant visits to races, and time and again a respectful gaze fell on the Bahama Yellow 911 T belonging to the older brother of a classmate.

I acquired my driving licence immediately after reaching the age threshold. Academic studies, career and stays abroad took up a lot of time and energy and only allowed occasional visits to Porsche showrooms on some Saturdays. Every new 911 generation grabbed my attention. In order to make things more concrete, I configured my desired Porsche 911 (993) after working through brochures and price lists. The selected configuration, which was handwritten on a sheet of squared paper, then remained on my bookshelf stored in the brochure.

In 2003, the time finally arrived. Living at the time in Tokyo/Japan, the desire arose for a “getaway vehicle” that could be used to leave the megacity for a weekend drive into the countryside. When Porsche Ginza was able to fulfill the dream configured ten years ago in Midnight Blue Metallic, there was no longer anything in the way of my Porsche Carrera Coupé (996.2). This 911 corresponded to the European specification and thus was able to continue driving in its home country Germany two years later.

Having since switched to a 911 Carrera 4S Coupé (997.2) and a Boxster Spyder, I decided that I wanted to go on organised trips with the new cars. This resulted in me joining the Porsche Club Monasteria in Münster/Germany, on whose Board I have been active for nine years, currently as President. This period has also been accompanied by vehicle changes to a 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet (991.1), a 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet (991.1) and the current 911 GT3 Touring (992) as well as a 718 Spyder “Zuffenhausen Sonderwunsch”. The Gentian Blue GT3 Touring was dedicated to the Rossfeld hill climb of 1968 and bears the date in Roman numerals on the centre console as personalised embossing: IX.VI.MCMLXVIII

For eleven years now, my wife's and my calendar has been full of Club-related events. We have undertaken fantastic journeys in joyful fellowship. A hitherto unknown Germany was opened up for discovery, and neighbouring European countries such as Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Monaco, England and Scotland were explored. A highlight was certainly the visit to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it was possible to meet many racing celebrities and where Stirling Moss' autograph was an outstanding “trophy” that went into the private collection.

Participation in the anniversary event – 70 years of Porsche sports cars for Porsche Clubs worldwide – will remain a special memory. During the gala evening on June 9, 2018 (exactly 50 years after my first race visit), I spoke with Herbert Linge, former manager of the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach and racing driver. When the talk turned to Graf Berghe von Trips, like him also born in 1928, Herbert Linge beamed and reported that he had raced motorcycles against von Trips in the early 1950s without knowing who he was. This conversation with a contemporary eyewitness of Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips as the never-fading icon left a lasting impression. The Count's outer nobility corresponded to his inner nobility, nothing superimposed, but something that was inherent in him. Decency, fairness and chivalry as racing driver and human being made him a role model.

The extensive experiences in the Club, which also include meetings with representatives of the Porsche family, make it more than clear that Porsche not only produces vehicles that inspire, but also knows how to create and cultivate emotional bonds. Congratulations!