Robin and Jo Walker have been active members of Porsche Club Great Britain for 40 years. For their services to the Club, Robin and Jo were awarded honorary life membership of the Club. Robin is currently the Register Secretary of the Early 911 Register.
I am Robin Walker, and my wife Jo (Josephine) and I have been active members of Porsche Club Great Britain (PCGB) for 40 years. We joined the Club after buying my 1973 Porsche 911S, which I still own and drive regularly. I bought it in 1982, and for three years this was my only car. I used it to drive 80 miles (130 km) to work each day and also to Porsche Club events, which added up in total to 76,000 miles (126,000 km) in three years. The car we call “Luise” is now approaching 500,000 km on the clock and has been the most reliable car I have ever owned.
Before that, when we visited Zuffenhausen during our holiday in 1978, we asked at the factory gate whether it was possible to tour the factory and were amazed to be allowed to accompany two Americans who were there to collect their cars. The Porsche factory was very different then, but it was heaven for a fan of Porsche cars, totally amazing.
My interest in the marque started in the ’60s and ’70s while following the UK rounds of the World Rally Championship, the RAC Rally of Great Britain. The thing that captured our attention was the sound of the 911s as they raced through the forest stages. It was absolutely sublime then, and still is to this day. I thought then that I had to own one of those cars, and I eventually did at the age of 40.
Through membership of PCGB we learned of the big meetings that started in 1982 as Porsche Parade Deutschland. We therefore made plans to attend the second one in 1984, at which we celebrated the 75th birthday of Ferry Porsche. We have attended over 12 of the European Parades and also one in New Zealand, and we have met many members from all over the world at those meetings. They are now more than Club members: they are our extended family that we meet from time to time.
While still owning my 2.4S, in 1995 we bought another Porsche, a right-hand drive UK specification 1964 356C, which was not in a very good condition. We then started to attend the European 356 meetings, which are similar in their format to the Parades. This was a format introduced by an old friend, Ilse Nadele, then Manager of Club Co-ordination. We attended Porsche’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1998 as the only RHD 356 in the large gathering and again took part after the Sternfahrt at Porsche’s 70th anniversary meeting in 2018.
For PCGB, we became Regional Organisers for Chiltern Region 21 (of 31 Regions) in 1995 and filled our spare time organising events for the regional members as well as on our regular Continental trips, usually to Porsche events and the Le Mans 24-hour races. For our Club work for Chiltern Region 21, in the UK and representing the Club in Europe, Jo and I were named “Club Members of the Year” in 1998.
In 1999, we were asked to join the team to help organise PCGB’s second European Porsche Parade. We stopped being Regional Organisers and worked instead on organising the Parade, which took place in 2002. After this, we were awarded honorary life membership of the Club for our services to the Club. This is an honour that allowed us to join many very well-known personalities from the world of Porsche, including many Porsche family members.
At this time, our 356 went to be restored, and for a few years my 911S was joined by a yellow 356B S90. We attended the first Le Mans Classic in September 2002 with this car and won the best 356 at the Concours! We attended 356 international meetings in UK, Sweden, and Denmark, and from there drove to the Porsche Parade in Sardinia, a great road trip and an unforgettable Parade!
In 2003 I was asked to join the Board of Directors as Register Director, a post I held for nearly 5 years. PCGB is a limited company that is governed by UK business laws. This makes it different from most other Porsche Clubs around the world. Governed by the constitution, the directors normally have a fixed maximum term of office of 4 years.
PCGB has an office building in Moreton-in-Marsh that is owned by the Club members and where the office staff run the day-to-day operation of the Club. There is an extensive archive within the building, which was seen and appreciated by Wolfgang Porsche during a visit.
During my time as a Director, the annual Silverstone Classic race weekend returned to Silverstone, At short notice I organised the Club presence there and continued to organise it for several years before passing on the job on to others on the Board of Directors. The Club has grown significantly, and the number of members’ cars attending has gone from 50 to over 1,000 cars in recent years. It is now a regular event on our calendar. It is similar to the Old Timer Grand Prix at Nurburgring, which we have attended in the past. At the same time, I helped organise two very successful Porsche Festivals at Brands Hatch race circuit.
After my time as a Director of PCGB, I had to retire according to our Club constitution and Jo and I together with fellow member John M then organised three road trips which we call PEYT, the Porsche Early Years Tour. These took Club members in their Porsche cars to places associated with the Porsche family and the beginnings of the Porsche company. During the 2009 tour on the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Ferry Porsche, we laid a wreath in the Porsche family mausoleum, which had been opened for our visit. This is located at the home of Wolfgang Porsche in Zell am See. At the end of the 2009 PEYT, we met up with the PCGB factory tour members for a 100th anniversary dinner at Schloss Solitude. This was attended by many notable names from the Porsche factory and former race drivers. It was an unforgettable evening enjoyed by all.
Since then, we have continued to attend Porsche Club meetings around Europe and have reassembled our 1964 356C, finally putting it back on the road in 2016. We still regularly attend many of the Porsche Parades and 356 International meetings and have also attended every Le Mans Classic and Silverstone Classic race weekend. In 2016, our 911S and the 356C was joined by a 1983 924, in which we drove to participate in the first two-country Porsche Parade, in Slovenia and Croatia. This was an event attended by Wolfgang and Hans Peter Porsche, who made it very special event. After that, our 911S, which was originally sold in Bologna, toured the whole of Italy in 2017. We returned to watch the Mille Miglia in 2019, staying at the Castello of a Porsche Club Italia member in Tuscany whom we met in the 2018 Le Mans Classic Porsche Clubs area. The coronavirus years stopped any meetings or holidays, but we did take part in the PCGB 60th anniversary photo shoot at Chateau Impney. This was where Porsche Club Great Britain was founded in 1961, the 22nd official Porsche Club to be formed. 2022 has allowed us to travel again, and our year is again full of Porsche meetings, including the 356 International, Le Mans Classic, trips to Wales and Scotland, and a PCGB factory visit in September, helping celebrate 60 years of PCGB and 70 years of Porsche Clubs Worldwide.
Who knows what the future holds, but it will certainly have a Porsche car as part of it for us.