Work on the front of the car is making major progress. Hood work is all complete, front nose complete including removing a LOT of bondo. Both doors are now in primer with guide coat as is everything forward of the B Pillar. Very happy with the hood gap all the way around and with the door gaps front and aft. Concentration now starting to move to the rear of the car.
With Miss April off at the body/paint shop, I am left with working on the parts that I took off. Mainly, that is the engine. I had it running strong before removal, but want to do a cosmetic restoration. First step, dismantle and clean, clean, clean. Not quite there yet, but much closer to acceptable. Lots of work remains on the carbs, tinwork, and the exhaust system.
In 1951 Porsche received the great honor of an invitation to participate in the Le Mans 24 hours. The question of whether to go or not was a hefty decision. For the tiny company (Porsche had only built its first car as recently as 1948), the money and manpower absorbed by this grand undertaking was a heavy burden and yet, if things went well, the resultant publicity would surely add sparkle to the company’s already burgeoning reputation. Ferry Porsche knew it was a brave decision to go, but it could be done, and moreover – as he reflected later – “We found that through our work in racing we could make improvements in our normal cars”. Already, the heat of competition was forging the relentless development of the product.
Veuillet (whose Sonauto concern imported Porsches into France) and Mouche would drive an aluminium 356 (leftover from the company’s early days in Austria); lightened further it featured an 18-gallon fuel tank and measures to improve aerodynamics. The 1,086 cc engine was detuned slightly to 49 hp, in the interests of reliability, but 100 mph was possible on the 3.4-mile Mulsanne straight. After 24 hours and at an average speed of 73.6 mph, a class victory and 20th position overall was theirs. The first page in the sports car manufacturer’s extraordinary history at the Circuit de la Sarthe had been written.
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