I AM CURRENTLY READING Porsche: the Man and his Cars by Richard von Frankenberg. It is a good read although old-school as it was published in 1961. I knew a little bit about the author but thought I would investigate further.
Not only racing for Porsche, but von Frankenberg was also a journalist and author. He co-authored one of the first biographies of Hitler. His first book, Porsche, der Weg eines Zeitalters, is a highly collectible book today. Von Frankenberg is also known today in the Porsche racing world as the driver in the famous photograph accompanying this article. As a Porsche factory driver, he raced for the team from 1953 to 1960.
The last race of the German championship in 1956 was held at the Avus Track, one of the most treacherous tracks at that time. The banking was at 43 degrees and consisted of cobblestones and drivers were taking the corners at speeds of up to 180 KPH.
Von Frankenberg was driving the Porsche 645 Spyder prototype, which was nicknamed “Mickey Mouse.” It was called that for its diabolical handling, like a mouse fleeing from a cat. He was thrown from the car without serious injuries. The racecar landed in the paddock and burned fiercely due to its magnesium construction.
He never had any memory of the “Miracle of the Avus” and that Porsche design was not used again. Racing for Porsche until 1960, he achieved class victories in the Mille Miglia and at Le Mans.
Richard von Frankenberg was born in 1922 and spent the war years with his family in Britain. The synagogue across the street from his home was burned by the Nazis. “In secret, von Frankenberg photographed the attacks that took place on Kristallnacht. In the 1938 census, the von Frankenberg family were classified as a ‘Jewish household.’” — quote from Porsche press kit.
Returning to Germany after the war, von Frankenberg helped to start the Porsche press department. He also founded Christophorus magazine, the official Porsche customer magazine. It was one of the first of that type of magazine and is currently distributed in 10 languages including Portuguese, Polish and Korean. The February 2015 issue was the first to distribute over 500,000 copies. It is still going strong today, which is an inspiration for newsletter editors and other volunteers. He was the editor from 1952 until his unfortunate death in 1973, due to a road accident caused by the other driver.
I will continue to read the Porsche biography and will provide a final book review later this year. </>