Porsche Gmund SL 063 Le Mans Class Winner

This is the car that arguably started it all, Porsche's first works Le Mans entry and class winner.

1951, a terrible year for Bordeaux wine, but a great year for Porsche as it launched its fledgling company's cars into competition around the world, especially throughout the wine-growing regions of France and Italy.

Having produced a small run of vehicles with aluminum bodies early in its serialized production of the 356, Porsche was asked to compete in the 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans. Europe was getting back on its feet from the war and there was a great deal of development in the automotive sector. Ferdinand Porsche was forged in an environment of creativity and competition, so racing was a natural for him and his sons followed suit.

The road to Le Mans was paved with accidents as the company tested the mettle of its cars and drivers who would need to last a full 24 hours. Three of the four cars prepared for competition suffered significant damage, so only one was left as the sole entrant for the mid-June event. The hopes of an entire company rested on the shoulders of the two French drivers and an aluminum-bodied coupe with a 1.1-liter engine.

There is a much longer story to be told about the history of Gmund SL 063, but the one we will begin to tell here is the story of the restoration by Emory Motorsports to its Le Mans-winning form and livery.

The car's current owner, Cameron Healy, a long-time client of Emory Motorsports and dyed-in-the-wool Porsche Motorsport enthusiast, commissioned Rod Emory to restore 356/2-063 to its factory-original form, a coupe.

Chassis 063's bare-metal reveal at the 2015 Porsche Rennsport Reunion V was significant as this was the first time in 63 years that it had been seen in public as a coupe, the way it won its class at Le Mans in 1951. Porsche AG acknowledged its authenticity and inivted it to share a stage with two other Le Mans winners. This was a proud moment for owner and restorer alike, but there was much more ground to cover before the finish.

 

2016 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

The restoration of the 1949 Gmund SL was completed in time for the 66th edition of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. This was Porsche's first works entry into an international racing event and in 1951 it came home from Le Mans a class winner. The car was never meant for show, but some 65 years later its presence at the world's premier concours seemed fitting, considering the exhaustive attention to detail given to its Le Mans-winning renaissance.

356/2-063 competed in the class "O-2 Post-War Sports Racing" against some very worthy competition, not the least of which were an Aston Martin and a Maserati Tipo 60/61. Ultimately, the Porsche (the only Porsche in this year's show) took second in class to the "Bird-cage" Maserati (a two-time Le Mans entrant).

 

 356 SL early morning by Jay Ramey2

356 SL Dawn Pebble Beach Drew Phillips

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A few media links with Rennsport Reunion V coverage:

SuperStreetOnline.com


 

 

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