The entire Porsche establishment in Stuttgart are mourning the death of legendary racer and Porsche brand ambassador, Paul Ernst Strähle. He was one of the most successful and best-known racing drivers during the 1950s and 60s. Strähle died of natural causes last Wednesday at the age of 83 in Schorndorf, his place of birth.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, Executive Vice President for Research and Development at Porsche, paid tribute to the deceased racing driver: “Paul Ernst Strähle was one of the most important and most versatile motorsport pioneers in post-war Germany. Through his success in numerous international races, he became a leading ambassador for German autosport. Porsche has lost a long-standing friend and companion who actively supported the company and particularly our motor sports department from its beginnings up to the present day.”
Paul Ernst Strähle was the son of the Swabian aviation moghul Paul Strähle. After the end of the Second World War, he successfully completed a mechanical apprenticeship in his parents’ car and motorcycle business which he then built up into a successful Volkswagen and Porsche dealership a few years after.
Hit the jump for Paul’s accolades and full story.
From 1951 onwards, Paul Ernst Strähle passionately devoted himself to motorsport, achieving his first successes, including a class victory in the “Mille Miglia”, in his VW Beetle that was dubbed “Dapferle“, which was fitted with a Porsche engine. He became one of the most successful sports car racing drivers in Europe in the Porsche 356 from the second half of the 1950s onwards. His long list of victories included countless class wins in major races such as the “Mille Miglia“ in Italy, the 1000 Kilometre Race on the Nürburgring, and the “Targa Florio” in Sicily. Among his most important rally successes were overall victories in the Adria Rally (1953, 1956), the Tour of Belgium (1957), the Liège-Rome-Liège Rally (1959), and the Tour of Corsica (1960).
The former German Motor Racing Champions (1955) accolades include, runner up in the European Rally (1956), and German Rally Champion (1958). He ended his active motorsport career in 1963 in order to concentrate more on his flourishing car dealership. In 1966, however, he returned to his racing roots and set up the “Strähle Autosport“ racin team, which achieved numerous successes with Porsche models in various race series over a period of almost three decades. From 1977 onwards, Paul Ernst Strähle also dedicated himself to historical motorsport. In his famous Porsche 356 A Carrera with the registration number “WN-V2”, he became a premier attraction of many classic car events in which he naturally emerged as the winner on numerous occasions.
Paul Ernst Strähle had a close relationship with Porsche right up until his passing. He was a regular honored-guest at events in the new Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, including last year, when he presented his Porsche 356 “V2” racing car as a loan item. In addition, he was adored for arranging massive swap meets for Porsche enthusiasts to trade sought after parts and spares. He shall surely be missed by all who knew and revered him.