The Porsche 956 LH Show Car from 1983
In the summer of 1983 a decision was made to exhibit a Porsche 956LH at the Frankfurt motor show.
Why, still remains a mystery to me but I presume it was to either support the world premier of the Group B show car that I talked about in ‘A Grand piano……’, to communicate that with the Group B program another field of Motorsport was opening or possibly the Le Mans victory from 1982.
As the Group B was being exhibited in Pearl White it was decided that the 956LH should be in the same colour. Design was to handle the project together with the racing department but there was very little to do. Our work was mainly to look after the interior. We decided to try and give it a feeling of quality and a black, Matt leather was chosen for the seats and steering wheel. It was to look more like a two seater so the small side seat was slightly modified, made wider and would be mounted a little bit further forward than racing regulations required.
The body panels were a mixture or parts from various cars and didn’t really fit together so the job of making them fit was given to the same paint shop that also handled all the works liveries we did in the 80’s and 90’s. I have no idea which chassis this was and can not say wether it had raced before or if it was a text hack.
The car was finally assembled in a workshop near the racing department and everything was running smoothly up until then.
It was time for the press photo session and the car had to be moved first to the front of the development buildings possibly to be shown to Dr Bott and Tony Lapine. The car had to be towed, and for reasons that I to this day will never understand I offered to sit in it. A decision I was to regret.
Up until that point I had only ever sat in a 956 for fun, while taking a break from livery design and as I now sat in the driving seat I suddenly realised how low and wide it was. As I was pulled out of the halls I realised that the brakes too were massively heavy. The first 200 m went well and was accompanied by mechanics to check the way. Disaster soon struck of course as I had to turn sharp left between the old canteen and archive.
I’ll never forget that scraping sound as the left side of the car hit the high curb.
Minutes later I was being given one hell of a telling off and I seriously thought I was going to be fired.
As the car stood outside someone called the painter who would have the job of locally retouching this pearl white paint. The photograph shows the car, several hours later on the test track where a fellow designer, Roland Sternmann (blue shirt) and my self decide on the position of the Porsche sticker.
Bellow the door a slightly different colour white patch can still be seen.
I remain possibly the only person who has crashed a works 956 while being towed!