Walter Glöckler

Birthday : 1908-12-15
Deceased : 1988-01-04

Biography Walter Glöckler

An accomplished amateur motorcycle racer before the war, he took up auto racing as well and plunged into postwar racing with enthusiasm backed both by money and by the facilities and staff that his dealership supported. The Glöckler shop was run by Hermann Ramelow who had worked on the prewar Adler sports cars, and in 1948 Ramelow created a mid-engined Hanomag-powered special for Walter Glöckler to race.

For the 1950 season they adopted the newly available L1-liter Porsche engine, mounting it mid-engined with the rear suspension reversed as on the original Porsche 356 roadster in a tube-frame chassis with a central driving position and lightweight aluminum bodywork by C.H. Weidenhausen of Frankfurt. It weighed in at under 1,000 Lbs., and even with under-50 horsepower Walter Glöckler won the 1950 German 1,100 cc sports-car championship with it. Converting the Porsche engine to run on alcohol brought it to 62 horsepower and kept the Glöckler special competitive in 1951.

Walter Glöckler’s success, and the attention to quality and detail that his car evidenced, brought recognition from Porsche, and a collaboration was begun with Glöckler agreeing to badge his cars as Porsches to bring publicity and recognition to the company and its products. Porsche in turn assisted with the latest engine developments – now coming fast and furious from the company’s success and continuing development. The line of development with Glöckler and Ramelow began would eventually flow back to Porsche in Zuffenhausen where in 1953 Porsche began to build its first series of racing cars, Project 550.

Walter Glöckler and Herman Ramelow built their next special for the 1951 season. Its construction details were similar, but behind the driver sat the latest 1,500 cc Porsche engine, and it rode on beautifully detailed magnesium alloy wheels with integral brake drums made by Alex von Falkenhausen. Extensively lightened, meticulously constructed to balance strength with light weight and streamlined to the point where it even had a full belly pan, the 1951 Glöckler weighed only 990 lbs. Its Porsche engine again was tuned to run on alcohol (a wise choice not only for performance and engine cooling but also because of the erratic quality of gasoline in postwar Germany) and pumped out 85 horsepower. With it he won the West German title.

He also set 1,500 cc international speed records at Montlhery in September 1951 at distances up to six hours, covering 1,104 km at an average speed of 184.11 kph (114.35 mph) in the diminutive racer. For this and some other outings Glöckler fitted a lightweight removable hardtop that was carefully conceived and constructed with windows fit flush to preserve smooth air flow.

It came to the attention of Park Avenue’s import genius Max Hoffman, who aquired it shortly after the record runs and brought it to the U.S. He raced it in Florida in the winter of 1951-52, winning his class and placing second overall in a one-hour racer at Vero Beach in March 1952, then in the Northeast where he won with it at Thompson in Connecticut and finished second in the Mecox Trophy race at Bridgehampton on Long Island.

The one shortcoming of the first two Glöckler-Porsches was shared with the original Project 356 Porsche roadster, the toe-in that deflection of the rear suspension produced because of the leading arm layout of the reversed rear swing-arm suspension. Its effect was ameliorated by the lightweight, stiffly sprung Glockler-Porsche, which minimized body roll, but it was apparent to Hoffman both in cornering and particularly under braking.

Walter Glöckler and Herman Ramelow decided to deal with this specific issue in the third Glöckler-Porsche in 1952.

The third Glöckler-Porsche adopted the standard Porsche rear-engined layout with the rear suspension in its ‘proper’ trailing-arm configuration. Based on a standard Porsche cabriolet floorpan, Herman Ramelow undertook the now-standing lightening modifications, removing everything that was nonessential and drilling out much of what was left. A 1,488 cc Porsche engine, again tuned with high compression to run on alcohol, made 86 horsepower.