Date of Birth : November 25 1923
Deceased : November 12 2007
Biography Bob Holbert
Bob Holbert (official name : Robert McCormick Holbert) was born in Warrington in 1923, and he opened a garage in the late ’40s. The business moved to the more famous Holbert’s Garage building across the street in 1951, when Holbert started a repair and parts business specializing in foreign and sports cars. In 1954, Holbert’s Garage became one of the first authorized Porsche dealers in the country, and it continues today as one of the most well-known and oldest Porsche dealerships in America. Despite owning his own Porsche dealership, Vasek Polak prepared the race cars of Bob Holbert on many occasions.
Bob Holbert’s love and knowledge of cars included a distinguished racing career, with awards ranging from the New York Times’ “Best Sports Car Driver” for three separate years to top finishes in the 12 Hours of Sebring. He drove to a record six class victories at Sebring, including second overall in 1960. Holbert started racing in 1953 in an MG, then switched to Porsches in 1957 after seeing driver Jack McAfee pass seven drivers–all in cars with bigger engines–in a Porsche 550 Spyder at Cumberland Raceway. His subsequent racing activities in Porsche’s RS-550 and RSK led to four SCCA national championships and a podium finish at Le Mans with Masten Gregory. Holbert also sold Roger Penske his first race car in 1958.
“Through his dealership and racing successes, Bob Holbert helped establish the Porsche brand in America,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. “He was a true American Porsche pioneer.”
Holbert later became a Shelby Cobra team factory driver, winning the first United States Road Racing Championship title in 1963. He and frequent co-driver Dave McDonald won the GT class at Sebring in 1964. McDonald’s death in a racing accident at Indianapolis several months later was a major factor in Holbert’s decision to retire from racing later that year.
Holbert’s son Al Holbert helped run the dealership and was the president of Porsche Motorsport North America. He had a strong racing career of his own, winning Sebring twice (1976 and ’81), the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times and multiple IMSA titles before his career was cut short by a 1988 plane crash. Holbert’s other son, Larry, has been the president and general manager of the family-owned dealership for the past 25 years.