Today it was announced that Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche has passed away at age 76. For those who know little to nothing about cars for the last 50 years, Butzi Porsche was the man who gave the world the Porsche 911.
Helen of Troy may have launched 1,000 ships but Butzi Porsche launched 100,000 sports cars with his update of the original rear-engined Porsche – the 356. The first 911 was unveiled at the 1963 Frankfurt auto show – defying physics by hanging the engine out over the rear axle. What seemed like a quick lesson in vehicle dynamics would ultimately go on to be a permanent fixture both in Porsche’s model line-up as well as innumerable racing series’ worldwide for the next 49 years. Yes, the setup of the chassis and weight distribution didn’t make much sense but the results speak for themselves from the 7 generations of 911′s produced, countless races wons and fight-to-the-bitter-end diehard following of 911 fanatics.
Jalopnik posted this earlier this weekend and it struck a chord with me. Why? Well first off, it is a video of a substantial portion of the Ferrari GTO population. Second, its shot on roads I drive nearly every day on the way to work – I was actually on-hand for a few of the moments captured in this video.
The Friday before the Amelia Concours I was nearly sprinting, blazer and DSLR, in hand trying to make it to the lobby in time for the BMW 640i driving event with BMW. On the way in I gave littlermore than a passing glance to the fleet of Ferrari 250 GTO’s lined up in front of the Ritz-Carlton, a dumb move on my part, before realizing I had plenty of time to watch the GTO’s depart. A few hours later, I, along with a number of other cars, pulled over and rolled the windows down as the Ferrari’s crawled off of the St John’s River Ferry. It was quite a view to see $300+ million rolling off of the smallish ferry but there it was and almost as quickly as I stumbled upon the GTO’s they disappeared over a crest on 1st Coast Highway under a wave of thumping, early 60′s V12′s – truly a sound of rolling thunder across the surrounding marshlands.
Justin Lapriore of LetsMakeMedia did a great job capturing the awe felt of being up close with these cars. Even more rare, he managed to catch these on the move around Amelia Island and Northeastern Jacksonville – a true oddity for the Northside of Jax!