"One of the great strengths of this book is that it is filled with over 400 excellent and rare photographs, chronicling the various Porsche rally cars and campaigns over the years." – Vintage Racecar
The Motor Cycling Club, February 2008
UK club newsletter
When Veloce presented me with this for review I was a little taken aback as I didn’t think it would be of pressing interest to many MCC members. Its large format seemed to qualify it for the coffee table of some nouveau rich gentleman to accompany the status symbol 911 in the drive. But I was wrong, as I read into it I found a mine of information written by a great enthusiast of the marque – almost too much so when defending 356 handling – and it’s more of a Porsche history than merely about rallying.
We should of course remember that in the early days of Porsche there wasn’t much to distinguish many international rallies from the great races of the time and it’s those early chapters which give lots of inside information about how it all came about that I found the most interesting. Although in a sense a specialist book which will certainly interest Porsche and rally enthusiasts this has a much more general appeal.
It’s an easy read and full of facts which will ensure it’s often taken from the bookcase to prove a point in discussion.
"The Ultimate Middle East Car magazine"
Porsche's rally story is a subject that any rally and motorsport fan will find compelling. Written by lifelong Porsche enthusiast and world authority, Laurence Meredith, an acknowledged authority on the activities of the Zuffenhausen company, this is a comprehensive study of Porsche’s occasional foray into the world of international rallying.
Illustrated with 400 photographs this book is not only a must for any Porsche or motorsport fanatic, but should also be available at the Porsche dealers for those who will buy a Porsche as well as for those who are just fans of the magnificent Porsche brand and its history.
Laurence Meredith has written some 38 books, 36 of them about cars and motor racing; motorsport has been a lifelong obsession that continues to this day. Laurence has a particular interest in German cars, and is a leading authority on Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
He has spent his entire life – from the age of two – at motor racing circuits throughout the world, and cites his hobby and job as one and the same thing. Laurence owns several German cars, including a Porsche, classic VW Beetle, and a Formula SuperVee Modus M2. He has competed in modern classic rallies, citing his class win in the Longleat Stages of 1990 as the most rewarding. Laurence lives in rural Herefordshire.
The book contains some exciting, action-packed photographs from Porsche’s archive which will fascinate Porsche-drivers as well as Porsche-lovers. It also shows technical discussion of the cars in detail and is fully indexed.
The book is an international story that will appeal to motorsport enthusiasts in general and Porsche enthusiasts in specific all around the world, and especially in the Middle East region and Egypt where 'Porsche' means the embodiment of sports cars and motorsport heritage.
This hardback, 256-page book contains some 400 pictures, ranging from the 60K10 (1939) to the Porsche Cayenne Transsyberia Edition (2007).
'Porsche – The Rally Story' is published by UK-based Veloce Publishing house and costs £45.00 (UK) or $89.95 (US). Although this is not the cheapest Porsche book, it is surely worth the money.
GT Porsche, March 2008
Rally fans and Porsche motorsport fanatics alike will find great delight in this comprehensive study of Porsche's involvement in the world of international rallying. written by lifelong Porsche enthusiast and recognized authority on the activities of Zuffenhausen company, Laurence Meredith, this reader-friendly hardback documents with magnificent detail and comprehensive scope. Illustrated with some 400 photographs Meredith describes through nine chapters not only Porsche's involvement in rallying, but also gives credit to the smaller names and personalities that made each project possible, as well as providing technical discussions of the cars in significant detail.
Old Stager, June 2008
Author Laurence Meredith has already covered Porsche's racing background in one of his many German marques (he has written a pictorial review of the Bugatti marque, but that too is now German owned). Having enjoyed a virtual lifetime at racing circuits around the world, Meredith knows a thing or two about the racing world and also has a keen interest in rallying; he has competed in historic rallies (winning his class on the 1990 Longleat Stages). His interest in German marques shines through in his analysis of Porsche's rallying heritage – a heritage that came about despite the factory's lack of 'official' involvement in the early days and the general motoring world's distaste for the basic engineering of the little German coupes. Maybe the author harps on too much about the unfair criticism from some quarters regarding the 'wrong layout' of the 356, but it well explains just how different these cars were in their period. This tack also helps to bolster the view of Porsche enthusiasts who have always insisted that those who decry the handling characteristics of 911's simply can't drive properly. I'm biased here, being in full agreement with the author - personally knowing a couple ex-911 owners who traded them in rapidly because they were 'rubbish to drive'... one settling for an Audi Quattro and the other for a Porsche Cayenne 4x4... The book is packed with period photos, although not necessarily in chronological order. In all there are over 400 and 1 particularly enjoyed the copious number of early 911 shots. I may be in the minority in actually liking the 914 when it was launched, but I well remember my excitement at the prospect of these mid-engined machines competing on the Monte Carlo Rally in 1971 was tempered by reading in Autosport that Waldegard wasn't impressed. This is all covered in detail and makes fascinating reading - again amply illustrated with period photographs. The section on Böhringer and Wutterich's amazing performance on the 1965 Monte with the 904 similarly is covered in detail not usually seen photographs. One criticism is a several of the picture captions are a little vague and many actually referring to the incorrect year (which at least can clearly be ascertained from the rally plates), but generally the wealth of photos is a real plus.
New Zealand Classic Car, September 2008
As much a history of Porsche as a history of Porsche's rallying exploits, this new book from noted German car expert, Meredith, covers everything from the early Gmund cars through to the later 914/6, 904 and 911 rally cars – although the larger part of the book covers the 356. The book is well written and fast paced, and it is obvious the author is a Porsche fanatic – probably a little too obvious when he attempts to defend the handling of those rear-engined Porsches and, in some cases, he even manages to contradict himself several times over in the space of a single chapter. However, none of this detracts from the book– which is an absolute mine of Porsche rallying lore. The photographs alone make this a worthwhile purchase – who couldn't resist the sight of a Porsche 356 attacking the Stelvin Pass during the Monte? If you want to know more, log onto YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9MIw5XBqtw) and you'll find a video of the author discussing this book.
Official publication of the Shenandoah Region of the Porsche Club of America September 2008
Porsches are competitive in a plethora of motor sports. Most enthusiasts do not realize how long and how successful the marque has been at rallying. This volume is a very thorough documentation of Porsches rally history. It is rich with rare photos and information. Laurence Meredith is a lifelong motorsports enthusiast. He has written well over thirty books on cars and motor racing. He has spent most of his life at race tracks whether as participant or spectator. His devout enthusiasm shows from the first page to the last of this wonderful book. And it should. Meredith was actually present in 1968 to watch first hand Porsches foray into international rallying begin. Vic Elford was at the wheel of the orange works 911S as it screamed sideways past Meredith and the small group of onlookers at the RAC Rally in Wales. He follows the Porsche rally story right up to Cayenne and 996 participation but the majority of the book and certainly the authors heart focuses on Porsches glory years in the sport. Rallying drives engineers crazy. Unlike other forms of motorsport, rallying encompasses so many variables that no one manufacturer seems able to get a lock on championships for long. Porsche became interested in the sport early on and lent cars and mechanics to privateers as early as the days of the 356. The advent of the 911 gave them an instrument they could really develop for rallying. With hugely talented drivers like Elford rallying 911s would become a marketing tool. From this point Porsches became high profile and achieved great technological feats culminating in many opinions with the Paris-Dakar Rally overall win in 1984 by Rene Metge in a 959. Photos from this era fill the book.
But Meredith is obviously a historian. He begins at the beginning of Porsches production of automobiles just after World War Two and gives us a loving history of the cars and the men behind the cars as they were developed. This hardbound volume has more than 250 pages with over 400 photos both color and black and white that show off the privateer and factory rally machines. Though not highly technical, the book has plenty in the way of specs and mechanical information to satisfy most of us motorheads. The author's soft spot for the 550’s and 904’s, Porsches more focused street/competition machines is evident in that he devotes 22 pages to these two models. These were Porsches wildly successful sports racers and were dominant at nearly all the track events they entered, some notable examples being the Le Mans 24 and the Carrera PanAmericana. Rally teams began to realize the benefits that light weight sports cars may have in their sport and so cars like these two began to show up in rally competition. The 904 with its mid-engine set up and lightweight fiberglass monocoque type bodywork was super rigid and well balanced allowing superior handling in the elements found in most winter rallying. The 904 was campaigned for two seasons with four, six and eight cylinder engines and according to Meredith could have been further developed as a successful rally and road race machine had not Ferdinand Piech insisted on making his mark within the Porsche racing department by pushing the development of more pure competition models such as the 906, 908 etcetera. I have to admit that the era from 1953 to 1965 is also my favorite. Porsches most beautiful finely crafted, technically advanced and versatile cars came from this period. These machines finessed their way into the record books with jewel like power plants capable of amazing horsepower for their size. Meredith has obviously been a rally driver as well and his belief that rallying was and is the last form of motorsport that the ‘common man’ can get involved in with the expectation of rising to the top of the game cannot be missed. His passion for the cars and rallies of the 1950’s through the ‘70’s when they were most accessible to everyman fills the bulk of the book. More than once there are references to how over litigated things are these days how bureaucrats have ruined the sport with their ‘misguided’ sense of the public good. So the author is a bit of a dinosaur…he lived through a time when competition was more pure and certainly less regulated and for producing this delightful book I think we can indulge him.