We’ll call him Alberto for the sake of preserving the anonymity he’s asked us to uphold. The dawning of his attraction to the Stuttgart-born brand takes us back to the early '70s. At that time, his early love of rallies led him to contemplate the success of numerous 911 units at the hands of renowned Spanish drivers like José Manuel Lencina, Eladio Doncel or Alberto Ruiz Giménez, who was nicknamed “The Bear." From that point on, his love affair with Porsche turned into a wholehearted devotion, with his life like a series of events where the brand’s emblem always takes center stage.
More than 1,000 Porsche models at a scale of 1:43
When you enter Alberto’s house, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into the Porsche Museum. On our visit, we discovered more than a thousand models at a scale of 1:43, perfectly arranged by theme. Track cars on one side and rally cars on the other, each divided into those from the Spanish Championship and those from international races; underneath them, the different versions of each of the eight generations of the 911; a little further back, the first 356 models launched in 1948, the year in which Porsche was founded, together with the initial prototypes of the Volkswagen Beetle, Ferdinand Porsche’s project to create “the People’s Car."
“This is the only exception I’ve allowed myself in this collection because, for me, Porsche started with the 356 No. 1 Roadster, the brainchild of a true genius and the architect of this company, Ferry Porsche,” says Alberto. Such is his admiration for this man that, on more than one occasion, Alberto has taken his family on a pilgrimage to Zell am See (Austria), a place with strong links to the Porsche name, as it’s home to the “Schüttgut” family farm where Ferry was laid to rest.
“The first time I went to Zell am See, I visited the cemetery in search of Ferry Porsche’s grave. I drove myself crazy going round and round in circles until I discovered that he was buried at the chapel of this family home. I said to my wife – when I die, I want my ashes to be scattered here,” he tells us with a smile, his wife by his side. The funny thing is, she has no interest whatsoever in cars or the history surrounding them, but she does enjoy seeing her husband in his element and goes along with all of his crazy Porsche-related plans.
Returning to the models, you have to acknowledge that it’s a true sanctuary in which nothing is left to chance. We move over to a corner where practically all the Porsche vehicles that have taken part in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race in the almost 72 years of the company’s history are lined up. At the center of the room is a space perfectly laid out to simulate a Porsche showroom, right down to the last detail: reception, exhibition, corporate identity, publicity features, etc... “Every time I get my hands on a new miniature, I place it on the dealership floor and do the official presentation," explains Alberto’s wife with a straight face.
Of course, this magnificent collection of miniatures at a scale of 1:43 are mostly displayed on tailor-made pieces of display furniture and enclosed in glass. To pick them up, Alberto has some strong suction cups that only he controls. You can look but you can’t touch.
“When I used to come home from college, many days I’d go past the Porsche dealership and spend ages peering through the window, never plucking up the courage to venture inside” Alberto
The very best of the collection are presented on shelves all around the room, even adorned with miniature plants and lamp posts with real light. But as everything has been getting smaller, over time Alberto has needed to add other types of vertical shelves to which he fixed ingenious methacrylate structures to increase their capacity and make it possible to showcase all the models.
A series of really unusual individual pieces have been added to the main collection. For example, we came across the reproduction of the 911 driven by Julio Gargallo, just as it was left in the middle of the road following a major accident in a Galician rally. There are also a selection of unusual models like the Porsche Type 597 Jagdwagen, which was born as the result of a competition launched in 1953 to develop and produce a lightweight high-performance all-terrain vehicle destined for the future German Army. Or the legendary Porsche tractors, including a collection of vans perfectly labeled for all kinds of services offered by the company.
Many of these models are dioramas, where the cars come equipped with figures, accessories and an appropriate environment that recreates the setting with total realism.
If you thought that the decoration of this beautiful part of the house was complete with the stunning collection of miniatures at a scale 1:43, you were wrong. Next to them, and without following such a rigorous methodology in the order, we find another pile of models of different sizes, including several Lego ones, and an endless number of objects relating to Porsche. The office chair is an original Porsche seat to which Alberto has attached arms and wheels. How could it not be?
No matter where you look, your gaze falls on some unusual item or other, always featuring the word Porsche or its emblem. In addition to paintings, backpacks, commemorative coins, banners, notebooks, trash cans or pens, we found things as noteworthy as the menu from the restaurant at the Zuffenhausen factory when he went to collect his most recent 911 Turbo S. "The funny thing is that that day, after having traveled by road to Stuttgart in a Cayenne with my wife, my brother and my son, we had to come home empty handed without the 911 thanks to an enormous snowfall," says this true brand ambassador.
In any case, Stuttgart is somewhere Alberto certainly visits quite a bit, in fact, he’s been going there almost every year for many decades. “We always travel by car so that we can easily bring back books and lots of mementos. We once had the idea to go by plane and, when we left the things to check-in, the airline staff didn’t give credit to what we were carrying."
An impressive library
If you’re impressed with the collection of models, you can’t leave without taking a peek inside the library which is home to hundreds of books, once again all with the common denominator that is Porsche. There are books on the history of the brand, specific models, road cars and those built for competition; about important people and, in general, on any topic related to Porsche.
For example, our attention was drawn to a huge, numbered biography of pilot Jacky Ickx, presented on a table, accompanied by small jars containing mementos of some of the legendary races he took part in: a tiny piece of the bodywork of a Porsche 935, a piece of rubber from a tire used in the 12 Hours of Sebring, sand from the Tenéré desert from a Paris-Dakar, a piece of tarmac from the famous Hunaudèires straight on the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit or an original part of a curb from the Monaco Grand Prix. Enough to impress even the most dedicated of fans!
“Every time he gets his hands on a new model, I place it on the dealership floor and do the official presentation” Ana, Alberto’s wife
Next to the book, we also spot Jacky Ickx's signature on a piece of paper, a detail that’s repeated everywhere you look, with signatures of celebrities next to objects related to them. They range from that of Wolfgang Porsche to that of Hans Herrmann or Jochen Mass, to name but a few. “I had to get many of them for him, because he was embarrassed. But as I knew he was so excited,” explains Alberto's wife naturally, as she stumbles upon a child’s electric Porsche 356 that we’ve moved out the way so that the photographer can do his job. Oh, and there's no shortage of Porsche bikes either, both real ones and miniatures.
The little boy peering through the window
The more than three hours we spent in this “private Porsche museum” passed by without us even realizing. We said our thank yous and apologized profusely for invading his privacy. Alberto then remembered with nostalgia: “When I was a young boy and I used to come home from college, many days I’d go past the Porsche dealership and spend ages peering through the window, never plucking up the courage to venture inside."
We went down the stairs towards the exit, stopping in front of a Porsche model with which Antonio Zanini won the European Rally Championships in 1980. “I’ve become great friends with Antonio and whenever he’s in the area, he gives me a call and we get together. I have a poster here that he was sent by Porsche, with the tube that it came in, which commemorates all the champions who won that year. An heirloom that he gave to me as a gift. Antonio is like a human encyclopaedia and I really enjoy chatting with him”.
Alberto is also a font of knowledge on all things Porsche and the conversation really could go on right through to the early hours, but we still have a few miles to cover.
Much to our dismay, the time has come for us to say our goodbyes. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to reserve you one of the new versions of the 911 that’s set to be released this year, this time in full scale, to join the other “toys” you have in your garage.