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July 24, 2014
Brumos have been in the Porsche business since 1959, both as certified dealers and one time South Eastern USA Porsche distributor in Jacksonville, Florida and also in motorsport as Brumos Racing. Their heritage is almost as impressive as the factory itself and the Brumos Porsche YouTube channel is a great one to subscribe to.
Their recent ‘catch up’ video by filmmaker Frazer Spowart shows what has happened to the five Porsche B59 GTS cars from 2011. But Google the term and you don’t get much information on the Brumos Porsche B59, other than the usual press releases. So we put a call into Ray Shaffer, Brumos Porsche general manager, to chat about the B59 project and get to the full story from the source.Scroll down the page for the Catch Up B59 video.
HR – You were one of the people involved in the concept of the B59 Porsche. Who’s idea was it and what was the thinking behind it?
RS – The thinking was to commemorate the five Daytona victories by Porsche endurance racing legend Hurley Haywood. We’d created special edition cars before and the late Peter Gregg often used to order his personal car with special modifications from (his personal friends at) the factory. But for the B59, we wanted to take the idea and make the concept available to the buying public, honor Hurley Haywood’s five overall Daytona 24hrs wins, plus of course, Hurley was retiring from top level racing.
HR – Sometimes car manufactures are accused of ‘badge engineering’ to boost sales. But with only five examples produced that can hardly be the case here.
RS – You’re right. With the time we spent on developing the ideas, the ingredients, the styling and the specification, we didn’t make big money from this project. We priced the cars beyond the standard pricing to cover the unique specifications from Porsche Exclusive, obviously, but we wanted to keep the price real, so that it was affordable to true Brumos customers and not something to be simply added to a collection and never driven.
HR – How did Porsche feel about building such a low number of cars?RS – We have a long relationship with the Porsche factory. The car was developed in collaboration with our friends at Porsche Cars North America and Boris Apenbrink, the engineer / manager behind the Sport Classic for the European market. Even then, the design had to be signed off at board level.
HR – So, why not build more, say 15 or 20, the demand was probably there.RS – We thought about it. Even making 59 of them at one point, to perhaps sell through the North American dealer network. But we decided that five was the best number to maintain exclusivity.
HR – What was the thinking behind the specification? Not just the visual appearance, but the technical changes too? And why choose that base model? It must have been tempting to base it around the GT3.
RS – It’s based on the GTS, so already a rarer model which slots above the Carrera S but just below the GT3. Then we decided we wanted to make it a traditional drivers car, so stick shift only. Hurley Haywood still spends a lot of time here with us, so he was instrumental in choosing the final specification and how the car would drive.
HR – How involved was Hurley Haywood in the process? He seems to have a great relationship with Brumos.
RS – Very. When he’s not racing or traveling he’s here all the time. He’s the Executive Vice President of the company, so you’ll often see him around the dealership, the workshops and the race department.
HR – How did you go about choosing the owners? I’m sure there must have been many customers wanting one. How did you manage that without upsetting anyone?
RS – Good question! We already had a few friends in mind who we suggested the idea to and they took up the option to buy. We had a couple of cars left and when the press release went out, they were gone pretty much right away. We were hoping that, first off, the cars would be bought by true friends of Porsche and Brumos. Secondly, that they’ll be driven and cared for and seen out often. And finally, that they’ll be a good investment for their buyers. B59 #3 changed hands just recently and the signs are that they’ll be one of those quietly appreciating cars.
When the cars were ready for collection, we had a great day with Hurley and the owners, just five days after winning the Rolex Grand Am (GT) championship. We had our championship winning race car in the showroom alongside the B59’s. Each car isn’t just numbered, it’s also dedicated to a victory year, so the car has it’s number in the series and the year it’s victory commemorates on it’s plate. Each owner had a chat with Hurley about that year’s race and what each year meant to him. It certainly gave the owners a special attachment to their cars.
One of the great things about this whole project has been how we’ve been able to bring more people into the Brumos family. The B59 project also helps to educate Porsche customers with no knowledge of motorsport about who are are and how we race what we sell as well as what is possible from Boris Apenbrink and his team at Porsche Exclusive.
Since then, we’ve worked with Porsche Motorsport North America to create a series of five GT3 Cup 4.0 race cars, which were also very popular. They were aimed at collectors and club racers and have been another great way to bring more people into the Brumos family.
There can’t be many dealerships that have enough influence with a manufacturer to be able to develop their own special edition, but Brumos have that.
If ever I could pick the perfect place to return to my previous career of specialist car sales, you’ve got to say, working at the Brumos Porsche dealership has got to be right up there.
Photography copyright Bob Chapman / Autosport Image
Written by Neill Watson in Road Cars
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