Project 356/930

The year is 1996. The place is an motel in a encampment of Klein-Neusiedl, race 9 hundred, around twenty-five kilometers southeast of a Austrian collateral of Vienna. Viktor Grahser sits alone during a list in a distant corner, articulate excitedly in English. He has systematic pressed crêpes, like he does each Friday. Three years ago he returned to Austria for reasons of a heart. The lady for whom he left his adopted homeland of Australia after thirty-one years is no longer in his life. Grahser, who lerned as an aviation mechanic, is fifty-six years old. His facilities are chiseled; his brownish-red hair is combed behind and sticks out over his collar. He’s wearing blue overalls, and his coupler with a Trans-Australia Airlines trademark is slung over a chair. A rusted bicycle stands outward a door. Cigarettes distortion on a list to his right, and to his left a automobile repository that he leafs by while enchanting in review with himself.

Auspicious encounter

The son of a inn’s owners sits a few tables away, watching Grahser. Rudolf Schmied is in his mid-twenties and has recently returned from a vacation in Australia. The immature male doesn’t wait too prolonged before addressing a loner in his encampment in English. The dual fast find common ground—Down Under—and their initial review leads to many more. Nearly each day Grahser sees Schmied pushing a red VW Beetle past his residence in a adjacent encampment of Fischamend and waves to him from his front yard, and on Fridays a dual mostly accommodate during a inn. Schmied helps Porsche fan Grahser obtain deputy parts—and listens to a comparison man, whose stories mostly revolve around Porsche. Eight years go by before Grahser invites Schmied to his two-story house. He wants him to see something he has never shown anyone before. “And move your camera!” he adds, meaningful that Schmied is study photography in Vienna. The subsequent day a dual of them mount in Grahser’s vital room in Fischamend.

“And move your camera!”
Viktor Grahser

“Here we go, my friend,” says Grahser, indicating to a heart of his home. Schmied can frequency trust his eyes. A Porsche 356 Speedster stands in a center of a vital room, with usually one headlight and no building or seats. The engine lies behind it, subsequent to a raise of wood. “All right, now we can take cinema of me driving,” says Grahser. “And where are we going?” asks Schmied. ”I’m pushing on a Great Ocean Road, on a southern seashore of Australia. You’ve been there, right?” replies Grahser. Without watchful for a response, he sits down on a steel support of a unprepared Speedster, puts both hands on a steering wheel, and imitates a sound of a engine while job out, “Second gear, third gear—see, a breeze is floating by my hair.” He closes his eyes and turns a circle to a left and right, shifts by hypothetical gears, accelerates and brakes. All a while providing a suitable acoustics.

The dream of a museum

Schmied doesn’t skip a kick and deduction to take photos of a view rushing by, nonetheless he’s carrying difficulty with a concentration as tears good adult in his eyes. He has usually found a theme for his thesis. Shortly afterward Schmied will tell a story of Grahser’s adore for his Porsches in evocative black-and-white images. With Ein Leben. Ein Mythos (A Life. A Legend), a immature photographer graduates with honors. He captures a unrestrained friendship and sacrifice, and a try to make a dream of a lifetime come true. Grahser allows himself usually about twenty block meters of vital space. One room with a slight bed, chair, desk, radio, and stove. He doesn’t need anything else to be happy, he says. The rest of his space goes to a Porsche 356.

Grahser’s good dream is to open a Porsche museum in his Austrian homeland. He has a initial 3 cars for it already; they usually need to be restored. The 356 Speedster, that is one of a few built with a steering circle on a right, stands in a vital room, while a other dual are still in a shipping enclosure outward a door. They haven’t left it given vacating Australia. The one on a tip turn is a Porsche 356 A Coupé, partially converted to a 356 Speedster with 911 tools and a 2.7-liter engine with a automatic fuel-injection pump. The one on a container’s belligerent building is Grahser’s comprehensive favorite, a 1959 Porsche 356 B Roadster with a three-liter turbo engine from a 1977 Porsche 911 (Type 930). Grahser mostly opens a doors of a enclosure usually to be nearby this 356/930, as he calls it. He sits on a cushioned chair opposite a left wall of a container, above a opening cleaner and prolongation cable. An aged wooden list with a built-in drawer stands opposite a right wall, dual chairs placed on tip of it. Grahser is relaxed, his legs stretched out, his ankles crossed, and a cigarette in a dilemma of his mouth. He’s looking to a left. At a dual Porsches.

During this time Grahser tells Schmied a lot about Australia and how he bought a initial shop-worn 356 Roadster in 1981. Schmied hears how Grahser’s 356/930 plan got started a following year, and how a aviation automechanic became one of a initial members of Australian Porsche 356 Register Inc. in 1986. After returning home to Austria, Grahser stayed in hold with his friends from a club, with letters drifting behind and forth.

Grahser dies—and his legacy?

In May of 2008 Grahser dies unexpectedly. Schmied binds on to his letters from Australia and keeps meditative about a lapse addresses. He would like to accommodate Grahser’s friends from behind then, surprise them of his death, tell them about a years he spent in Fischamend, and find out most some-more about his life in Australia. And a predestine of a 3 Porsche 356s? For a prolonged time Schmied knows zero during all about what happened to a sports cars after Grahser upheld away. Until he gets a call one day in 2012. The voice on a phone belongs to Rafael Diez, who happened opposite a story of a radical male and his 3 Porsche 356s. Diez contacted a play in Stephanskirchen who had acquired a sports cars from a executor of Grahser’s estate. He buys a contingent of Porsches and immediately grasps Grahser’s emptied intent: a Roadster’s broadened circle housings, a engine hood protracted by dual cooling atmosphere intakes, and a surprising front mouth for a 356, that recalls that of a Porsche 911 S. It’s now adult to Diez to move Grahser’s plan to fruition. In short: adjustments, steel work, and paint. Diez moves a steering circle to a left, welds a physique together, installs a engine and transmission, and sets a front window ideally into a support with a frame of chrome.

A 356 with turbo technology: Walter Röhrl and his new car

The new owners is impressed

In 2018 Diez tells an acquaintance, Porsche code envoy Walter Röhrl, about a 356 B Roadster and asks him to take a few test-drives in a 356/930. “I’m a good fan of aged cars. They give we a feeling we should still be means to do something,” says Röhrl.

“It drives uniformly and precisely, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Walter Röhrl

“But we approached this converted 356 B Roadster with a turbo tools really gingerly; it looked like too most had been altered. So we was all a some-more dismayed during how ideally offset it felt right from a start of a initial test-drive. The low mouth in front, a complicated engine behind, 260 hp—it drives uniformly and precisely, and it’s a lot of fun.” Röhrl, a two-time convene universe champion, now owns a automobile that Diez christened a “Porsche 356 3000 RR”—3000 refers to a engine displacement; RR stands for Röhrl Roadster. Its extraneous is line-up gray and a interior is red. Its engine cover sports Röhrl’s 4 feat badges from a Monte Carlo Rally. A 911 steering circle with a 356 edge has been installed. Even a instruments are suggestive of a 911. For Viktor Grahser, a 356 with 911 tools was dictated to be his “Super Porsche.” That was his lifelong dream.

The meeting

As partial of a work for this article, photographer Rudolf Schmied met a new owners of a Porsche 356 Roadster—and told two-time convene universe champion Walter Röhrl a story of Viktor Grahser and his matchless 356/930 project.


Text initial published in a Porsche patron repository Christophorus, No. 393.