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Wright Studies
Hoffman Auto Showroom, New York, New York (1954) (S.380)
 

Max Hoffman's Racing Career 1951 - 1953

 

Born in Austria in 1904, Max Hoffman grew up with a interest in the automotive industry. Some accounts report that his father was a Rolls-Royce dealer in Vienna. In 2003 Max Hoffman was inducted into the Automobile Hall of Fame. One of the highest honors in the automobile industry, it is reserved for those that have had a significantly impacted on the automotive industry. They confirm that "Hoffman developed a passion for automobiles at an early age, often participating in club races throughout Europe during the 1920s. After his racing days ended, Max Hoffman signed on as the middle European sales representative of Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Alfa Romeo, Delahaye, Talbot, Volvo and Hotchkiss."
      As the mood changed in German controlled countries, he left Austria for Paris in the late 1930s, finally arriving in New York in June of 1941. He created a successful jewelry business but his heart was in the auto industry. He formed the Hoffman Motor Company in 1947, with a show room on Park Avenue, importing the French Delahaye. In 1949, Volkswagen struggled to find an interest in their Beetle until Max Hoffman took the risk, signed up to be the eastern US distributer and arranged for the first public showing in the United States. Other brands followed.
      Like Wright, Hoffman knew how to promote himself and his product. In 1950 he met with Ferdinand Porsche at the Paris Motor Show and imported 15 Porsches. On May 12, 1951 he raced a 1951 Porsche in the Giants' Despair Hill Climb, Wilkes-Barre, PA. This may be the first recorded race Hoffman entered after immigrating to the U.S.
      He also imported the British Jowett Jupiter and Javelin. On September 15, 1951 he entered a Jowett Juniper in the Grand Prix of Watkins Glen, New York. His driver, George Weaver, successfully placed First in Class and First Overall in the 10 lap 66 mile Queen Catharine Cup.
      On October 28, 1951, Hoffman entered the Mt. Equinox Hillclimb, Manchester, Vermont. At 46, he placed first in Class 6. It was reported that "The most outstanding performance was put in by Max Hoffman, driving a Porsche."
      In 1951 he purchased the Glockler-Porsche No. 2, after Walter Glockler successfully raced it in Germany. Only five Glockler-Porsche specials were produced, and were numbered one through five. Hoffman owned No. 2 and No. 3. He entered it into the Palm Beach Shores, Florida in December 1951. Hoffman, in car #40, lead the race for the first 24 laps, but was unable to complete this race. The notoriety was invaluable. Hoffman was undeterred.
      On March 8, 1952 he entered the Glockler-Porsche in two races the Vero Beach, Florida. The headline read, "M.E. Hoffman Victorious in 1 Hr. Race Driving 'Glockler' Porsche!" The article went on to say, "M. E. Hoffman driving the record-breaking 'Glockler' Porsche scored successfully against cars with piston displacement 2 and 3 times as great as the porsche" Other reports read, "The first event was a one-hour run... Maximillian Hoffman, who runs a foreign car emporium at 59th and Park Avenue in New
 

York City, made a grand showing in this event in his competition Porsche. Max really turned it on and at times was pushing the Ferraris around the bends. He wound up first in Class 6..." In the second, six hour race he entered a Jaguar XK 120 and hired drivers George Rand & Steve Lansing. "Byron King... came in first in the six hour event completing 122 laps in the six hour period... in his XK 120, George Rand and Steve Lansing driving a Hoffman XK 120V took second place with 121 laps."
      On May 24, 1952, Max entered his Glockler-Porsche No. 2 again in the Bridgehampton Road Race, New York. Road and Track, August 1952 reported that "Max Hoffman had been really pouring on the coal, building up a lead of about a minute over the second place man... he had started to take off the pressure, having built up what seemed to be an unsurmountable lead... Slowly Botts whittled away the Porsche's lead till finally Hoffman (getting word from the pit) started to step up his speed... finally in the 15th lap the Porsche didn't come around on schedule. . . Botts was in the lead! As concern grew in the Ecurie Hoffman pit,  Koster's Porsche came thru into second. Then came the 'Glockler' Porsche, its front left fender in shreds. Quickly the pit crew bent the fragments out of the way and, with the okay of the steward, Hoffman was off again. in the 21st lap he passed Koster but there just wasn't enough time to catch Botts. And so the race finished . . . in what will probably be a record for some time to come..."
      After Hoffman's tangle with the hay bails, he left racing to others. Later that year on September 20, he entered a Jaguar in the Grand Prix of Watkins Glen, New York. Race car driver John Fitch place first driving Hoffman's new silver Jaguar XK-120C.
      Records can be found for one other race Hoffman participated in.
After its successful season in Germany, Hoffman purchased the Glockler-Porsche Nr. 3 and entered it in the May 1953 road race at Bridgehampton in New York. Driver Johnny Von Neuman, who became the West coast Porsche distributor placed third in the 1,500 CC Mecox Trophy Race. Hoffman then sold the Glockler-Porsche Nr. 3 to Fred Proctor, Jr. of Connecticut.
      His participation and showmanship paid off. An example of Hoffman's influence is the Porsche 356, first produced in 1948. According to Porsche, by 1952, U.S. sales accounted for 21 percents of Porsche's sales. By 1955 it reached 50 percent, and by 1965, the last production year of the Porsche 356, the share of sales to the US amounted to a nearly 75 percent.
      He was the first to import the Mercedes-Benz in 1952, and was instrumental in creating the 300SL sports car. His influence was repeated in the mid '50s with the creation of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider. He was also the first to realize the potential for the sale of BMW in America. He influenced the design of the BMW 507 roadster.
      Max Hoffman was the driving force behind the success of many brands imported into the United States.

 
  Giants' Despair Hill Climb
Wilkes-Barre, PA
May 11-12, 1951
Owner/Driver: Maximilian E. Hoffman
New York, N.Y.
Class VI - 1100-1500 CC
'51 Porsche
Car No: 47

This may be the first recorded race Hoffman entered. He drove a Porsche, but the program does not indicate if he drove the Glockler-Porsche No. 2 or possibly one of the 15 he imported in 1951. No record how he placed.

     
     
  Grand Prix of Watkins Glen
New York
September 14-15, 1951
Owner: Hoffman Motor Car Co.
New York, N.Y.
Driver: George Weaver
Queen Catharine Cup: 10 Lap, 66 Mile
Class IV - 1500-1950 CC
Jowett Javelin Juniper
Car No: 15

Max Hoffman did not race his own car, but hired George Weaver, who successfully placed First in Class and First Overall in the 10 lap 66 mile Queen Catharine Cup. George also placed first earlier in the day when he raced his own Maserati in the 8 lap Seneca Cup.

 
Mt. Equinox Hillclimb
Manchester, Vermont, October 28, 1951
Driver: Max Hoffman
Class 6, I.5 Liter Porsche
Driver of the German Porsche, M. Hoffman collects his first place trophy as winner of class 6.
At 46, Max Hoffman placed first in Class 6. It was reported that "The most outstanding performance was put in by Max Hoffman, driving a Porsche. Max took the 1.5 liter convertible to the finish line in 4 minutes and 38 seconds, 18.5 seconds faster than the MG-TD driven by Marshall Green."
 
 
Palm Beach Shores
Florida, December 8, 1951
Owner/Driver: Max Hoffman
Glockler Nr. 2 Porsche Spyder
Car No: 40
Max Hoffman in his Glockler-Porsche No. 2, on December 8, 1951, at the second annual road race in Palm Beach, Florida. In 1950 Hoffman met with Ferdinand Porsche at the Paris Motor Show and imported 15 Porsches. In 1951, he purchased this Glockler-Porsche No. 2 after Walter Glockler successfully raced it in Germany. Only five Glockler-Porsche specials were produced, and were numbered one through five. (Hoffman owned No. 2 and No. 3.) Hoffman, in car #40, lead the race for the first 24 laps, but was unable to complete this race. Hoffman was undeterred.
 
Detail of Max Hoffman in his Glockler-Porsche No. 2, on December 8, 1951.
 

Max Hoffman driving his Glockler-Porsche No. 2, in car #40, lead the race for the first 24 laps, but was unable to complete this race. Courtesy of Motorsport & Motorradwelt, Germany.
 
Max Hoffman driving his Glockler-Porsche No. 2, car #40
 
Max Hoffman seated in his Glockler-Porsche No. 2. Courtesy Porsche Racing Cars: 1953 to 1975 By Brian Long, Veloce Publishing Ltd.
 
 

Vero Beach
Florida, March 8, 1952
1 Hour: Owner/Driver: Max Hoffman, Class 6, Glockler Nr. 2 Porsche, Car No: 20

6 Hour: Owner: Max Hoffman, Drivers: George Rand & Steve Lansing, Class 3, Jaguar XK 120, Car No: 19

Headline: "M.E. Hoffman Victorious in 1 Hr. Race Driving 'Glockler' Porsche!"  "M. E. Hoffman driving the record-breaking 'Glockler' Porsche scored successfully against cars with piston displacement 2 and 3 times as great as the porsche"
Hoffman entered two cars in this race, driving one of them himself. "The first event was a one-hour run... Maximillian Hoffman, who runs a foreign car emporium at 59th and Park Avenue in New York City, made a grand showing in this event in his competition Porsche. Max really turned it on and at times was pushing the Ferraris around the bends. He wound up first in Class 6..."
"Byron King... came in first in the six hour event completing 122 laps in the six hour period... in his XK 120, George Rand and Steve Lansing driving a Hoffman XK 120V took second place with 121 laps."
 
 
Bridgehampton Road Race
New York
May 24, 1952
Owner/Driver: Max E. Hoffman - New York, N.Y.
Mecox Trophy Race: 25 Lap, 100 Mile
Class 6, Under 1500 CC
Glockler Nr. 2 Porsche
Car No: 48
Max Hoffman prepares for the Mecox Trophy race in his Glockler-Porsche No. 2.
 
Max Hoffman in his Glockler-Porsche No. 2, car #48. Road and Track, August 1952 reported that "Max Hoffman had been really pouring on the coal, building up a lead of about a minute over the second place man... he had started to take off the pressure, having built up what seemed to be an unsurmountable lead... Slowly Botts whittled away the Porsche's lead till finally Hoffman (getting word from the pit) started to step up his speed... finally in the 15th lap the Porsche didn't come around on schedule. . . Botts was in the lead! As concern grew in the Ecurie Hoffman pit, Koster's Porsche came thru into second. Then came the 'Glockler' Porsche, its front left fender in shreds. Quickly the pit crew bent the fragments out of the way and, with the okay of the steward, Hoffman was off again. in the 21st lap he passed Koster but there just wasn't enough time to catch Botts. And so the race finished . . . in what will probably be a record for some time to come..." Photo courtesy Porsche Racing Cars: 1953 to 1975 By Brian Long, Veloce Publishing Ltd.
 
Courtesy Road & Track, August 1952.
 
"Max Hoffman in the low-slung Porsche Glockler had the 1500 CC class well under control in the Mecox Trophy Race until he bounced into a hay bale on the third turn. The front end was badly damaged so he was lucky that the Porsche's engine is located in the rear. Spectators helped the car and Max back onto the course to continue the event. Hoffman had built up such a lead over the other cars that he lost only one place and set out to lower the leader's advantage. At the end, the car was only 48 seconds behind Frank Bott's Italian Osca, the eventual winner. Max garnered second place and the trophy for "Hardest Luck Under 1500 cc Cars' ". Courtesy Auto Magazine, August 1952.

 

 
Grand Prix of Watkins Glen
New York
September 19-20, 1952
Owner: M. E. Hoffman, New York, N.Y.
Seneca Cup: 8 Lap, 52.8 Mile
Driver: John Fitch, Class 3, Jaguar XK-120C
Car No: 100
John Fitch prepares for the 8 Lap, 52.8 Mile Seneca Cup Race. He place first driving Max Hoffman's new silver Jaguar XK-120C.
 
 
Bridgehampton Road Race
New York
May 23, 1953
Owner: Max Hoffman - New York, N.Y.
Mecox Trophy Race: 25 Lap, 100 Mile
Class 1500 CC
Glockler Porsche Nr. 3
Driver: Johnny Von Neuman, Car No: 70
Glockler-Porsche Nr. 3, at the 2009 Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Courtesy Conceptcarz.
After its successful season in Germany, Hoffman purchased the Glockler-Porsche Nr. 3 and entered it in the May 1953 road race at Bridgehampton in New York. Driver Johnny Von Neuman, who became the West coast Porsche distributor placed third in the 1,500 CC Mecox Trophy Race. Hoffman then sold the Glockler-Porsche Nr. 3 to Fred Proctor, Jr. of Connecticut. Proctor then entered the Glockler-Porsche Nr. 3 in the Giant's Despair hill-climb and Brynfan Tyddyn road races in Pennsylvania in July 1953 finishing second in class in both events. He raced it again on August 8 at the Lockbourne Air Ford Base in Ohio and placed second, and placed third at Thompson Raceway in Connecticut.
 
 
 
Text by Douglas M. Steiner, unless otherwise noted, Copyright 2010
 
 
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