Just a Pile of Tools

The late 60’s were a fascinating time for racing. I think I’m most drawn to the era because—for better or for worse—it was such a transformative period. Perhaps nowhere was this more true than in Porsche’s Le Mans pits. We were, after all, on the verge of a ridiculous procession of Porsche Le Mans wins throughout the 70’s and 80’s.

But look at this photo from the Porsche garages in 1969. The boys from Stuttgart had their hands full with the early 917s and the holdout 908s. These were state-of-the-art machines from a racing workshop that was starting to share more with the aviation industry of the time than the auto industry.

But look at these tools! My grandfather’s mower repair shop was better equipped than this. No pneumatics. No carefully sorted trays of perfectly polished stainless. There’s no apparent sorting of the wrenches by size. Hell, the sockets are just laying out! It’s just a pile of mismatched tools on an old plank of wood.

It’s part of why I love this transitional time so much. In many ways, it was old dogs with new tricks. Fresh technology and traditional skills. New engineering by old shop-hands. I’m sure, like always, I’m romanticizing things too much but this image strikes such a chord with me about the era. And it doesn’t even have a car in it.

Also, what I wouldn’t do for one of these jackets.

7 responses to “Just a Pile of Tools”

  1. Mike Gulett says:

    You think and write about interesting stuff. I love it.

  2. Cando says:

    Such a cool photo. It doesn’t look much different than the tool rolls I use when working on my 356. That simplicity is the reason I can, for the most part, wrench on the car myself!

  3. Jeff Downer says:

    What? No WD-40 or duct tape?

  4. advtracing says:

    “Also, what I wouldn’t do for one of these jackets”

    tell me about it , i have chased for one for along time , i have had a penski one , 2 rothmans Paris to Dakar 959 teams jackets (one went to the owner of a rothmans 956 and the other to the owner of a rothmans 959 rally car)now just need that early one

  5. Luc Ghys says:

    The man with the jacket is Porsche engineer Helmut Bott.

  6. Mario says:

    Check out the gas caps on the table too.

  7. Richard Ingham says:

    I’ll take you task on the tools not being in some sort of order.
    To the eye of a mechanic, I see the pliers together at the top,combo wrenches arranged with open end up & box end down,and sockets together near the extensions.
    May not be the most orderly set out tools but it works !!!!

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