The Racing BaronHide Text
The Racing Baron, by Evi Gurney
Evi Gurney with "Dr Porsche", Huschke von Hanstein, in Stuttgart 1965
Evi Gurney writes about her years with Porsche in the 1960’s in a chapter she contributed to Racing/PR Director Huschke von Hanstein’s Biography "The Racing Baron" published in German and English in 1999.
Evi Butz Gurney, born and raised in Stuttgart, Germany, joined Porsche in 1960 as a personal assistant to Huschke von Hanstein upon graduating from the Foreign Language Institute (Dolmetscherschule) in Stuttgart. She worked for Sonauto, the Porsche subsidiary in Paris in 1963 and after a year as editor of a women's magazine, rejoined Porsche at the beginning of 1965 as head of the Porsche Press Department. She wrote two automobile related books and did freelance work for various publications. In 1969 she married Grand Prix driver Dan Gurney and moved to the United States. They are the owners of All American Racers, where Evi has been a PR executive for over thirty years. They have two grown sons and live in Newport Beach, California.
Following is a chapter she contributed to Huschke von Hanstein’s biography. An inside look into the Porsche Public Relations and Racing Department in the Sixties:
Even now, three years after his death, I walk to my mailbox in California hoping to miraculously find a letter from Huschke there. For almost three decades we had a very lively correspondence between us. His notes, cards and letters arrived from all corners of the world. He had great fun with hotel stationery. He sent it from the wrong destinations, just to confuse me a little bit about his whereabouts. So I got letters with 'Hotel de Paris, Monaco' from Stockholm, Sweden and 'Vier Jahreszeiten', Hamburg from South Africa. He wrote the most wickedly funny vignettes about people we both knew in the motor racing world. His comments on political or racing events made me laugh out loud. In turn, he asked for my observations on this side of the Atlantic. Through the years we had a lot of fun this way, which only stopped about a month before he died. Of course, our relationship had not started out as friends on an equal footing, but as employee and boss/mentor.
When I walked into his office on a sunny day some 38 years ago, I could not, in my wildest dreams have imagined how this encounter would change my life and shape my future. Answering an ad. for 'multilingual help' for the press department, I drove out to Zuffenhausento Porsche Work II. I was told to see Rennleiter and Public Relations Director Baron Huschke von Hanstein. Up to this point I had never heard of Huschke, but immediately thought that a man with such a sensational name would have to be something out of the ordinary. Before I had sat down in his tiny reception area to collect my thoughts for the first job interview of my life, he came running out of his office with outstretched arms and asked me to tell him my life story, "within four minutes and in English please!" Halfway through my stammering, he asked me whether I could also brew coffee and speak French? Not bothering to look at my resume, he told me that I was hired. He felt I was a 'natural' PR girl and Porsche was looking for young people to build up the company and grow with it. I walked out of there on air, but slightly baffled because I had no idea what Public Relations was.