914.143.0233 was originally delivered to Hahn Porsche in Stuttgart, Germany in March of 1971. In addition to the M471 option, it arrived from the factory with GT-spec front and rear anti-roll bars (14 mm and 16 mm, respectively), a center seat cushion, and Michelin tires. Carl Hahn had struck a deal to assist with Porsche’s racing endeavors, and indications are that the M471 was used as both a test car and a presentation car initially. From Hahn, it wound its way into the hands of Paul Ernst Strähle. Erich Strenger then purchased it from Strähle Porsche in Schorndorf, Germany in May 1972.
A photographer and graphic artist, Strenger had enjoyed a two-decade relationship with Porsche by 1972, making an indelible mark on Porsche’s visual history. His accomplishments included serving as the first art director for Christophorus, Porsche’s in-house magazine. He also designed the first Porsche catalog in 1951, most of the company’s early brochures, and ground-breaking promotional imagery for posters. But perhaps Strenger is best known for creating countless Porsche racing posters from the 1950s through the 1980s.
Despite several performance-oriented additions to the 914-6, Strenger and his wife Ursula found pleasure in utilizing the car on a number of long trips, including a vacation on the French Riviera documented on the pages of Christophorus. The Strengers retired to the island of Mallorca off the coast of Spain in the 1980s. Instead of taking the 914-6, they stored it with Strähle until 1988, when Strenger’s friend Gerhard Blendstrup indicated an interest in the car.
Blendstrup also had a history with Porsche, working first in Stuttgart in R&D and later in Reno, heading marketing activities for Porsche Cars North America. After Strähle shipped the car to Nevada, Blendstrup kept it for nearly 20 years. He left Porsche during that period and headed to California. Wanting to enjoy the temperate climes of the West Coast, he had the roof brace removed to allow top-off driving, but several other performance modifications remained.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when those modifications were originally made, but prior to Blendstrup’s purchase, the Strenger car was upgraded with several of the performance parts featured on 914-6 GT race cars. Among these were the aforementioned roof brace bolted between the windshield frame and the targa bar, Koni front struts, 911S brakes, and 15×7- and 15×8-inch Fuchs alloy wheels. Recaro sport seats were also added, and the original 2.0-liter flat six (6410162) was removed for undocumented reasons and replaced with a 1972 914-6-based engine (6420185, 901/38 indicated on the case).
In the spring of 1972, 0233 was used as a camera car at the Nürburgring Nordschleife to film a commercial introducing the 1973 914 2.0. The M471 shared the track with three 914-6 GTs, filming them as they circulated. It’s likely the car was in Strähle’s hands at the time. Photos indicate the black stripes and larger wheels had been added by then.
When Gaglione learned of Blendstrup’s desire to sell the “Strenger GT” in February 2007, he was quick to act. He treated the first call to the car’s owner like a job interview: “I told him I had owned 914s for almost 35 years and I’d owned the same 914-6 for 28 years — and that I had endured an 18-year pursuit of (another) M471. I was trying to convince him I was the right person for his car.”
This time, it worked, and Gaglione flew to California to see the car and give Blendstrup a deposit. The small matter of a lost title was little obstacle to the acquisition. Compared to his previous purchase attempt, an M471 buried in a dormant volcano encased in 50 cubic yards of lead would have been no big deal. It would take 12 weeks to get a new title, but after waiting seven weeks, Gaglione overnighted the remainder of the agreed price. Six days later, on March 18, he received a phone call from the driver of the auto transporter, asking him where he wanted his Porsche dropped off.
The 914-6 was in very good condition, but having researched its history, Gaglione was determined to return it visually (as near as possible, anyway) to a significant previous state. This would include replacing the Recaros and returning the bumpers to their chrome finish (Strenger had them painted). Gaglione spent a productive day in the Auto Atlanta warehouse finding a complete New Old Stock interior in the correct 1971 vinyl, a complete NOS 1971 carpet kit, all new OEM rubber seals, new chrome trim, and even a new Sigla windshield.