I’ll never forget my birthday dinner back in the mid 1980s near Daytona Raceway. My dad and Bruce took a bunch of us out to celebrate my birthday and the Rolex 24. When I arrived at the restaurant, everyone from the hostess to the servers to the manager made a huge deal and addressed me as the “world-famous racing driver, Jason.” They treated me like a celebrity, and a few employees asked for my autograph—which, as an 11-year-old Porschephile, was the coolest thing in the universe. Apparently Bruce had called ahead to the manager and asked for them to give me the red-carpet treatment. That was the thing about Bruce: He was not only one of the most brilliant automotive minds I’ve ever known, he had an incredible heart and made an impact on all of us who were lucky enough to know him. Such a great memory.
Knowing Bruce Anderson as a friend, an acquaintance or business associate always gave you the same gift: a helping hand, a knowlegeable hand and a willingness to bring you into the Porsche community. I learned this very quickly upon meeting Bruce, and over the years you heard and felt this same sentiment whenever Bruce’s name would come up, which was quite often if you were interested in Porsche. We should all be remembered as someone who gave back to one another as Bruce so often did. I am thankful that I had the good fortune to know Bruce Anderson.
Most of us knew Bruce’s reputation with regards to Porsche: He was highly thought of and his knowledge ran deep. However, when I think of Bruce it was his intimate knowledge and love of jazz. Some years back at Le Mans, around two a.m., we were having coffee in the Porsche hospitality tent, the monotony of the race just setting in, and the conversation turned to music and how the French (and most of Europe) had a deep appreciation of American jazz. I mentioned Dexter Gordon, and Bruce jumped in with an instant discography that left me stumbling to catch up. Chet Baker has been a favorite, and I always thought of him as a West Coast artist. Bruce then went into detail of the sessions Chet recorded in 1955 and ’56 at the famous Barclay Studios in Paris. Those sides had been unavailable for years and were finally released on CD in 2007. I sent a note to Bruce after getting the boxed set, and his reply was typical Bruce when it came to jazz: “Chet, yeah, love him.”
I met Bruce about 25 years ago, and what started as a “Porsche friend” grew into a strong personal friendship. Bruce was willing and eager to not only share his incredible love and knowledge of Porsche but also share his friendship with other members of his worldwide Porsche community. It was because of Bruce that I’ve met and know and am involved with so many Porschephiles, some well-known, some not. For example, I met the “young boy editor,” as Bruce called him (Bruce was fond of coining and/or using interesting descriptions), soon after Pete Stout started at Excellence. Bruce also referred to his computer, be it a Mac or PC, as a “confuser.” Bruce was a high-energy guy who was always up early in the morning, sending out his joke emails to a large list. And I always could count on a thoughtful answer to any Porsche question I had in one of our almost daily email correspondences. I miss my friend Bruce!