Great Escape

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With the help of a former SS associate, Dr. Albert Prinzing, Peiper was provided a job at Porsche, where he worked at the technical division in Stuttgart. It wasn’t long before the charismatic Peiper was overseeing auto exports to the United States. His wartime criminal conviction prevented him from obtaining a visa, however, and he was unable to fulfill his role as sales manager.

Peiper was dismissed from the factory and took a job at Autohaus Max Moritz during the ’60s, selling cars again to Americans. Caught up in continuing legal pursuits, he eventually relocated to a secluded part of France. There he used the pen name of Rainer Buschmann to write for a German auto magazine. But he could not escape his past. After being recognized by locals at age 61, Peiper’s house was burned down with him inside it on July 14, 1976. No one was ever charged with the crime.

Completely unbeknownst to Arnett, he had acquired his ’66 911 with the help of a war criminal. Once the car was in the Arnett’s hands, he turned out to be the best Porsche steward you could hope for. He treated his 911 as if it were family, making sure it would escape harm under his care.

“William was just like his two brothers,” says Jim Arnett. “He was a good man who was more than just highly educated and skilled. He looked for perfection in all facets of his life. My father Harley was the same way, and his brother Paul served as an electronic wizard for the telephone industry’s early use of microwave towers.”

There are very few early 911s of this vintage that have been treated as well. Here are the numbers: 1,709 Porsche 911s were built for the model year 1966, most were coupes, about 20 percent were Slate Gray with a Red interior, and less than 25 percent of those likely remain on the road. There are maybe one hundred 911s in total that match this car; fewer if you are looking in the U.S.

The numbers become even more important when you consider all the early 911s being modified, repainted non-stock colors, and turned into R, ST, and RS clones. It’s heartening to see one that has eluded this kind of transformation and survived in its original form.

Karolyi is well aware of these statistics. He’s been obsessed with Porsches since his uncle Gary gave him some 911 sales brochures as a pre-teenager. At age 15, he was buying and selling Porsches in North Carolina. He started with a 924 and moved to 911s after obtaining his master’s degree in 2000. The following year, he broke free of the East Coast and moved to the place he really wanted to be: Southern California.

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