Bruce Anderson, 1938-2013

The Porsche world remembers a friend and a maestro

Photo: Bruce Anderson, 1938-2013 0
April 12, 2013

To fully honor Bruce’s legacy would take volumes. For now we’ve gathered a few of the hundreds of remembrances from those who knew Bruce as a friend, a professional colleague, and as an all-around good guy who always found the time to be gracious.

Bruce Anderson was an integral part of Excellence starting with the first issue (then known as Porsche Magazine) in the fall of 1986. Bruce’s importance was reinforced when we conducted our first demographic survey and found that our readers rated “Tech Notes” as one of the most popular sections of the magazine.

Bruce was an exceptional teacher of Porsche lore. Even if the question he answered didn’t pertain to your model, it was interesting to read because he explained the most technical of matters so they were easily understood.

Bruce had a few health issues over the years, and although some were serious, he had always bounced back. A similar scenario seemed to be unwinding over the last year, but, just when it seemed he was on the road to recovery, Bruce’s heart decided enough was enough, and he passed quietly on the night of February 8, 2013. Bruce’s wife, Stephanie, told us that Bruce had remained upbeat and optimistic about his return to the Porsche fold until the very end.

Many of you have been with us since the beginning and have been reading, and learning from, Bruce’s contributions. We’re sure you feel as we do, that we’ve lost a close friend as well as a valuable member of the Excellence family. Fortunately, Bruce’s words live on, and we still can savor the wisdom and knowledge Bruce provided to us for so long.

—Tom Toldrian

Bruce was a permanent answer-book. If I needed a photo of a special Porsche or of a special part, he had it and would send it on always with a nice comment. He was a super great help in the historics and the modern era. I will really miss him.

—Jurgen Barth

Bruce Anderson’s Porsche 911 Performance Handbook was a strong influence in my early years of 911 engine building. The book was very much to the point and was well written for the average person. Bruce did a great job of getting the important things understood. I had a great deal of respect for Bruce and really enjoyed the too few times that we were able to talk. I will miss Bruce, and our Porsche community has lost a true friend.

—Alex Job

I had the pleasure to meet Bruce for the first time when I started to drive for Garretson Enterprises, where Bruce played a major role in 1980. As the “newbie,” I found Bruce to be very knowledgeable, passionate and patient with his young driver! Some years later, my partner David Letterman asked me who he should speak to regarding the purchase of a vintage Porsche. Bruce immediately came to mind, and soon thereafter Bruce advised David on the purchase of his Carrera. Bruce had great integrity and was always willing to help. It is a great shame to hear of his passing.

—Bobby Rahal

At many occasions over the years, my Yolande and I were just as likely to share a good meal and fine wine with Bruce and Stephanie as discuss the latest Porsche racing issues. But make no mistake about it, Bruce’s technical expertise was vast, and his writing skills brought that knowledge to life. His enthusiasm for knowledge and his ability and desire to communicate that knowledge to others made Bruce Anderson a very special person, and he will be missed by us, his friends and Porsche owners alike.

—Alwin Springer

A technical writer in the best sense, Bruce was extremely particular about his text. He always asked to see the edited version before it went to print, and for good reason: An error insertion could put a reader on the road to a mechanical failure, or worse. Bruce genuinely cared about helping his readers and brought them quite a gift: an uncanny ability to make complex subjects understandable to anyone. Combined with his experience and contacts gained from decades spent working on everyday Porsches, concours cars (he won Pebble Beach with his own 356), and 935s at Le Mans, his gift made him an irreplaceable treasure to the worldwide Porsche community.

When I started with Excellence in 1997, Bruce was the first to invite me to lunch. The 90-minute drive to his Sunnyvale home became a semi-regular affair, and he made the trip worthwhile. We’d visit the shop of 911 engine guru Jerry Woods, then walk across the street to check out a collection that included a 917/30, 934, 935, 924 GTR, 962 and more. Bruce certainly knew his Silicon Valley restaurants, usually choosing incongruously expensive establishments in strip malls next to laundromats and movie rental shops. I still remember their crisp white cloth napkins, the good food, and something else he gave me on those days: a deeper appreciation for the engineering and design of Porsche.

I feel blessed to be among those who got to work with Bruce, and to have gotten to know him in the process. I remember him as a lover of music, wine, food, cats, and, above all, Stephanie. In the end, I got the sense that his fight was for Stephanie alone, but it was yet another gift—another lesson—for the rest of us. More than anything, I’ll miss his voice on the phone. Despite the depth and breadth of his experience, he always sounded young and whimsical. He had a soft laugh, but also a frank assessment of life. It was clear that he enjoyed his while sharing much with many.

—Pete Stout

I met Bruce for the first time in 1994 at the Lake Placid Porsche Parade, and we became fast friends. We met at just about every Parade and even connected at Daytona. Despite the only occasional meets and greets, we were immediately back up to speed and chatting Porsche, racing, politics (he from the right, me from the left). My fondest memory was at the Mont Tremblanc Parade. We both had walked for hours in the summer heat and were a sweaty mess as we headed back to get ready for the banquet. We ran into each other as we walked to our tables, both in our finest duds. Bruce laughed and said, “You clean up pretty good!” A compliment I treasure to this day.

—Dom Miliano

Had he personally performed the PPI, I have no doubt Bruce would have counselled me not to buy my 911 SC. Through ownership of said money-pit, though, I came to relish every word of expertise, wisdom and humor flowing from his keyboard in the intervening years, rendering the dubious experience all the more rewarding.

—Dan Proudfoot

I met Bruce many years ago, and though I have been around a lot of Porsche experts, I regarded Bruce as the most knowledgeable. His Porsche influence got my attention, but what really touched my life was his personality and morals. I always loved to see him and listen to his stories. My heart is with Stephanie, as she was always in his mind and he in hers.

—David Murry

Bruce Anderson was expert in an admirable number of areas: Porsches in particular, machinery in general, photography, writing, wine, cats, jazz, cuisine, and the often funny foibles of human nature. I was privileged to know him for some 40 years, and although from opposite coasts, we often crossed paths. It was always a treat to run into him on a press trip, at a race, a Porsche Club event, or for a fine meal with a bit of wine.

A seemingly endless font of knowlege regarding the 911—which, of course, resulted in his publication in many magazines and his books—he was more than willing to share his knowlege and freely did so. I learned far more than I can remember from his many technical session presentations, and from the times I phoned him up to ask for a curbside consult. Real stuff, useful and free of corporate spin, delivered perhaps with a humorous off-handed shot at the petty politics that sometimes swirled around him.

His knowlege and willingness to share was his passport into many worlds; once there, his open personality and sense of humor endeared him to many, even including the medical staff that cared for him during his last illness. There are, and will be, other Porsche experts, but never another Bruce.

—Leonard Turner

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.

—Jason Marsell

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.

—Doug Freedman

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.”

—Kerry Morse

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!

—Allen Henderson

Also from Issue 210

  • Pure driving pleasure
  • Lighweight 911 S
  • CR-9: Carbon-fiber road wheels
  • Type 1 Speedster
  • GMG's monster WC-RS 4.0
  • Extreme Tires: for the street and autocross
  • 2013 Daytona: Porsche Cayman wins!
  • Discovered! The Fuhrmann-Lauda RS
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