This photo is another gem from the Loyd Sandgren collection. This is driver Bill Bencker, who drove for Brundage Motor Cars which later became Brumos with a rare Porsche 904. Just over 100 904′s were made specifically for racing in 1964-1965, Porsche’s first car with a fiberglass body. I wanted to know if there was more to learn about this specific vehicle so I contacted Patti Tantillo who oversees the Brumos Driving Experience and has worked with the Brumos racing team, and she helped provide additional history on this particular car.
“I think the one in your photo is 904-043, (043 being the chassis number of the car) it was listed as being raced at the Sebring 12 Hour race in March of 1964 under the #39 as shown in your shot. The photo was obviously taken pre-Sebring, as my other go-to research site (Racing Sport Cars.com) had some cool facts. It came in 39th as a DNF due to an accident, and was raced by John Ryan and Brundage friend Bill Bencker. It was listed on the registry as orange, and that site had a couple of race photos of it. The number on the side looks like the same font as your shot, but it sustained heavy damage, as evidenced in the photos. I think it’s a pretty safe bet that this is a photo of that particular race car.” PT
A photo of the accident at the 1964 12 Hours of Sebring race can be found here.
As is often the case with the Loyd Sandgren photographic collection, this photograph had no information connected to the print so I worked to fill in the blanks in order to share the image. Much of the research that went into this post focused on finding out the details on this particular Porsche. The information that I had gathered from a number of sources indicated that the gentleman in the photograph was Hubert Brundage, the owner of Brundage Motors which later became Brumos. After posting the image on Vintage Jacksonville I was contacted by Bill Warner, the founder and chairman of the world class car show, The Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance, an award winning automobile collector and a well published automotive photographer with deep roots in Jacksonville and he simply said, “The man in the photo, I believe, is the driver, Bill Bencker, not Hubert Brundage.” I pressed Bill for more information as I could find few photographs of Bencker from that era to confirm what he had told me and Bill sent me this photograph of Bencker standing with another Brumos Porsche at a race in Fernandina Beach, Florida looking much like the man in the Loyd Sandgren photograph, including wearing the same sunglasses.
I then talked with Bill and he gave me the background on the photograph. In 1960 when he was 16 years old he shot some photos for Brundage and was paid $1 a negative. Many decades later a friend came across his negatives and returned them to him. Bill was well acquainted with Bill Bencker, who was a salesman for Brumos and drove cars for Brumos at the races on the weekends. He had a driving career from the late 50’s to the late 60’s driving a number of different Porsche models. According to Bill Warner Bill Bencker is still living in Jacksonville but is in frail health. Thank you Bill for making a good backstory even better.
When this car was new they sold for a little over $7000.00. The most recent auction sales of Porsche 904’s have been in the $1.25-1.5 million dollar range.
Tags: 012898, 904, Bill Bencker, Brumos Motor Cars, Brundage Motors, car, Hurbert Brundage, porsche, racing, Sebring