Driver Bill Bencker With Porsche 904

December 1st, 2015, 9:48H · Topics: Business, Famous And Not So..., Guys · Print

http://vintagejacksonville.net/contact/

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.

http://vintagejacksonville.net/contact/

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: , , , , , , , , ,

  1. 1 Gary Donaldson January 19th, 2016 9:32H

    I was delighted to come across this page after doing a search of Google Images for “Bill Bencker”. Bill and I were colleagues for a couple of years at American Video Cable TV in Pompano Beach (now a Comcast system), a company which was then owned by Hubert Brundage’s son Jan.

    I was a kid in my early 20s then, and Bill was my mentor who taught me the fundamentals of performance driving, a lot about sportscar racing history and even guidance about how to take good motorsports photographs.

    I’ve not had any contact with him in decades, but I hope he’s alive and well. If so, I hope there’s a way to extend to him my fond regards.

    Gary Donaldson
    Braselton, Georgia USA

    • 2 bob January 19th, 2016 9:52H

      Glad you found it Gary. It was an adventure tracking down the information and I learned a lot about Mr. Bencker in the process from some pretty great sources. Bob Self/Vintage Jacksonville

  2. 3 Gary Donaldson January 19th, 2016 11:10H

    Thanks very much, Bob. This past September I was at Porsche Rennsport Reunion V at Laguna Seca and came across a thick (and expensive!) book on early Porsche racing cars. I looked in the index and saw Bill Bencker’s name with several references to it. I flipped to one, where it told of an interview with him in which he told of an early encounter with Peter Gregg, who told Bencker at the time that he thought that Porsches were pieces of Teutonic s**t. I guess Bill managed to change Peter’s mind. Cheers. -Gary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Your photo in comments, use Gravatar
Please include http://
Note: XHTML is allowed.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

Logo

About Photographer Loyd Sandgren

I first met Loyd Sandgren in 1997 as I was putting photo gear back into my car after... Learn More