Eberhard Mahle (* 7 January 1933 – † 21 December 2021) had petrol in his blood. His father Ernst Mahle
founded what is today Mahle GmbH with his brother Hermann. The first Mahle high-performance pistons were
tested in the Porsche 356 in the early 1950s. From then on, the Mahle company became an original
equipment manufacturer for Porsche. He began riding motorcycles and driving cars as a teenager and in 1954
he began his racing career with a DKW 3=6 at the Solitude Rally and took a class victory immediately.
Eberhard Mahle bought his first Porsche that same year. Despite the rather modest 40 PS of the 1100 cc
boxer engine, the following year he finished sixth in the Achalm hill climb near Reutlingen.
By 1963, the young Swabian had competed in around 210 races and rallies, driving to six overall wins and
over 150 class victories. After a serious accident with a go-kart through no fault of his own in 1964, Eberhard
Mahle spent one and a half years in hospital. In 1966, he had recovered to such an extent “that I wanted to
have another go,” as he put it. In 1966 he won not just a trophy but also a title in the GT class without engine
capacity limitation at the European Hillclimb Championships. “That was just right for me,” recalled Eberhard
Eberhard Mahle wanted to try out a 911, but Porsche racing manager Huschke von Hanstein was sceptical.
He only had rally cars available, and “Besides, you can never win if Ferrari and Ford are competing with over
300 PS.” However, Mahle was not to be deterred and, through his friend Gerhard Mitter, he bought a
second-hand 911 built in 1965 with an output that had been boosted to 165 PS. The high-horsepower
competitors dominated at the first event on the Rossfeld, a relatively well-built track with few bends.
Nevertheless, Mahle still came in third.
The other tracks suited the driver and vehicle much better: lots of curves, lots of heavy braking, lots of
acceleration. It was just right for the agile 911. “And a good driver can compensate for any performance deficit
on such tracks,” said Eberhard Mahle modestly. In 1966 he proved himself to be the best. The Swabian driver
won all the other races in the GT class with the exception of the finale on the Gaisberg where he collided with
a guardrail before getting out and surveying the damage. He had only dented a wing, but abandoned the race
due to the time already lost. No drama: “I already had an unassailable lead in the European champion before
the Gaisberg.” He knew the road up the mountains around Salzburg very well from races before his European
Championship year. “A very, very twisty and extremely difficult route to drive,” he said before adding “Actually,
it's a pity that I didn't finish that race.”
This one DNF did not diminish his pride in winning the European title. “That was my greatest success,” said
Eberhard Mahle. “Especially because all the experts said you will never win it like that.”
Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG will never forget Eberhard Mahle.