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Little Puch on a big journey


 Little Puch on a big journey
Hermann Rittsteiger describes what it felt like to be invited to Goodwood - and to return home with a trophy! 

If I, Hermann Rittsteiger, self-confessed oldtimer fan and passionate ‘restorer’ from Linz, Austria, might be interested in presenting our small Puch 500, built in 1957, with the chassis number 3, in Goodwood, in the south of England. Erm, please. We’d heard of Goodwood and the Festival of Speed - but that we could be invited there with our Puch was unimaginable.

“Our little one won’t fit at all there”, said Bettina, my practical life companion. “Is it not it just a matter of luxurious, high-caliber classics with astronomical values?” Goodwood, we agreed on this matter, is slightly larger than the ‘Classic Austria’, which I co-organize in Wels. We thought about it, and I had a somewhat unsettled feeling when I eventually passed on my contact details to England. Why not? At that time, we did not yet know how things would develop...
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...When we received an official invitation from the Earl of March, we were told that the adventure ?small Puch goes on a big journey’ could really come true. The search for special cars for the Goodwood Festival from all over the world made it clear to us that our modest 16hp vehicle with the special feature of being a former test car, should! Incredible! We asked for reflection. “You must be crazy”, said some acquaintances that we met at the Oldtimer expo in Essen. “If the Lord calls for you to come over to Goodwood, then you have to appear there! There is no time to think about it. You’ll never get that chance in your life again!” Well, if that is so. Suddenly we were fully motivated. Goodwood, we’re coming! However... the date from the 29th to the 2nd of July had been planned for the beaches of Crete. Should our long-planned and already booked holiday really fall into the water? Should we really book flights to England, take care of the hotel reservation and the auto transport? Plus all the extra costs?

But all worked out well. London, we are here! Thank goodness we discovered our Puch 500 unharmed between Ferraris and Porsches in the hall of a vintage car dealer. Good Lord! The area around the hall had not looked very confident. Perhaps we see too many thriller movies? Now from London to Goodwood. Classic car trader Samuel would have brought the Puch there. But then we felt like letting our little friend off on the English country roads. And so we headed south. It was raining and suddenly one of the wipers flew away. Shock! Get out, look in the heavy rain at the edge of the road, find wiper, mount it and carry on!

Our feelings on arrival in Goodwood can only be described as overwhelming. The huge area, the entrance on the race track, lined with straw bails and spectators, buildings like from a Rosamunde Pilcher film, the exhibition grounds and the personal reception. Wow!

On the next day, all the exhibition cars were on the spot. We were pleased to meet our Swiss friend Roberto Molin, who presented his 1960 Ghia Fiat 500 Jolly. Apart from all the Ferraris, Rolls Royces, Stanleys, Aston Martins and Maseratis, our Puch 500 seemed quite small and unimpressive.

But we experienced three days full of excitement and surprises and were very enthusiastic about the many celebrities present and glad about the attention that our Puch 500 received. Is that really Bernie Ecclestone standing next to us? Day three saw a gala event including fireworks, an event that we surely will not forget. Smoking jacket from the costume rental included.

And after that? Pure high voltage. At 10 o'clock the prominent members of the jury arrived and, surrounded by tv cameras and reporters, set out to evaluate the exhibited vehicles. Then Mike Rutherford headed for Gordon Murray, Mick Walsh, Rowan Atkinson, Ross Brawn, and Caty Munnings on our little ones. For each car there were only 2 minutes time for the assessment provided. We were amazed by the fact that the jury took almost 20 minutes for our small car, let me start the engine and gave comments like ?How amazing, lovely, fantastic!’. The jury members smiled and we were proud of our brightly polished Puch 500. Mighty proud even! I had completely restored this car in about 1500 working hours myself.

On for dinner with the award of the ?Cartier - Style et Luxe" competition, when we suddenly hear “Steyr Puch 500 and Hermann Rittsteiger”. What? Incomprehensible. Has our little Puch 500 won first prize in the class ?Cheeky Cinquecento’? The feelings that came at this moment can not be described. I walked like a in a mist to the podium to accept the prize. Are these beads or tears in my face? No matter, probably both... And Bettina radiates with the stage lights around the bet! Shaking hands, shaking hands, laughter and joy all round. This is how victorious happiness feels! Thank you, thank you, wonderful, incredible. Who would have thought?

(Words and pictures Hermann Rittsteiger / Austro Classic)

   

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Comments 

 
#1 Andre van de Loo 2017-09-12 09:55
What a wonderful story and congratulations on a well deserved first price.
 

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