It’s one thing to build a scale model car from a pre-existing kit. Creating a highly detailed 1:5 scale replica from scratch is in a completely different universe, but Lothar Wunsche didn’t stop at just one. There are over 20 Porsche race cars in his unique collection, each built by himself using a drill, a jigsaw, prolific talent, and gobs of patience.
His story (pertaining to Porsche and model making) begins in the late 1970s as a resident of East Germany. Prior to the country’s reunification in 1990, simply going to a race in the region during the Soviet era was no easy task. But he managed to visit a track, and while there, met folks from Porsche’s race team. He also had a chance to get up close to Porsche cars, and from that moment, he was hooked.
Photo Credit: Porsche AG
Years of building Porsche models from kits followed, during which time he carved out a career building elevators, among other things. It wasn’t until 2007 that he decided to step up his game by creating models all on his own, and not just rough builds with some fun details. At 1:5 scale, his cars are similar to those Porsche uses for wind-tunnel tests. He creates the plastic bodies using molds, cutting and grinding until reaching the desired shape, and then he really gets to work by creating a myriad of parts to give his models a life-like appearance. According to Porsche, some cars feature over 1,600 parts and take 500 hours to complete.
Race cars are Wunsche’s passion, and while you’ll find a few proper oldies like a 1956 RS Coupe, 917s and 908s dominate the shelves. Of particular interest is the blue 908/02 wearing no. 29, featured at the top of this article. It’s an extremely accurate 1:5 scale replica of the race car modified as a camera car to film Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen. This involved considerable research on Wunsche’s part, as clear images of the specific camera setup don’t exist. Nevertheless, his model includes the cameras, the car’s modified rear frame, and even specific lettering for the camera control box.
Photo Credit: Porsche AG
Wunsche, now 78, isn’t done building. We suspect his process involves just a bit more than a drill and jigsaw, and he does have some help from a local body shop and artist for paintwork. But another 917 is in his workshop with a completed chassis, composed of enough piping to stretch over 60 feet. When completed, it will be a replica of the car driven by Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep in 1971. We can’t wait to see it.