Bob Grafham got to know Hans-Peter Porsche better than I did, as he was the main contact for us at Porsche Design. Bob told me sometime later that Hans Peter had offered him a job heading up Porsche Design Export Sales, but Bob turned the offer down three times, and was never asked again.
Hans-Peter became a good friend to us from that time forward and he always took a keen interest in what was going on inside Porsche AG from our perspective. I think we struck a chord with him, as he knew we were very committed to the Porsche marque. We appreciated more than most the engineering and design of all Porsche products.
I remember we discussed this in some detail and we told him that most of our customers did not really understand what they were buying. Hans-Peter totally agreed with us and he said he would rather we had a few really good customers, who appreciated what we were all about, rather than masses of them who did not care about Porsche.
Prior to that time Dr Ferry Porsche and his sister Louise were the only Porsche family involved in the day-to-day car business and they had not long hired an American, Peter W. Schutz, to head up the Porsche Management Board.
I believe that there had been some disagreements in the past between some of the Porsche family members, so Ferry and his sister Louise had taken a decision to remove all their respective family members to avoid any potential problems. They employed a professional management team under the AG company status, which allowed for an owning board and a separate management board.
Hans-Peter was always asking us, “What was happening at Porsche AG, how were we getting on?” On one occasion, I told him I was having difficulties with Ed Peter at Porsche AG and explained our problems to him.
I also told him that Ed Peter was annoyed that Bob and I were putting substantial efforts into selling Porsche Design Products. Ed thought we should concentrate selling solely Porsche AG own accessories (which we limited in design and quality) but we told him that whilst we would stock and sell these, Porsche Design Product was a large proportion of our business. He was not happy with us and told us we were wasting our time with Porsche Design, as it was, “Not a serious business.” I told all this to Hans-Peter during our meeting and as you can imagine, he was not amused!
Ed Peter called me when we were back in Bahrain from that particular trip and said, “I did not need to run off to complain to Porsche Family members and get them involved in strictly Porsche AG business.” I realised that Hans-Peter had obviously given Ed Peter a piece of his mind, which obviously did not go down well with my friend Ed Peter.