The Story Behind Grand Prix’s Biggest Starting Grid

#39 – Helm Glöckler — Cooper T23 – Bristol
Grid: ?? / DNS (Practice Only / Engine)

(Source: Unknown)
Born: 13th January 1909
Frankfurt, Germany
Died: 18th December 1993
Frankfurt, Germany
Appearances: 1   (1953 German GP)


Wilhelm Glöckler (not Helmut like it’s frequently written) was a descendant of the Glöckler automobile dynasty from Frankfurt.

His uncle Otto Glöckler had founded a dealership, starting by selling NSU motorcycles and Hanomag cars in the 1920s. After the war his son Walter ran the company as official VW and Porsche representation, which it is still today. Walter was also a successful racing driver and the initiator of the Glöckler-Porsches, which became role models for the famous Porsche 550 “Spyder”. Meanwhile, his cousin Helm had also started racing as one of the first Veritas customers, driving his “RS” sports model into third place at Hockenheim in 1948.

In 1949 he won all three rounds of the German championship in the 1.5 litre class and also the race at the East German Sachsenring to become champion. 1950 did not work out quite as well, so for 1951 he sold the Veritas to Sweden and tried his luck with French-made DB-Panhards in Formula 3. In this car he won at Hockenheim and finished second in the championship. In 1952, he took the chance to drive his cousin’s newest “No. 3” model Glöckler-Porsche – Walter having just won his second consecutive German sports car championship. With this car, Helm Glöckler again had a very successful season, winning his second title while also appearing in some rallyes with a Renault 4CV.

With the cooperation between Porsche and the Glöcklers becoming closer, Helm appeared in 1953 in the works Porsche “Spyder” prototype in which he immediately won the 1500cc class at the Eifelrennen. He was also invited to share one of the Porsche works cars (now with the coupe hardtop) alongside newcomer Hans Herrmann at Le Mans, ending up as winner of its class in front of its sister car driven by von Frankenberg / Frère.

In addition to his drives for Porsche, Glöckler had come to an agreement with the British team ‘Equipe Anglaise’ to drive one of their Coopers at Avus. However, it is not quite clear whether he actually sat in the car, as in the race programme his name is scratched out in pencil and replaced by something impossible to decypher… In contrast, a clear statement has been found that Glöckler practised in the car at the German Grand Prix, but broke the engine becoming a ‘DNS’. This seems to have been his complete Formula 2 career.

He carried on with Porsche in the sports cars, taking a class win together with Wolfgang Seidel at the 1955 Mille Miglia and sixth in the tragic Le Mans 24H. At Le Mans in 1956 he collided with another car during the night and his car caught fire. He was rescued from the wreckage with burns and a broken leg.

He ran a motorcycle dealership in Frankfurt after retiring from racing.

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