In 1961 23 year old Hermann Cordes visited the Porsche factory with the intention of buying a couple of Porsche’s to race but found the atmoshpere less than friendly and left with out spending so much as a phennig. On his way home the dissapointed would be racing driver went to Frankfurt where serendipidously the Frankfurt Motor Show was happening.
At the show Hermann spoted a light blue Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta similar, so he thought, to the vehicle that had won it class in the 1000kms at the Nurburgring earlier in the year and purchased it along with a Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 for a little more than the price of four of the Porsche’s he had set out to buy.
According to legend on the 15th of April 1962 Hermann inadvertently parked his Ferrari 250 GT SWB in the competitors car park at the Eberbach hillclimb and before he knew it the steel bodied car had been given a racing number and Hermann a provisional competition licence and his career got underway. A couple ofweeks later he raced the car at Achum where he finished 3rd.
On the 1st of May Hermann’s 250 GT SWB came into contact with a deer on a public road and the SWB ended up backed into a tree an insurance write off. Hermann escaped more or less unharmed and with the insurance money ordered today’s featured Ferrari 250 GTO chassis #4115GT, which turned out to be the only 250 GTO ever sold new to a German customer.
While he was waiting for delivery of #4115GT and before going down to Maranello and then Scalietti’s factory on Modena verify it’s existence and identity, Hermann took the bumpers off his 250 GTE and competed with that. In December 1962 Hermann took delivery of the Grigio metallic 250 GTO chassis #4115GT, before selling his 250 GTE in February 1963 to Guenter Seifert.
In 1963 Hermann competed with #4115GT in the hills and on the track winning his class on the Bad Neuenahr hillclimb and winning overall in a GT race at Hockenheim. Hermann’s last recorded race was at Avus where he finished 2nd.
In 1964 Manfred Ramminger bought the car, to which Hermann had added black, gold and red stripes. Manfred shared #4115GT with Herbert Schander at the Nurburgring 1000kms where they finished 20th overall and 5th in class, and driving 4115GT solo Manfred won at Mainz Finthen and Avus before selling the car on to Werner Lindermann for the 1965 season.
Werner won a GT race at the Nurburgring before returning with the previous owner Manfred for the 1000kms where they came home 23rd overall, but this time second in class. Werner then drove 4115GT to it’s second victory at Avus, a second victory at Mainz Finthen and a win at Trier. At the end of 1965 Werner offered the #4115GT, now painted signal red, for sale at around half of it’s original cost.
H. P. Burkhardt of Switzerland bought the car in 1966 and in 1967 it was driven Peter Ettmueller to a final class victory on the Ollon-Villars hillclimb. In 1972 #4115GT moved to the UK under the ownership of T.A. Bob Roberts who had it displayed in the Midland Motor Museum, Stanmore Hall, GB.
Present owner Paul Vesty, now Sir, bought #4115GT in 1981 and he is seen demonstrating the car during the 250 GTO 50th Anniversary Tour at Goodwood Revival in 2012.
My thanks to Michael “Tuboscocca” at The Nostalgia Forum directing me to an article by Gregor Schulz that appeared in Old Timer markt regarding Herman Cordes in April 2006.
Thanks for joining me on this “Hermann’s GTO” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Ginetta no enthusiast should miss. Don’t forget to come back now !