Vasek Polak Vasek Polak

         for the Porsche enthusiast

A Man and His Porsches
By Joe Rusz
Page 3

At present, he has about a dozen spirited mounts waiting for suitable owners. There are five 917s including the Martini short-tailed coupe that won Le Mans in '71, a second Martini car, and a John Wyer coupe. There also is the 917 PA Spyder, this season's 917-10 Can-Am racer, and a conglomeration of 904s, 91Os, and 9O8s. Most of the cars are for sale, although Vasek claims that he will keep the Le Mans winning coupe. "We'll use it for promotional work in automobile shows and at Porsche dealerships," he says. He adds that he might also keep the Wyer 917, equip it with a streetable engine and use the machine as a courtesy car for his Porsche-Audi dealership.

It was one of these convalescing race cars that gave Vasek and his team driver Milt Minter a taste of the Can-Am. Vasek had bought the prototype 917 PA Spyder from Porsche in 1970. The car had originally been built for the late Jo Siffert, who drove it in the '69 Can-Am series. In 1970 Porsche decided to forsake the Can-Am for the World Championship of Makes, and the car became an orphan. It sat without engine and transaxle in a garage In Southern California. "I bought that 'obsolete' car, rebuilt the bodywork and other components in order to improve performance, and entered it in the 1971 Can-Am. When we finished the season in that outdated car we were sixth in championship standings," Vasek boasts proudly.

For the 1972 Can-Am season, Vasek treated himself and Minter to a new racing car: a Porsche 917-10. It was originally fitted with an injected 5.4-liter engine, but later in the season Vasek's race car crew of Alwin Springer, Kurt Lanschutzer, and Gustav Nietsche (the last on loan from the Porsche factory) installed a turbocharged 5-liter engine into the already successful car. "I told the factory that I didn't want a 4.5-liter turbo engine like everyone else was using. I asked for the 5-liter, the same engine Penske had. They gave it to me because of my reputation with Porsches."

Vasek Polak
Vasek Polak's social circle includes such racing luminaries as (top) Dr. Ferry Porsche and Jack McAfee. In addition to his Can-Am entries, Vasek also fields cars in area SCCA events. Porsche 910 roadster (below) is one of several cars competing in local club races.

Vasek Polak
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West Linn, OR