Matthew Drendel's turbocharged Porsches: 'the world's most significant collection'

A tribute to Porsche collector Matt Drendel by Paul Powell and by Robert Lavigne

At this weekend's huge classic car sale in Amelia Island, Florida, Porsche collectors had a chance to honour the life of one of the marque's most devoted enthusiasts: Matthew Clayton Drendel (1975-2010).

Drendel wasn't only a collector of Porsches, but also a racer and respected enthusiast, who could share his views, on anything from rare Porsches to legendary racers of the marque like Mark Donohue and Al Holbert, at the drop of a hat.

As with all the greatest collectors, Drendel's passion for classic Porsches was reflected in his acquisitions. Gooding & Company president and founder David Gooding later described the Drendel Collection as "the world's most significant private collection of turbocharged Porsches".

"It's a very rare occurrence when a refined, single-marque collection of high-quality road and race cars is offered to the public," said Gooding. Yet that's exactly what happened over the weekend, when an 18-strong fleet of Drendel Collection Porsches went under the hammer.


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Matthew Drendel's Porsche 917/30 Can-Am

Stars of the Amelia Island auction included a Porsche 917/30 Can-Am which sold for $4.4m. This was well above the meticulously-restored Porsche's $4m pre-sale estimate. Of all the Porsche 917s, the 1973 917/30 Can-Am Spyder was the program's pinnacle.

Bidders' enthusiasm at Amelia Island reflected Drendel's own passion, which saw him become an ambassador for Porsche and its history during his lifetime, and also a respected figure in the Porsche collectors' community.

Drendel's passion for Porsche is all the more fascinating in that he was a convert to the marque. After suffering a number of race losses at the wheel of a Ferrari 355 Challenge, he and his father had a rethink. They instead turned to a 40-year-old rear engined sportscar from Germany.

The Drendels' conversion to Porsche was rewarded with GT Team Championship success for Matt in his Porsche 911 GT3-R in 2001.


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The classic 1981 Porsche 944 GTP, which appeared at Amelia Island

Drendel's collection of Porsches grew over the years to include the 1981 Porsche 944 GTP and 1980 Porsche 924 Carrera GT, among other classics, alongside his Porsche 917/30 Can-Am. (Both also appeared for sale at Amelia Island.)

This led him to found Heritage Motorwerks. Originally intended to support and maintain his collection, Heritage Motorwerks' experts soon found plenty of demand among other Porsche collectors and enthusiasts.

Heritage Motorwerks continues to promote and build-on Matthew Drendel's legacy among Porsche collectors.

As will the lucky winning bidders at Amelia Island's classic car auction, who can now preserve the ex-Drendel Collection Porsches for future generations to enjoy.

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