When I tell people that I took my Porsche out for a spin at the weekend, they always ask the same question: “How fast did you go then?” My answer, “12 miles per hour.” Taken aback, they follow up by asking: “Were you only driving in first gear?” To which I reply: “No, fourth gear actually.” This prompts a look of sheer confusion, even though the answer is really quite simple.
My Porsche is not one of the renowned sports cars from Zuffenhausen, but rather a Porsche Junior 108 K tractor that I inherited from my father-in-law many years ago. The tractor, nicknamed ‘Red Nose’, was manufactured by Porsche-Diesel Motorenbau GmbH between 1957 and 1961 at their factory in Friedrichshafen at the Lake Constance. Only 3000 of them ever rolled off the assembly line. My 1958 model runs on a single-cylinder engine which generates a good 10 kW (14 hp) from a cylinder capacity of 822 cc. This is sufficient for a variety of uses; driving on the motorway, however, is not one of them.
I should really refer to my Porsche as ‘our’ Porsche, as it is kept at my son’s in Burgstetten. Thankfully, I only live a stone’s throw away, so I can visit the tractor regularly. I am not only interested in the old technology in general, but rather the filter solution in particular. In the Junior 108 K, an oil filter from Filterwerk MANN+HUMMEL GmbH ensures that the engine runs smoothly. I must admit that I only recently became aware of this when I had to take the Porsche to the TÜV and was flicking through the user manual. It was there that I saw a notice listing the benefits of our filters. I couldn’t help but laugh, after all this is exactly what I worked on during my time at MANN+HUMMEL. As a mass production technician working in stamping and sheet metal production, I was involved in producing the necessary housing components.
Of course, little needs to be said about the quality here. I am not actually sure which year the oil filter in our tractor was manufactured in, but I do at least know that we have never replaced it. It just needs cleaning and filling up with fresh oil occasionally and it’s fine to continue. Although my father-in-law’s agricultural holding is no more, the Porsche is still used regularly: either by me for pleasure, or by my son who uses it to transport apples he or his friends and acquaintances have harvested to the fruit press nearby. In this respect, the tractor is not some spruced-up museum exhibit, but rather still a little workhorse. Many fans would like to see us completely dismantle it, restore it, repaint it and put it back together, but we have no plans to do so. We prefer to keep it in working order. We are approached from time to time by vintage enthusiasts, some of whom offer us good money for Red Nose. However, we always respectfully decline, as the Porsche is simply part of the family.
So it will continue to serve in the Pencik household for a few more years. For our next purchase, it looks like new rear tyres will be on the agenda. The tread is actually still in good condition, but it is clear to see it is ageing – individual chunks of the tread could come loose when the tractor is driven ‘quickly’. And this is a risk that Porsche drivers simply don’t take, regardless of whether it’s a tractor or a sports car they’re driving.