Remembering Portugal’s Porsche 356 Rally Hero

The name Ferdinand comes from an old Spanish conjuncture of  faro, meaning journey and nano, meaning brave. Brought to Austria by the Habsburg dynasty, it spread from there to France, but the origins of Ferdinand are rooted in Iberia, as a traditional name in the house of Castile. In Spain and Portugal, the name is Fernando.

Fernando Stock Porsche 356 1953 Monte 1

Of course we always have Ferdinand in mind, but we remember a different Fernando today. He is Adolf Ferdinand (Fernando) Roy Stock (above, in the shades): Portugal’s first ever rally champion, finished third in the Tour of Europe and was an Iberian champion in Porsche and Mercedes. Born February 23, 1914, Fernando was celebrated by his family today. Brother Jose sent me a note for his anniversary, and so we remember him too.

Seen here on the 1953 Monte Carlo Rally, Fernando was given the number one plate as lead car on the event. One of 112 participants to depart for Monaco from Lisbon, Fernando and co-driver Pinto Basto drove their early 356 1500 Coupe as one of a record 404 total starters and a highly appropriate 356 finishers.

For all the appropriateness of the finishing tally, Monte Carlo ’53 was not kind to the Porsches. Several of the 356s entered were excluded for being 2cm too low overall, the subsequent furore compounds the mockery earned by Monte organisers over the years. Remember the Mini Coopers.

So many people confuse great Porsches with pristine, ultimate speed machines. But real Porsche is here in these pictures. It is hope and ambition, struggle and risk, joy and pain. Motorsport teaches us highs and lows: don’t forget that all Porsches are born of racing.

Obrigado Fernando, and all those Porsche pioneers. Still a big part of our family!

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