Robert Holbert, one of the first Porsche dealers in the United States and a prominent Porsche race driver in the 1950s and 1960s, died Nov. 12 in his native Warrington, Pa.
Holbert was born in 1923, and he opened a garage in the late 1940s. The business moved across the street to the Holberts Garage building in 1951, when Holbert started a repair and parts business specializing in foreign and sports cars.
In 1954, Holberts Garage became one of the first authorized Porsche dealers in the country, and it continues today as one of the most well-known and oldest Porsche dealerships in America.
In his racing career, Holbert won several awards, including The New York Times Best Sports Car Driver for three years and top finishes in the 12 Hours of Sebring. He drove to a record six class victories at Sebring, including second overall in 1960.
Holbert started racing in 1953 in an MG, then switched to Porsches in 1957 after seeing driver Jack McAfee pass seven drivers all in cars with bigger engines in a Porsche 550 Spyder at Cumberland Raceway.
Through his dealership and racing successes, Bob Holbert helped establish the Porsche brand in America, said Peter Schwarzenbauer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America. He was a true American Porsche pioneer.
Holbert later became a Shelby Cobra team factory driver and won the first United States Road Racing Championship title in 1963.
Holbert's son Al helped run the dealership and was the president of Porsche Motorsport North America. Holbert's other son, Larry, has been the president of the family-owned dealership for the past 25 years.