Paul Ernst Strahlewas one of the most successful Porsche privateers during the 1950s and 1960s
Born in the village of Schorndorf just east of Stuttgart, his father was a pioneering aviator who owned a car and motorcycle business. Ernst joined the family business and after completeing an apprentership he eventually took over the comapny, building it into a successful Volkswagen and Porsche dealership.
He started racing in 1951 with a five year old VW which he called 'Dapferle' meaning 'the Brave'. Later he fitted a Porsche engine and took a win in the 1954 running of the Mille Miglia in the 1300cc Class.
He graduated to racing a Porsche and stayed wit the marque for his whole career. He competed in all forms of motorsport from hill climbs and rallies to sports can and endurance racing. He was a regular competitor in the Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio and was particularly fond of the Liège-Rome-Liège Rally taking a win in 1959. He also won the Adria Rally in 1953 and again in 1956, the Tour of Belgium in 1957 and the Tour of Corsica in 1960.
On the track he took a number of class and overall victories up until 1963 when he retired to concentrate on the growing VW and Porsche business. However in 1966 he formed Strähle Autosport specialising in running Porsche in a number of different series. The team won the Porsche 944 Turbo Cup three times, with Joachim Winkelhock (younger brother of the late Manfred Winkelhock) in 1986 and Roland Asch in 1988 and 1989. They also won the Porsche Turbo World Cup in Kyalami and the Porsche Carrera Cup in 1991.
In 1977 he also became involved in historic racing with his Porsche 356 A Carrera taking a win at the Oldtimer Grand Prix that year.