Friday, 31 January 2014

AUTHOR PROFILE No.9: ADRIAN STREATHER

The story of Adrian Streather, Porsche specialist, and author of no fewer than 15 Veloce books, so far ...

Adrian Graham Streather was born on December 25, 1958 in Basingstoke Hampshire. His earliest memory of a car is riding on his mum’s lap whilst his father drove around the block in an old 1938 Ford Prefect. Aged about four, Adrian remembers sitting with his father and building their first Airfix model, a Le Mans-winning Bentley. However, Adrian’s interest soon turned to aircraft. In 1975, aged 16, he joined the Royal Australian Air Force as an apprentice, serving 12 years until 1987 as an Instrument Fitter (Scientific Instrument Maker).


It was during Adrian’s military service that he found his niche in research and writing. Technical publication duties always seemed to land in his lap. It was also around this time that his interest in cars was reignited. Firstly, he purchased a Fiat 124 1800S Coupé with dreams of installing an Abarth kit, then one day in 1978 he was overtaken on the freeway by a pair of brand new Porsche 911SCs. He didn’t see them for long, but he certainly remembers yelling out: “I’ve got to get me one of those!”
With his interest in the automotive world reawakened, Adrian took up motorsports. He joined a local car club (becoming its Confederation of Australian Motorsports (CAMS) representative) and went racing. And not just in cars – he also dabbled in motorcycle racing. After a very short racing career, a Suzuki GS1000S motorcycle even became Adrian’s personal riding machine.
Adrian and a friend built a Ford RS2000 rally car with a lot of help from rally and racing legend Colin Bond, and he progressed a little further with the Ford brand, but truthfully, the less said about Adrian’s short motorsport career the better! Adrian loved the racing, the gladiatorial contest, but was put off by the politics and pecking order that dominated the period. In the end, the ever-increasing financial cost, marriage and children brought his racing career to an end, thank goodness!
After leaving the Air Force in 1987, Adrian found his way into civil aviation, but the desire to own a Porsche was still there. During Christmas 1992 Adrian was invited to join an Austrian airline that had its main base in Switzerland. He accepted, and in April 1993 he left for Switzerland, where on arrival he was appointed the airline’s Engineering Manager. His family followed in July 1993. In May 1993, Adrian purchased his first Porsche: a model year 1979 924. Adrian progressed onto a 944, and finally in 1998 he purchased his first 911, a 964 series Carrera 4. He was hooked for life.


The 911 bug totally consumed Adrian, and almost became a way of life. However, Adrian quickly discovered that the sum of technical knowledge about the 964 series was extremely limited, and filled with many myths. Having a problem on his own C4 that nobody could diagnose or repair, he set himself the task of finding out everything he could about the inner workings of the C4. Within a year Adrian found himself instructing the mechanics at his local repair facility on how the 964 C4 worked. His experiences and running of technical sessions on the 964 series led him to write his first Porsche book, solely dedicated to the 964 series of 911s. Titled Porsche 911: The Enthusiast’s Companion, it was published by Bentley Publishers of Cambridge Massachusetts, USA.


Other 911s followed, but the 964 Carrera 4, with its mechanical gear, shaft and differential-driven all-wheel-drive system, remains Adrian's favourite of all the Carrera 4s across the five model series. Adrian still runs Porsche 911 technical sessions, with a whole 2014/2015 programme planned for 'down under.'


It was during the time of writing this first book that tragedy struck the Streather family. On March 29th 2002, Gail and Adrian’s daughter, Natalie Louise Streather, aged 17 years and 9 months, died in Zürich. The outpouring of support for the Streather family from the Porsche community worldwide was overwhelming. Natalie’s name was carried to victory on the front of the class winning The Racer’s Group Porsche 911 GT-3 at Le Mans in 2002. Her name was also carried to outright victory at the Daytona 24 hour race in 2003 by the same team.


In June 2005 Adrian and Gail hosted special guests and Porsche enthusiasts from the USA and Europe at the Chateau de la Voloniere. Proceeds from this event were donated to the Natalie Louise Streather Memorial Fund founded by Gail and Adrian in the UK, and transferred to Rennwish in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA. The donated funds were used to help construct a new school for young women in Haiti. Previous donations to the fund were used to establish an 'Excellence in Art' award for outstanding art students at Gail’s old school, Salisbury High.
Adrian's second Porsche book was on the 911SC series, and was the first of the Essential Companion series published by Veloce. It was quickly followed by the Porsche 911 (993) and Porsche 911 (996) Essential Companions. Veloce has also published numerous other Porsche-related books authored by Adrian, including the Porsche 964, 993 & 996 Data Plate Code Breaker, and eight Porsche Essential Buyer's Guides. Veloce also published Adrian’s Ford GT: Then and Now book, which included photos of a tour of Essex in the real thing.


Some of Adrian’s published books have been licensed by Veloce for publication in Germany and France.


Veloce created the Battle Cry series and published two of Adrian’s books on Soviet military uniforms, of which he is a collector.


Adrian has also written an automotive-related biography for another publisher, released in English and Turkish. His next contracted book with Veloce is another Essential Companion, this time covering the first generation of the 997 series. He will also be writing an Essential Buyer’s Guide on the same series. In October 2013, Adrian and his wife Gail relocated from Switzerland back home to Adelaide, Australia, which for the moment has left him Porscheless. He’s not without wheels, and he has an Adelaide Metrocard, but it’s a major change from the good old days.


Click here to view all Veloce books by Adrian Streather.