Small but perfectly formed
Words: Paul Davies Photography: John Colley
mall is best, according to Peter Tognola. The man with the enviable reputation as one of the UK’s leading independent Porsche specialists has never employed more than a handful of people in over 25 years in business, and believes the personal touch is what makes for success, as well as a satisfied Porsche owner. S
Thread your way down a predominantly residential street in Datchet, Berkshire, within exhaust note of the busy M4 motorway, turn into a narrow drive between two houses and you’ll reach Tognola Engineering. Currently, it’s just Peter and Greg Cranmer, in amongst Porsche of all ages – from a Carrera 2.7 RS, through 964 and 996 road cars, to a brace of 993 RS track-day machines and an historic 911 racer, just waiting to be used.
Porsche man, he studied at Chelsea College of Automobile and Aeronautical Engineering in the early 1970s. He then worked part-time at Porsche specialists, Autofarm, before setting up his own business – first mobile and then with premises in the former boatyard backing on the River Thames at Datchet.
Into motor sport from an early age, he rallied a 998cc Hillman Imp ‘on a shoestring, but with reasonable success’, and then took up racing. He drove a self-prepared Porsche 911 in the Aston Martin Owner’s Club Intermarque series, but – like many others have done – found that success on the track or rally stage was often proportional to the available budget. ‘It was frustrating,’ he says. ‘It’s not too difficult to reach a certain level, but there comes a time when you need tons of cash.’
More on those modern-day classics later – now back to Peter Tognola. Almost always a
At the time, as well as repairing and servicing Porsches, he was finding work fettling fellow