Arie Anssems and the other mechanics
Carel would be acquainted with his loyal chief mechanic Arie Anssems at the 1959 Le Mans 24 Hours. Visiting the race as a tourist, Anssems jumped in to replace Carel's aid who was too busy partying at the track-side fair to be concerned about Carel's efforts in the race. The two hit it off immediately, striking off a relationship that would last all the way up to Carel's fatal accident. Anssems was unfamiliar with being a race mechanic but soon found his way around the Porsche and Cooper cars that Carel drove. However, Anssems was never to be found on Carel's payroll, electing the safe environment of employment at the Riva car dealership in Amsterdam, which allowed him time off to fulfil his racing duties.
Arie grew into a remarkable figure in Dutch motor racing after Carel's death. He became a member of the Rob Slotemaker racing school and used his bellowing voice to the pre-grid line-up in the Zandvoort paddock organised, before getting involved in the erection of a national motor racing monument at the Zandvoort gates. The idea was first mooted in 1992, and resulted in a monument in 1998.
Arie was Carel's main mechanic but under Anssems' guidance other mechanics also helped out, men with stern Dutch names such as Koudijs, Van der Weert en Dijkstra. Moreover, Koudijs was one of the coffin bearers at Carel's funeral.
Carel was also on close terms with the works Porsche mechanics. He is known for taking good care of them on their evening shifts, bringing along crates of beer for the thirsty and sticking it out with them into the small hours. They did, however, suffer from a weak moment after Carel offered them another crate if they could get him a engine pounding out 165hp like the works cars did. So they tampered with the dyno, hiking up the zero reading to 10hp. Overjoyed with the "proof" Carel went on to do his best races ever, such was the power of psychology…
One of those works mechanics who was close to Carel was fellow Dutchman Hein Eldering. The two had already met in 1959 when Eldering worked for Cooper in Surbiton, England, and when Carel bought Cooper chassis F2-10-60 Eldering lept at the opportunity to help him out. This coincided with Eldering being called up for military service in December 1959, which allowed him to service the Cooper at his Dutch home in Sassenheim. Later on, Carel was of help when Eldering sought an apprenticeship with Porsche. This allowed him to help out Carel at several 1962 Grands Prix, all in his spare time. The next year Eldering found a job with Dutch Porsche importers Pon, where he remained until his retirement in 2003.
Porsche works mechanic André Loubser was part of one of the biggest larger-than-life stories that surrounded Carel - the infamous overnight engine change at the 1963 Belgian GP, which entailed a cannonball run from Spa to Stuttgart and back to collect a spare engine from the works.
Arie Anssems taking care of 718-201 at the Solitudering.