Heinz Hennerici was a character. Born in 1924, he was a Panzer tank commander during World War II and lost his left arm in the course of the fighting. From Mayen, a town in the Eifel region, close to the Nürburgring, he was a keen racing driver – despite having only one arm, and was also the head of the sports department of AC Mayen, the local automobile club.
His twin brother Günther was also into racing, but from 1962 onwards he concentrated on a caravan-building business, Eifelland Wohnwagenbau, which he named after the local region. At the time new technology and the improving economy meant that caravans became very popular, and Hennerici became rich.
Günther Hennerici’s dream was to create a German F1 team, the first since Porsche a decade earlier, and he decided to invest all of the Eifelland advertising budget to sponsor motorsport. He started talks with Ford’s racing director in Cologne, Mike Kranefuss, to create a German team and Ford agreed to pay for Cosworth engines. The project lacked sufficient time to build a chassis and so it was agreed to buy a March March 721, create different bodywork and call it an Eifelland Ford. At the same time, they commissioned Len Terry to design a new car for 1973.
When the first drawings of the planned Eifelland appeared in the German media, industrial designer Lutz Colani, who had adopted the name Luigi, entered the picture, convincing the team that he could do a better job. He had a very high opinion of himself but his futuristic designs were a source of amusement to the F1 regulars. Nonetheless, the Eifelland Ford appeared in South Africa in the hands of Rolf Stommelen.
Hennerici was unable to attend because a fire had wrecked most of his caravan factory and it quickly became clear in the weeks after the fire that he had no money for F1. The team appeared in all the races but it was then announced that Hennerici had sold the caravan business to Meeth Fensterfabrik GmbH, a window manufacturer, looking to expand into new markets. Meeth had no interest in F1 and cancelled the 1973 plans and simply gave the team to Stommelen, although he ran out of funding after just two races and sold the assets to Brabham’s new owner Bernie Ecclestone, who was looking for cheap Cosworth engines. He sold the car to the Hexagon Garage for John Watson to drive.