As Rob mentioned in his Jade Green Targa piece the other day, we’re entering in quickly to auction season. Mecum, typically the purveyors of more muscle cars than European rides, nonetheless had quite an impressive lineup of signification Porsche race models that cover a few decades and many changes in the company’s history, so I thought it would be pretty neat to take a look at them. It’s very interesting to see over a relatively short period of time the many changes that Porsche’s motorsports programs have gone through.
Let me get this out of the way first – the asking price of this 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo is $120,000. There, I said it. If you’re still reading, you’re either intrigued or horrified. In either case, the next set of numbers is equally staggering – 650 hp and 2300 lbs. Still reading? How about this – they only made seven of them. You thought the 962 was rare? Nope, they made over 90 of those. The 917? Wrong again, with somewhere around 65 of those made. Allow me to introduce what many consider to be the ultimate front engine Porsche – the 944 GTR.
A little background history – the 944 evolved through the racing program of the 924 – and specifically, the 924 Carrera GT, GTS, and GTR. In the early 1980s, these cars dominated their classes in IMSA racing. In 1981, Porsche Motorsports built a highly evolved version of the 924 GTR called the 924GTP or 944GTP Le Mans, which finished 7th overall at Le Mans sporting a newly developed 2.5 liter motor which would be, in part, the basis for the road going 944. At the same time, the U.S. based Fabcar run by Dave Klym had modified some winning Porsches for Paul Miller and Bob Akin. Al Holbert, who was head of Porsche Motorsports North America, contracted Klym to make a new evolution of the 944 which would be called the 944 GTR. Below is a development photo from Fabcar and not the actual car listed:
Unlike its predecessors, the 944 GTR was a tube frame race car, meaning it had no connection to the road car. Brakes and wheels from a 962 were fitted, and the 944 GTR received a specially developed all aluminum 2.5 liter turbo under its silhouette body. The early 2.0 and 2.5 liter turbos had developed between 250 and 450 horsepower; the new unit in the GTR developed between 525 to 650 hp.…