Back in June I took a look at the roadgoing version of the CSL ‘Batmobile’ – well, at least a replica of one:
1971 BMW 2800CS ‘Batmobile’ Replica
I talked about the race exploits of the FIA and Touring racing cars, and today we’re looking at a replica version of one of those.
The year was 1973, and maverick racer Roger Penske had an idea. He commissioned Porsche to build him 15 identical 911 Carrera 3.0 RSRs, each one in a unique shade, and then created the International Race of Champions – IROC for short – comprised of F1, NASCAR, Can-Am, and IndyCar stars at their peak to come together in equal equipment and see just who was best. Four races were run in total between 73-74, with some of the biggest names in the history of motorsport competing wheel-to-wheel in the vividly-toned 911s. Names like Denny Hulme, Richard Petty, Peter Revson, and upstart Mark Donohue piloted against Formula 1 1972 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, who drove the Sahara Beige car you see here. This chassis went on to be raced and modified by a few subsequent owners, and was restored back to its original configuration in the mid 2000s. Now, it can be yours – for a price.
Even though they don’t generally get the big headlines, arguably the Porsche 934 and 935 were the most important car in developing the racing history and reputation of Porsche. While the 356 and early 911s were certainly notable, it was in the mid-1970s with the introduction of turbocharged 911 in 935 form that Porsche developed a sizable following of independents who raced the all-conquering Turbos. In turn, it was these race successes that convinced enthusiasts that the Porsche 930 was THE car to have. The 935 was, in many ways, a development of the earlier 934. Wide flares coupled with wheels and brakes from the prototype category 917 and 936 gave a purposeful and classic look. While the roofline and doors remained effectively the same as the production cars, few other details matched what you could buy at the dealer. One of the biggest developments was the aerodynamic “Slantnose” developed with help from Kremer; it would become the signature look for not only the 935s but also the most expensive versions of the 930 in the 1980s. The 935 also helped breach the gap in between the 917 program and the start of the 956/962; while the 936s were the direct transference between the two, it would be the 935 that would carry the Porsche flag around the world. Amongst the notable wins for the 935 were around 150 international victories including all-out victory at Le Mans in 1979 and multiple wins at both Sebring and Daytona.
So it’s little surprise that there’s no shortage of replicas, and this particular ’69 911 has ended up being a pretty impressive Kremer K3 replica:
Well, I certainly didn’t expect to see this. When you say “W204 Mercedes-Benz C-Class” to me, I think of an incredibly milquetoast car that was made to a price point for the masses and it certainly reflects that. Yes, the range-topping C63 AMG was a bonkers car that is a ton of fun, but at the same time almost equally as terrifying if you haven’t fixed the headbolts on them. Back to the standard models, you were offered up various V6s with an automatic and a very rare manual that is nearly impossible to find. Well, it looks like someone found one and decided to turn it into a full blown race car to compete in the Trans Am series, along with various other series that it qualified for. You know what they say about racing: To end up with a small pile of money, start with a really big pile of money.
While for some the Turbo S and GT2s are the pinnacle of 993 performance and desirability for understandable reasons, for me it’s the Supercup cars that really excite. Building on the 964 Cup design, the 993 received a special version of the Carrera RS’s 3.8 liter M64/20. Dubbed the M64/70, a plastic intake, hotter cams, no cats and a unique non-MAF Motronic computer yielded 315 horsepower. Then, just as they had with the 964, Porsche upped the ante again with the 3.8 RSR. The RSR had an even more unique motor – the M65/75 – which went to a aluminum resonance manifold and individual throttle bodies and hot cams to produce 349 horsepower. You could opt for three different specifications for sprint or endurance, and two different transmission options (one with additional cooling). Outside, in addition to the Cup splitter and giant rear spoiler, the RSR featured GT2-esque tacked on flares covering massive 18″ BBS center-lock magnesium race wheels. It was, in all, a very special package and a claimed 45 were produced.
The thing is, this isn’t one of them. Well, sorta…
Let’s say for a moment that you came into an extraordinary amount of money and wanted to go vintage automobile racing. Of course, to prove your worth as an enthusiast, you’ll want to buy a historically significant car that will impress all the long bottom jaws, and few raise more eyebrows in the German realm right now than the 911. Truth told, the 911 is really the ‘new money’ of the vintage world – go try racing antique Bugattis or Ferraris, for example, and you’ll soon laugh at the budgets of Porsche racers…but I digress.
Ironically, there was a point in history where your scenario from today wouldn’t have been all that different from the past. Take the case of Diego Febles. Diego was born in Cuba under the notorious dictator Batista, but left in 1957 for “political reasons” you may have heard of at one point. Finally landing in Puerto Rico, Diego took to racing, and specifically racing Porsches. In the 1970s, this led him to be linked up with Peter Gregg’s Brumos Porsche group, and Diego proceeded to buy and build cars which mimicked Gregg’s famous liveries.
In his own right, Febels was fairly accomplished as a racer. He raced some of the most famous races in the world; of course the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring were naturals that Gregg and Brumos had excelled at, but he also raced at Road America, Mosport, Mid Ohio and finally even at Le Mans. This particular car is claimed to be his last ‘RSR’, but looks can be deceiving:
Porsche history has always been intrinsically linked with racing since before they were even a company. From Mercedes-Benz to Auto Union and later Cisitalia, Porsche offered world-beating designs prior to establishment of its own independent racing heritage. Since the 1950s, they’ve never looked back, and every successive generation has their own legends that were born. For my father, it was the 908 and 917, while I grew up with the turbocharged whistle of the 956 and 962 dominating race tracks. To capitalize on this nostalgia, coupled with more gentleman drivers heading to the track every weekend than there ever have been, Porsche’s lineup has increasingly focused on track-biased cars. But that hasn’t stopped some from going a few steps further, and Napelton Porsche launched an interesting idea just before the turn of the decade.
Why not create a race series of equal cars, slap historic liveries on them, and hit the track? The Interseries was just that, with door to door action pitting the iconic color combinations of Porsche history at the hands of mere mortals. From the Salzburg 917 that first took Porsche to the Le Mans title to the unmistakable Rothmans colors, each of these cars wore a bit of what made the marque a legend for so many people. Everyone has their favorite design, so this series offered Porschephiles a veritable cornucopia of visual pleasure. Today, one of these cars has come up for sale:
Legend generally has it that the Audi Quattro dominated the World Rally Championship and the iconic Group B class of flame spitting, air catching homologation specials. But popular belief is wrong, as though the Audi was successful, it was far from the walk-over that many fans believe it was. The Quattro was challenged at every step; first from the establishment Lancia with the 037 – a rear-drive, mid-engine super-lightweight special. Lancia proved that a lightweight, better balanced design could best the nose-heavy Audi even in inclement conditions and though the four ring’s Hannu Mikkola won the driver championship in the WRC for 1983, it was the Lancia who captured the constructor’s title.
Things got more interesting in 1984, as major modifications and increasing power introduced new players to the field. The season started out where 1983 had left off, with the long-wheelbase Audi Quattro A2 and the Lancia 037 dominating the first eight rounds of the championship. Round 9, though, saw a new, unorthodox design launch. As Audi rolled out their shortened, upright and more powerful Sport Quattro, Peugeot emerged with the diminutive 205 economy hatchback. Yet it was not a front-engine, front-drive design as they’d be seen on the road; stripped, widened, and seriously turned up, the new 205 Turbo 16 was a mid-engine, all-wheel drive turbocharged revolution that would go on to dominate the Group B competition over the next two seasons.
Just how dominant was it? While the 205 Turbo 16 didn’t look or sounds as impressive as the leaping, massively winged Audis or outrageous turbocharged and supercharged Lancia Delta S4, the chassis balance, power delivery, reliability and driver combination was spot on. The results spoke for themselves; there were 29 races the 205 Turbo 16 raced in WRC before Group B ended – Peugeot won 16 of them. Audi? After the 205 was introduced, they won one. That’s right, Audi only won ONE race outright after Peugeot entered the arena. So while the Sport Quattro might be a legend, it wasn’t a particularly successful car in terms of racing. It may have come from over the border and an unusual source, but when one of the 200 homologation special 205 Turbo 16s comes up for sale, it’s something of an occasion that is worthwhile to look at – and perhaps the hottest hatch ever made:
BMW’s revolution and rebranding through racing started on March 25, 1973. At the Monza 4 hours race in the European Touring Car Championship, the “CSL” legend was born. Massive box flares, huge BBS magnesium race wheels and deep front spoilers adorned the delicate E9 coupe now, and the iconic German Racing White with blue and red stripes following the lines of the hood and sides of the car. And with drivers like Hans-Joachim Stuck, Chris Amon, and Dieter Quester BMW Motorsport would go on to win many races and establish the brand that would later launch the infamous “Batmobile” CSL, the 2002 Turbo, and of course the M brand. Prior to 1973, the top flight races were run by BMW through their partners Alpina and Schnitzer, and indeed the BMW Motorsport entrants at Monza failed to finish, with Niki Lauda at the hands of an Alpina E9. A few races later, the rear wing was introduced by BMW Motorsport, and in the hands of Dieter Quester the first BMW Motorsport win was recognized at the 24 Hours of Spa on July 22, 1973.
The 3.0 and later 3.5 CSLs would continue to race and win for a few years, establishing the brand as a serious contender to the established Porsche in the sporting market. Because of this, there were not only many in-period conversions to CSL race cars, but many replicas built since. This appears to be one of the latter – originally, a 2800CS which has been converted to look like the Group 2 racers with a period motor:
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.