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.
We have quite a lineup of heavy hitters for this edition of Hammertime Updates. There was the mighty Alpina B10 BiTurbo, which once again sold for a reported $55,000. A great 1971 280SL Rob wrote up hit close to $70,000, while the rally-bred Quattro cleared $40,000. Twin 80s 911 Targas (a Targa and a one-year-only SC Targa) hit $41,000 and $47,500 respectively. Despite that there were some deals to be had. The neat Laguna Seca Blue M3 seemed like a good deal at only $18,000, and the Rabbit Caddy didn’t strike $4,000 while the Audi A6 4.2 Quattro hit only $3,350. Finally, across the pond the clever sleeper Coupe Quattro sold at just over $8,000.
Which was the winner or surprise to you?
Link to the page HERE!
1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup GTi – $3,795
1990 Alpina B10 BiTurbo – $54,988
2001 BMW M3 – $18,100
2003 Audi A6 4.2 quattro – $3,350
1983 Audi Quattro SCCA Rally – $41,050
1986 Porsche 911 Targa – $41,000
1985 Audi Coupe Quattro RE2500 – $8,270
1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL – $69,900
1983 Porsche 911SC Targa – $47,500
Valuing a Porsche 911E isn’t really that hard, in the grand scheme. The middle child of the 911 lineup, a quick check of Hagerty’s valuation tool has the average value around $78,000 right now, with a high of $144,000 and a low of $52,500 for a “fair” example. While the 911 market has flattened or cooled slightly, they’re still quite valuable cars. Valuing historic race cars can be more difficult, but as vintage racing is currently in vogue right now, they’re many times more expensive than their road-going counterparts if they are properly sorted factory cars. Figures close to a million dollars aren’t unheard of for the right racer. But the most difficult to value are the non-original, modified racers run by privateers. Sometimes they have a very interesting history, such as this ’71 E does:
While there are iconic liveries that permeate motorsports, sometimes there are equally iconic aerodynamic aids. The 1970s and 1980s saw some incredible experiments, from the Brabham BT46 ‘Fan Car’ which sucked all of the air out from underneath the chassis, literally sticking the car to the road to the 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’ car, which somewhere underneath the long tail and stretched front end was actually a 911 (in theory, at least!). For BMW, exploiting the Group 5 FIA rules to suit their E9 chassis and make it competitive with the Porsche 911. That meant the aerodynamics of the 3.0CS had to be altered, and the result was wings, fins, and flares. But if the road going version of the also lightened 3.0CSL looked outrageous, the racing version simply took the recipe and turned it up to 11. Giant boxed flares widened the E9 half again. A huge front air dam looked capable of clearing cattle on the Sante Fe railway. Huge centerlock BBS magnesium wheels sported a footprint that would make most large commercial planes jealous. And if the tires didn’t shock them, the huge cantilevered wing protruding from the back of the trunklid certainly would spoil their plans to go airborn. This was the legendary car which gained the name “Batmobile”, and though they were not ultimately able to defeat Porsche in the Group 5 contest for 1976 (you know that, of course, because of the many Martini Championship Edition Porsches we feature), they are no less memorable than the 935:
The popularity of track days and amateur racing is at perhaps an all-time high, with seeming countless versions of track-prepared options out there. Back in the 1970s, there were basically no track-ready options available. Even when supposed track-derived cars arrived in the 1980s, they wouldn’t hold up to hot-lapping for very long. But today you can pop down to your Porsche, Audi, Aston Martin, Ferrari, and even Bentley dealer and walk out with a full factory prepared race car. The Porsche model which traditionally has carried this flame was the 911, first with the RS models followed by the GT3. But they’ve gotten hugely expensive, and Porsche has another popular track platform in the Cayman. Recently gussied up for track duty in the GT4 model everyone is swooning about, the Cayman is better prepared than ever to take on your favorite track. And by track, for many that means garage, waiting for the model to appreciate. But Porsche also released a full turn-key race version of the Cayman to the public this past year. With a mid-mounted 385 horsepower 3.8 flat-6, motivation wouldn’t be a problem. Porsche ups the track-bias with the 6-speed PDK, a factory roll cage, gutted interior and lightweight aluminum/steel hybrid panels, 15″ 6/4 piston brakes, and a slew of GT3 bits. You could even get a 26 gallon endurance fuel tank. But unlike the normal Porsche factory race cars, this fully-prepped GT4 Clubsport would run out the door at $165,000:
From one iconic Porsche livery in the Martini Racing colors, we move on to another equally if not more recognizable color scheme for Stuttgart; the John Wyer run Gulf Racing with the unmistakable blue and orange combination. Yet, this time we’re not looking at a Porsche, but Volkswagen GTi. Perhaps the GTi doesn’t quite have the racing repertoire of the 911 more often associated with Gulf, but these potent pocket rockets have been popular race platforms since their inception. The original GTi makes an excellent and affordable race chassis, and while the newest models are an amazing 32 years old now they’re still hitting the track and winning.