Friday, November 17, 2017

Three Generations of Porsche Turbos: 911, 964, and 993

Since the launch of the 930 3.0 Turbo in 1974, the “Turbos” have been the most powerful 911s of any generation. Porsche Classic pitted the two latest air-cooled turbo 911s – the 964 Turbo 3.6 and the 993 Turbo S – against the latest 991 Turbo 150 to compare three of the best sports cars of all time.
The great thing about old cars is that they allow people alive today to transport themselves back to another era. All you have to do is open the door, hop in, shut the door and start the engine, and the clocks start furiously ticking back in time – by 20, 30, 40 or however many years. You can visualise the dashboard of Marty McFly’s DeLorean counting backwards before your eyes. Classic Porsche 911s are the best time machines in existence: Each generation of this ‘king of the sports cars’ shares a genetic connection, a common design and technology DNA, that has never been broken, creating a unique opportunity to travel back to days gone by in the 911. This car gives young people the chance to experience that well-known metallic clunk as the lever in the 911 door handle engages, immersing themselves in a world of products, technology, colours and designs created before they were even born. For older people, too, this is a fascinating opportunity to travel back to their youth – on the one hand to reminisce about the past, but also to look back with all of the knowledge and context of the present day, and see how fast the world around us – and particularly the car – is changing.

Old cars allow people to transport themselves back to another era. 

Time travel is taken to a whole new level when the most technically advanced Porsche 911 of its day itself becomes a time machine – like the 964 Turbo 3.6, the 993 Turbo S and the 991 Turbo. If you step out of one generation of this car and into the next, you can see how the status of a super sports car and the limits of what is technically feasible are catapulted further ahead and into the future with each generation. In 2017, the 991 Turbo is the perfect example of this. Its list price in Germany starts at 176,930 euros. The two older models are among the most valuable – and most rapidly rising in value – 911 models in recent history. 993 Turbos in good condition cost at least as much as a new 991 Turbo. A Turbo S in perfect condition, with a mileage significantly lower than the 40,000-kilometre threshold and a unique Porsche-exclusive specification – like the Firn White model in this trio – easily surpasses a new, top-specification 991 Turbo in value. The same applies to the Grand Prix White 964 Turbo (on the right in the photo): another low-mileage car delivered from the factory with an exclusive Porsche finish. The fascination with these cars is about more than just their financial value – a lot more. But we cannot ignore the fact that both the 964 Turbo 3.6 (price in June 1994: 207,880 marks) and the 993 Turbo S (price in February 1998: 222,500 marks) are now worth virtually the same in euros as they were in marks when bought new, just two decades ago. But that’s not all: We have recently seen some exceptional models on sale for sums of 300,000 euros or more. The time machines used for this feature by PORSCHE CLASSIC are not for sale – but with their detailed and continuous service histories, exceptionally low mileages and exclusive specifications, they would likely fall into this latter price category if they ever were to be offered for sale.

First registration on June 1, 1994

Click. The black door handle of the 964 emits its unmistakeable sound when operated. The door opens easily – a hallmark of this car, whose roots go back five decades. I climb in, and the interior still has that familiar new car smell, almost 23 years after its first registration on June 1, 1994. The ex-works car was originally ordered and registered by Porsche in Stuttgart. It’s a special 964, and not only because it is one of fewer than 1,500 Turbo 3.6 models ever produced. No – in this case, it is the car’s exceptional, harmonious aesthetic, the result of its custom specification and the perfect colour combination of a white exterior with a red leather interior. And that it actually looks like a new car, creating a perfect illusion of travelling back in time to the early 1990s. I find myself wondering who has treated this car with such immense care. Today, this Turbo – one of the last 911s with the classic “standing” headlights in the wing – is part of a sports car collection owned by a man who is truly passionate about Porsche. While the 964 remains in his ownership, it will not age. The history and specification of the Turbo is fully documented. The seemingly endless list of exclusive Porsche details makes for fascinating reading. Originally, according to the order, this 911 should have been fitted with seats in a cashmere-coloured leather. But that never happened; this selection was actually a placeholder used in the configuration process at the time. Instead, the 911 was fitted with an original, Porsche-exclusive full leather interior in the red “Can-Can” colour way, complete with matching red carpets, at the factory. Black piping completes the ruffled leather finish. The switch panel and centre console in black carbon create a sporty contrast with the red interior and white exterior. The gear shift and handbrake lever are clad in aluminium, carbon and red leather. Someone was daring enough to make these decisions when this car was ordered – thank goodness!

Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6 with ruffled leather in the ‘Can-Can’ colour way

Porsche presented the 964 Turbo 3.6 to the world in autumn 1992, at the Mondial del Automobile in Paris. Billed as the successor to the Porsche 964 Turbo 3.3, the 3.6 litre M64 engine was larger and more modern, increasing power to the rear axle by 40 hp compared to the previous 3.3 litre engine (M30). When the Turbo 3.6 was launched in 1993, its 360 hp was virtually unmatched by competitors. What’s more, the driver actually had the opportunity to put this power to use on the road – a key factor and a crucial differentiator between the few viable competitors at the time. And yet it was still like riding a cannon ball, although the series-standard differential lock was reassuring. When the turbo took effect at just under 3,000 rpm, torque went through the roof. From just 2,400 rpm, the torque was 450 Newton metres, rising to 520 Newton metres at its highest level. Even today, in an age in which virtually all compact cars boast a turbo engine, these are impressive numbers. Porsche indicated that the car could do zero to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds.

1991: The 964 Turbo 3.3 was launched around that time

Let’s jump back in time. In 1991, I was working for a major automotive magazine as a young and upcoming editor. The 964 Turbo 3.3 was launched around that time. One summer evening that year, my immediate supervisor asked me if I could give his girlfriend a lift to Cologne. But I needed to be back in Hamburg the next morning for an editorial deadline. His girlfriend was nice, but she wasn’t MY girlfriend, and who wants to drive 850 kilometres in one night? But then the man – who was more of a friend than a manager – pointed to a red test car parked just outside. It was the new 964 Turbo 3.3. He smiled – and I smiled back. It was a fantastic night. Only twice in my life have I voluntarily chosen to cross the country in one night purely for the pleasure of the drive. The first time was in the 964 Turbo 3.3. The second time was in its successor, the 964 Turbo 3.6. That must have been in spring, perhaps 1994 or 1995. The car was parked up just like the 3.3 had been a few years before. This time, I drove from Cologne to Hamburg and back, because I had since moved to write for a different automotive magazine. It was another great night – one of those nights in which you’re happy to be alone. The radio – and I still remember this clearly because it really got under my skin and fitted perfectly with the cities on my route and with the car – was playing a song by Udo Lindenberg, a Porsche fanatic from Hamburg. For some reason, the band BAP also sang a Lindenberg hit that night, if I remember rightly. The radio switched from WDR2 in the west to NDR2 as I travelled north. The autobahn at night, the headlights, the glow of the radio and the five 911 instruments in the interior, the flat engine at the rear.

Unforgotten: the magic of the 964 Turbo 3.6.

Sometimes, fortune smiles down on you. Moments like this remain with you. I’ve never forgotten the magic of the 964 Turbo 3.6 that night. But that magic didn’t come from the car’s new top speed, which had increased from 270 to 280 km/h and pushed the speedometer up to almost 300 km/h. No-one can maintain this ‘trump card’ speed for long. But (and could the environmentally minded please look away now): 230 km/h was and remains a good cruising speed for this 911 Turbo. However, the real magic of this car stems from in its unique traction and flexibility, which had seen drastic improvement even since the 3.3. In fifth gear, the 3.6 reduced the time taken to accelerate from 80 to 120 km/h by 3.6 seconds, to just 7.1 seconds – a world of difference. The car always had more to give, no matter the gear.

The Turbo was the global champion in this discipline

Even more breath-taking for me was this vehicle’s braking system. From a speed of 100 km/h, the Porsche Turbo 3.6 could be brought to a standstill in an unbelievably short 35.6 metres. The Turbo was the global champion in this discipline. Even at 200 km/h, it had a stopping distance of just over 130 metres. If you’ve ever had to replicate this situation on the road, you’ll have some idea of the forces involved. In most other cars of that era, coming to a complete stop from a speed of 200 km/h was enough to make you feel nauseous. But this is what separated the wheat from the chaff; this is when you recognise that the Turbo takes knowledge and expertise from racing and transfers it to the road; this is where the Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6 earned its legendary reputation. It was a technical masterpiece, but this 911 was anything but a toy. The rear-wheel drive demanded respect, particularly at even the slightest hint of wet weather. In these conditions, it was evident that there was still room to perfect the technical concept of the 911 Turbo. Personally, that night when I was driving between Cologne and Hamburg and it started to drizzle in the valleys while I negotiated the bends of the A1 in rural Bergisches Land, I would have appreciated a Turbo with all-wheel drive. My wish was to come true.

Sophisticated: Black piping on the leather

The 993 Turbo, launched in March 1995 at the Geneva Autosalon, changed everything. Porsche had started to look towards the future: Harm Lagaaij, chief designer, and Horst Marchart, the member of the board with responsibility for development, had long been working on the dawn of a new era for Porsche, sparking the final evolution of the air-cooled, flat-engine sports car with the new Porsche 993 Turbo.

Sitting in the 993 creates a sense of being fast-forwarded to the 21st century

Another clunk, or, more accurately, a click. The 993 Turbo S is opened with a brand-new, redesigned door handle in the same colour as the car. According to its paperwork, this 911 is a Turbo S; visually however, it has the more civilian appearance of a “standard” Turbo with enhanced performance. And that’s a good thing – this Porsche, registered on February 19, 1998, is clearly the more aesthetically pleasing of the two, as it is lacking the rear spoiler of the “official” Turbo S, which is somewhat of an acquired taste. However, this also means that the car is missing the lateral air intakes for the rear wheels, which later became an unmistakable hallmark on all 911 Turbos from the 996 Turbo onwards. Inside, this Turbo also features a sophisticated, exclusive finish. It was delivered to the USA with black leather seats, stitched in deep Guards Red. The speaker housings and CD storage compartment are also adorned with exclusive leather. But let’s focus on time travel: In the first few seconds after starting the twin turbo M64 of the 993 Turbo S (with an enhanced performance of 450 hp ex-works in the S model), you don't experience the huge generational shift compared to the 964 that you may be expecting. But the difference is in the drive. Twin turbochargers and the all-wheel drive integrated into a 911 Turbo for the first time ever mean that the 993 is probably the most powerful air-cooled 911 of all time – regardless of whether the car is an S model or not. In fact, the 993 surpasses the 964 in performance (0–100 in 4.1 seconds, cracking the magic 300-km/h mark) and with its all-wheel drive. From a technical perspective, sitting in the 993 creates a sense of being fast-forwarded to the 21st century. However, in terms of aesthetics, the Porsche 993 Turbo design is firmly rooted in the 20th century. And that experience is typical of air-cooled 911s: Technical progress is evident in each and every new generation, but the design, and the feel of the interior, have been frozen in time across the decades. This is what makes the air-cooled Porsche 911 so fascinating. And the 991 Turbo? From the cockpit of the 993, the car is pure magic. The two generations and couple of facelifts you would expect to see before this leap simply did not happen; we travel from the late 90s straight through to the present. However, the DNA in the design and the drive provides a link to the past, and we have the designers and engineers at Porsche to thank for that. They put the soul into the 911 Turbo – in every generation and in every era.
Technical data
Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6
Engine: Six-cylinder turbo-charged flat engine
Displacement: 3,600 cm3
Bore x stroke: 100 x 76.4 mm
Compression ratio: 7.5:1
Max. power: 360 hp at 5,500 rpm
Max. torque: 520 Nm at 4,200 rpm
Power transmission: 5-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive
Unladen weight: 1,470 kg
Length/width/height: 4,275/1,775/1,290 mm
Wheelbase: 2,272 mm
Porsche 993 Turbo S
Engine: Six-cylinder twin turbocharged flat engine
Displacement: 3,600 cm3
Bore x stroke: 100 x 76.4 mm
Compression ratio: 8.0:1
Max. power: 450 hp at 6,000 rpm
Max. torque with overboost: 585 Nm at 4,500 rpm
Power transmission: 6-speed manual gearbox, all-wheel drive
Unladen weight: 1,575 kg (registration document)
Length/width/height: 4,245/1,795/1,285 mm
Wheelbase: 2,272 mm
Vmax: 300 km/h
0–100 km/h: 4.1 s
Porsche 991 Turbo
Engine: Six-cylinder VTG twin turbocharged flat engine
Displacement: 3,800 cm3
Bore x stroke: 102 x 77.5 mm
Compression ratio: 9.8:1
Max. power: 540 hp at 6,400 rpm
Max. torque with overboost: 710 Nm at 2,250–4,000 rpm
Power transmission: 7-speed PDK, all-wheel drive
Unladen weight: 1,595 kg
Length/width/height: 4,507/1,880/1,297 mm
Wheelbase: 2,450 mm
Vmax: 320 km/h
0–100 km/h: 3.0 s
Info
Text first published in the magazine "Porsche Klassik 11".
Text by Thomas Fuths // Photos by Markus Bolsinge

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Messy Car Interiors!








I don't know about you, but I go crazy when my car's interior is the least bit messy. But there are those who simply do not care if trash accumulates in their vehicle.  I don't know what that says about thee car owner and his or her mind. Does this kind of behavior spill over into the home? All of this is so inconceivable to me that I have no answers.

Taken from The Sun, UK, 11/15/2017.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Don't Forget Hydrogen! Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology and the Future of Automobility

Hydrogen Council: Hydrogen could contribute to 20% of CO2 emissions reduction targets by 2050
Bonn, Germany – 13 November 2017As global leaders gathered at COP 23 in Bonn, 18 key leaders in their industry verticals, united in The Hydrogen Council coalition, came together to launch first ever globally quantified vision of the role of hydrogen, developed with support from McKinsey. In addition to being a key pillar in of the energy transition, the study shows that hydrogen has the potential to develop US $2.5tn of business, creating more than 30 million jobs by 2050.  
Taking the Hydrogen Council’s vision for hydrogen to the next level, the study entitled Hydrogen, Scaling upoutlines a comprehensive and quantified roadmap to scale deployment and it’s enabling impact on the energy transition. 
Deployed at scale, hydrogen could account for almost one-fifth of total final energy consumed by 2050. This would reduce annual CO2 emissions by roughly 6 gigatons compared to today’s levels, and contribute roughly 20% of the abatement required to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius. 
On the demand side, the Hydrogen Council sees the potential for hydrogen to power about 10 to 15 million cars and 500,000 trucks by 2030, with many uses in other sectors as well, such as industry processes and feedstocks, building heating and power, power generation and storage. Overall, the study predicts that the annual demand for hydrogen could increase tenfold by 2050 to almost 80 EJ in 2050 meeting 18% of total final energy demand in the 2050 two-degree scenario. At a time when global populations are expected to grow by two billion people by 2050, hydrogen technologies have the potential to create opportunities for sustainable economic growth. 
“The world in the 21st century must transition to widespread low carbon energy use,” said Takeshi Uchiyamada, Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation and co-chair of the Hydrogen Council. “ Hydrogen is an indispensable resource to achieve this transition because it can be used to store and transport wind, solar and other renewable electricity to power transportation and many other things. The Hydrogen Council has identified seven roles for hydrogen, which is why we are encouraging governments and investors to give it a prominent role in their energy plans. The sooner we get the hydrogen economy going, the better, and we are all committed to making this a reality.” 
Achieving such scale would require substantial investments; approximately US$20 to 25 billion annually for a total of about US$280 billion until 2030. Within the right regulatory framework – including long-term, stable coordination and incentive policies – the report considers that attracting these investments to scale the technology is feasible. The world already invests more than US$1.7 trillion in energy each year, including US$650 billion in oil and gas, US$300 billion in renewable electricity, and more than US$300 billion in the automotive industry. 
“This study confirms the place of hydrogen as a central pillar in the energy transition, and encourages us in our support of its large-scale deployment. Hydrogen will be an unavoidable enabler for the energy transition in certain sectors and geographies. The sooner we make this happen the sooner we will be able to enjoy the needed benefits of Hydrogen at the service of our economies and our societies,” said Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO, Air Liquide. “Solutions are technologically mature and industry players are committed. We need concerted stakeholder efforts to make this happen; leading this effort is the role of the Hydrogen Council.”  
“When it comes to the future of mobility, zero emission technologies are an integral part of Daimler's strategy. The benefits of the fuel cell are compelling: long range, short refuelling times and all that comes out of the “exhaust” is water. Moreover, the technology offers great opportunities for buses, other large commercial vehicles and not least stationary applications. With a steadily growing share of renewables, hydrogen will certainly play an increasingly important role in the overall energy system, making it increasingly attractive for the mobility sector as well”, says Jochen Hermann, Vice President Development CASE and e-Drive at Daimler AG. 
The launch of the new roadmap came during the Sustainability Innovation Forum in the presence of 18 senior members of the Hydrogen led by co-chairs Takeshi Uchiyamada, Chairman of Toyota and Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO, Air Liquide and accompanied by Prof. Aldo Belloni, CEO of The Linde Group, Woong-chul Yang, Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Company and Anne Stevens, Board Member of Anglo American. During the launch, the Hydrogen Council called upon investors, policymakers, and businesses to join them in accelerating deployment of hydrogen solutions for the energy transition. It was also announced that Woong-chul Yang of Hyundai Motor Company will succeed Takeshi Uchiyamada of Toyota in the rotating role of the Council’s co-chair and preside the group together with Benoit Potier, CEO Air Liquide, in 2018. Mr Uchiyamada is planning to return as Co-chairman in 2020, coinciding with the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, an important milestone for showcasing hydrogen society and mobility.
Hydrogen, scaling up  McKinsey study takeaways[1] 
About the Hydrogen Council:
Launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in early 2017, the Hydrogen Council is a first-of-its-kind global CEO initiative to foster the role of hydrogen technologies in the global energy transition. Current members include 18 leading multinationals - Air Liquide, Alstom, Anglo American, Audi, BMW GROUP, Daimler, ENGIE, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor, Iwatani, Kawasaki, Plastic Omnium, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, The Linde Group, Total, and Toyota – as well as 10 dynamic players from across the value chain - Ballard, Faber Industries, Faurecia, First Element Fuel (True Zero), Gore, Hydrogenics, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui & Co, Plug Power, and Toyota Tsusho. The coalition collectively represents total revenues of over € 1.5 trillion and more than 2 million jobs around the world.[2] To find out more: http://www.hydrogencouncil.com/.   
About Hydrogen Council meetings at COP 23:
The Council will gather at COP 23 to conclude the first year of its activity. While in Bonn on 13-14 November 2017, CEOs and other senior representatives will participate in a range of high-level roundtables, interactions with policy-makers as well as the media and the broader stakeholder community.
The Hydrogen Council is led by two Co-Chairs from different geographies and sectors, elected by Steering Members for a two-year term, each year one of the two Co-chair mandates is renewed for continuity. 
For further information about the event and related media opportunities:
Hydrogen Council Press Office: Harriet Barham, +32 473 410 159,  Harriet.barham@fticonsulting.com 
About Hydrogen
Hydrogen is a versatile, clean, and safe energy carrier that can be used as fuel for power or in industry as feedstock. Generating zero emissions at point of use, it can be produced from (renewable) electricity and from carbon-abated fossil fuels, thereby achieving completely zero-emission pathways. The uses for hydrogen continue to grow as it can be stored and transported at high energy density in liquid or gaseous form and can be combusted or used in fuel cells to generate heat and electricity. This versatility confers to hydrogen a key enabling role all together in the transport, the industry and the residential sectors, as well as for the large-scale storage of renewable energies, making it a promising solution to overcome the challenges of the energy transition.
[1] SOURCE: Hydrogen Council; IEA ETP Hydrogen and Fuel Cells CBS; National Energy Outlook 2016 
[2] Company figures from financial years 2015 and 2016.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Automobile vs. Road & Track: Which one the Best Magazine for Me?

Ever since Hemmings Sports and Exotic ceased publication I have been adrift in terms of reading car magazines. What added insult to injury, Hemmings did not refund the remainder of my subscription, but instead without asking me sent me their Classic Car.  There were very few articles or pages in interest in the latter magazine, and so did not renew that periodical. If I want to look at it, I'll go to the local library.
Two and a half weeks ago I had a full knee replacement and thus have been grounded ever since. Lsat Saturday my friend cuff visited and brought me a few recent mags, including the December 2917 Automobile and the October and November R&T.  Back in the day I cut my teeth on Road & Track, and considered my favorite magazine by far.  Sad to say, current issues do little to excite me. I was terribly disappointed with the October issue.  The lead article entitled "Great Escape: Conquering the Alps in the AMG GT and 911 GTS" had a great topic but drove it in the ground by transforming the potentially wonderful driving experience into a dull and at times infantile narrative. The point of the fantastic environment was largely missed and trivialized -- the prose was simply not up to snuff given what could have been said.  Taking tow exotic vehicles that are rally beyond 95% of the readers detaches the whole story from a reality that most of us can never experience.  People are simply not in this article in any meaningful way. Great choice of focussed topic, but the mark was missed.

The R&T also covered the Nurburgring, and here the journalism was better.  But the topic has been written up numerous times over the past few years. Ok, it is hard to find the get. But the current website is quite helpful, and the track is really trying to welcome visitors.  Finally, the historical context about this magical site was weak.

So I put down R&T and wondered if I would ever care to pick it up again.  In contrast,  the December 2017 Automobile was a pleasure to read. On article was in particular negating, namely the Dodge Truck trip along the border between the U.S. and Mexico. The environmental descriptions were excellent, and personal side stories -- especially the vignette of the crazy old man near Brownsville was both funny and currently relevant. What a super read!  I also very much liked the auction summaries placed narthex end of the magazine. That has been a featured this magazine for some time, but now especially missed sine Sports & Exotic is no more.

Everyone has their own personal reading preferences, and thus I have given you one example of mine.  Your thoughts?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Too much Car? Dodge Challenger SRT® Demon is now coming to Dealers







The 800+ muscle car is now coming to dealers!  Made in Brampton, Ontario, more than 3000 of these cars will now be up for sale. 0-60 m.p.h. is less than 3 seconds. The fastest car around. If you want to live The Fast & Furious, this is your vehicle.



But is it a responsible product to sell to the public? Given its performance, is it just simply too much a rolling coffin? How many people will kill themselves in this motor car? At $84k, I can think of better ways to spend my money.



How about collateral damage?  I don't want to get in the way of this flying missle.



Has the Golden Age of the automobile just run its course, and this cr does not have a place on public roads?




Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Porsche 911R and an Endurance Victory 50 years Ago

It all began over a glass of beer on a summer evening. And any story that begins like that has to be legendary. That’s precisely what went down in Christophorus number 90 of January 1968. Thus began the article by Swiss race-car driver Rico Steinemann, in which he reported on a dramatic endurance-record drive in Monza. The fiftieth anniversary of the triumph on the banked corners of the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza is now in full swing. Porsche collector Johan-Frank Dirickx and journalist Bart Lenaerts, both Belgian, marked the anniversary by retracing the drive from Zuffenhausen to Monza undertaken by the record-hunters fifty years ago in a 1967 Porsche 911 R—one of just twenty units built. The route took a bit of a detour through France, as that was necessary at the time. Why? Well, the story began on a late summer evening over a glass of beer.
Pit stop, Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, 1967, Porsche AG

The fiftieth anniversary of the triumph is now in full swing.

Around the table were Rico Steinemann and his racing colleague Dieter Spoerry. Still in the midst of the 1967 racing season with their Porsche 906 Carrera 6, they were thinking of the off-season to come that autumn and winter. Out of nowhere came the idea: what if they were to break the endurance world records for seventy-two and ninety-six hours, for 15,000 and 20,000 kilometers as well as 10,000 miles (16,093.4 kilometers)? They had once belonged to Porsche, but Ford and Toyota had since bested the old records. By the time the final swigs of beer had been drunk, the plan was in place: go for it!
“All races, but especially endurance races, were extremely important to us in order to gain new technical insights,” says Peter Falk, eighty-four, who headed up pre-series and racing development for Porsche at the time. It was the pre-digital age, and computer simulations had not yet come to the automotive industry. Technical solutions had to be field-tested to see if they actually worked. Falk adds, “That and, of course, the hope for success and good press were the reasons why Porsche supported the record attempt.” The endeavor was organized by BP Switzerland, and Firestone supplied the tires. Swiss drivers Jo Siffert and Charles Vögele rounded out the squad, ensuring the team had enough drivers to endure the four-day record-breaking attempt.

Too many bumps

The record chase began on October 29 at the stroke of noon. Jo Siffert was first up. A stint at the wheel lasted one and a half hours, followed by four and a half hours of rest. For the mechanics in the box, the Scout motto “Be prepared!” was the perpetual order of the day. Günter Steckkönig, suspension expert for Porsche at the time, recalls: “When the engine sound was uniform around the oval, we relaxed. We could have a bite to eat or even stretch out in the motorhome.” But the sound grew quieter in the dead of night, and the Porsche 906 rolled into the pit with a broken shock absorber piston rod. Steckkönig and his colleagues replaced the spring strut in a flash, but shortly after there was another unscheduled stop. This time it was the other shock absorber piston rod. Again, the repair was carried out, and the car got back out on the track—until the front left spring strut pivot point on the tube frame tore out.
That meant the end of the show after just about twenty hours. The rules of the international motorsports federation FIA stipulated that all spare parts in an endurance record attempt had to be carried in the car. All that was allowed in the pit were spare wheels, jacks, spark plugs, gasoline, and oil. The team had been ready for everything, except for the astonishingly poor condition of the two banked curves in Monza: the concrete walls built in 1954 with inclines of up to 45 degrees had potholes the size of soccer balls. “It was like a washboard,” says Steckkönig. It was, in any event, too violently bumpy for a lightweight race car like the Porsche 906. But there was still hope. The rules allowed a restart of the record attempt within forty-eight hours. A hectic long-distance call between Monza and Zuffenhausen ensued, and an emergency meeting was held. The decision: we’ll give it another go—with a Porsche 911 R. Two of them were available in the Porsche testing department. But the clock was ticking. The cars had to be sent down to Monza as quickly as possible—one as a race car and the other as a parts donor. While the Porsche engineers readied the transmission of the 911 R slated for the record attempt by installing a second fifth gear in place of the fourth gear, mechanic Heinz Bäuerle hit the road to Monza in the second 911 R.

A furious, all-night detour around Switzerland

A few hours later Bäuerle called in from the Swiss border: the Swiss police wouldn’t allow the car into the country, deeming it too loud. There was only one thing Bäuerle could do: make a furious, all-night detour around Switzerland via Lyon, Grenoble, and Turin on the way down to Monza. Peter Falk and engine expert Paul Hensler, who had both embarked in the other 911 R after Bäuerle’s call, naturally opted for the more direct route through Austria and over the Brenner Pass. They arrived on Tuesday morning; by then the other 911 R had already been dismantled. The spare parts were ready for action.
Half a century later, the drive is considerably easier. Johan-Frank Dirickx and Bart Lenaerts don’t have to race against the clock; on the contrary, the two can relax and enjoy the pass roads. They pass Lyon and Grenoble in their identical remake, stop a number of times, take a few pictures, and revel in the road trip.
1967 911 R, 2017, Porsche AG

The conditions are milder than back then: the detour is gladly taken.

Fifty years ago the situation was much different: it was dark and raining cats and dogs when the record attempt was restarted at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening. Right away, in the first few hours, there were difficulties with iced-up carburetors, but the BP colleagues resolved that with an injection additive. To help protect the suspension, Peter Falk spent the afternoon marking the biggest potholes on the banked walls with long white arrows on the track. This enabled the drivers to take the potholes between the wheels and thus avoid the most bone-jarring bumps. It worked. The 911 R went about its business with its familiar roar, the rain stopped, and Wednesday and the second night passed without incident. The pit stops took little more than a minute. Ninety liters of gasoline, top off the oil, clean the windshield, check the suspension—it was literally a well-oiled machine in action. Not that the 911 R emerged entirely unscathed from its ordeal: damage to the front damper struts on both sides necessitated a pit stop, where once again Steckkönig and the mechanics repaired the sports car in a flash. In accordance with regulations, the 911 R had the spare damper struts on hand.
It was wet again on Thursday evening. The problem this time was that there were no more rain tires. So the Firestone experts cut rain grooves into the dry tires by hand. The drive continued through the night and the rain, guided by battery-powered lamps on the banked curves’ lower boundaries that gave the drivers at least some range of vision at over 200 kmh. “I still remember how driver Charles Vögele sat there in the pit after his stint, absolutely exhausted, recounting how he had been driving into the banked corners almost completely blind,” recalls Steckkönig. “Those were some tough guys.” The ristorante at the Autodromo was open around the clock during the record attempt. “One time I ordered breakfast at eight in the evening,” recalls Rico Steinemann.

15,000 kilometers at a new record average speed of 210.22 kmh

On Friday evening, the tension reached a fever pitch. Had the grueling ordeal paid off? At around 7:00 p.m. it was confirmed: they’d driven 15,000 kilometers at a new record average speed of 210.22 kmh. Not long after that, Porsche set the seventy-two-hour record record with a speed of 209.94 kmh. Fog rolled in. Visibility was hardly forty meters. And yet the team still managed to set a new record shortly before midnight: 210.28 kmh over 10,000 miles. With another twenty hours of top-speed driving to go, two further world records were still waiting to be bested. The minutes dragged on. The drivers grew ever wearier. The rain picked up again. For its part, the 911 R seemed to feel just fine. After four days, at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, the champagne corks went a-poppin’: the team had achieved 20,000 kilometers in ninety-six hours at an average speed of 209.23 kmh— in a car that, just a few days before, had been standing in the testing workshop in Zuffenhausen. All thanks to a team that remained unfazed by any circumstances.
Today the 911 R still feels great on the venerable old track: Dirickx and Lenaerts do their laps with the classic 911. Without rain tires, but with a bit of fall foliage whipping up around the purist sports car. The Porsche enthusiasts evoke memories of that triumph on the banked walls of Monza fifty years ago.