1976 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0-Litre Rally Car At Bonhams Goodwood Revival Sale
- September 7, 2019
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The 911 rally car offered here is unique among historic Porsches in so far as it has covered more competitive kilometres – equivalent to circumnavigating the world three times! – than any other product from the celebrated Stuttgart factory. It was built specifically for the 1977 London Sydney Marathon and crewed in that event by Polish rally ace Sobislav Zasada and co-driver Wojciecj Schramm.
Since then it has competed in numerous other long-distance rallies including the Repco Reliability Trial around Australia (1979), Australian Safari Rally (1985 and 1988), Targa Tasmania (1996), London Sydney Marathon (2004), and the East African Classic Safari Rally (2005), as well as appearing at many of the most prestigious historic motor sports events. The car comes with a detailed 100-page illustrated history, written from the perspective of former Porsche factory driver and Le Mans winner, Jürgen Barth, who prepared and supported the car in period, which is essential reading for prospective purchasers.
Chassis number ‘9117600881’ was manufactured early in 1976 and retained by the factory until March 1977 when it was supplied directly to Sobislav Zasada in order for him to compete in the London Sydney Marathon. Copies of Zasada’s supporting correspondence and Porsche factory paperwork are on file (originals are in the Porsche Factory Archive).
At 30,000 kilometres, the 1977 London Sydney is the longest rally of all time and one of the toughest ever. Zasada and Schramm faced strong competition from a six-car Mercedes team with a substantial budget. Nevertheless, by Germany they were in the lead, and the Porsche would lead as far as Singapore, swapping places with the leading Mercedes more than once, eventually finishing this gruelling event in 13th place overall and 10th in class having lost over three hours stuck in deep sand on one of the closing stages in Australia. Victory went to the Mercedes-Benz 280 SE of Cowan/Malkin/Broad.
At the rally’s end, Porsche Australia purchased the car from Zasada for Dean Rainsford to drive in the Australian Rally Championship. Dean’s Carrera 2.7 featured in the Weetabix Rally Car series of collectors’ cards, which helped inspire present owner David Cavanagh’s interest in rallying as a young boy. During 1978 the Carrera was converted to right-hand drive configuration by Porsche Australia’s chief engineer, Enzo Belluzo, as confirmed by Porsche factory correspondence on file. The Porsche finished top-six in most rounds, setting a number of records, and won the Western Australia round.
Its next big event was the Repco Reliability Trial in August 1979, an 18,616-kilometre marathon around Australia. The Carrera was entered by Porsche for Rainsford and Edgar Herrmann, twice winner of the East African Safari Rally, and eventually finished 7th overall, the leading two-man team home. After the Repco rally, the car was sold to Michael Stilwell. By this time it had clocked up 57,450 competitive kilometres.
In 1985 the Carrera was owned briefly by noted Victorian Porsche racer and collector Peter Lovett, before being purchased by Peter Glover, who rebuilt the car, prior to entering it into the inaugural Wynn’s Safari Rally. The engine was rebuilt by Porsche Australia in M|elbourne, who provided technical support. Unfortunately, on Day 5 the Porsche was forced to retire while leading, sidelined by a broken rear trailing arm. In 1988 the car was again rebuilt by Porsche Australia for a second attempt at the Australian Safari, this time fitted with works 953 Paris Dakar running gear, only to be forced out by a broke front suspension ball joint while in a strong position.
In 1994 the Carrera was purchased by Keith McIlroy for historic rallying and rebuilt during 1995/1996. McIlroy entered the Porsche in the Targa Tasmania and was comfortably leading his class until an ignition coil earth lead failed, costing him time. Between 1996 and 2000 the car was kept on display in the Sydney Motor Museum.
In 2000 the Carrera was shipped to the UK and brought up to FIA specification by renowned marque specialist, Francis Tuthill. In his Porsche Competition Customer Liaison role, Jürgen Barth inspected the car and confirmed that it was the original Zasada London Sydney entry. At around this time the original engine was removed and set aside for future restoration, and a replacement period-correct unit fitted in its place (see work schedule on file).
In 2002, Keith McIlroy entered the Porsche in the historic Circuit of Ireland Rally, finishing 4th in class. Subsequently the car was stored at Francis Tuthill’s, where David Cavanagh first saw it in late 2002. David purchased the car in February 2004 in time for that year’s London Sydney Marathon, which necessitated the fitting of an FIA fuel cell and other upgrades. Despite their relative lack of experience, David and co-driver Cath Woodman finished the event, winning their class and beating teams with ‘more experience, more skill, and more thorough preparation’. David’s recollections of this wonderful adventure are on file.
After the event, the car was shipped to Perth, Western Australia and rebuilt by Porsche specialists K-Tec. Back in the UK, the Carrera was demonstrated by Messrs Cavanagh and Barth at the 2005 Stoneleigh International Historic Motor Festival, and plans formulated to run in the East African Classic Safari Rally.
The toughest and most competitive historic rally in the world, the 2005 Safari was run over a distance of 4,000 kilometres (2,000 competitive) across Kenya and Tanzania, commencing on 1st December. For this event the Carrera was crewed by David and four-time Safari winner Björn Waldegaard, the latter returning to Africa after 13 years away. Mechanically rebuilt yet again and fitted with new FIA-specification seats, the Martini-liveried Carrera eventually finished 7th overall, less than a minute from 5th place. Unlike many of the other Porsches, the Carrera retained in-period suspension and engine technology, yet was the fastest Porsche on many stages. Björn and David received the Henry Liddon Memorial Trophy for the team best demonstrating the spirit of the event. The Waldegaard Martini Porsche became the hero car for the Safari, and was used to promote subsequent runnings of the event (see 2007 advertisement on file).
Since then the Carrera has been demonstrated at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on many occasions, and at the Eiffel Rally Party in Germany, and in 2015 was driven to Poland to meet its original co-driver, Wojciecj Schramm. That same year the car featured extensively in the Goodwood Festival of Speed preview video, and was a special guest at the Rally Legends Austria. The Carrera was subsequently invited to the Porsche Museum in Gmünd, meeting Mr Ernst Piech (grandson of Ferdinand Porsche), and the owner had the privilege of a drive with him around Lake Matsee.
Other highlights included special guest invitations to the finishing dinner for the Ennstal Classic Rally and the Eiffel Rally Germany, where the Porsche featured as one of the Parade and Display cars, alongside those from the Porsche Museum. In the words of the Museum’s Director, this is one of the best-documented period works rally Porsches (the list of references takes up more than an A4 page) and thus represents an unrepeatable opportunity of the discerning collector, and rally competitor.
Report by bonhams.com