1970 Porsche 908


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The Ex-Gulf-JW Automotive team, Ex-Richard Attwood/Bjorn Waldegaard Targa Florio, Ex-Pedro Rodriguez Nurburgring 1,000Kms The only Porsche 908 Turbo remaining in the world today
1970 Porsche 908/03 Sports-Racing Prototype
Chassis no. 908/03-011
Engine no. 10

The very best and most world-beating of all competition cars have often been those which were conceived as being the minimum motor car for the maximum driver. Seldom has this been more applicable than in the case of the fantastically compact little Porsche 908/03 sports-prototype cars which were designed for world-class racing professionals to exploit to the full upon tortuously winding road circuits as in the Sicilian Piccolo Madonie course for the Targa Florio, or the Nürburgring Nordschleife for the ADAC 1,000 Kilometres race.

This particular 908/03 was run originally brand-new by the Gulf/JW Automotive quasi-works team in the 1970 World Championship of Makes-qualifying Targa Florio race around the Piccolo Madonie circuit in Sicily. It was entrusted to the trusted British works racing driver Richard Attwood who would win that year's Le Mans 24-Hours for Porsche – scoring their historic first-ever outright victory in the world's most prestigious endurance race. He was teamed with the outstandingly talented Swedish rally driver Bjorn Waldegaard, whose public road special stage experience was considered ideal to tackle the Sicilian mountain circuit – a magnificent 44 mile (72 km) course that favoured nimble cars that handled well and the bravest of drivers. They ran well during the Targa Florio, ultimately finishing fifth – covering the same 11 laps as the winner – in '011' now offered here.

The car at that time was powered by one of the 908/03 car family's original 3-litre flat-8 air-cooled engines, and its second outing for Gulf-JW Automotive followed in unchanged configuration in the 1970 ADAC 1,000 Kilometres at the Nurburgring, in which it was shared by Mexican star Formula 1 and sports car driver Pedro Rodriguez and the very fast Finnish sports car specialist Leo Kinnunen. After starting 2nd fastest on the grid, the car went off the road and failed to finish that day, though once again demonstrating its fantastic capabilities on the winding road circuit.

The supreme family of 3-litre flat-8 air-cooled Porsche sports-racing prototype cars first exploded upon the FIA World Championship of Makes scene in 1968. While the preceding Typ 907 model had been powered by a rear-mounted 2.2-litre flat-8 engine producing some 270bhp, the new 3-litre engine punched out a meaty 350bhp at a raucous 8,400rpm.

The 908 originated as a closed endurance-racing Coupe that minimized aerodynamic drag on fast-venue tracks, but from 1969 forward was campaigned mainly as a lightweight open-cockpit Spyder. For Porsche, function was everything. Finish was irrelevant. And function brought a triumphant catalogue of race victories. Porsche's ambitions extended to outright victory in the FIA World Championship competition, and during 1969 Dr Ferdinand Piech's landmark 4.5-litre flat-12 Type 917 Coupe was introduced to the factory team's armoury.
That design was considered too bulky and unwieldy to be the optimum solution to racing on the tortuous Nurburgring in the annual ADAC 1,000Kms and upon the Piccolo Madonie mountain circuit in Sicily, for the Targa Florio. Both events were important points-scoring rounds counting towards the World Championship crown, and so Piech had a much more compact, open-cockpit Spyder tailored to those venues. Thus was born the Typ 908/3 as now offered here.

During the 1970-71 seasons the cars generally succeeded in their purpose, dominating both the Targa Florio and the Nurburgring 1,000Kms that first season, but being beaten by Alfa Romeo in the 1971 Targa Florio after suffering the misfortune of two cars crashing out on the opening 44-mile lap...

Based upon the ultra-lightweight, stubby, utterly spartan Porsche 909 prototype deployed by Porsche in the contemporarily highly-significant European Mountain Championship series, the new 908/03, was even shorter than the already abbreviated 908/02, and weighed a mere 500 kg (just 1,100lbs) - an astonishing figure for a long-distance endurance racer. In fact its weight contrasted starkly to that of the mighty Porsche 917 Coupe, at around 840 kg (1,900 lbs). In 1971, vertical tail fins were added to the cars and their 1-2-3 finish in their home 1,000Km race at the Nurburgring cemented the 908/03s' tremendous reputation as the minimum race car, for the maximum driver.

A total of thirteen Porsche 908/03 chassis were finally built, amongst which the first five were assigned to test and development use centred upon the factory's Weissach research facility outside Stuttgart. Of this initial batch only one chassis '003' was deployed in serious competition, finishing second in the 1970 ADAC 1,000Kms. During the factory's race programme of 1970-71 no more than five 908/03s were ever fully assembled and running at any one time, and in fact only eight of the cars' bespoke transaxles were manufactured in period.
When FIA World Championship of Makes regulations changed for 1972, the Porsche 908/03s began a second life as a number would eventually be reconfigured with turbocharged 2,142cc 6-cylinder engines, and would race on through the mid-1970s. Back at the factory's racing and experimental department, many of the early 908/03 chassis were stripped and stored, and salvaged components were then built into later machines.

In company with the other 908/03 chassis, '011' now offered here was stripped, dismantled and placed into store.

Porsche factory historian Jurgen Barth – himself previously a Le Mans 24-Hour race-winning driver for the Stuttgart marque – wrote a confirmatory letter to a previous owner of chassis '011' here in which he stated: "Normally the chassis been foreseen (sic) to be scrapped, but then sold to Dr Dannesberger (Germany) and then in 1974 to be then converted into a 908/03 Turbo by the Customer Racing/Repair Department of Porsche in Zuffenhausen".

His car history for the Dannesberger Martini Team-liveried car '011' with its turbocharged flat-6 cylinder engine is then confirmed by this same letter – a copy of which is preserved within the documentation file accompany this car today - as follows:

23.03.1975 - Mugello 1,000Kms – Gijs van Lennep/Herbert Muller - 3rd overall
06. 04. 1975 - Dijon 800Kms - Gijs van Lennep/Herbert Muller – 9th overall (not running at finish)
13. 04. 1975 – Hockenheim InterSerie – Manfred Schurti – Rtd, engine problems
20. 04. 1975 – Monza 1,000Kms – Leo Kinnunen/Herbert Muller - Rtd, engine problems
04. 05. 1975 – Spa 750Kms - Leo Kinnunen/Herbert Muller - Rtd, gearbox problems
18. 05. 1975 – Enna 1,000Kms - Leo Kinnunen/Herbert Muller – 7th overall
01. 06. 1975 – Nurburgring 1,000Kms - Leo Kinnunen/Herbert Muller – 3rd place overall
14/15. 06. 1975 – Le Mans 24-Hours - Leo Kinnunen/Herbert Muller – Did not start qualifying
Mainz-Finten InterSerie - Herbert Muller – FIRST OVERALL

29. 06. 1975 – Zeltweg 1,000Kms, Osterreichring - Leo Kinnunen/Herbert Muller – 9th overall
12. 07. 1975 – Watkins Glen 6-Hours - Herbert Muller/Eppie Weitzes – Rtd, engine problems
20. 07. 1975 – Hockenheim InterSerie – Herbert Muller – Did not start
17. 08. 1975 – Kassel-Calden InterSerie – Herbert Muller – 3rd overall
24. 08. 1975 – Zandvoort InterSerie - Herbert Muller – 2nd overall
07.09. 1975 – Nurburgring InterSerie - Leo Kinnunen/Herbert Muller – 3rd overall
28. 09. 1975 – Hockenheim InterSerie – Jurgen Neuhaus – 7th overall

At some point '011' now offered here was certainly sold to Porsche privateer Dr Sigi Brun of Eberbach, West Germany, who re-assembled this extremely potent road-racing Porsche into its present form and then entered it in the 1982 Norisring race for the American IMSA and Indianapolis racing driver John Paul Jr, who finished 6th overall in it.

At Hockenheim on August 7, 1982, it was then driven for Brun – the engaging professional dentist known to the English-speaking racing fraternity as 'Sticky Bun' – by Jurgen Barth, finishing 8th.

On August 29 back at Hockenheim the car was entrusted to Axel Plankenhorn who suffered turbocharger problems in its engine, after having qualified the car 6th fastest.

The following season, 1983, saw Brun Racing then entered '011' again at Hockenheim on April 10, resulting in a 6th place finish for Sigi Brun himself. And at the Norisring, Nuremberg, on July 3, Axel Plankenhorn drove and again finished 6th.

It appears that this was the car's last frontline racing appearance, and it passed subsequently into Swiss ownership with Jean-Marc Luco in Cologny. From there it passed to the present owner and it is now offered complete with FIA Historic Technical Passport documentation, an engine dyno test sheet dated September 27, 2013 and showing maximum power of no less than 660bhp at 7,916rpm, coupled to maximum torque figures of 66.82kgf/m at 5,918rpm.

This awesomely-specified twin-turbocharged Porsche sports-prototype car has been campaigned as recently as 2013 in the Dix-Mille Tours at Ricard-Castellet in the South of France, finishing 2nd. The car still retains its original body which, when compared to today's materials, is a little heavy. A new body and the latest lightweight wheels would reduce the 776 kg overall weight by as much as circa 70 kg – transforming it into an absolute winner.

As offered here – in effectively race ready condition – it is eligible for the Le Mans Classic races, Proto Seventies and Pre-80 Endurance Series events in addition to so many more. For the buyer who wants to race – and win – the car also comes with a useful spares inventory that is available from the Bonhams office.

Additionally, we recommend it warrants the closest consideration by all connoisseurs of classic Porsche sports-prototype cars, and with its original Gulf-JWA quasi-works team car history, and its use by such Le Mans-winning world-class drivers as Pedro Rodriguez and Richard Attwood, this rare opportunity to acquire such an iconic Porsche prototype and as the only Porsche 908 Turbo remaining in the world today, is one not to be missed...