1960 Porsche RS 60
Porsche AG (retained for works team 1960 through 1961)
Bernhard Vihl, Clifton, New Jersey (acquired from the above in 1961)
Hans Ziries (acquired from the above circa 1962)
Clarence Catallo, Dearborn, Michigan (acquired from the above circa 1965)
Warren Eads, Rolling Hills Estates, California (acquired from the above in 1978)
Terry Jones, Newport Beach, California (acquired from the above circa 1998)
Philip Ma, Wanchai, Hong Kong, China (acquired from the above in 1998)
Cal Turner III, Parker, Tennessee (acquired circa 2005)
Current Owner (acquired from the above)
24 Hours of Le Mans, June 1960, Jo Bonnier/Graham Hill, No. 33 (DNF)
12 Hours of Sebring, March 1961, Hans Herrmann/Edgar Barth/Jo Bonnier/Dan Gurney, No. 50 (DNF)
Targa Florio, May 1961, Stirling Moss/Graham Hill, No. 136 (DNF)
1000 Km of Nürburgring, May 1961, Edgar Barth/Hans Herrmann, No. 23 (DNF)
Player’s 200 at Mosport, June 1961, Jo Bonnier, No. 23 (2nd Overall, 1st in Class)
Governor’s Trophy, Nassau, Bahamas, December 1961, Bob Holbert, No. 14 (1st Overall)
Porsche Classic, Nassau, Bahamas, December 1961, Bob Holbert, No. 14 (1st Overall)
Nassau Trophy, Nassau, Bahamas, December 1961, Bob Holbert, No. 14 (7th Overall, 1st in Class)
Porsche Club of America Parade, Monterey California, 1990
Monterey Historics, Laguna Seca, August 1998
Le Mans Vintage Races at La Sarthe, June 2001
50th Porsche Parade Historic Exhibition, Hershey, Pennsylvania, August 2005
Rennsport Reunion III, Daytona International Speedway, November 2007
Goodwood Revival, September 2009
Jürgen Barth and Ulrich Trispel, Porsche 906, brief history on pp. 341–344
Julius Weitmann, Porsche Story, pictured and discussed on pp. 85, 108, 110–111
Tony Adriaensens, SportErfolge, pictured and discussed on pp. 494–499
Brian Long, Porsche Racing Cars: 1953 to 1975, pictured on pp. 82, 90
Randy Leffingwell, Porsche Legends, pictured and discussed on pp. 66–71
Terry O’Neil, The Bahamas Speed Weeks, pictured and discussed on pp. 220–222, 233
Gordon Maltby, Porsche 356 & RS Spyders, pictured on cover and p. 99
Road & Track, May 1988, Salon article by Dean Batchelor, pp. 137–142
Road & Track, March 2000, Salon article by Phil Hill, pp. 96–103
Excellence, October 2001, “Return to Sarthe,” pp. 130–132
Officially unveiled in January 1960, the RS60 represented the final evolution of Porsche’s competition Spyder, a legendary series of sports cars that can be traced back to the original Type 550 of 1953.
The RS60 was a refined version of the highly successful RSK works cars built for the 1959 season. While the RS60 retained the Type 718 designation, the much-improved Spyder featured a tubular-steel space frame with a wider cockpit, unequal-length wishbone rear suspension, improved brakes, and smaller 15" wheels. While the front and rear track remained unchanged, the wheelbase was stretched 4", providing greater engine-bay clearance and additional legroom for both driver and passenger. The longer wheelbase, advanced suspension, and smaller diameter wheels also had a profound effect on handling, making the RS60 much more predictable than its predecessor. In keeping with the chassis improvements, the Wendler-built aluminum bodywork also received subtle revisions. The most obvious external change was an FIA-mandated framed windscreen and suitcase platform, along with other minor variations to the nose, doors, and head fairing.
Equipped with a range of potent Type 547 four-cam engines, the RS60 was a sophisticated and highly efficient sports car, ideally suited for technical circuits and open road races. With a dry weight of just 1,210 lbs., the latest Porsche Spyder offered exceptional road holding, braking, and acceleration. Few contemporary sports cars presented such a well-rounded package.
Whereas the 550 and RSK Spyders were perennial favorites in the Under-2,000 cc category, the RS60 was the first Porsche sports racer that posed a legitimate threat to the large-capacity sports cars, and it often competed for outright wins.
Porsche sold 14 of the 18 RS60s to private customers and retained four special cars for the factory works team. The works Spyders were numbered 718-041 through 718-044, easily distinguishing them from the customer cars, which began with chassis no. 718-051.
Not only did these cars have a different chassis number sequence, they were specially prepared for the Porsche factory racing team and bore many subtle differences when compared to customer cars. For example, all four works RS60s were constructed with separate left and right torsion bars in the front suspension (like the 718/2 Formula 2 car), integrated driving lights, a flat-black dashboard, and an exposed dash-mounted fusebox for quick access.
This car, 718-044, was the last of the four works RS60s constructed, and it made its competition debut at the most famous race of all, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For the 1960 race, Porsche entered a team of four specially prepared cars, consisting of three works RS60s (718-042, 718-043, 718-044) and a Carrera Abarth GTL (1001), with the aim of defeating Scuderia Ferrari’s 250 Testa Rossas.
All three RS60s were powered by the Type 547 engine; however, two cars, 718-043 and 718-044, were equipped with larger 1,606 cc versions – a ploy by Porsche to move into the two-liter class – which allowed a larger 100-liter fuel tank. The most notable feature of the works RS60s, however, was their bodywork, which featured a high rear-deck lid and tall Plexiglas side windows faired into the new FIA-mandated windshield, giving the Spyders the appearance of a low, roofless coupe. This more aerodynamic configuration, combined with the larger-displacement engine, gave the works RS60s a significant advantage over the customer cars; and they were clocked as fast as 145 mph, whereas the fastest standard RS60 could barely reach 138 mph.
For the 24-hour epic, 718-044 served as Porsche’s lead car and was entrusted to Jo Bonnier and Graham Hill. Wearing race no. 33, the RS60 was delayed in the race’s opening laps. But by 6 am, the talented drivers managed to work their way back up to the lead in the two-liter class before a blown gasket caused the engine to fail. As in the 1959 race, the works Porsches were plagued by engine trouble, and both 718-043 and 718-044 failed to finish the race.
The next outing for 718-044 took place at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March 1961, where Porsche’s two works RS60s, 718-043 and 718-044, were joined by six customer cars. For this race, Porsche installed an even larger 1,678 cc engine in 718-044 and entrusted it to Hans Herrmann and Edgar Barth. When the other works RS60, driven by Bonnier and Dan Gurney, retired around the seventh hour, team manager Fritz “Huschke” von Hanstein called in 718-044 and put the faster duo in the car. Unfortunately, Bonnier and Gurney were a bit too fast, and the RS60 retired an hour and a half later with a broken camshaft.
The most memorable race for 718-044 took place at the legendary Targa Florio on April 30, 1961. For this race, the Porsche team fielded three Spyders, all equipped with different engines: 718-043 ran a 1,700 cc engine; 718-044 was equipped with a two-liter Type 587 unit; and 718-047, a works RS61, ran a two-liter, eight-cylinder engine. Interestingly, 718-044 was technically entered by American Lloyd “Lucky” Casner’s Camoradi team, but was prepared and maintained by the Porsche works team.
For the grueling Sicilian race, 718-044 was entrusted to two of the best English drivers, Stirling Moss and Graham Hill. In his book My Cars, My Career, Moss recalled the outstanding nature of the works RS60, stating that it was, “a super car, beautifully well balanced and simply tailor-made for the Targa Florio… That was one morning I woke up and could say to myself, ‘For today’s race you have got the ideal car…’ ”
Moss started the race and, by the time he handed the RS60 over to Hill at the end of his four laps, 718-044 was about a minute and a half ahead of 2nd Place Bonnier in another works Porsche and nearly two minutes ahead of the 3rd Place Ferrari 246 SP driven by Wolfgang von Trips and Olivier Gendebien.
When Hill returned the RS60 to Moss, the Porsche was trailing the Ferrari by more than a minute. Charging over the circuit, Moss managed to take the lead back from the Ferrari and held a 65-second advantage going into the final lap. During the last lap, Moss was on pace to set a course record, and yet, just 5 km from the finish, the Porsche’s differential seized – surely as a result of the two-liter engine’s increased torque. Moss and 718-044 skidded to a stop, giving Ferrari the victory.
The final race for 718-044 as a works entry was at the 1000 Km of Nürburgring in May 1961, where it was equipped with a 1,678 cc engine and driven by Barth and Herrmann. Sadly, the Porsche had to retire after suffering a burned piston early in the race.
After serving the works team for a year, 718-044 was shipped to North America, where Porsche Cars entered it in the Player’s 200 at Mosport. Wearing the same no. 23 as it had at Nürburgring, the RS60 was driven by Bonnier to a 2nd Place finish behind Moss in a 2.5-liter Lotus 19.
Following this strong result at Mosport, 718-044 was sold to Bernhard Vihl of Clifton, New Jersey. Vihl, a successful industrialist, began racing sports cars in the mid-1950s and owned a succession of Porsche Spyders. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Vihl was also the main financial backer of Bob Holbert, whose talent as a driver and enthusiasm for Porsches was instrumental in establishing the marque in the US.
As Holbert raced a number of RSKs, RS60s, and RS61s between 1960 and 1962, many have confused 718-044 with Holbert’s other Spyders, creating discrepancies in its published racing history. As a former works car, 718-044 was the only Holbert car with a dash