Here at Classic Driver, we tend to fall in love quite quickly with anything green hailing from Stuttgart, so unsurprisingly we’re totally enamoured with this glorious, Irish Green Porsche 904 Carrera GTS that’s going up for auction on February 3rd at Bonhams’ Les Grandes Marques du Monde à Paris.
The first of Porsche’s prototype racers, the 904 emerged after Porsche axed their costly Formula 1 program, turning instead to sports car racing. It featured a ladder frame chassis bonded to a fibreglass body, an idea they likely pinched from Colin Chapman, while it was initially powered by a supremely complex, yet reliable flat-four. The car you see here, chassis no. 904 012, was the second 904 GTS delivered to a customer outside of the works program, and was initially finished in Silver Metallic. Its first owner in California, well-known enthusiast and racing driver, Steve Earle, was so eager to race the car in the 1964 season that he had it flown aboard a Pan America Jet to JFK Airport. Earle never did race the car, instead deciding to sell it on, after which the car enjoyed a lengthy racing career.
It changed hands a number of times, and was even owned by actor and producer Robert Redford, until 1982, when a young Belgian enthusiast named Mr Stefan Talpe bought the car, marking the beginning of a 34-year ownership period. 904 012 underwent an extensive restoration in the 1990s, during which a 2.0-litre 911 engine was sourced and installed — a common, period-correct upgrade as even Porsche itself used these engines in the last 904 GTS’ produced. It was at this time that the car was resprayed in it’s current shade of Irish Green, a period-correct factory colour. The consignor, a prominent collector in Denmark, purchased 904 012 from Mr Talpe in 2016, and subsequently fitted a new clutch. Since then, the car has been enjoyed on gentle drives through the Danish countryside, a tradition we hope the next owner continues wherever the car travels next.