King Arthur was clearly the butt of a cruel joke when he was sent on his divine quest to find the Holy Grail back in the 5th century, because it wouldn’t be for another 1,500-odd years that it would actually become a reality. This 1968 911 R, going under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s Monterey between August 13th and 14th, is one of just 20 cars serially produced by Karl Baur for Porsche. The story goes that the 911 R came to be after Ferdinand Piëch adopted Colin Chapman’s mantra of “simplify, then add lightness”, and applied it to the iconic 911.
The 911’s steel body was retained, but all removable panels made way for fibreglass parts, including new lightweight fiberglass front fenders and rear turn signal housings, while the side and rear glass was replaced with plastic. Deep Scheel racing seats among other special Porsche goodies were fitted to what was otherwise a totally stripped-out cabin. To put some bite behind the visual bark, Porsche replaced the 160hp 911 S engine with the magnesium-cased Type 901/22 flat-six racing engine from the 906. Finishing off their lightweight masterpiece, Porsche added special, wider Fuchs wheels under larger fenders. The car you see here, chassis 11899006R, is the 6th of the 20 cars made, and one of 18 to be painted in Light Ivory, the other two being painted custom to order. 006 has undergone quite the journey to reach it’s current pristine condition, having been separated from its engine for over 40 years and in a half-restored state for more than 30. Having reunited the car with its original engine, in late 2015, Cantraine, assisted by some of the best Porsche specialists in Belgium, completed the restoration. Today, 911 Rs are the most highly coveted 911 variant, invariably becoming the crowning-jewel in any collection they enter. If you have the means, and want the ultimate Porsche flex, this is it.