1968 Porsche 9071968 PORSCHE 907 USINE
Year of manufacture1968
1968 PORSCHE 907 USINE
Chassis n° 907-031
Engine n° 907-022
• Exceptional history in the International Championship
• (4th at the Nürburgring 1000 Km in 1968, three entries in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970/71/72 ...)
• One of the most authentic 907s
• Eligible for the top historic events
• Complete ownership chain
• High-quality restoration by leading specialists
It was May 19, 1968, the date of the Nürburgring 1000 Km, the sixth round in the International Championship for Makes. The showdown between Ford and Porsche was at its height: Porsche’s 907s won the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, ahead of the mighty GT40s, which caught up with victories at Monza, Brands Hatch, Spa and Watkins Glen. Porsche bounced back on the Targa Florio, with a win for Elford and Maglioli’s 907. To do battle at the Nürburgring, Porsche entered two 2-litre 907s and two 3-litre 908s.
At the start, Siffert and Elford’s 908 quickly took the lead, followed by the Ford GT40 of Ickx and Hawkins. Behind them, the Porsche 907s of Herrmann/ Stommelen and Neerpasch/ Buzzetta laid in ambush. Stopping for fuel less often, Ickx’s Ford briefly held the lead, but Siffert regained the upper hand, with Herrmann and Stommelen’s 907 right behind him. Neerpasch, driving 907-031 (the car we are presenting), lost time as he nearly ran out of fuel and limped back to the pits, but he held on to fourth place. It began to rain: in the GT40, the Australian driver Paul Hawkins, who had replaced Ickx, was less at ease than his Belgian team-mate, and Neerpasch and Buzzetta took the chance to make up some time. Could they snatch third place from the Ford? John Wyer, Ford’s team manager, sensed things turning against them and told Ickx to get back behind the wheel to defend his position. At the finish, Porsche was triumphant, with a 908 and 907 first and second. Neerpasch and Buzzetta’s 907-031 came home fourth, ahead of several Alfa Romeos and the Ford GT40 of Hobbs/Redman. Finishing less than 5 minutes behind the Ford, they might even have claimed third place, had it not been for running out of fuel...
It is this car, chassis 907-031, that we are offering for sale, and its fourth place in one of the toughest races in the world speaks volumes for its performance and endurance: with its 2.2-litre engine, it could hold its own with a 5-litre V8-engined rival. The Porsche 907-031, the last but one built, left the workshop in Zuffenhausen a month before the race, with the final preparations carried out in May 1968.
After this splendid result at the Nürburgring, the car was serviced and Porsche decided to sell it. A certificate dated 10 January 1969 and signed by Ferdinand Piëch indicates that 907-031 was sold to Alejandro Soler-Roig from Barcelona. Born in 1932, Soler- Roig was an excellent privateer Spanish racing driver, who began his career in 1958 with a Porsche 356. In 1968, he took part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a long tail 907 (907-005). Although he had to retire due to a timing gear problem, he was won over by the car and bought one.
In 1969, he competed with the Porsche 907-031 in several rounds of the International Championship with his team- mate, Rudi Lins. Racing for the Escuderia Nacional CS, the season began with an unfortunate accident at the 24 Hours of Daytona, when the Porsche, caught out in a cloud of smoke after the engine of a Jaguar exploded, was involved in a pile- up with several competitors. But after being sent back to the factory for repairs, the Spanish team recovered at the next race, the 12 Hours of Sebring. The prestigious line-up of cars included several Porsche 908s, as well as the Ferrari 312P, Lola-Chevrolet, Alfa 33 and Ford GT40s. The 907 was 16th in practice, but thanks to a consistent drive in the race and other cars retiring, it finished 4th, a superb result for the best-placed private entry behind the works teams!
At the Brands Hatch 6 Hours, the car was forced to retire, but in June, racing at Jarama for the Spanish Championship, Soler- Roig was the winner, ahead of a Ford GT40 and another Porsche 907.After taking delivery of a 908/3 in 1969 and ordering a Porsche 917 from the factory the following year, Soler-Roig no longer used the Porsche 907-031. It was sold in 1970 to the Wicky Racing Team. André Wicky was a Swiss driver who began his career at the Ollon-Villars hill climb in 1956 with a Triumph TR3 and drove at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on ten occasions between 1960 and 1974.
In 1966 and 1967, he stood out driving a Porsche 906; then, with the Wicky Racing 907-031, he competed in some 20 races in 1970 (sometimes letting other drivers take the wheel, such as Gérard Larrousse for the Trophée Paul Ricard). For 1970, 1971 and 1972, Wicky Racing continued to race the car with various drivers, the most regular of them being Peter Mattli. 907-031 raced at Le Mans in 1970 with the number 61, driven by Hanrioud and Wicky himself, but retired during the 17th hour. From 1971, after buying his new 908/3, Wicky no longer drove the 907 himself, but entrusted it to other experienced drivers. As can be seen from a copy of the weighing records from the ACO archives, in 1971 Wicky entered the car at Le Mans with Brun and Mattli driving, competing in the Prototype category. The only car with a smaller engine was the Lola T212 of Enever/Stewards. This time, regularity was their goal.
It paid off: 14th at the half-way mark, the 907, equipped this time with the 6-cylinder engine (no. 907-030), finished 7th, just 381m behind the Porsche which won the GT category! It came first in the Sport Prototype category and first in its class (1601-2000cc). In 1972, it finished 18th at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the racing number 24 (Mattli/Bayard/ Brun). Still in 1972, Mattli and his co-driver Hervé Bayard won their class in the 1000km of Monza in driving rain. It is incredible to think that the car was still so competitive, four years after leaving the factory.
After a long racing career which took it to the United States and Africa as well as Europe, its first life came to an end in the middle of 1973. During the second half of the 1970s, the Wicky Racing Team sold some of its ‘old cars’ which were no longer competitive. Its two 910s were sold to an American collector, while Albert Eggs, a Swiss collector from the Valais canton, bought 907-031 from Wicky.
We were able to speak to Eggs’ wife, who confirmed that, shortly afterwards, her husband also bought Wicky’s 908/2 #10 from him. A collector with a passion for racing Porsches and BMWs, Eggs had the car restored before displaying it at a small local show at Sierre in the Valais in May 1979. As the 907 had a six- cylinder engine, Eggs acquired a type 771/8 flat-eight from Wicky, but this transaction resulted in Eggs and Wicky falling out. In 1983, Eggs advertised the 907 for sale in issue 17 of the magazine Auto Motor Sport. It was then that the car was sold to its current owner, Ernst Schuster. A high-level amateur racing driver, Schuster took part in the 1986 endurance racing season, driving a Porsche 936 C, and finished sixth overall at Le Mans.
A collector of timepieces as well as cars, he was particularly demanding and selective with regard to the origin of the gems in his collection, at a time when most collectors applied far less strict criteria. Fascinated by the history of the race at Le Mans, he decided to establish a collection of the most iconic GTs and Porsche prototypes, with the idea of being able to use them. As the 917 seemed to him too heavy and complex, he opted for the 8-cylinder prototypes and, in particular, chassis 907-031.
For the 907, it was no longer a question of ‘modern’ races, but of competing in historic events.
As with his watches, he decided in the mid-1990s to entrust the car to the best specialists in the model. The complete chassis, body and running gear were duly sent to Butch Dennison, an American restorer from outside Seattle, renowned for his work on top- flight racing cars. The fibreglass bodywork was restored by Robert Hatchman, from the Autocraft workshop in Oregon, a specialist in Porsche prototypes from the period. Meanwhile, the 8-cylinder engine (no. 907-022) was tackled by Gustav Nietsche and Valentin Schäffer. Nicknamed ‘Turbo- Valentin’, Schäffer was a former Porsche engineer, while Nietsche had been a mechanic for the firm. The work was carried out over four years, from 1991 to 1995, and the car was ready for the Tour Auto Historique in April 1995. This marked the start of its second career, in historic motorsport, including one entry in the Le Mans Classic.
The 907 marked an important turning point for Porsche. Introduced for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1967, the model aimed not only at winning its category, as the 906 and 910 (referred to as the 906/10 by the factory) had done countless times, but also outright victory in the races for the World Endurance Championship. For example, to improve its chances of success, Ferdinand Piëch relocated the driver’s seat on the right, as this gave an advantage on racetracks. The first 907s were ‘long tail’ (LH or Langheck) versions, with a 6-cylinder 2-litre engine, and the model got off to a good start, finishing 5th at Le Mans in 1967, at an average speed of over 200kph, behind the 7-litre Fords and 4-litre Ferraris. The following year, Porsche took advantage of the changes to the regulations, which limited the capacity for Prototypes to 3 litres and for the Sports category to 5 litres, so excluding the Ford GT40 Mk IIs and Ferrari P4s. Ready from the start of the season, the 907s – now fitted with a more powerful 2.2-litre 8-cylinder engine (280bhp) – took the first three places at the 24 Hours of Daytona. It was a small step for the 907 to evolve into the 908, with the 8 cylinder engine bored out to 3 litres. After narrowly missing out to Ford for the world title in 1968, Porsche won it for the first time in 1969, thanks to the 908. The 907 thus marked the company’s first step towards the domination that continued with the 917 in 1971 and 1972.
Altogether, 21 examples of the Porsche 907 were built: six in 1967 and fifteen in 1968; The last twelve were the more versatile short tail models. In 1968, the 907 was the overall winner of three rounds of the championship: the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Targa Florio.
The car offered for sale, no. 907-031, with its clear and well-established history, is the penultimate 907 (the final production chassis number being 907-032), built as a short tail version with a 2.2-litre 8-cylinder engine developing 270bhp. It comes with a file providing full details of its history, a summary of its race results and copies of the weighing records from the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970, 1971 and 1972 from the ACO archives, as well as copies of papers from the Porsche factory describing its set-up for its first race at the Nürburgring. The car can also be seen with its yellow nose in a photograph taken in 1968 at the factory in Zuffenhausen, among a group of 911s, in the presence of Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand Piëch, Peter Porsche and Butzi Porsche.
Very well looked after since its restoration, it is part of the remarkable saga which saw Porsche reach the highest level of motorsport. With its splendid racing history and 4th place at the Nürburgring, it has gone down in the annals of motorsport. It is eligible for the top historic events worldwide, where its presence will certainly not go unnoticed. This 907 is an exceptional car, and there can be no doubt that its next owner will feel a tremendous sense of emotion when they get behind its wheel.
Photo © Peter Singhof
The auction of this lot will take place on Friday 18 March 2022.