1972 Porsche 911
Year of manufacture1972
Chassis number911 230 0013
Number of seats2
1972 Porsche 911S 2.4-Litre Coupé Prototype
Registration no. HGC 659J
Chassis no. 911 230 0013
Engine no. 6320023
A 'modern classic' if ever there was one, Porsche's long-running 911 arrived in 1964, replacing the 356 that had secured the fledgling company's reputation as producer of some the world's finest sporting cars. The iconic 911 would take this reputation to an even more exulted level on both the road and racetrack.
The 356's rear-engine layout was retained but the 911 switched to unitary construction for the bodyshell and dropped the 356's VW-based suspension in favour of a more modern McPherson strut and trailing arm arrangement. In its first incarnation, Porsche's single-overhead-camshaft, air-cooled flat six displaced 1,991cc and produced 130bhp; progressively enlarged and developed, it would eventually grow to more than 3.0 litres and, in turbo-charged form, put out well over 300 horsepower. The first of countless upgrades came in 1966 with the introduction of the 911S. Easily distinguishable by its stylish Fuchs five-spoked alloy wheels, the 'S' featured a heavily revised engine producing 160bhp, the increased urge raising top speed by 10mph to 135mph. A lengthened wheelbase introduced in 1969 improved the 911's sometimes wayward handling, and then in 1970 the engine underwent the first of many enlargements, to 2.2 litres, in which form it produced 180bhp on Bosch mechanical fuel injection when installed in the top-of-the-range 'S' model.
All 911 variants received the 2.4-litre (actually 2,341cc) unit for 1972, by which time the 911S featured the stronger Type 915 five-speed gearbox and 6"x15" alloy wheels as standard. Porsche had already tried a 2.4-litre engine in Le Mans 24-Hour endurance racing, the stretch being achieved by lengthening the stroke, but the impetus for the production unit's introduction came from the USA's ever more stringent emissions laws. This new 911S engine produced 190bhp with increased torque. The most obvious external change from the 2.2-litre models was the addition of a small chin spoiler, adopted to improve high-speed stability, and for the 1972 model only, the outside oil filler on the left rear wing. This was done to move the oil tank forward for improved weight distribution, as with the 1967 911 R competition models. But it was a costly change and only produced for the one model year. Porsche had built 1,430 2.4-litre 911S coupés in 1972/73 by the time production switched to the 2.7-litre model for 1974. The '2.7' was the first 911 to incorporate the large impact-absorbing bumpers, disliked by many purists for whom the '2.4' is the last 'old school' 911 and therefore all the more collectible.
This 911S Coupé prototype was built 'for factory use' in July 1971 (production number '1020004') intended for homologation for the forthcoming 2.4-litre model. It was constructed using a 911T bodyshell with no undercoat and no sound proofing, while anchor points were incorporated for race harnesses. The car was fitted with a standard interior and painted Gulf Orange. Its engine was the new 2.4-litre 911/53 unit to 'S' specification, number '6320023', which was coupled to the new 915/12 gearbox (see AFN Heritage correspondence on file).
This was a 'base car' used to homologate the 1972 street model, and was sent to Schinznach in Switzerland for Swiss TüV homologation reference, after which it was returned to the Porsche Competitions Department in December 1971 to serve as a test and development 'mule'. There it was tested with various 2.7 RS components, a lightweight interior and sports seats, and was used to run a twin-plug motor. The car was road registered in March 1972.
In June 1973 this 911S prototype was sold by the Competitions Department to David Yorke, previous manager of the Lotus Formula 1 team, who at the time was manager of the John Wyer Porsche, Gulf Oil-sponsored endurance racing programme. In October 1973 the car was imported into Belgium by the former coachbuilders D'Ieteren Frères, as evidenced by the Certificate of Conformity on file, and in April 1974 was registered by Andre Herck (as 'AJN 321') for use in Group 3 events. In February 1976 the Porsche was registered in Belgium as 'ADK 075' by the Belgian racing driver Jean-Pierre Gaban. Later that year it contested the Bianchi Rally and the Ypres 24 Hours Rally, being driven by Magalhaes/Erculis to a 6th place finish in the latter event behind the winning Opel Kadett of Walter Röhrl. Gaban continued to enter the Porsche in Group 3 rallies throughout the 1970s. Period photographs showing the Porsche in competition are on file together with results sheets.
In 1990 this Porsche prototype was still in Belgium in Gaban's ownership, and then was sold by Stephan Vigot Motors, Paris to one Fred Hampton in London. A fax on file from O. Lang of Porsche to Mr Hampton confirms the car's prototype status. It then passed to T M Freitag (London/Malaysia) in 1996 and over the course of the following two years was restored by Moto Technique in the UK. It was registered in the UK in 1999 and received FIA HTTP Group IV 2.5 ST papers in 2000. It then competed in the Tour Auto and Tour D'Espagne, and in 2007 was sold to the current owner in Switzerland.
Between 2008 and 2010 the car underwent a complete chassis upgrade and restoration by F Quiblier, a well recognised Swiss specialist. New FIA papers were issued in December 2010. The engine was rebuilt in the autumn of 2013 with a fresh aluminium crankcase and 2.9-litre Mahle cylinders/pistons, and produces circa 270bhp. The twin-plug ignition, high butterfly, SC/RS camshafts, rally air box and ancillaries are period correct. The chassis incorporates all RSR modifications and reinforcements including 917 brakes, which had been FIA homologated in late 1972. With aluminium lids front and rear, and other lightweight components its weight is only approximately 980kg. Over the last four years the car has competed in the Tour Auto, Modena Cento Ore Classic (1st in Group H) and Le Mans Classic (1st Porsche 911, Grid 5). Offered with the aforementioned documentation, a selection of restoration photographs and V5C registration document, '0013' represents a rare opportunity to acquire a Porsche 911 factory prototype with in-period competition history.