1967 Porsche Typ 911R Chassis No. 118 990 17
Porsche engineer, family member (and recently-retired VW chairman) Ferdinand Piëch originally conceived the 911R model to race in production sport car classes in endurance events and long-distance rallies. Motorsports director Huschke von Hanstein fell in love with the car and believed the company could sell 500 of them, a number that would have positioned it in FIA Group 4 classes where its victories were assured. Marketing didn’t share his enthusiasm for road-going racing cars and they vetoed every proposal he made.
None of that mattered to the car’s inventor. Piëch used this R – for Rennsport – as a test bed for all the ideas he was developing for lightening, strengthening, and quickening the 911. In his typical fashion, he created four prototypes and this led to a “production run” of another 20 cars, assembled in the racing department, outside of the influence of Porsche’s sales staff and marketers.
The 911R’s Typ 910/22 engine was derived from Porsche’s contemporary Typ 906 Carrera 6 endurance racer which itself grew out of the original 911 2-liter flat six. Using light-alloy cylinders, topped with aluminum alloy cylinder heads with twin chain-driven over-head camshafts per bank, the engines developed 210 horsepower at 8,000 rpm. Two electric fuel pumps fed the thirsty triple-throat 46mm Weber downdraft carburetors.
Piëch and his racing mechanics replaced front and rear deck lids, doors, front fenders, and both bumpers with duplicates in fiberglass-reinforced plastic, formed and assembled at Karl Baur works in Stuttgart. Wider rear wheels forced slight flares onto the bodywork. The hinges – doors and deck lids – were in aluminum. Because it was a racing car, engineers shaved windshield thickness to 4mm and side glass was thinned to 2mm. It’s safe to describe a 911R as “interior delete”, because Porsche’s racing shop pulled more content out than it left in. In fact, it was the job of one racing mechanic, Rolf Wütherich, to run a drill press, perforating every pedal, lever, handle, and panel with holes to lighten each by a gram at a time. By the time they finished, the cars weighed just 800 kilograms – 1,764 pounds.
The “production” cars began to compete in late 1967 but they were a secret too well kept. Unsold examples lingered at Zuffenhausen into early 1970. Piëch didn’t care; the cars had served his purposes and answered his questions about how light, strong, and fast Porsche could make a 911. Unfortunately for von Hanstein, however, marketing had been right.
In 1970, Porsche’s testing department sold this example, 017, to Victor Hugo O’Farrill Avila in Mexico. Amazingly, the sales documents and Avila’s importation materials have stayed with the car since 1970. This includes the typed letter that Porsche sent to Avila about the purchase of 017 and informing him that engine had been tuned to maximum preparation.
The engine is a story that is typical of factory—and privateer—racing experiences. As Porsche assembled 911R-017 for sale, it installed engine number 508 0019. But this engine was a factory race-horse and it had been originally in 911R-005, the car that won—outright—the 1970 Tour de France Auto and the Tour de Corse. When 005 returned to the factory, the mechanics pulled the engine to overhaul it, and, after completing that work, installed the engine (508 0019) in R-017.
Mr. Avila sold chassis 017 to Ruben Novoa who raced it at the 6 Hours of Mexico in 1971. Mr. Novoa then sold 017 to Nacho Posada from Puebla Mexico, who continued to compete in 017 at events around Mexico. The car eventually was discovered in southern Mexico towards the Guatemala boarder by a Californian, Dr. Warren Eads. It had been painted green and had extended rear flared wheel arches fitted on it as Nacho Posada had last raced it. Dr. Eads confirmed that it was arduous journey back to the U.S. border while hauling 017 on an open trailer. He confirmed that car came with plenty of spares, and that he and the car were stopped by the Mexican Federal Police on several occasions.
During his research into 017, Dr. Eads was able to confirm with Porsche motor sports mechanic Valentine Schäffer that 017 was indeed one of two 911R’s that had the infamous 916 (four cam) engine installed. (Its infamy arose from its performance charateristics: 230 horsepower at 9,000 rpm, with a usable power band only from 5,000 rpm up.) The testing department had used 017 as one of the test mules until being sold in 1970 to Victor Hugo O’Farrill Avila. This also explains why there is a square cut out in the rear sub frame of the engine bay that Jerry Woods noticed as he installed the motor into 017 during it’s restoration. The cut out is the only way a Typ 916 motor possibly could fit in the engine compartment.
It was restored in the 1990s by Dave Morse of Morspeed fame, where an ultra rare Bosch slide valve injection unit was sourced for the engine that went into the car. Valentine Schäffer also confirmed that 017 was one of the 911R’s that had the Bosch slide valve injection units installed during it’s time in the testing department.
This 1967 Porsche 911R #017 recently was featured in the book Porsche Unexpected – Discoveries in Collecting. It is included in the forthcoming Porsche Racing History.
While these cars are few in number, their contribution to Porsche’s racing history and, indeed, to Porsche’s history, is outsized. The 20 “production” models inspired the creation of the R-Gruppe, an über-enthusiast group of Porsche owners who have modified their 911s to honor what cars such as #017 have accomplished
1967 Porsche Typ 911R
Chassis No. 118 990 17
Engine No. 508 0019
Chassis No. 118 990 17 ownership history:
1970: Sold from Porsche to Victor Hugo O’Farrill Avila (Mexico City)
1971: Ruben Novoa (Mexico) Raced 6 Hours of Mexico
1973: Nacho Posada (Puebla, Mexico) Flares added and painted green
1985: Warren Eads, California
1990: Francisco Guzman Giroud, Lomas Hipodromo, Mexico
Sold through Fantasy Junction
1990: Werner Schoch, Rancho Palos Verdes, California (W. Schoch Porsche Sales Inc.)
1993: Peter Kitchak, Minnesota
2013: The Ingram Collection, North Carolina
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