1968 PORSCHE 911L


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1968 Porsche 911L (Lightweight)

Just a few short years into Porsche’s production of the 911, cars were appearing at all sorts of racing venues around the globe. The desire from private drivers to acquire specialty 911s for racing purposes was growing. In 1967, Porsche created the “Sports Purpose Program.” The idea was to make available to customers specially prepared cars and parts for racing the 911. These cars were used in Europe for rallying, and here in the US for road racing, where they were often referred to as Trans Am cars.

To answer the influx of requests for a competition model, in 1968 Porsche developed a lightweight, racing 911 L specially fitted with the 901/30 engine. The 901/30 engine included 911S camshafts, 9.8 pistons and cylinders, 40IDS carburetors in combination with the 911 normal heads that aided in all-around drivability.

A street legal race car, the 911 Lightweight was competitive in FIA Group 2 classes. Weighing in at a scant 2,381 pounds and combined with the 170hp 901/30 engine, many owners and drivers, loved the 911L for its drivability.

Factory records indicate 28 special 901/30 engines were produced (3880001–3880028) although there is no definitive knowledge of how many cars were built. Today, just 13 of these special 911 Ls are recorded to have been produced.

Each of these competition 911 Lightweight models were outfitted with the rally kit, the sport kit 2, a roll bar, a limited-slip differential, lowered Koni suspension, a leather-covered steering wheel, and “Porsche” side script. Furthermore, the cars were void of sound deadening and undercoating. Final delivery specifications varied from car to car, based on expected use and ultimately the buyer’s requests.

911L Chassis #11810486

In October 1967, John Kelly received a Western Union telegram from Porsche of America stating,

 “Porsche Factory offered us a limited number of modified 911 R Racing car with 210 DIN HP, light body and other racing features. Weight approx 850 kg. Price ex factory US dollar 11,250 plus landed cost expense. If interested please call Monday since cars have to be ordered for December production.”

No more was needed and John Kelly, an SCCA champion familiar with Porsche’s on-track capability, placed an order for one of these special race-built 911s.

The Kardex and certificate of authenticity confirm that chassis “0486” was fitted with 901/30 engine 3880009, a rally kit, a limited-slip differential, a sport kit for “911 L,” a leather steering wheel, a roll bar, low-consistency suspension, Porsche lettering left and right, and a special transmission (9282017) for “race cars on airfields.” Invoiced through Heishman Porsche Audi of Arlington, Virginia, Kelly took delivery of his new Tangerine 911 in March 1968.

Kelly’s intent, no doubt, was to race the 911, but shortly after taking delivery of the car he was hired by Triumph to race TR4s in Group 44 competition. Kelly decided to use the 911 as a daily driver and had it road registered. In 1969, however, Kelly received the opportunity to put the Porsche to competitive use at Marlboro for the Refrigerator Bowl. The car was driven to the event with time for little more than applying race numbers before the green flag dropped. By the second lap the 911 was in the lead, and from there won handily.

For more than a decade, the 911 L remained a driver until finding retirement in Kelly’s garage. In the 1990s, Kelly’s wife Susann Miller caught the vintage racing bug and had the 911 prepped for racing, which included upgrading the original engine to 2.5-liter specifications. The Porsche was raced until 2005, per the log books that accompany the car. Shortly after, the car was sold to the McCaw Brothers Car Collection and subsequently restored by Porsche specialists, Canepa Design. The original engine was completely rebuilt with ported and flowed heads, Carrillo rods, and special factory rally cams. Chassis “0486” was then finished with ‘Deep Six’ and ‘Seven’ R wheels, R seats, and the 100-liter fuel tank.

In 2013 chassis “0486” was purchased at the Gooding and Company auction in Monterey by the current owner. The car has been expertly maintained since and used sportingly as a healthy road car. Furthermore, the car is very well documented with a certificate of authenticity, a copy of the Kardex, a copy of the telegram to Kelly, and the original title and letter from John Kelly about his time with chassis “04686.”

The Porsche remains beautifully presented in its tangerine finish and has a period-correct appearance befitting the special factory-prepared car. Given the rarity of the competition 911 L and its brethren, the 911 R, 911 S/T, and 911 T/R, this is an opportunity to own one of the finer examples of the early racing 911.

Options on Chassis “0486”

9551 Rally Kit:

  • Revaro sports seat or racing bucket seats
  • Rubber mats in place of velour
  • Racing brake system
  • Front bumper lighented (56 Ibs)
  • Gas-electric heater excluded (16 ibs)
  • Motor cylinder head, inlet canals polished, balanced, racing clutch, strengthened motor mounts, higher output generator
  • Foot support for driver’s left foot

9552 Sport Kit for 911L:

  • Engine (901/30) 170 hp
  • Stabilizer bars front and rear 15mm
  • Koni Shocks
  • Dunlop

9592 Airport Gears: 901/52

9535 Roll Bar

9574 Limited Slip Differential

9541 Delete undercoating, savings 22 lbs.

9542 Delete soundproofing, savings 35 Ibs.

Porsche lettering left and Right

Note on references:
(The 911 and 911L were homologated to Group 2 touring, while the T and S were homologated into Group 3 (GT). Further complicating things, the FIA approved of certain S components such as Camshafts carburetors and pistons for the Group 2 911/911L.

Therefore from 1967 to the end of 1969, the Porsche 911 was raced in just about every category you went to see on a Sunday afternoon. (Ref: Michael Cotton – Porsche 911 and derivatives.)

Here is some more information for those who are not so familiar with what the engine number 388XXXX and gearbox number 928XXXXX means. Second digit of the engine number is 8 and then it is a “sondermotoren”, in English specialty engine. Gearbox first figure, in this case is 9 and it is a “sondergetribe” (special gearbox).


•  A Factory-Prepared Competition Example

•  Complete with its Original Engine and Transmission

•  One of Perhaps Just 28 Lightweight Competition Models Produced

•  An Exceedingly Rare and Highly Optioned Early 911

•  Delivered New to Racing Champion John Kelly

•  Raced Only Once at Marlboro and Won

•  Single Ownership Until 2005 and Only Three Owners from New

•  Fastidiously Restored and Prepared by Canepa Design

•  A Well-Documented Example

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1968 PORSCHE 911L