70YEARS OF PORSCHE
The Sixties is the decade when Porsche truly consolidated its reputation as a young, vibrant and thrusting company, a model of earnest efficiency and laid-back accomplishment, producing road cars to die for, and endurance race cars that could take on the world – and win. It’s the decade that began with the 356A morphing into the 356B, along with numerous class wins in long-distance racing, and the advent of the 911 – a model so desirable it’s still in production 55 years later.
The 1960s was also an incredible decade in Porsche’s racing history, beginning with the 718 RSK and ending with the 917. In the early ’60s Porsche’s reputation was that of giant killer, its small-capacity engines and diminutive chassis on occasion toppling the way more powerful Brits and Italians in the endurance arena, but almost inevitably one or other of the stalwarts on the driver roster came away with a class win.
As the decade matured through Beatle Mania, Mods, Rockers, Hippies and Flower Power, Porsche resolutely and inexorably conquered the World Sportscar racing scene with an increasingly powerful line-up of prototypes: the 904, 906, 910, 907, 908 and, finally, the piece de resistance, the 917. Words: Johnny Tipler Photos: Porsche Picture Archive
•The 356B is in production as Coupé, Cabriolet (bodies made by Reutter), Speedster (bodies made by D’ieteren) and Carrera models.
•Stirling Moss leads a Porsche 1-2-3 in an F2 race at Aintree, driving Rob Walker’s 718, while Jo Bonnier and Graham Hill are 2nd and 3rd in works 718s. The factory offers Rob Walker a 718 Formula 2 car to run for Stirling Moss in 1960. Stirling takes pole position and sets the lap record at Syracuse, but retires with valve trouble when leading after 26 laps. At the Brussels Grand Prix, Stirling finishes 2nd and takes the lap record. Then he wins the Aintree 200 and sets fastest lap, also winning the Austrian F2 race at Zeltweg on 18th September, and in December he takes pole position and comes 1st at Killarney, South Africa, followed by the South African Grand Prix at East London.
•There are several more successes in Formula 2. One such is the F2 Solitude Grand Prix on 24th July, a 20-lap cut-andthrust thrash on a mini-nordschleife, totalling 228kms. Porsche fields five 718-2s for Jo Bonnier, Graham Hill, Hans Herrmann and Dan Gurney, with Rob Walker’s car for John Surtees in Stirling Moss’s absence. Though von Trips’ Ferrari takes the win by just 4.0sec, Porsches fill the next four places, in the order Herrmann, Bonnier, Graham Hill and Gurney, beating Jim Clark’s Lotus and Phil Hill’s Ferrari, and thus Porsche takes the 1960 F2 Championship title.
•Commissioned by Porsche to produce 20 special-bodied lightweight 356 race cars, Abarth hires designer Franco Scaglione to draw the body and engages Torinese Carrozzeria, Viarenzo & Filliponi, to create them. The aluminium shelled car’s overall height is reduced by 5.2in to 47.2in, the width narrowed by 4.7in to 61in, bringing the frontal area down by 15 per cent to produce a drag coefficient of 0.365, or 0.376 with the engine lid’s characteristic cooling vent open. At 1760lb, weight is 100lb less than the Reutter-bodied 356 GT, yet still 50lb above the minimum weight limit. The first car is delivered in February 1960, but Porsche engineers need to lower the seating position quite radically in order to find sufficient headroom for the driver, while the front wheel arches are so tight there is little clearance for the wheels. Once the snags are overcome, production is handed over to Turin-based Carrozzeria Rocco Motto. Porsche is sufficiently pleased with the product that Snr Motto is offered his own workshop premises at Zuffenhausen, though he turns them down
on the basis that Turin is a better working environment for his 45 artisans and three metal hammers. While chassis 1013 and 1018 are retained as works race cars, the rest of the 21 Abarth Carrera GTLS are delivered to private customers, including Porsche stalwarts Paul Strähle and Auguste Veuillet. Chassis 1001 runs at Le Mans in 1960 as the works entry and places 6th overall in the hands of Herbert Linge/heini Walter, covering 2249.21 miles and averaging 93.71mph for 24 hours. Power comes from the 1588cc flat-four Carrera engine, developing 135bhp, with two Solex carbs and allied to the four-speed transmission.
•Jo Bonnier/hans Herrmann win the Targa Florio in a 718 RS60. Introduced in 1959, the 718 RS60/61 evolves from Porsche’s mid-engined two-seater 550 Spyders from the late ’50s, built around a steel tube-frame chassis and clad in curvaceous aluminium bodywork, with torsion-bar front and wishbone rear suspension. Powerplant is the four-cam Carrera 1.6-litre (1588cc) flat-four, with works racers running 1679cc and 1967cc units in 1961 and, in 1963, fitted with 1988cc flat-eights. In total, 22 RS60 Spyders, 17 RS61 Spyders and three RS61 Le Mans coupés were built.
•By 1961 Porsche has already won the Targa Florio outright three times, and treats the event extremely seriously. This year they come mob-handed, with three 718 RS61 race cars, plus one for training, and one 356 Abarth-carrera, two 356 Carreras and a Super 90 S for learning the circuit. Stirling Moss leads the race in his works RS61 until its rear axle gives up, just 8km from the finish. Though von Trips’ Ferrari is handed the win, Porsche RS61S are 2nd and 3rd – helmed by Bonnier/gurney and Herrmann/barth.
•A month after leading the Targa Florio, Stirling Moss drives his own Camoradi race team’s RS61 at the Nürburgring on May 28th in the 1000kms, with Graham Hill as co-driver. Running 1.7-litre engines, all the works Porsches are shod with Dunlop SP road tyres, which work well in the wet. Several big names are in contention – Clark, Phil Hill, Von Trips, the Rodriguez brothers, Ginther, Gregory, and in the rain, Moss moves up to 2nd overall and commands the under 2.0-litre class. After its demise, team manager Huschke von Hanstein orders Moss and Hill to take over the 356 Carrera coupé of Linge and Greger to wrest the class honours from Lotus, and they finish 8th overall.
•For the 1962 model year the 356B Super 75 front lid is significantly widened at the bottom with a fuel tank cap in the right hand front wing. Two vertical ventilation grilles are integrated in the enlarged engine lid.
•The slimline flat-8-powered 804 F1 car is tested at Hockenheim in March 1962. Four cars built; Dan Gurney drives one to victory in the F1 French Grand Prix at Rouen. At season’s end, Ferry Porsche decides that Grand Prix racing is too expensive and not cost-effective, publicity-wise, compared with successes in endurance racing, and so Porsche quits F1.
•The 50,000th Porsche rolls off the assembly line, a 356B.
•The lightweight Type 356B 2000 GS and GS/GT is introduced, also known as the Carrera 2.
•Porsche acquires the Reutter coachworks company, a contributory fiscal factor in the decision to stop doing F1.
•Bob Holbert wins the US National Championship title with wins at Lime Rock, Bridgehampton and Watkins Glen in his RS61. Five decades later the car is bought by Sir Stirling Moss.
•The type 718/8 wins the 2.0-litre class at Le Mans (8th overall) despite losing a rear wheel (Edgar Barth pushes it to the pits). The flat-8 engine stems from the marque’s F1 foray the previous year.
•Jo Bonnier/carlo Mario win the Targa Florio in a 718 GTR.
•The 2.0-litre 356B Carrera GS/GT “Dreikantschaber” runs at the Targa Florio. By 1963/’64, the 356 is a spent force in competition terms, though the Carrera Abarth and its exotic sibling, the 356B 2000 GS Carrera GT “Dreikantschaber” (named after the triangular scraper used by painters and decorators) are still in action: at the Daytona 2000kms the 356B Abarth GTL of Don Streeter/mike Kurkjan is 13th overall, while at Sebring the 2.0 Porsche 365B Abarth GTL of Chuck Cassel/ Don Sesslar comes 12th overall and 2nd in class. On 31st May the Porsche 365B 2000GS of Günther Klass/sepp Greger finishes 15th and 8th in class at the Nürburgring 1000kms.
•In 1963, Porsche sets out to design a completely new car in order to maintain their stronghold in the under 2.0-litre GT racing class. Its inception is partly in response to the introduction of the Alfa Romeo TZ (Tubolare Zagato) and Abarth’s 1600 OT (Omologata Turismo), designed specifically to contest the FIA GT class. For homologation purposes, they need to build at least 100 units of the new car in twelve months, and as far as Porsche is concerned, the new model will have to be a road-going model because they’ll be unlikely to sell 100 full-on race cars. As a street-legal car it still conforms to Group 3 Appendix J rules. The firm’s Formula 1 programme is sacrificed to free up internal resources to design and develop the 904, on the assumption that the development costs of the GT racer will be recouped by sales. Porsche's engineers start off with a clean sheet for the 904 because the tubular spaceframe construction previously employed in the Type 718 and RS60/61 would be too expensive and timeconsuming for a production car. The 718’s mid-engined layout is carried over, so that the Fuhrmann four-cam flat-four is mounted between cockpit and rear axle on a steel ladder-frame chassis, and clad with glassfibre body panels. Ferry 'Butzi' Porsche, grandson of founder Prof Ferdinand Porsche and designer of the 911, is responsible for the design of the plastic body. He includes some styling cues and
the windscreen of the 718 in the design, and fabrication of the body panels is outsourced to aircraft manufacturer Heinkel who mould two bodies a day, while Porsche manage a single chassis a day. Heinkel’s methodology involves spraying chopped glassfibre into moulds rather than the laying up method employed by makers such as Lotus and TVR at the time. The 904’s upper and lower bodyshell panels are bonded onto the ladder chassis, a configuration that proves to be more rigid than the previous spaceframe chassis. The original plan is to install the brand new 2.0-litre flat-six engine, designed for the forthcoming 901/911, but it isn’t ready when Porsche needs to present the 904 for homologation, so the 1966 cc Type 587/3 180bhp quad-cam 356 Carrera 2 engine is used instead, allied to the road car’s new five-speed gearbox. Suspension consists of coil springs and dampers rather than trailing arm front and swing-axle rear suspension, with unequal-length A-arms at the front. Brakes are 275mm (10.8in) discs at front and 285mm (11.2in) at the rear. Three 904 prototypes are constructed and tested during autumn 1963, and the car is unveiled in late November. Within the factory it is referred to by its '904' type number, but at launch it is marketed as the 'Carrera GTS'. Their confidence is not misplaced: a fortnight after introduction only 20 of the 90 units slated for public consumption are unsold. Production starts soon afterwards in the new 901/11 plant, and by April 1964 the 904 is homologated as a Grand Turismo race car. In September 1963 Porsche presents the 901 at the IAA in Frankfurt, billed as a successor to the Porsche 356.
•For model year 1964, the 356C replaces the 356B. The range of engines is reduced to three as the 60bhp variant is discontinued, while the 75bhp 1600 Super is the entry-level engine. Range-topping engine is the 130bhp 356C 2000 GS Carrera. Visually, flatter hub caps lack the Porsche Crest, because all 356 models are now equipped with disc brakes as standard.
•Porsche 904 GTSS finish 7th, 8th, 11th, 12th and 13th at the Le Mans 24-Hours.
•Colin Davis/antonio Pucci win the Targa Florio in a 904 GTS. The works 904GTSS make their European debut at the Sicilian enduro on 26th April ’64, driven by Colin Davis (an ex-pat Brit racer who lives in Rapallo) and Baron Antonio Pucci from Palermo, for five laps each of the 72km Piccolo Madonie circuit, chassis 904-006 (race number 86) outlasts both its prototype siblings around the sinuous mountain course, not to mention the host of Alfas, works Ferraris, debutant GT40 and sundry AC Cobras. After Davis sets fastest lap at 41m 10.5s, Pucci puts the car in the lead on its 7th lap, and they’re followed home by a second works 904 driven by Herbert Linge and Gianni Balzarini. This is regarded as an outstanding success, since the 904 is essentially the company’s first customer racing car, and they’ve proved it’s a winner from the outset.
•Launched at the Paris motor show, the Type 901 prefigures the 911’s imminent introduction, with 82 units built prior to change of designation to 911.
•Eugen Böhringer and co-driver Rolf Wütherich (who survived James Dean’s fatal crash in the 550 Spyder) place their 904GTS 2nd overall in January ’65’s Monte Carlo Rally. Despite being a road-going racing car rather than a front-wheel drive rally saloon like the winning Mini-cooper and the following Saab 96s and Citroën DSS, Böhringer slides the 904GTS through blizzards and thick snow over the Col de Turini, checking in at the finish with no penalties incurred on the mountain stages.
•The flat-four 912 is introduced as a new entry-level model, powered by the 1.6-litre flat-four engine from the 356SC.
•Newly introduced flat-6 engines take 904s to 4th and 5th overall at Le Mans, with Herbert Linge/peter Nöcker in 4th place. The three engine configurations, flat-4, 6 and 8, all approximately 2.0-litres: 1967.7cc, 1984.5cc, 1990cc respectively.
•New rules prompt Porsche to build 65 units of the 906 for homologation in the Sports category. Following on from the ladder-frame 904, the Carrera Six with its mid-mounted flat-six engine is built on a multi-tubular spaceframe chassis, reverting to earlier practice. Like the 904, it is clad in a crudely made glassfibre body, though unlike the 904, the 906’s broader, flatter shape stems from wind-tunnel tests. In 1966 Porsche is looking to participate in the new Group 4 category for competition sports cars whilst continuing to produce the prototypes that hone the breed. That means producing a minimum of 50 identical machines, and by April 1966 the Carrera Six 906’s homologation papers are stamped. The 906 is Porsche’s last streetlegal racing car. Taking advantage of its stock of 904 componentry, the 906 is fitted with unequal length wishbones and coilspring damper units at the front and wishbones, twin forward-facing radius arms and coil-spring damper units at the rear, with braking by Ate-dunlop disc brakes all round. The 15in, five-stud steel wheels are shod with Dunlop racing tyres, 5.25/10.5015 on the back and 4.75/10.00-15 on the front. Power is provided by a muchmodified, dry-sumped 2.0-litre 911 flat-six, based on a magnesium crankcase rather than aluminium, with new cylinders, pistons, titanium conrods and valve-gear, fed by two banks of three twin-choke downdraught Weber carbs. At Le Mans, long-tail versions of the 906 place 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th overall.
•Porsche debuts the 906 Carrera 6 at the ’66 Daytona 24-Hours, Hans Herrmann/herbert Linge placing 6th overall, and soon afterwards Willy Mairesse/herbie Muller win the Targa Florio in a 906.
•The ‘hot’ 911S is introduced. The 2.0litre S’s 1991cc flat-six is fed by two banks of Weber three-barrel carbs, enabling 168bhp at 6600rpm and producing 179Nm torque at 5200rpm. It’s good for 143mph, with a 0-to-60mph time of 7.5sec.
•On February 4th 1967 Vic Elford wins the first-ever Rallycross event in concessionaire AFN’S 911 demonstrator, televised from Lydden Hill circuit in Kent as he mauls the works Lotus Cortinas.
•The 911R is the factory-built racing version of the production 911 and is the weapon of choice for works and privateer teams. Just 20 examples of this austere, 830kg lightweight 911 are assembled by Baur at Stuttgart. Porsche engineers offer a case of champagne to Baur’s bodybuilders if they can get the car’s weight below 900kg, achieved by replacing steel panels with glassfibre and glazed windows with Perspex: they get the fizz!
•Vic Elford wins four major events: the Geneva Rally, Tulip Rally, Lyon sCharbonnières, and the 84-Hour "Marathon de la Route" event on the Nürburgring – all achieved in the works 911S, SYS847, fitted with Sportomatic transmission for the Marathon.
•Five-spoke Fuchs wheels are fitted on S models. Iconic classic Porsche wheels, they are still in demand today.
•The “Soft-window” Targa version is launched.
•The 910 is similarly specified to the 906 – with 2.0-litre flat-six and 2.2-litre flat-8 engines – but in a more rounded shell and running on 13in wheels. in 1967, Porsche make 22 units of the 910, powered by the 220bhp 2.0-litre (1991cc) flat-six and 13 cars fitted with the 260bhp flat-eight in 2195cc and 1981cc format, of which seven are coupés and six are spyders.
•Porsche introduces the aerodynamic 907 prototype, running 2.0-litre flat-6 engines; Jo Siffert and Hans Herrmann place 5th overall at Le Mans, averaging 125.06mph (201.27kph) over the 24 hours, the first time a Porsche has achieved such a high average speed here. Two 2.0-litre 910s also run at Le Mans, with Rolf Stommelen/jochen Neerpasch finishing 6th overall.
•The factory races the 910 in the prototype category, with Hans Herrmann/jo Siffert coming 4th overall in the Daytona 24Hours – on the same set of Dunlops – and Gerhard Mitter/scooter Patrick 3rd overall at Sebring. For the Targa Florio, six 910s are dispatched – three flat-sixes and three flat-eights, all fuel injected – and they scoop the first three places: Paul Hawkins/rolf Stommelen win with a 2.2-litre 8-cylinder car, Leo Cella/giampiero Biscaldi were 2nd and Jochen Neerpasch/vic Elford 3rd. At the Nürburgring 1000Kms, 910s fill the first four places, and for the BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch there are five 910s present, and Jo Siffert/bruce Mclaren finish 3rd.
•In January, Vic Elford wins the Monte Carlo Rally with David Stone in a 911.
•New FIA rules for Prototypes called for up to 3.0-litre engines: Porsche scores its first 24-hour race win at Daytona with a trio of long-tail 907s crossing the finish line three abreast.
•Four 908s and one 907 powered by 3.0-litre flat-8s run at Le Mans, Dieter Spöerry/rico Steinemann placing 2nd overall, with Stommelen/neerpasch 3rd.
•Vic Elford/umberto Maglioli win the Targa Florio in a 907 short-tail coupe, followed by the Nürburgring 1000kms.
•The 911T (Touring) is introduced as the entry-level model; its predecessor is now called the 911L.
•Sportomatic transmission is available as an option.
•Although 911R powered by the Carrera 6 engine is Porsche’s intended sportscar racer, the FIA fail its homologation and the R is obliged to run with the prototypes. When the FIA reclassify the 911T into the same category as the 911S in 1968, Porsche create the 911 TR. (R stands either for Race or Rally.) Weighing 52kg less than the S and capable of running a more powerful engine, the TR is the better chassis to go racing with. Customers can specify lightweight aluminium or glassfibre closure panels, though some retain the allsteel chassis and regular thickness glass. Weight is generally kept to a minimum by ordering thinner glass and Plexiglas in some cases, with 25kg of sound deadening excluded. Of the two available engine options, the ‘economy model’ is the standard 160bhp flat-six from the 911S, embellished with the Rally pack’s larger carburettor venturii, open inlet trumpets and twin pipe exhaust, boosting output to 180bhp. While the 2.0-litre 911R is a paredto-the-bones lightweight, the 911 TR is homologated as a Group 3 GT car – that’s to say, highly modified but much less so than the R.
•Porsche inherits the mid-engined 914 project it’s been tasked with building from Volkswagen, unveiled at the ’68 Frankfurt motor show.
•The 911L is renamed the 911E and equipped with fuel injected engines E = Einspritzung).
•Swedish duo Bjorn Waldegård and co- driver Lars Helmér win the Monte Carlo Rally in a works 911T, with team-mates Gérard Larousse and Jean-claude Perramond classified in 2nd place in a similar car.
•The 908/3 is introduced at a time when Porsche is under enormous pressure to start racing the 917s. They are racing 908s in long-tail and short-tail forms, whilst simultaneously building a car specially for two particular races, the Nürburgring 1000ms and the Targa Florio: the 908/3.
•The 908 coupé of Hans Herrmann and Gerard Larrousse comes a close 2nd at Le Mans, 100m behind the winning GT40, after 24 hours’ racing. The 917 makes its Le Mans debut in the hands of Vic Elford and Richard Attwood, leading the race until clutch failure puts it out in the 21st hour.
•Gerhard Mitter/udo Schutz come 1st in the Targa Florio in a 908/2.
•Jo Siffert runs a 917 Spyder in the CanAm series.
•The 2.0-litre flat-six is superseded by the 2.2-litre flat-six engine for the 1970 model year.
•For 1970 model year production 911s, the wheelbase is lengthened by 57mm, while the floorpan, longitudinal members, wheel arches and pans are galvanised, the first move in a bid to hold corrosion at bay. PW
Above left: Graham Hill and Huschke von Hanstein at Montlhery in 1960. Left: Porsche’s 1960 production 356B, available as a Coupe, Cabriolet and Speedster. Above: F2 race at Aintree 1960, where Stirling Moss led a Porsche 1-2-3 victory
Porsche dominated endurance racing in the 1960s. Top right: Stirling Moss at the Nürburgring 1000kms in 1961 and again on the Targa Florio (middle)
Right: 356 Carrera 2 on the Midnight Sun Rally, 1962, driven by Bernd Jannson. Dan Gurney took Porsche’s first F1 race win at Rouen in 1962
Above left: 904s under construction. This was quite a radical departure for Porsche, and sophisticated for the time. Above: Edgar Barth hops aboard a 718 W-RS at Le Mans, 1963
Jo Bonnier/carlo Mario winning the 1963 Targa Florio in a 718 GTR
Top left: Ferry Porsche with secretary Helene, with the new Porsche 901 in 1964, which was previewed at Paris Motor Show. 82 901s were built before change of name to 911. Above: 904s finished 7th, 8th, 11th, 12th and 13th at Le Mans in 1964
The start of something big! The 911 arrived fully formed in 1965 in 2litre, flat-six form. A four cylinder version, called the 912, was introduced also
Above: New Porsche 906 at Le Mans in 1966 driven by Hans Herrmann and Herbert Linge. Right: 906 winning the 1966 Targa with Willy Mairesse and Herbert Muller
Right: The 911 range starts to evolve with introduction of the Targa in 1967. No prizes for guessing the inspiration behind that name!