Porsche 911 2.2 S

Bought new by a lottery win­ner, this road car be­came a top Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car racer be­fore a crash ended its ca­reer. Since then it’s been lost, found and re­stored

Classic Cars (UK) - - Welcome - Words STE­WART PERRY Pho­tog­ra­phy ROSS PERRY

Bought new in 1969 by lottery win­ner Lau­rie Rogers

Alan Hamil­ton, an Aus­tralian rac­ing leg­end, was the dealer who sold this Porsche to its first owner, Lau­rie Rogers. Says Hamil­ton, ‘Lau­rie was a friend from school days. He worked in the lost-prop­erty of­fice of the Mel­bourne Metro Tramways un­til he won AU$60,000 on the lottery.

‘Af­ter his big win, he came to see me and said he wanted to buy a Porsche be­cause he had al­ways wanted to have one. I re­fused to sell him a car. I said to him, “This win is your big break­through, make the most of it!” AU$60K was big money back then.

‘Later I got a phone call from Ralph Lowe, the lo­cal Fer­rari im­porter. He said, “I have a bloke here called Lau­rie Rogers who wants to or­der a Dino Fer­rari be­cause you won’t sell him a Porsche.”

‘In those days Fer­raris didn’t have a good rep­u­ta­tion for re­li­a­bil­ity, so I spoke to Lau­rie and I said to him, “For God’s sake don’t spend your money on a Fer­rari, have some­thing worth own­ing that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.” So he or­dered a new 911S.’

Lau­rie stuck just about ev­ery op­tion known to man on his 911, in­clud­ing the sun­shine roof, a ra­dio, tinted win­dows and fog lights. He fin­ished up with the most ex­pen­sive 911S ever or­dered to Aus­tralia at that time.

But the Porsche was soon to see a trans­for­ma­tion from a road car to a racer, as Hamil­ton ex­plains. ‘At the end of 1969 I had de­cided to sell my or­ange 911TR race car and Lau­rie de­cided he wanted to own that in­stead of the 911S. So he part-ex­changed the 911S for the 911TR, which put the 911S back on the show­room floor.

‘I had done pretty well in my Or­ange 911TR, which cre­ated quite a bit of in­ter­est from other driv­ers to run Porsches in the ATCC for 1970. Brian Fo­ley called me, want­ing to or­der a 911S for the 1970 sea­son, but there were no more new 911S mod­els avail­able so he fin­ished up buy­ing Lau­rie Rogers’ old car and turn­ing it into a his race car for 1970. It was a bit of a shame be­cause it was the nicest 911S in the coun­try at the time. Brian and the team filled in the sun­roof with a piece of alu­minium pop-riv­eted in place, which made it easy to iden­tify when cur­rent owner Ian Hen­der­son res­cued it.’

Brian Fo­ley buys it for AU$18,000 for the 1970 sea­son

Brian Fo­ley takes up the tale. ‘In Aus­tralia, 1970 was the first year you could get spon­sor­ship from some­one

other than the man­u­fac­turer or maybe an oil com­pany to race in Aus­tralian Tour­ing Cars. Up un­til that point I had been rac­ing Mi­nis with help from BMC and the oil com­pa­nies. For the 1970 sea­son I was able to get some money from Roth­mans un­der the Ch­ester­field name.

‘I dis­cussed the Porsche op­tion with them and they liked the idea of a pres­tige car which promised to be both fast and re­li­able, so we agreed on the 911. Shortly af­ter­wards I con­tacted Alan Hamil­ton, made the trip down from Syd­ney to Mel­bourne and bought my­self this 2.2-litre 911. I think I paid AU$18,000 for it.

‘I took the car to David Mckay’s Scud­e­ria Ve­loce work­shop where Bob Atkin worked on the car with me. Bob fit­ted all the fac­tory per­for­mance bits to the en­gine, giv­ing it 220bhp and al­low­ing it to run for the whole sea­son without a re­build. Be­cause of the reg­u­la­tions of the day we could lighten the car, fit mag­ne­sium wheels and so on. The fact that it was ac­cepted as a Tour­ing Car to start with was a bit of a break­through, plus we light­ened it quite a bit so the power to weight ra­tio was pretty good.’

The 911’s most dis­tinc­tive fea­tures were added next. ‘Af­ter Bob Atkin did the en­gine, we took it over to Freddy Gib­son’s Road and Track shop where we flared the whee­larches out and put the Minilite wheels on.

Some 911 at­tributes proved dif­fi­cult to han­dle on track though, ex­plains Fo­ley. ‘In 1970 they were very re­stric­tive with changes to sus­pen­sion pick-up points and such. It was quite a prob­lem be­cause the rear wheels used to change cam­ber, cas­tor, toe in and toe out as you ac­cel­er­ated and came out of cor­ners. It was a bit of a hand­ful. The rules were re­laxed in the fol­low­ing years, and own­ers could make their way around it, but for 1970 we were stuck with it.

‘We ran the car at War­wick Farm a cou­ple of times; it also went to Bathurst, Mal­lalah and Wa­na­roo. We were pro­mot­ing Ch­ester­field Fil­ter in those days, so we were pre­pared to travel quite a bit. The big thing about the Porsche was that it did prove to be re­li­able.

As a racer, Fo­ley re­mem­bers, the car had good and bad points. ‘It was very quick off the line, and the top speed was quite good – it was timed half­way down Bathurst straight at 140mph. At those speeds it got a lit­tle light over the bumps on Con­rod Straight – you could ac­tu­ally hear it los­ing trac­tion slightly over the big­ger ones. On one lap it got quite out of shape and it took me about half a mile to get the thing straight again – it scared the day­lights out of me!

‘The prob­lem was, you could drive it at nine tenths, then nine point one... then nine point two... then nine point three... and then whoosh! – it would bolt on you. With the Alfa Romeo GTAM I ran in 1971, you could drive at 110 per cent and when you reached the limit it just un­der­steered or over­steered, then you could slow down a lit­tle bit and go quicker. The Alfa was quicker at War­wick Farm with its 2.0-litre en­gine in 1971 than the 2.3-litre Porsche was in 1970. You could press on without the fear that the thing would bite you, which was not the case with the Porsche.’ Time to off­load it...

Jim Palmer buys it in 1971 to race in New Zealand

Jim Palmer was the next owner, which meant the 911S did a bit of an is­land hop. Says Palmer, ‘I had been sin­gle-seater rac­ing for quite a while, but I had enough of it and wanted to get into Tour­ing Cars. I thought about To­ranas and Monaros, but at that time we had the Porsche fran­chise for New Zealand so I thought rac­ing one might get us some in­ter­est in the brand.

‘We saw Mck­e­own and Fo­ley were run­ning them in Aus­tralia, then Alan Hamil­ton men­tioned that Brian was sell­ing his. I flew over to Syd­ney to do the deal. I didn’t know a lot about Porsches at the time; we were only al­lowed to im­port a few, so there weren’t many in the coun­try. When I ar­rived in Syd­ney and saw the car I was very im­pressed. It was a horny-look­ing car with the flared whee­larches, de­cent wheels, stripped in­te­rior and lit­tle light­weight race seats. It looked like a real race car, which was just what I wanted.

‘The deal was done and it was loaded on a ship and sent back to New Zealand without me even driv­ing it. I had my first drive weeks later in the back streets near our deal­er­ship. A few lo­cal car en­thu­si­asts were there and they were im­pressed by its bark. It was fit­ted with lit­tle mega­phones straight out of the mo­tor which gave it a re­ally crisp, dis­tinc­tively Porsche sound.

The car was given a colour change and sus­pen­sion tweaks to go rac­ing in its new home coun­try. ‘We changed it to red with the yel­low stripe, be­cause we raced for Shell. We shipped the car over to New Zealand very close to the start of the sea­son so we didn’t have time to do any proper test­ing be­fore the rac­ing started. I found it didn’t han­dle very well, so we made a few changes. We tried a few dif­fer­ent tor­sion bars and that sort of thing be­cause it used to just sink at the back and lift what felt like two feet in the air at the front. Apart from that we didn’t change much from how Brian had it.

‘The lit­tle 911S was bloody rapid off the mark for a two-wheel-drive car; off the grid there was noth­ing that could keep up. You could be on the third row but by the first cor­ner you would al­ways be in front. It was were an in­cred­i­ble car re­ally.

‘We had great fun with it in 1971 rac­ing against Paul Fa­hey in the FVA Es­cort. We could race with him and the V8 Ca­maros and Mus­tangs at Rua­puna, Pukekohe, Bay Park and Levin. We were go­ing to re­build it for the next year, but we had trou­ble here with MANS [rac­ing’s gov­ern­ing body in NZ]. Some of the other com­peti­tors claimed it wasn’t a true saloon. We got the MANS stew­ard down from Auck­land and it had the right amount of space in the back to qual­ify and so on, but it was out­lawed any­way, which is why we didn’t keep rac­ing it in 1972. I wish we could have run it for an­other sea­son; I think we might have been able to get it to han­dle a bit bet­ter.

‘When I raced in the Tas­man open-wheeler se­ries ev­ery­one was friendly, and peo­ple never brought out rule books or lawyers, but when we got into the saloon cars that all changed. Af­ter that we de­cided “to hell with mo­tor sport” and gave it away.’

‘Per­for­mance parts made it pro­duce 220hp. It could run a full sea­son without a re­build’

This was to pre­cip­i­tate the car’s re­turn to Aus­tralia, com­pounded by the sit­u­a­tion with New Zealand’s im­port laws, as Palmer ex­plains. ‘We had a small im­port li­cence and we could get about six cars a year into the coun­try. There was a scheme where you could bring a car in on a bond for a limited pe­riod of time, and that is what we did with the 911S. So, with nowhere to race it and not want­ing to con­sume one of our pre­cious im­port per­mits, it had to leave the coun­try. I had a lot of good cars over the years, but they all ended up go­ing back over­seas be­cause while you could ap­ply for a per­mit you couldn’t jus­tify ap­ply­ing for the li­censes and pay­ing the duty to keep them. We ended up send­ing it back to Aus­tralia and ask­ing Alan Hamil­ton to help us sell it. I be­lieve in the end it was sold for AU$8000.’

Back to Alan Hamil­ton in 1972 for him to sell

Alan Hamil­ton adopted an un­usual tac­tic to sell the car – he put it back on the race track, with him­self at the wheel. ‘I had a rush of blood to the head and said to Jim that the car had all but been for­got­ten over here, so it prob­a­bly needed to run some­where to get some pub­lic­ity. He agreed that I should run it.

‘I took the 2.4-litre en­gine from my 906 sports car and put it into the 911, be­cause I didn’t know how Jim had left the en­gine. I didn’t want a smok­ing pile of wreck­age which would be ex­pen­sive if it blew up, and my 906 en­gine was a known quan­tity.

‘The race was at Sandown in Mel­bourne. I blew Alan Mof­fat in the Trans Am Mus­tang away at the start and had enough of a lead com­ing onto the back straight that I didn’t think he would be able to repass me. Much to my sur­prise he kept his foot on the throt­tle and over­took me, but couldn’t con­trol it over the crest and hit the Armco on the in­side of the Dan­de­nong Road cor­ner, leav­ing me to go on and win the race.

‘Af­ter that out­ing it was Reg Mort who bought the car from Jim Palmer, fa­cil­i­tated by our deal­er­ship.’

Sold for AU$8000 in 1972 to Reg Mort

Alan Hamil­ton sum­marises how the car was mod­i­fied and run dur­ing the years it was owned by Reg Mort. ‘Reg got hold of the car and kept mak­ing it lighter and lighter and lighter. A stan­dard 911S was just less than 1000kg, but Reg got this car down to un­der 680kg.

‘He got var­i­ous peo­ple to drive it in­clud­ing Pete Geoghe­gan and his older brother Leo, Peter Brock and John Har­vey. I re­mem­ber he once took the car over to New Zealand to race and Pete Geoghe­gan was there to

‘Some­thing broke and the car went into the wall. I walked away with not a scratch’

drive it when it started to rain. Pete asked Reg why the wiper switch didn’t do any­thing. Reg pointed out he’d re­moved the wiper arm “to save the weight” and Pete – who was 19 stone at the time – said, “Have you had a f***ing look at me?”’

John Har­vey ex­plains how he got to race the 911 un­der Reg’s own­er­ship and how a ma­jor crash, which would de­bil­i­tat­ing the car un­til 2015, came about. ‘I’d known Reg for some time and chat­ted to him from time to time at race meet­ings. I was out of a drive, and Reg’s pre­vi­ous driver now had his own car, so he asked me to drive the 911 for him.

‘I drove it at quite a few tracks in­clud­ing Phillip Is­land, Al­bury Wodonga on Box­ing Day, around Syd­ney and at the Ade­laide In­ter­na­tional Race­way. Driv­ing for Reg was a bit of a cir­cus, he was al­ways late to the track for ex­am­ple, but I en­joyed my time with the car. Reg was a hard worker, keen, and he did his own thing, which I ad­mired.

At this point the car went on a se­ri­ous diet. ‘Reg was very into weight re­duc­tion. He knew the beauty of power to weight and re-did the whole body in glass­fi­bre. The body­work was al­ways a bit loose – in­stead of the ten screws it re­ally needed he would have two or three. On the main straight at Ade­laide the body was flap­ping as the wind got stronger when you went faster. I was wor­ried one day the body would fall off, but it never did and it went like a rocket! I drove it on its limit – it was a bit scary, but that’s mo­tor rac­ing.

It was about to get very scary in­deed. ‘Just com­ing down onto the oval from the road cir­cuit at Ade­laide In­ter­na­tional Race­way, some­thing in the rear end broke and the car went into the wall. Luck­ily I got it turned a lit­tle so it hit side-on and I walked away with not a scratch on me. Be­cause the floor was light­weight, the im­pact ac­tu­ally pulled the seat­belt out of the mount; there was a tear in the me­tal of the floor like some­one had got a pair of scis­sors and cut it!

‘That was the last time I drove the Porsche. Shortly af­ter, Harry Firth in­vited me to join the Holden Dealer Team with him, which I did, and that started my Tour­ing Car ca­reer.

‘I kept up with Reg long af­ter I fin­ished driv­ing for him. He al­ways said he was work­ing on the Porsche, but over the years I lost con­tact with him and didn’t hear any up­dates. He was a lovely bloke and a good bloke to drive for, he would do any­thing that made me go quicker. He re­ally wanted to win, and we did win a few to­gether.’ For all in­tents and pur­poses, how­ever, the car dis­ap­peared for many years, only to be re­dis­cov­ered well into the next cen­tury.

while work­ing there. I drove it daily and took it to the US with me be­fore bring­ing it home to Aus­tralia. I later re­placed it with a new SC Cabri­o­let in 1984 which still sees ev­ery­day use. My main in­ter­est in Porsche has al­ways been the com­pe­ti­tion cars, es­pe­cially those with an Aus­tralian rac­ing his­tory, so that is what I have col­lected, re­stored and raced.

‘Peo­ple of­ten think there were more 911s rac­ing in Aus­tralia in the Sev­en­ties than there ac­tu­ally were, be­cause this car ran in so many dif­fer­ent forms and liv­er­ies. Over its life, it had mor­phed from be­ing a 911 Tour­ing Car in 2.3-litre ST spec – the way it was run by Brian Fo­ley in 1970 and Jim Palmer in 1971 – into be­ing a hot rod that was al­most an open-wheeler with a glass­fi­bre body when, un­der Reg Mort’s own­er­ship, it was raced in the Sports Sedan class by Leo Geoghe­gan in ’73/’74, and Peter Brock and John Har­vey in ’75.

‘Af­ter the big crash at Ade­laide in 1975, Reg “spat the dummy” with rac­ing and the car was never seen again. It was ru­moured to be at Reg’s mum’s house, in a back shed in Mel­bourne. I didn’t know the ad­dress, be­cause I had never been able to con­tact Reg. When­ever I told peo­ple I was try­ing to find and buy the car they said, “Don’t waste your time – even if you find him Reg won’t talk to you about it.” I had wanted to buy the car for years and then Reg’s mother died. The bank fore­closed and I bought the car as a con­se­quence of the house be­ing sold. I’m sure if I hadn’t bought it the car likely would have been lost for­ever.

‘When the car be­came avail­able I tried to con­tact the old driv­ers, and Brian Fo­ley and Jim Palmer sent me old pho­tos. John Har­vey was kind enough to come and au­then­ti­cate the car in per­son; he duly con­firmed it was just as he had crashed it in 1975. He even had the orig­i­nal CAMS [Aus­tralian FIA au­thor­ity] log book which he gave to me – he had taken it home in his back pocket af­ter the crash in Ade­laide!’

The pur­chase brought with it a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion, for Hen­der­son. ‘With the car home, we had to de­cide how to re­store it – the way we found it or back to how it started its life. In the end, we made the de­ci­sion to re­store it to the 1970 Brian Fo­ley spec­i­fi­ca­tion, be­cause there wasn’t a cat­e­gory for his­toric sports sedans to race in and I wanted the car to be able to race. As a side bonus, there were more pho­tos of it in this trim than any other, which made the restora­tion eas­ier.

‘Ja­son Car­roll from Che­quered Flag Restora­tions did a fan­tas­tic job on the body­work and Spencer Har­ri­son from Har­ri­son’s Road and Track took care of the me­chan­i­cals and elec­tri­cals. In its cur­rent form it makes 260bhp. One of the most chal­leng­ing parts of the restora­tion was match­ing colours – they vary on the old pho­tos. In the end we got old Ch­ester­field cig­a­rette packs and matched them from there.

‘It is a very im­por­tant mo­tor car be­cause it was raced over those six years by so many top-level driv­ers, and it was al­ways a front-run­ning car, which to me made it very worth­while sav­ing and restor­ing.’

‘To get the colours we got old Ch­ester­field cig­a­rette packs and matched them from there’

Back in 1970 Fo­ley spec with a 2.3-litre ST en­gine

John Har­vey re­united with the 911 in 2007, 32 years af­ter he’d crashed it

Reg Mort (left) and John Har­vey (right) with the 911

The 911 in its fi­nal rac­ing form in 1975 be­fore it crashed at Ade­laide

At Calder Park, Aus­tralia in 1972

The car raced in many dif­fer­ent liv­er­ies. This is Peter Brock trim, 1975

Brian Fo­ley rac­ing the 911S in Aus­tralian Tour­ing Cars in 1970

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