PORSCHE SCRS #16 68

Not quite a works rally car, but it was pre­pared by the motorsport depart­ment

Classic Porsche - - Contents - Words and Pho­tos: Robb Pritchard

The Eifel Rally Fes­ti­val, held in the rolling hills near the Nür­bur­gring, is an ab­so­lute heaven for clas­sic rally fans. With 150 orig­i­nal ex-works cars, or their al­most ex­act repli­cas, slid­ing side­ways, get­ting airborne and spit­ting flames, some even driven hard by ex-world cham­pi­ons, a car has to be some­thing very spe­cial to stand out here. An SCRS in the iconic Roth­mans liv­ery is ex­actly that...even if this par­tic­u­lar oneʼs orig­i­nal­ity is tech­ni­cally a slightly grey area.

Michael Stoschekʼs im­mac­u­late ex­am­ple is #16 of the 20 made as ho­molo­ga­tion spe­cials for Group B, so al­though it was­nʼt one of the five Pro­drive-pre­pared cars and never wore the fa­mous liv­ery in pe­riod, itʼs still an orig­i­nal SCRS.

Michael is chair­man of the Brose Group, the worldʼs fifth-largest fam­ily-owned au­to­mo­tive sup­plier, and al­though such a job does­nʼt al­low him much free time it does mean that he is in the very en­vi­able po­si­tion of be­ing able to own ab­so­lutely any car he de­sires.

His col­lec­tion in­cludes some stun­ning Porsches in­clud­ing one of the twelve 1974 IROC cars and Robert Droog­manʼs Bel­galiv­er­ied 911SC from 1983. He is also the man be­hind the New Stratos con­cept, so he can

ac­tu­ally even make any car he can imag­ine! The fact that he chooses to drive the SCRS, which heʼs owned for nearly thirty years and from 0km on the clock, is tes­ta­ment to the spe­cial re­gard in which he holds the car.

Way back in 1989 Michael came across a clas­si­fied ad­vert for an SCRS that had never been driven. One of just twenty units, made as the bare min­i­mum for FIA Group B ho­molo­ga­tion, they were con­sid­ered, even from the out­set, to be the ul­ti­mate it­er­a­tion of the 911 and he did­nʼt hes­i­tate to re­ply.

Un­for­tu­nately, though, the phone num­ber on the ad­vert did­nʼt work. But the next month the same ad­vert ap­peared again, this time with a lower ask­ing price...but with the same un­reg­is­tered num­ber.

Michael was clev­erer than any of the other in­ter­ested peo­ple, though, and with a lit­tle re­search found out that the seller had writ­ten the wrong area code. Once heʼd worked out what the right num­ber was he was the first to get through. Ap­par­ently the car had been for sale for months with­out a sin­gle call so the seller as­sumed the ask­ing price was far too high and had dropped it re­ally low hop­ing to at last at­tract some in­ter­est. As a nice re­ward for his in­ves­tiga­tive skills Michael bought the car for far be­low its mar­ket value. On his wed­ding an­niver­sary he drove down to Switzer­land with his wife to pick it up. Heʼs now owned it for 29 years.

Al­though it had never been driven for some rea­son, its first owner had de­com­mis­sioned it into a road car so it had no roll cage, bash plates or other com­pe­ti­tion-spec ac­ces­sories, which is of course a trav­esty for an SCRS. The first thing to do was get it con­verted back into full rally spec, but no rally prepa­ra­tion com­pany was good enough for Michael though, not even Pro­drive – he took it back to Porscheʼs motorsport work­shop and ar­ranged for the same engi­neers whoʼd built the cars in the first place to do the work. Not only would the work be per­fect, it would be of­fi­cial as well, which is why it could be ar­gued that this is the sixth Porsche ʻworksʼ car.

“BACK TO PORSCHE’S MOTORSPORT WORK­SHOP…”

The 911 stayed like this for over ten years un­til 2002, when Michael de­cided that he would quite like to se­ri­ously drive it at clas­sic events, but rally safety tech­nol­ogy had im­proved some­what since the mid-ʼ80s so he de­cided to in­stall a stronger rollcage as well as braided brake and fuel hoses. An­other dif­fer­ence from the orig­i­nal Scrs-spec to make the car much eas­ier to set up for dif­fer­ent events and con­di­tions, Bil­stein ad­justable sus­pen­sion now graces each cor­ner. Apart from these mi­nor and un­der­stand­able changes the car is all SCRS and all parts were kept so re­vert­ing the car back to stock would be easy.

The Eifel Rally may be billed as more of a fes­ti­val than a com­pe­ti­tion but itʼs still run as strictly as a proper rally, with time con­trols and a busy ser­vice park with hun­dreds of wide-eyed fans milling around, so there was­nʼt an op­por­tu­nity to do a proper pho­to­shoot… which is why we ar­ranged to visit the Brose HQ in Coburg in the Bavar­ian re­gion of Ger­many. The com­plex of fac­to­ries and ware­houses seemed to go on for­ever but it was only the work­shop we were in­ter­ested in see­ing.

Michael was away on busi­ness but his two full-time me­chan­ics were happy to show us the car they were

“LIKE TO SE­RI­OUSLY DRIVE IT AT CLAS­SIC EVENTS…”

check­ing over af­ter the rigours of the 200km of rough Tar­mac stages com­plete with jumps, wa­ter-splashes and sec­tions where a lot of gravel had been pulled onto the road. A cou­ple of days be­fore we had taken pho­tos of it airborne and at full tilt through a pretty deep ford, so it was quite sur­pris­ing to see that there was­nʼt a sin­gle scratch on it.

Michael sug­gested shoot­ing the car at an old barn in the coun­try­side a few kilo­me­tres away from the fac­tory and ap­par­ently heʼd of­fered to let the au­thor drive it there. No blast round on an airstrip test­ing where the lim­its of the car are of course, but even in Tues­day af­ter­noon traf­fic on the out­skirts of town no Porsche lover is go­ing to say no to such an op­por­tu­nity. Eas­ing over the side roll bar into the bucket seat and fum­bling with the five-point har­ness, also an­other

safety im­prove­ment over the ʼ84 car, thereʼs that fa­mil­iar feel­ing of nerves and ex­cite­ment that any Porsche en­thu­si­ast feels at the wheel of any­thing with Roth­mans liv­ery on it. Ev­ery­thing in­side looked as im­mac­u­late as a mu­seum ex­hibit but then we no­ticed some­thing very un­ex­pected. The VDO odome­ter has just 5076km reg­is­tered on it. Ev­ery one of them Michael has put on since 1989…apart from the 2.4 we were about to do.

The sound of the 3.0-litre flat-six growl­ing from be­hind, even with the ex­haust muf­fler by­pass plugged so the gases flow through the si­lencer, is an amaz­ing sound to hear, es­pe­cially when itʼs your own right foot thatʼs con­trol­ling it. And go­ing around the tight round­abouts on the way out of town it felt more like a go-kart than a rally car… Sadly, we

did­nʼt have the op­por­tu­nity to do any­thing more than to get up to fourth be­hind a Tran­sit van, and a public road was not the place to have ʻfunʼ…

But to find out why it is such a spe­cial car we needed to sit down with Michael him­self. ʻFor cir­cuit rac­ing there are many 911s you can choose to say itʼs the best, or your favourite, but for ral­ly­ing the ul­ti­mate 911 is the SCRS. There were only ever twenty made and I own two, so thatʼs 10 per cent of all the mod­els, which feels spe­cial. But for me itʼs the han­dling. At 960kg dry, itʼs the last re­ally lightweight Porsche as ev­ery­thing that came af­ter weighed a min­i­mum of 1200kg. Thatʼs a very big dif­fer­ence when you are on a rally stage and af­fects ev­ery­thing; ac­cel­er­a­tion, brak­ing, cor­ner­ing, how it set­tles af­ter a jump. Itʼs just a joy to drive.ʼ

As a full blooded Group B car itʼs not al­lowed to take part in any Fia-sanc­tioned event. For the com­pe­ti­tions that re­quire a ho­molo­ga­tion pass­port Michael has the IROC car, so the SCRS is solely seen on demon­stra­tion events like the Eifel Rally and Rally Leg­ends, which also suits Michael. ʻTo drive such a car at its limit you need to be a very spe­cial driver, but if I make a mis­take not only is it a €2 mil­lion car Iʼve just driven into tree, I am also aware of just how his­tor­i­cally im­por­tant the car is. I would­nʼt like to be the sub­ject of the con­ver­sa­tion why there are only 19 SCRSS left! But at the Eifel Rally there are 40,000 spectators on the stages so it is re­ally a plea­sure to show them the car with the tail out and splashing through the wa­ter. Itʼs such a plea­sure, that I will never sell this car.”

“I’M AWARE OF HOW HIS­TOR­I­CALLY IM­POR­TANT IT IS…”

Be­low: The Roth­mans liv­ery is so iconic – weʼre de­lighted these his­toric cars are still able to run in their pe­riod liv­ery, with­out hav­ing to ob­scure the cig­a­rette com­pany lo­gos, as was ul­ti­mately the case on many con­tem­po­rary tele­vised events…

Above: Does­nʼt look like itʼs just com­pleted the Eifel Rally, does it? Braided oil hoses are the only ob­vi­ous de­vi­a­tion from orig­i­nal

Be­low left: Out on the open road, the SCRS is quite a beast, yet more than happy to cope with reg­u­lar traf­fic

Be­low right: Michael has ac­cu­mu­lated a lot of SCRSre­lated ma­te­rial, in­clud­ing parts books, etc

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