PORSCHE SCRS #16 68
Not quite a works rally car, but it was prepared by the motorsport department
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