RE­TURN TO MONTE CARLO

The Porsche fac­tory built just five 911s for the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally, four in which to com­pete un­der the works ban­ner, the fifth be­ing sold to a pri­va­teer on the un­der­stand­ing that he com­peted in the fa­mous rally. This is the story of that ʻlostʼ works

Classic Porsche - - Contents - Words: Robb Pritchard Pho­tos: Sasa Ju­ric

Track­ing down the fifth works-built 911 from the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally…

By the mid-1960s, with the 356, 550 Spy­der and the new 904, Porsche was al­ready very suc­cess­ful in many dif­fer­ent av­enues of mo­tor­sport. The all-new 911, de­buted in 1964, was ex­pected to both con­tinue and build upon that tra­di­tion, and for the press ex­po­sure the first ma­jor in­ter­na­tional event in which the model ever com­peted was the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally.

Driven by Herbert Linge and Pe­ter Falk, the only mod­i­fi­ca­tions from the road car were Weber car­bu­ret­tors in place of the fac­tory fit­ted Solexes and a spot­light mounted in the cen­tre of the roof. The 911 is ar­guably one of the most recog­nis­able com­pe­ti­tion cars in the world, and all the model has achieved in its over 50 years of his­tory be­gan with its fifth place here.

Porscheʼs sole ob­jec­tive was to win the rally, though, so for the fol­low­ing year – 1966 – the team pre­pared four cars all up­graded to the limit al­lowed by the ERC (Euro­pean Rally Cham­pi­onship) GT class rules. As with the 1965 car, the fac­tory Solex carbs were re­placed with a pair of We­bers and, cou­pled with mod­i­fied camshafts that were soon to find their way into the forth­com­ing 911S model, the 110bhp of the road cars was in­creased to a much health­ier 140.

For im­proved ac­cel­er­a­tion at the ex­pense of top speed, a shorter-ra­tio type 901 gear­box was fit­ted which, for bet­ter trac­tion on the chal­leng­ing Alpine roads, was equipped with a lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial. Along with stiffer tor­sion bars, wider rims were used, as well as a spe­cial ex­haust with straight-through pipes giv­ing an ex­tra 2 or 3bhp. A lit­tle se­cret weapon, an ex­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture gauge, was also fit­ted in the wood-faced dash­board, which was in­tended to give a warn­ing about pos­si­ble ice on the road. It was a good idea but did­nʼt prove ac­cu­rate enough to be use­ful.

The cars were pre­pared for the works crews of Gün­ther Klass/rolf Wütherich, Jo Sch­lesser/robert Buchet, Hans Wal­ter/wer­ner Lier and Henri Per­rier/pierre De Pasquier, but there was a fifth, chas­sis #178, that was also built up

for use as ei­ther a rolling source of spares or to be rented out to a pri­vate driver...

At the end of 1964 one of Spainʼs fore­most rally, hill­climb and tour­ing car driv­ers, and good friend of the Porsche fam­ily, Juan Fer­nan­dez took his yearly road trip from his home in Barcelona over to Stuttgart to have his 904 Carrera GTS ser­viced by the of­fi­cial Porsche me­chan­ics. When he saw the new 906 pro­to­type in the work­shop, he or­dered one there and then. There was a slight prob­lem, though, as the first 906 would­nʼt be ready for pri­va­teers for an­other seven months. That was­nʼt any good for Juan, so he asked what he could buy to race while he waited for the 906. The only car avail­able was the fifth 911 be­ing read­ied for the Monte Carlo Rally. Ferry agreed to sell it to Fer­nan­dez on one con­di­tion; that he en­tered the rally in it.

Even though it was only a cou­ple of weeks be­fore the start and Fer­nan­dez had lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence of run­ning com­pet­i­tively on snow, it was an of­fer a Porsche driver could­nʼt pos­si­bly refuse. En­tered as num­ber 54, with­out do­ing any­thing spec­tac­u­lar, he and co-driver Oliva Gri­foll did well for four days, manag­ing to keep the car on the road in the chang­ing con­di­tions and through the many night stages.

On the fifth day, though, the weather changed and in the deep snow high up in the moun­tains they hit a dog hard enough to dam­age the steer­ing. In the treach­er­ous con­di­tions they de­cided that con­tin­u­ing in a car that was­nʼt han­dling cor­rectly would be too dan­ger­ous, so they reluc­tantly pulled out of the event.

The event is re­mem­bered for the ex­clu­sion of the first four fin­ish­ers which gifted Pauli Toivo­nen in his French Citroen DS the win…but Porsche es­caped the con­tro­versy and dom­i­nated the GT class by fin­ish­ing 1-2-3-4 with the four fac­tory cars.

Al­though the out­ing in the new 911 ended with re­tire­ment, Juan liked it so much that when the 906 was ready he chose not to sell it and in the next two years com­peted in 29 events with the 911, which in­cluded a grand to­tal of 17 wins in both hill­climbs and ral­lies. Two of note are Por­tu­galʼs Refu­gio del

Migeal and the Course de Côte de Cor­savy in the French moun­tains, which he won in the 911. In 1973 he sold both the 911 and 906 to up­grade to a 908, with which he went on to en­ter Le Mans, net­ting a fine fifth place fin­ish in 1973.

The 911 was ac­quired by his friend Jorge Ca­ton who was­nʼt any­where near as suc­cess­ful in it as Juan, but he still won some small lo­cal events. But now, with the car get­ting older and eas­ily out­classed by newer ma­chines, he thought it needed a bit of a power up­grade, so he in­stalled an en­gine from a crashed 911R, (chas­sis #9). It did­nʼt make much of an improve­ment in his re­sults and so sold the car to a friend, Fran­cisco Gu­tierez. Gu­tierez en­tered a few events but re­tired from all of them be­cause of prob­lems with the en­gine, so Ca­ton agreed to have the orig­i­nal en­gine re­fit­ted.

Re­li­able but less com­pet­i­tive, Gu­tierez did­nʼt com­pete with the car again and he sold it in 1975. The next owner did­nʼt want a com­pe­ti­tion car so took out the roll cage, added wider flares, painted it sil­ver and fit­ted a huge stereo. For twenty years he used it as a nor­mal car, and its his­tory was sadly lost...

We first caught up with Car­los Bel­tran at the Tour Auto Rally in France where Derek Bell was apol­o­gis­ing to him for wrap­ping his RSR around a tree. Car­los is a con­sum­mate Porsche lover, though, and knows that if itʼs Derek Bell who bends your Porsche it only im­proves its prove­nance. With work­shops full of amaz­ing Porsches, mostly his, and garages full of mem­o­ra­bilia, he runs Nou Onze Rac­ing in down­town Barcelona and there­fore knows a lot about Span­ish clas­sic and rally cars.

This is the rea­son why Fer­nan­dezʼs au­to­bi­og­ra­pher asked him to keep a look out for the long lost 1966 Monte Carlo 911, chas­sis #178, as ac­cord­ing to his in­for­ma­tion it had never left Spain. Car­los agreed to look but was­nʼt too se­ri­ous as, by this time, the car had­nʼt been seen for forty years.

A cou­ple of months later Car­los wanted to drive one of his Porsches but a cus­tomer ʼs car was block­ing it in. This par­tic­u­lar car had been owned for a long time by a friend of Car­los and had of­ten been run in reg­u­lar­ity ral­lies. It had been ser­viced at Nou Onze for a decade but in­cred­i­bly it had been parked in the work­shop for al­most a year as the new owner had­nʼt even come to see it! With a charged bat­tery at the ready, Car­los popped the hood and for some rea­son had

a quick look at the chas­sis num­ber – a shiver ran up his spine as he saw that it was the ʻmiss­ingʼ #178.

To be 100 per cent sure he needed to see the log book, which was in an­other work­shop across the city, so he raced there with his heart pump­ing. Sure enough, it was def­i­nitely chas­sis #178. He still could­nʼt quite be­lieve it so drove back with the doc­u­ments and triple checked.

On closer in­spec­tion he could see the car ʼs orig­i­nal colour had been white and it had an out­side tem­per­a­ture gauge mounted in the dash­board… For ten years heʼd been work­ing on one of the very first fac­tory-pre­pared 911s and had­nʼt had a clue! It had been parked right there in front of them when the au­to­bi­og­ra­pher had been ask­ing about the for­mer rally 911.

Its cur­rent owner was a rich busi­ness­man known for mak­ing harsh deals on prop­er­ties and big boats; heʼd bought the car as an in­vest­ment rather than from a love of Porsches, so there was no sense of help­ing a friend claim his wind­fall. In­stead, the next morn­ing Car­los made a phone call en­quir­ing about the pos­si­bil­ity of buy­ing it be­cause, af­ter look­ing at it in his work­shop for so long, heʼd started to get quite fond of it. It was fair game, as he de­scribed it.

The owner, on the other hand, was­nʼt too in­ter­ested in sell­ing so Car­los tried an­other tack and of­fered to find him a car that he would en­joy own­ing and driv­ing and then do a straight swap. There was a ten­ta­tive agree­ment and Car­los found a 1967 Targa for sale. He does­nʼt even re­mem­ber how much the Targa cost – af­ter all, in the scheme of things itʼs not an im­por­tant de­tail.

ʻFor a week I was just in shock,ʼ he ex­plains. ʻI just could­nʼt stop star­ing at the car think­ing about what an im­pos­si­ble story it was.ʼ But once it had set­tled in he con­tacted Juan Fer­nan­dez, as well as Ca­ton and Gu­tierezʼs son, to get as many pe­riod pho­tos, and as much race his­tory

“SURE ENOUGH, IT WAS DEF­I­NITELY CHAS­SIS #178…”

“FOR A WEEK, I WAS JUST IN SHOCK…”

and pa­per­work he could find – and then be­gan the re­build. The only op­tion for a car of such his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance was, of course, a full nut and bolt restora­tion. Amaz­ingly Ca­ton had kept the orig­i­nal wheels and spe­cial ex­haust sys­tem for all those years.

From the start Car­los in­tended to com­pete with the car but, with some­thing close to 100,000km (62,000 miles) un­der its belt, a few sus­pen­sion joints and bushes needed re­new­ing but, as orig­i­nal­ity is all im­por­tant, if a com­po­nent could be reused it was. As 911s are such pop­u­lar cars sourc­ing the cor­rect parts proved straight­for­ward, mean­ing the restora­tion did­nʼt take too long… which was a good thing.

Bel­tran, you see, wanted it ready in time to en­ter the 2016 Monte Carlo Clas­sic, as it was a great op­por­tu­nity to drive it in the same event ex­actly half a cen­tury af­ter its first en­try. His friend An­to­nio Zanini, the 1980 Euro­pean Rally cham­pion and mul­ti­ple Span­ish rally cham­pion, was more than happy to be co-driver, al­though nei­ther had ever done a reg­u­lar­ity rally be­fore.

With noth­ing but a road book, they had a steep learn­ing curve try­ing to work out the speed and dis­tance cal­cu­la­tions, so were a long way from be­ing com­pet­i­tive. On the pos­i­tive side they en­joyed ev­ery sin­gle mo­ment of the five days of driv­ing on the high and twisty moun­tain roads. Driv­ing over the Col de Turini in an ex-works Porsche at night is one of Bel­tranʼs favourite ever Porsche ex­pe­ri­ences.

In sim­ple plain white with just the aux­il­iary lights bolted to the nose, it may not be the most dra­matic-look­ing 911 in the world, but it cer­tainly has one of the most fas­ci­nat­ing his­to­ries of any of its kind! CP

08

Above: Car­los Bel­tran drove the 2016 event with his friend An­to­nio Zanini, the 1980 Euro­pean Rally cham­pion and mul­ti­ple Span­ish rally cham­pion

Be­low, left and right: First owner Juan Fer­nan­dez al­ready owned a 904 GTS when he pur­chased the 911. He com­peted in a to­tal of 29 events in Por­tu­gal and France, net­ting 17 wins

Be­low: Weber car­bu­ret­tors re­placed the stan­dard Solexes, and the cams were swapped for ʻgrindsʼ that were to be used in the 911S

Above left: Fer­nan­dez en­tered the Rally Gerona in 1966, an event he had al­ready won in 1962. He was vic­to­ri­ous in both 1966 and 1967 in the 911

Above: Clas­sic SWB 911 pro­file be­lies the his­tory be­hind the car – thereʼs lit­tle to sug­gest it be­gan life as a works rally car, or that it com­peted in sev­eral high­pro­file events

Be­low, left and right: Sec­ond owner, Jorge Ca­ton, in­stalled a 911R en­gine (from chas­sis #9) in an at­tempt to make the car more com­pet­i­tive. How­ever, Ca­ton never achieved the suc­cesses of the car ʼs first owner

Above: Pal­las lamps for lon­grange driv­ing, an­gled fog lamps for when the go­ing gets tough… Rally prepa­ra­tion was far sim­pler in the 1960s

Be­low, left and right: Car­los Bel­tranʼs am­bi­tion was to drive in the Monte Carlo Clas­sic, an am­bi­tion he achieved in 2016…

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.