Such is Porsche’s proud motorsport history that the heroic exploits of the 914/6 GT are often overlooked. It didn’t do an awful lot in terms of high-profile racing, but what it did do was hugely impressive.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 will always be remembered as the event where Steve McQueen filmed Le Mans. The race, like the film, was billed as a head-to-head between the John Wyer (Gulf) Porsche 917Ks and the Ferrari 512Ss. In qualifying it was clear that the two cars were on a similar pace, but not far in to the race itself an unfortunate series of incidents meant that three ‘factory’ and two Scuderia Filipinetti 512Ss were out, although by then they were supposedly falling away from the lead Porsches.
When the clock struck three o’clock on Sunday 14th June, Porsche comfortably held the top three finishing positions ahead of two non-works Ferrari 512Ss. However, astonishingly, the very next car to finish after the 5.0 litre V12 Ferraris was a Porsche 914/6 GT, which came home ahead of several faster cars, including 911s.
With fewer than 50 ‘factory’ examples being built and most of those being pressed into competition duty, an ‘all-original’ example with a mere 11,395 recorded kilometres and with full factory paperwork is very rare indeed.
The story goes that it was built in 1970 at the behest of Portuguese Porsche importers Messrs AS Motors Sociedade, but for some reason the car never left the factory. Instead, it was built to full FIA Group 4 specification and in June 1971 was sold to Bozzani Porsche-Audi Inc in California, whose racing team manager was none-other than former F1 driver Richie Ginther.
Stranger still, the car was never raced. Instead it found its way into a private collection in 1972 and since then has taken part sporadically in festivals and classic car events. Here is a brief run-down of its spec:
– Rear axle limited slip (80%)
– Original 901/26 racing engine
– Full competition type gearbox with removable second gear cluster.
– All original components including original engine, gearbox, suspension, interior, paint etc.
– Configured exactly as built and delivered as a new car in June 1971, fourteen months after having been built by Porsche.
Also with the car is a substantial history file with multiple correspondences, invoice records, older photographs and an ultra-rare copy of the factory bill of sale to the first owner, certifying the car’s original racing specifications.
If you want to take a closer look (…and why wouldn’t you?) it’ll be on display at Retromobile in Paris next week. We’ve just found another reason to go …