Standing proudly near the centre of the main hall at Retromobile last week was a stand which showcased the restoration skills of some of France’s official Porsche centres. On it were a selection of borderline-perfect restored examples of classic Porsches, sharing the stand with the odd late model and, neatly tucked away in a corner, a Martini-liveried 936.
Not any old 936 either (as if there is such a thing), but the very car we shared with you recently which pulled-off one of the greatest-ever wins at Le Mans. We managed to learn (through a clumsy exchange of broken French, broken English, much pointing and the odd Gallic shrug) that it was in fact the real deal and not a mocked-up show piece.
It turns out that Porsche itself was supporting various Porsche centres from Velizy, Lyon, Toulouse, Rouen, Bordeaux and Lorient by parking one of the all-time-great Le Mans victors on the stand. Sadly we were unable to get right up to the thing, but from what we could see it hadn’t been restored. In fact, aside from wearing a different set of wheels and tyres to those it ran at Le Mans it appeared to have been on the receiving end of nothing more than a good clean since Jurgen Barth, Hurley Haywood and Jacky Ickx triumphed with it nearly forty years ago.
The road cars however, had clearly benefited from some expert restoration and drew a steady stream of admirers. Of particular interest were the two 930 Turbos; one from 1978 and the other 1986. Both had been the subject of fresh nine-month restorations and will doubtless be doing battle at Porsche concours events this summer. Perhaps it’s the upcoming 911-only Aldington Trophy race at the 73rd Members’ Meeting, but our favourite was the 1973 2.4S. Some Porsche fans prefer the ‘purity’ of the earlier 911 shape, and in that colour it looked just right, even if it is seven years too new, 400cc too big and a few inches too long!
Full gallery at the top of this page.
Photography: Tom Shaxson