The ultimate Porsche road car? Over the decades many versions of the evergreen sports car have had a claim on that title – from RSs to 959s, Carrera GTs, and 918 Spyders. But this car is the daddy of them all. And if you have around £7 million spare, it could be in your garage.
JAN 16th 2017
$8.5million 911 GT1 leads the ultimate road‑going Porsche quartet to Amelia Island auction
It’s one of the incredibly rare 911 GT1 Strassenversion (street versions) that Porsche built in the mid-1990s. If you think it would look more at home in racing decals than numberplates, you’d be right – it’s essentially a GT1 sports prototype for the road.
Porsche made around 20 GT1 road versions which were all presold to a select group of chosen ones. Ordinary mortals were denied the Strassenversion – until now. This 1998 example has been consigned for auction with Gooding & Company at its Amelia Island sale on March 10th. The pre-sale estimate is US$6.5-8.5m (about £5.3-7.0m).
If it achieves that incredible amount it would make it the most valuable 911 ever, eclipsing the last GT1 sold, by RM Sotheby’s for €2.77m (about £2.42m) at its Monaco sale in May 2016. It would even shade recent Porsche auction highlights such as the £4.6m that Bonhams got for the 1950 550 Spyder RS at Revival in 2016.
What will the fortunate buyer get for their millions? A street presence like few other Porsches ever made – that composite bodywork is certainly spectacular. But in truth, you wouldn’t get much of a 911.
The front half of the Strassenversion is 993-generation inspired – apart from the double wishbone suspension and 996-style headlights – but the back end is 962 sports prototype. The car is mid- rather than rear-engined and while there’s a 3.2-litre flat six in there it’s got four-valve heads, twin blowers and is water rather than air-cooled. Basically a 962 lump.
Why such a hybrid? With GT racing taking off in the mid-1990s Porsche decided that rather than making a race car out of its road car it would develop a bespoke racer, and then make a road version of it to meet homologation requirements. The 911 GT1 is the only Porsche ever offered by the factory as a race car first and then homologated for road use.
As a race strategy, it riled Porsche’s rivals but it did work: the car won the GT1 class on its debut at Le Mans in 1996, clocking 205mph on the Mulsanne Straight. The evolution versions that followed it went on to win plenty more races – 47 times out of 144 starts in fact, including first and second overall at Le Mans in 1998.
There was only one iteration of the Strassenversion. It was detuned over the racer, which could boast 600bhp or more, but it wasn’t detuned that much, and 536bhp in a road car weighing 1150kg was still a recipe for outstanding performance. The German motoring magazine Auto Motor und Sport tested a GT1 Strassenversion in 1997 and saw 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds, 0-100 in 7.1 and 0-124 in 10.5 seconds, with a top speed of 191mph.
All in all then, a “911” you are unlikely to have come across at any Porsche meet. The car for sale was delivered new in Germany in 1998, is finished in its original Arctic Silver Metallic and has covered just 5000 miles from new. GT1 Strassenversions seldom come up at auction and Gooding & Co says this is a rare opportunity to own “the ultimate road-going Porsche supercar".
But then this won’t be the only opportunity to own a hugely special 911 at Gooding’s auction at Amelia Island. The auction trend of 2017 so far seems to be selling Porsche collections, and the GT1 Strassenversion is just one of four cars from a small but incredible single-owner group that will be crossing the auction block on March 10th.
The other cars? A 1993 Porsche 964 Turbo S Leichtbau (estimate US$1.3-1.6m), the first lightweight, turbocharged production model built by Porsche and essentially a road-going version of the 1992 IMSA SuperCar Champion. The yellow car is one of just 86 examples built, has been in long-term single family ownership and has just 1400 miles on the odometer.
Then there is 2011 Porsche 997 GT2 RS (US$550-650,000), the 620bhp 911 that was the first and only turbocharged model to carry the RS name – making it, at the time, the most powerful Porsche road car ever.
The fourth car in this delectable quartet is a 2011 Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0 (US$650-750,000). One of 600 made, this black example has covered just 130 miles since being delivered to its first owner in the US.
Wow. Do 911s come any better than these four? Which one would you choose?
All images copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company.
Photos by Mathieu Heurtault.
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