Nostalgia at Nürburgring
Stuttgart. Porsche’s Customer Center Classic is following in the footsteps of Porsche’s motorsport history at the 37th AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix on Nürburgring, the most popular event in Germany for classic and vintage cars. Responsible for all Porsche classics, this Special Division of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, is putting on a great show from 7 – 9 August in a special 12,000-square metre area directly next to the race track.
Apart from offering all kinds of services for the repair, maintenance, care, restoration and parts supply of classic Porsche sports cars, Porsche Classic will once again cooperate with selected suppliers in presenting the wide range of parts supplied by Porsche as well as the joint experience gained by several service providers in this area for many years.
In the Porsche Classic Tent both experts from Zuffenhausen and specialists from classic car and parts suppliers will be helping interested customers with competent advice on all questions of restoration and the supply of parts.
One of the oldest and probably best-known Porsche suppliers is Otto Fuchs KG from the German town of Meinerzhagen. This is the company which in the early 1960s developed the Porsche wing wheel designed by Heinrich Klie for the Porsche 911 on behalf of Porsche itself, soon to become known as the famous Fuchs wheel. These extra-light five-star forged wheels came as either standard equipment or as an option on a number of Porsche models throughout the long period of 20 years, making their first appearance in 1966 on the Porsche 911 S.
This year Porsche has no less than three reasons to celebrate: First, Professor Dr. Ing. h.c. Ferdinand Anton Ernst “Ferry” Porsche would have celebrated his 100th birthday on 19 September 2009 – and Ferry Porsche was always a master in promoting not only the highly successful concept of the 911 model series, but also the innovative ideas of his engineers. Second, the VW-Porsche 914 also saw the light of day during the era of Ferry Porsche. And third, the legendary Porsche 917, many times the winner in Le Mans and lauded by Motor Sport, the British car magazine, as the greatest racing car in history, is also celebrating an important anniversary in 2009, with both of these models – the 914 and the 917 – turning forty this year.
At Nürburgring the Porsche Customer Center Classic is teaming up in the same area with Porsche Exclusive & Tequipment as well as Porsche Design Driver’s Selection. A large hospitality area with its own grandstand on the race track rounds off the special offer Porsche is making, with an expected turnout of 700 guests coming to Nürburgring from all over Europe in approximately 400 Porsche cars.
Friends and aficionados visiting the Classic Tent will have the opportunity to admire unique models such as the police version of the 993 model series 911, which Ferry Porsche himself presented to the police in Baden-Wuerttemberg as a gift in 1996. Up until the day it was taken out of service, this very special 911 – the millionth car built by Porsche – performed perfectly without the slightest problem for the state authorities. Today the car is to be admired at the Porsche Museum, after having been restored to as-new condition by Porsche Classic.
This very special police version of the 911 also stands for the entire 993 model series, the last series of its kind with an air-cooled power unit. And since 1 August 2009 all versions of the 993 built from 1993 to 1998 have been in the custody of Porsche Classic as the latest, still relatively young additions to this special division.
The cars shown by Japanese racing driver and Porsche enthusiast
Tetsu Ikuzawa at Nürburgring are also very special highlights. Back in 1967 Ikuzawa was Porsche’s only Japanese works driver to take the wheel of a Porsche 906, winning the Japanese Grand Prix in the same year. In 1969 he bought a 911 S Targa in Signal Yellow in England, where he was living at the time – subsequently buying back this very special 170-bhp model forty years later after having searched for the car all over the world (and finding it, now painted black, with a retrofitted RS rear wing in a hall in the town of Nogano in Japan). Porsche Classic was requested right away to restore the car completely to its previous glory, in a process in which this unique 911 will boast all the features and details it had when leaving the Zuffenhausen Plant in 1969.
Being a passionate fan of Porsche, Ikuzawa has nevertheless gone a step further, Porsche Exclusive also building an almost identical Carrera 4S Targa in the current 997 model series for Ikuzawa in parallel to his classic Targa. Naturally, this new model also comes in Signal Yellow and features further highlights from the Exclusive range.
A young classic already valuable today: the 993 version of the
When Porsche set out in 1993 to replace the 964 model series of the 911 by a new model, the company was in the middle of a severe crisis threatening its very existence. So everybody in Zuffenhausen realised that the new 993 had to be a hit. And it was, this completely upgraded 911, the last air-cooled model, becoming a lasting success despite initial criticism. Harm Lagaay and his Design Division had shown the courage to make the entire front end a lot flatter and to integrate the bumpers in the body of the car. At the same time, however, they retained the fundamental silhouette of the 911, making the headlights round and giving the rear end a seductively muscular and broad look. The 3.6-litre flat-six now delivered 272 bhp, valve drive was hydraulic and completely free of maintenance. At the same time the new 911 came with a brand-new rear axle made of light alloy, its “Weissach effect” successfully cancelling out load change reactions in fast bends. And last but certainly not least, the new 993 was more comfortable than its predecessor, the driver now shifting gears through a six-speed gearbox with smooth and well-balanced gear increments.
Inside, the 993 naturally retained its five circular instruments in typical Porsche style, adding a new centre console and very comfortable seats.
Launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in autumn 1993, the Coupé was not to remain alone for long, with the Cabriolet version making its debut just a few months later in spring 1994 and the four-wheel drive Carrera 4 following next in the 1995 model year. Instead of the all-wheel-drive technology so far masterminded electronically on the former model, a viscous coupling now delivered up to 40 per cent of the engine power to the front wheels, with extra weight over the rear-wheel-drive model being limited to just about 50 kg or 110 lb.
Even this was not enough, however, with Porsche maintaining its proven policy of model diversity also with the 993 model series: In autumn 1994 the 300-bhp Carrera RS simply begged the sports enthusiast to go for ultimate performance and the all-wheel-drive Turbo followed in spring 1995, two turbochargers forcing air into the 3.6-litre flat-six for maximum output of 408 bhp and the body even wider by tradition featuring the large rear wing so typical of the 911 Turbo.
Introduction of the rear-wheel-drive GT2 in 1995 marked the entry of the ultimate lightweight 993, output of 430 bhp setting the new record in this model series.
Entering the 1996 model year, Porsche significantly updated the 993 Carrera, power increasing to 285 hp thanks to the VarioRam intake system. The Targa also returned to the world of the 911, this time with a brand-new glass roof. And the enthusiast willing to forego the immense power of the Turbo, but not the wider and even more muscular rear end, was now able to choose either the Carrera 4S or the Carerra 2S.
The absolute culmination of the 993 model series followed in 1998, the last year of this outstanding classic, two extra-large turbochargers giving the GT2 refined to an even higher standard maximum output of 450 bhp. The same engine is also to be admired in the 911 Turbo S built in a limited special edition.
Today the 993 series of the Porsche 911 is already a coveted collector’s item with lasting value, more than 61,000 of these cars still to be admired on roads the world over, with more than 10,000 in Germany alone.
Porsche and Nürburgring
Ever since the earliest years of the brand, Nürburgring has been one of the most important race tracks for Porsche. Even in the early years of German post-war racing, various versions of the Porsche 365 and 550 sports and racing cars clearly showed their reliability on the very demanding Nordschleife. On the occasion of the 1953 German Grand Prix, for example, Hans Herrmann made a great name for himself when scoring both a class victory and a new record in the class up to 1.5 litres at the wheel of the new Porsche 550 Spyder.
In the 1,000 Kilometres of Nürburgring, the highlight of the year in German motorsport, Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips and Umberto Maglioli brought home an impressive class victory in their Porsche 550 A Spyder, finishing fourth overall. Moving on to 1957, private drivers Paul Ernst Strähle and Paul Denk won the title for GT cars at the wheel of their Porsche 356 A 1500 GS Carrera.
While the small, light and very agile Porsche 550 and 718 were always fierce contenders for class victory, making life extremely difficult for the competition, they were hardly able to bring home an overall win due to their big difference in power versus their three-litre rivals. Even so, however, these outstanding athletes from Zuffenhausen scored remarkable success time and again, one example being the second place overall brought home by Joakim Bonnier and Umberto Maglioli in 1960, when, driving their Porsche 718 RS 60, they were beaten only by a three-litre Maserati. And in 1962 Graham Hill and Hans Herrmann also proudly made it to the podium, finishing third in their Porsche 718 W-RS.
In 1963 Hans-Joachim Walter, Ben Pon and Herbert Linge came fourth overall in their Porsche 356 B 2000 GS Carrera GT, leaving numerous competitors in the superior prototype class behind them. In 1964, in turn, Gerhard Koch and Ben Pon came third overall at the wheel of a Porsche 904 Carrera GTS.
The biggest sensation came in 1967, when Udo Schütz and Joe Buzetta scored Porsche’s first overall win in the 1,000 Kilometre Race at the wheel of a two-litre Porsche 910 prototype. Indeed, the outstanding superiority of Porsche’s racing cars is expressed clearly by the final result of the race, with four Porsche 910s coming first to fourth and a Porsche 906 Carrera 6 finishing sixth.
Entering the prototype class, Porsche for years became the dominating manufacturer in the 1,000 Kilometres of the Nürburgring, another one-two victory following in 1968 with Jo Siffert and Vic Elford in a Porsche 908 KH leading the way to the finish line ahead of Hans Herrmann and Rolf Stommelen in a Porsche 907-8 KH. 1969 marked a particularly successful hat trick for Porsche, with Jo Siffert and Brian Redman bringing home the title and the first five places going to various versions of the Porsche 908/02. This series of success continued right through to 1970 with a one-two victory followed by an even more impressive one-two-three win in 1971.
Moving on into the second half of the 1970s, Porsche continued its story of success at Nürburgring with the Porsche 935 homologated in Group 5. The 1,000 Kilometre Race in 1977 ended with a one-two victory scored by the two teams Schenken/Stommelen/Hezemans and Wollek/Fitzpatrick. In 1978, in turn, Klaus Ludwig, Hans Heyer and Toine Hezemanns came first, second and third, ahead of four more Porsche 935s. The 1979 race was equally successful for the company, with Manfred Schurti, John Fitzpatrick and Bob Wollek crossing the finish line as the first three out of five Porsche 935s after 44 laps of the Nordschleife. And just one year later the victory scored by Rolf Stommelen and Jürgen Barth marked a particular surprise, the two drivers winning the race in a modified Porsche 908/4 entered by the private Joest Racing Team.
In the 1980s the Porsche 956 and 962 racing cars left their powerful stamp in the Group C World Championship, the dominating position of the 956 also available to customer teams coming out quite clearly in the result of the 1,000 Kilometre Race in 1983, Jochen Mass and Jacky Ickx bringing home victory in front of three other Porsche 956s.
The incredible speed these Group C racing cars was able to achieve remains clear to this very day through a spectacular record set up by Porsche racing driver Stefan Bellof: Practising for the 1,000 Kilometre Race in 1983, Bellof reached an average speed on the Nordschleife of more than 200 km/h in a Porsche 956. And just one year later he brought home victory in the same race, together with Derek Bell who, in turn, repeated the same achievement with Hans-Joachim Stuck in 1985 at the wheel of a Porsche 962 C.
The great tradition of Porsche wins at Nürburgring continues to this day in the 24-Hour Race, Marc Lieb, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Marcel Tiemann crossing the finish line as the fastest team in May 2009 for the third time in a row at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Indeed, this was the fourth 24-hour race in sequence for Team Manthey Racing supported by Porsche.
The Porsche Oldtimer Grand Prix VIP Package:
- Entrance tickets, 7 – 9 August 2009
- Parking area for your Porsche
- Access to Porsche hospitality marquee
- Welcoming gift
- Ticket for Saturday evening event