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1967 911R prototype: story of R4

Such is the historical importance of the 911R for Porsche, it’s ludicrous to think the car was relatively unheard of for years for even the discerning enthusiast compared to, say, a 2.7RS. Indeed it wasn’t until the arrival of the 991 R last year, itself a seminal moment in the legacy of our beloved 911, which really shone a light on those 20 early cars and their acute significance to the brand with Stuttgart’s prancing horse on its nose. And to think some of those 20 original ’67 Rs were still available as late as 1970!

The brainchild of one Ferdinand Piëch and the lightest Neunelfer to ever leave the Zuffenhausen factory, the R set the benchmark for the endless engineering possibilities Porsche would accomplish for its cherished 911 platform. Perhaps more importably though, its creation really started the 911’s unrivalled racing legacy, something which, more than 30,000 race victories later, Porsche is still incredibly proud of.

The R, then, wasn’t just built so Porsche could go racing – plenty of early 911s in both T and S guise had already tasted success in competition at various events around the planet – moreover it was an inquisitive exercise to find out just how much the company could evolve its new 911 sports car for competition purposes. In the end, these cars marked the beginning of the process of a Porsche 911 sports car being homologated, a move which would culminate in many historical feats at some of the world’s most famous races and events. That’s quite an imprint on history: simply put, Porsche’s later and notable success at La Sarthe, Daytona, and Sebring to name a few all starts right here with the creation of the 911R.

Though there were only ever 20 production 911Rs built, four prototypes were initially created, those cars pulled from the production line originally in 911S specification. Those four R prototypes are today known as R1, R2, R2, and R4, so named in accordance with their production dates. The car you see in our pictures is that of R4, the last R prototype Porsche built, which today can be found in Scotts Valley, California, its Lemon yellow coachwork glistening under the showroom lights at Canepa. However, its journey to this point is nothing short of remarkable, taking in four countries and two continents despite still being the lowest-recorded mileage R rolling the planet.

For the full feature on this incredible 911R prototype, pic up issue 159 of Total 911 in hardcopy here or get your digital copy from Apple or Android newsstands. 


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Video: A history of the Porsche 911 Targa


In 2017, the Porsche 911 Targa – the original open top Neunelfer – will reach its 50th birthday, a remarkable milestone for a model that was originally devised to meet safety regulations that were, ultimately, never implemented.

To celebrate the upcoming anniversary, we’ve decided to look back over the Targa’s half a century of history in our latest video, taking you through the evolution of the model from 1967 right through to the latest 991.2 Targa 4S.


Our five-minute flick also stars a 1974 Porsche 911 Targa from esteemed specialist, Canford Classics, the original impact bumper iteration showing how the latest open-top Neunelfers has both changed and been inspired by Zuffenhausen’s iconic roll hoop design.

We’ve put the two idiosyncratic roof systems to the test too and, if you missed our road trip with the 991.2 version in Total 911 issue 142, Features Editor, Josh gives you his opinion from behind the wheel of the new 911 Targa to see if turbocharging has improved the alfresco driving experience.

For more of the latest and best Porsche 911 videos, check out our dedicated film section now.



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Sales Spotlight: 1967 Porsche 912

Pre-impact bumpers Porsche 911s may have shot up in price in recent years but there are still affordable ways into long bonnet ownership, namely in the shape of the 911’s flat four brother, the Porsche 912.

Originally built between 1965 and 1969, the Porsche 912 used 1.6-litre flat four to offer an entry point into the Porsche sports car range. Replacing the 356, the original pre-impact bumper 912 proved so popular in America that it actually outsold the 911 when it was launched stateside in 1966.

While it may not have the flat six soundtrack of its bigger Neunelfer brother, the Porsche 912 still offers the cheapest way of getting yourself into a classic 911 shell, though we use that phrase in its loosest possible sense with this particular 912 from the Beverly Hills Car Club (renowned for their wealth of project cars).

1967 Porsche 912 interior

It’s priced at just $3,950 (just over £3,000 at today’s exchange rate) though we can’t really say that you get much car for your money, even at such a low asking price, because, as you can see, there’s not much left.

Originally built in 1967, it appears that this particular Porsche 912 started to rot away soon after, leaving behind a rather sorry (and saggy) heap of Zuffenhausen metal. It probably represents the most difficult project in the history of restorations.

Joking aside, this 912 is probably beyond saving now; the driver’s side floor has vanished entirely and the sills seem to have pulled of a similarly comprehensive disappearing act.

1967 Porsche 912 rear

On the bright side, BHCC optimistically claim that the Type-616 engine (complete with its twin carburettors and matching numbers transmission) is still intact, although we’d hazard a guess that the flat four pistons are well and truly seized in their barrels.

For such a low asking price though – good, solid Porsche 912 examples sell for upwards of $40,000 – Beverly Hill’s car may prove useful for spares; those rare green-numbered dials are surely salvageable and, according to BHCC’s blurb, 912 engines alone currently sell on eBay for $3,500. 

It all depends if you’re feeling brave enough. For more information on this particular Porsche 912 and Beverly Hills Car Club’s large selection of other Porsches, visit their website now.

1967 Porsche 912 engine


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The ‘R’ badge: A Porsche 911 History

It seems incredible to consider now (having racked up thousands of wins around the world) but Porsche never intended its new 911 sports car to be used in racing when the 356’s successor was first realised.

However, after a few privateers entered 911Ss modified for competition in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (and the factory dipped its toes into the world of rallying in the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally), Porsche was finally convinced to make a thoroughbred 911 racer in 1967.

Under the guidance of the motorsport department’s new Head of R&D, Ferdinand Piëch, the new car would be badged as the Porsche 911R – the ‘R’ standing for ‘Renn’ (‘Race’ for those unfamiliar with the German language).

Laurens Parsons Photography-11

Piëch’s team put the 911 on a strict diet to get it ready for racing: the door skins, bonnet, decklid, bumpers and front wings were all made in fibreglass, with all windows bar the windscreen manufactured from perspex. The first 911R to roll out of the factory even featured a one-of-a-kind, lightweight aluminium shell.

Inside, the interior was completely stripped out. Just three of the 911’s iconic five dials remained in the dashboard, with the door cards reduced to the very basics (including a simple leather pull strap).

Porsche removed all the soundproofing and the heating system while even the glovebox lid was deleted to save weight. The end result was a car that weighed just a shade over 800kg, making it the lightest Porsche 911 ever built.

Laurens Parsons Photography-24

Propulsion was provided by the 901/20 flat six used in later versions of the Porsche 906 Carrera prototype. The 1,991cc engine turned out an incredible 210bhp, giving the Porsche 911R a barely believable power-to-weight ratio of 258bhp/tonne. In 1967!

Upon driving it, Head of Motorsport, Huschke von Hanstein was immediately smitten, wanting 500 examples built in order to homologate the 911R for international GT competition.

Unfortunately, the sales department didn’t agree, believing it nearly impossible to sell such a large number of hardcore 911s. In the end, just 20 Porsche 911Rs were built (along with four pre-production examples) with the car forced to race against the prototypes thanks to a lack of homologation.

Laurens Parsons Photography-35

Sales were not helped by a DM 45,000 price tag (the standard Porsche 911 sold for around DM 21,900) but the car did have some success on the track, including setting a number of world distance records at Monza in October 1967 in the hands of Jo Siffert and a number of other Swiss racers.

The Porsche 911R’s biggest achievement was undoubtedly the Marathon de la Route, an 84-hour (yes, really) race around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Driving a Sportomatic-equipped 911R, Hans Hermann, Jochen Neerspach and Vic Elford won by an incredible 1,000km.

Elford drove the car for the entirety of the four seven-and-a-half-hour night stints but had to leave the circuit early due to other racing commitments. This didn’t stop the 911R racing into the record books though and becoming a famous part of Porsche’s motorsport folklore.

For more historical online features, check out our full selection of ‘Porsche 911 history’ articles now. 


Pour consulter l'article original et complet, cliquez ici.

Porsche 911 2.0-litre: ultimate guide

As the Porsche 911 gets bigger, faster and evermore luxurious, it’s easy to forget that there was once a much simpler way. Nothing epitomises that more than the car featured here.

A 911 shorn of the electronic driver aids and the clever aerodynamic enhancements we’ve become used to seeing with every new generation, scrolling back half a century brings us to this, the short wheelbase (SWB) 911.

Back in 1964, when the 911 was finally launched to an expectant public, this was a sports car that looked impossibly pretty. Delicate and with a purity of line that, some argue, has been lost in the race for ballistic performance and the ability to brag about lap times, the simplicity of Porsche’s approach was more than a little breathtaking.

Porsche 911 2.0-litre interior

And that simplicity extended to a two-door coupe body shell that was constructed – beautifully, it should be said, and with traditional attention to detail – as a straightforward steel monocoque.

Little was needed by way of embellishment, certainly no ungainly spoilers or other aerodynamic protuberances, just the slimmest of bumpers and with chrome surrounds for the windows and delicate grilles adjacent to the sidelight/indicator units.

Chrome was also used for the small door mirror and handles, and the whole effect was one of neatness and understatement. This was truly a case of function over form, and the earliest 911 was all the better for it.

Porsche 911 2.0-litre engine

A Targa model would appear in 1967 with its now-iconic steel roll hoop and a zip-out plastic rear window, although this latter feature proved fiddly and 1968 saw a fixed-glass item offered as an option.

But whatever the body style, the dimensions too were somewhat less than we’re used to today, a SWB car measuring around 30 centimetres shorter overall and 20 centimetres narrower than a current 991 Carrera.

To read our full Porsche 911 2.0-litre ultimate guide, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 123 in store now. Alternatively, order it online for home delivery or download it straight to your digital device.

Porsche 911 2.0-litre rear


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