Feb. 27th 2012 – Auto of the day – Porsche’s – Car #2
1976 Porsche 934
Built on December 3, 1975, chassis 930 670 0155 was the second 934 constructed by Porsche for the 1976 racing season. Sold new through Max Moritz to well-known German industrialist and loyal Porsche customer Egon Evertz, the latest turbocharged race car was originally finished in Evertz’ traditional orange livery.
Intended to race in the World Championship for Makes as well as Group 5 events in Germany, the first outing for the 934 took place at the 24 Hours of Daytona in February 1976, where Evertz’ friend Sepp Greger entered the new Porsche in the Group 4 category.
In the debut appearance of the 934 on US soil, Evertz, Greger and Jürgen Lässig were earmarked as contenders for an outright victory. However, an oil cooler issue developed during the race and the team was forced to retire.
After returning to Europe, Evertz enlisted the talents of Leo Kinnunen, an experienced Porsche driver who had raced 917s and 908/03s for the factory team. Evertz and Kinnunen first campaigned the 934 at the Mugello 6 Hours on March 21, 1976, winning their class and finishing 3rd overall behind the Martini 935 and the Kremer Group 5 Turbo. As a result, the Evertz team was the first to capture a win in the FIA’s new Group 4 category with a 934.
After failing to finish the second round at Vallelunga, the Evertz 934 was raced at Silverstone, where it was entered with the Group 5 conversion kit, consisting of a much larger rear wing and fender flares. After running at the front of the pack, the 934 developed a misfire and Evertz and Kinnunen crossed the finish line in 3rd place.
Following a DNF at Nürburgring and a disqualification (illegal driver change) at Zeltweg, Evertz achieved his greatest success with the 934.
By that time in the season, Porsche was leading BMW in the World Championship for Makes by a slight margin – 82 to 78 points. In an attempt to hold off the competition from Munich, in addition to the usual works 935, Porsche supported a second Martini 935 and the Evertz 934 for the six-hour race in Watkins Glen, New York. The factory’s plan proved a success, with the Martini 935 taking an outright victory. Evertz’ converted 934 finished in 2nd place, just ahead of Mass and Ickx in the second works 935.
Porsche returned to Europe leading the World Championship for Makes with only one race remaining at Dijon. In another all-out effort from Weissach, the top three positions were held by 935s, Evertz and Kinnunen placed 4th overall and Porsche captured the 1976 Manufacturer’s Championship.
For the remainder of the year, Evertz raced the 934 in a number of local Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft events, usually in its upgraded Group 5 specification. After the season, Evertz sold the 934 to Jürger Kannacher of Krefeld who rarely, if ever, raced the car.
In 1977, Kenneth Leim of Sweden bought the 934 to contest the Group 4 category. After rebuilding the car and refinishing it in white, Leim ran the Porsche with Kurt Simonsen throughout 1978 and 1979. In 1978, Leim’s 934 finished 9th at Dijon and 15th at Silverstone; the following year, the car finished 14th at Dijon and 8th at Silverstone, as well as 16th at Brands Hatch with Lella Lombardi as co-driver.
In late 1979, Englishman Richard Cleare purchased the well-used 934. By the time the Porsche arrived in the UK, it was beginning to show its age. In preparation for further racing, the Autofarm team performed a comprehensive rebuild of the chassis.
Cleare had the freshened 934 ready for the race at Brands Hatch in March 1980. Driven by Cleare and Tony Dron, the car was leading the Group 4 class when it was forced to retire due to suspension failure.
After the initial disappointment, the 934 began to prove its worth. At Silverstone in May, Cleare and Dron won the Group 4 class and finished 8th overall. This was immediately followed by another Group 4 win and 10th overall finish at the Six Hours of Vallelunga. In the final race of the 1980 season held at Dijon, the 934 again won the Group 4 class and placed 11th overall. Amazingly, the five-year-old Porsche was still a strong contender at the highest levels of international competition, winning 75% of the Group 4 races entered.
The 1981 season was not especially successful for Cleare’s team. An engine fire forced an early retirement at Silverstone and a series of misfortunes saw the 934 finish 49th at the Nürburgring – a race that was stopped early as a result of Herbert Müller’s fatal accident. Finally, at Brands Hatch, Cleare and David Kennedy finished 2nd in Group 4, behind the winning Canon 924 GTR.
In preparation for the 1982 season, Cleare returned the 934 engine to Porsche where the cylinder heads were modified and mechanical fuel injection was fitted in place of the original CIS system. With the more powerful engine, Dron’s 934 easily won the Group 4 class and finished 9th overall at Monza. From there, Cleare and Dron placed 2nd in Group 4 and 19th overall at Silverstone.
The next outing for the 934 took place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race in which Cleare had always looked forward to participating. For the prestigious 24-hour event, Cleare and Dron pulled out all the stops to ensure a successful finish.
Although the team encountered a few problems during the race, Cleare, Dron and Richard Jones completed 2,466.97 miles at an average of 102.79 mph, winning the Group 4 class and finishing 13th overall. With Dron behind the wheel, the Porsche turned a lap time of 4.04.08, the fastest time ever turned at Le Mans by a Porsche 934. Considering that the 934 was in its seventh racing season, this was a most impressive display.
In Randy Leffingwell’s Porsche Legends, Tony Dron recalled the visceral experience of driving the powerful 934 at Le Mans.
“On the straight, with the ‘tea-tray,’ the car is completely stable and absolutely straight down Mulsanne. With the flip… well, in those days, there was a crown in the road and no chicanes. So, when you settled onto the left side of the road, the car adopted a little ‘attitude,’ the nose pointing up toward the crown and you’d have to steer a little bit of opposite lock to go down the straight. If you had to change lanes or pass somebody, it wasn’t a problem, you sort of climbed up
and over, you could feel the air coming over the back and it would alternately go from this side to that side, to this, to that, just very slight. And all at about 200 mph.”
When the afterglow of Le Mans had faded, the 934 raced to a respectable 2nd in Class and 16th overall at Spa. For the next race at Mugello, Porsche persuaded Cleare to enter the 934; however, the team was forced to retire after five hours when the right axle failed. At Brands Hatch, the final outing for the 934 in a World Championship race, Cleare won the Group 4 class and placed 14th overall. It was a fitting end to an illustrious racing career.
For the 1983 season, Cleare purchased a Kremer CK5 and sold the venerable 934 to the US. After passing through a local Porsche dealership in Georgia, the 934 caught the attention of Porsche collector Dave Morse. During Mr. Morse’s ownership, the Porsche was campaigned in a number of club events before being treated to an extensive, show-quality restoration. Fortunately, the 934 was completed in time for the 1998 Monterey Historics and took part in the Porsche 50th Anniversary celebration.
Matthew Drendel recognized the significance of the orange 934 and acquired it for the collection. Since joining the Drendel Family Collection, the 934 has received a number of prestigious concours awards, a testament to both the quality and accuracy of the restoration. In 2004, the 934 received Best in Class (934s, 935s, Moby Dick) honors at the Rennsport Reunion II and, two years later, it earned Best in Class (Porsche 934/935) at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Beyond its strong concours showings, the 934 has been featured in several publications, most notably Randy Leffingwell’s Porsche 911: Perfection by Design.
Considering its astounding racing record, exacting restoration, documented provenance and inherent rarity, the Evertz/Leim/Cleare 934 is perhaps the finest example of Porsche’s turbocharged Group 4 contender. Not only was this car among the first 934s to race, it was also one of the very last to retire, still competitive after seven World Championship seasons. In regards to this car, noted Porsche authority Bruce Anderson was quoted as saying “it is the most successful 934 to race in international competition.”
For the past 25 years, this 934 has benefitted from the care and attention of just two knowledgeable custodians, both pioneering collectors with a deep appreciation for the golden age of turbocharged Porsche race cars.
For the collector who demands only the very best, this 934 is a marvelous prize
Auction description courtesy of Gooding Auctions, http://www.goodingco.com/car/1975-porsche-934
Comment: This has to be one of the best racing Porsches from the 1970’s, and would make a great classic racing car, while it might not have the out and out power of the 935, it does have much more originality than a garage full of 935’s and it just screams collectability