Feb. 27th 2012 – Auto of the day – Porsche’s – THE AUTO OF THE DAY

1974 Porsche RSR Carrera Turbo 2.14

 

Presented here is the second of the four Carrera RSR Turbo 2.14s purpose built for the 1974 Group 5 Championship. Constructed at the development center in Weissach during the Winter months of 1973–1974, chassis 911 460 9016 was given the internal designation R9.

According to letters from the Porsche factory, R9 was “handmade in long duration” and used for testing and development in January 1974 at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the South of France.

Following substantial revisions at Weissach, R9 and another RSR Carrera Turbo premiered as factory entries at the Le Mans trials beginning on March 23, 1974. Finished in the classic Martini & Rossi livery – silver metallic striped in red and blue – R9 wore race number 1 and was driven by works drivers Gijs van Lennep and Herbert Müller.

Although the new cars experienced the expected difficulties, Helmuth Koinigg’s Turbo Carrera turned a lap time of three minutes and 55 seconds – 11 seconds faster than the best lap recorded by an RSR 3.0 the previous year. During the Le Mans four-hour race – run in two separate heats – Lennep and Müller showed great promise driving R9, although the car failed to finish either heat. In race one, the Porsche ran out of gas on the final lap and, in race two, the
turbocharger gave up.

Following the Le Mans tests, Porsche made the intercooler part of the Turbo Carrera’s standard equipment and revised the intake manifold to improve air distribution. In April and May, R9 served as a training car for the Monza 1000 Kilometers and Spa 1000 Kilometers before making its competition debut at the Nürburgring 1000 Kilometers on May 19th.

With Schurti and Koinigg at the wheel, R9 completed 30 laps and finished 7th overall while the sister car, driven by Lennep and Müller, finished 6th overall. Notably, the best result for a normally aspirated Carrera RSR was 12th overall.

After gearbox trouble prevented a finish at the Imola 1000 Kilometers, Lennep and Müller drove R9 to an impressive 6th place overall at the Österreichring 1000 Kilometers in Austria. A testament to the outright speed of the Turbo Carrera, only the Matra-Simca, Alfa Romeo and Gulf-Mirage sports racing prototypes finished ahead of R9.

At the end of the 1974 season, R9 was reconditioned at the Porsche factory and sold to Dr. William Jackson of Denver, Colorado, for 77,700 DM. A well-known and respected enthusiast, Dr. Jackson was one of the earliest and most discerning collectors of Porsche racing cars. Over the years, Dr. Jackson owned some of the most important examples of the marque, including 550 and RS Spyders, two America Roadsters, an Abarth Carrera, a 904 and a 911 R.

On August 25, 1975, Porsche corresponded with Denver collector Grady Clay regarding Dr. Jackson’s purchase of the Martini Turbo Carrera, acknowledging receipt of the 25,000 DM deposit. Significantly, the letter details the Turbo Carrera’s history and states that R9 covered 5,500 km throughout its various training and racing sessions.

In February 1976, Porsche issued the Importer’s and Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin and the former Martini Racing Team Porsche arrived at its new home in the US. For the next three decades, the RSR Turbo 2.14 remained a fixture in Dr. Jackson’s collection. Fortunately, the Porsche saw very little, if any, use during that period, thereby preserving the car in outstanding, as-delivered condition.

In October 1999, Dr. Jackson finally sold the works Porsche to classic car dealership Heritage Classics in Los Angeles, California. It wasn’t long before Matthew Drendel discovered the car’s whereabouts and, in Fall 2003, R9 found a new home in the Drendel Family Collection.

Over the past nine years, the RSR Turbo 2.14 has been selectively displayed in concours events – Rennsport Reunion and the 100 Motor Cars of Radnor Hunt – and was featured in Porsche’s “Family Tree” commercial, which was produced for the introduction of the Panamera.

Unlike the vast majority of racing sports cars, the Martini & Rossi works Porsche remains in exceptionally original, unrestored condition, essentially untouched in every significant way. Upon inspection, one finds traces of each and every modification made by the engineers at Weissach, fascinating evidence of experimentation. Whereas most 911-based racing cars were built to strict specifications, this car played a unique role, serving as Porsche’s test-bed while attempting to build the first turbocharged 911s.

Beyond its own special qualities, R9 is offered with a remarkable file that contains original letters and invoices from Porsche as well as the original Importer’s and Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin. Such important artifacts are rarely seen and support the unique history of this magnificent motor car.

If only for its status as one of, if not the very first purpose-built 911 Turbo, R9 is among the most historically and technologically significant Porsches in existence. It is the origin of one of the greatest racing programs in history and, as such, embodies the spirit of competition. Its marvelous unrestored state, impressive racing history, iconic Martini & Rossi livery and unquestioned provenance are qualities that place this car in an extremely rarified category of competition cars.

An irreplaceable piece of motor sports history, this RSR Turbo 2.14 is a Porsche of immense appeal and importance

Auction description courtesy of Gooding Auctions, http://www.goodingco.com/car/1974-porsche-rsr-turbo-carrera-214

Estimate US$1.75 mil.

Value: ???

Comments: One amazing machine, looks awesome, will get accepted anywhere, and what an amazing buzz it must be to drive it, and there will only ever be one First Porsche Turbo 911.

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