Feb. 28th 2012 – Auto of the day – Porsche’s #2 – THE AUTO OF THE DAY

1976 Porsche 935/76

The history of 935-001, and Porsche’s 935 program at large, has its origins in a major revision to the FIA’s Group 5 category.

While the general template for Group 5 had been in place since 1966, for the 1976 racing season the FIA changed the rule book to allow extensive modifications to production-based vehicles homologated in Groups 1 through 4. These “special production cars” were designed to contest the World Championship for Makes and followed the “silhouette” rules, which permitted major bodywork and chassis upgrades as long as the basic silhouette was unchanged when viewed from the front. The new regulations gave Porsche an ideal opportunity to further refine the turbocharged 911 and compete for the Manufacturer’s Championship with a highly developed works entry. The result was the 935.

The development of the Type 935 began in late 1975 with the car presented here, chassis 930 570 0001 – the first 935 built and the first Porsche to carry a 930-prefix chassis number. Internally designated R14, 935-001 was constructed in late 1975 and made its first test runs at the Paul Ricard Circuit in December.

The all-new 935 showed clear signs of its evolution from the Carrera Turbo 2.14 models of 1974. Like the 1974 Group 5 Porsche, the 935 featured radically styled fiberglass bodywork, coil-spring suspension, massive rear tires and a turbocharged flat-six engine. Whereas the Carrera Turbo 2.14 developed between 400 and 500 bhp depending on boost, the new 935 was conservatively rated at 590 bhp, with as much as 630 bhp available for short bursts.

During these early test sessions at Paul Ricard, each of the works drivers was given an opportunity to try out the new car. Jochen Mass, who had been signed to drive for the Porsche works team in 1976, drove the 935 at Paul Ricard and was quite impressed by its power. In an interview with Road & Track magazine, Mass recalled his experiences with Porsche’s latest machine:

“During early-season testing at Paul Ricard, I had the Turbo on the track at the same time that some Formula 1 cars were practicing. In the turns, the Formula 1 cars could pass the Turbo, but once I caught them in the straights, I could pass and pull away.”

Following the various testing and development trials, Porsche constructed 935-002 to serve as the primary Martini Racing Team works entry throughout the 1976 season. In its first two races (Mugello and Vallelunga), the works 935 was without competition. At Le Mans, a non-championship race for 1976, 935-002 won the Group 5 class and placed 4th overall. 935-001 certainly contributed to the factory effort, acting as the practice car for Stommelen and Schurti during the pre-training sessions.

Despite the early successes of 935-002, reliability issues developed, which allowed the BMW team to gain a foothold. Late in the season, with the competition from Munich closing in, 935-001 was prepared and brought into service in an all-out attempt to win the Group 5 Championship.

The debut race for 935-001 took place on July 10, 1976, at the Six Hours of Watkins Glen in New York. In a combined field of 33 SCCA Trans-Am and FIA Group 5 entries, Stommelen and Schurti were given the reins of 935-001, while Mass and Ickx were assigned to the other Martini works 935. After qualifying in 2nd position, 935-001 dominated the six-hour race, setting the fastest lap and taking the checkered flag ahead of Egon Evertz’ 934/5 and 935-002.

Following this triumphant success, 935-001 was sent to Dijon, France, where it took part in the final race of the 1976 championship season on September 4th. Once again driven by Stommelen and Schurti, the works 935 maintained a steady pace throughout the six- hour event, finishing in 3rd Place behind 935-002 and the Valliant-sponsored Kremer entry. Not only did this result clinch the 1976 Group 5 World Championship for Makes Cup for Porsche, it marked the first time that the championship had been won by a forced-induction car.

Beyond their success on the track, the Martini works 935s were featured in “A Tale of Three Turbos – Production vs. Group 4 vs. Group 5,” a comparison test that appeared in the January 1977 issue of Road & Track. While the original plan called for a direct, back-to-back test at Watkins Glen, both Martini & Rossi 935s were forced to return to Weissach in preparation for the final round at Dijon. Due to this circumstance, the 935 segment of the road test was conducted at Porsche’s test track.

Having moved on the updated 935/77, Porsche included 935-001 in a package of cars that was sold to Vasek Polak in Hermosa Beach, California. For approximately two decades, the 935 remained in Polak’s California garage, surrounded by other significant Porsche racing cars and a remarkable collection of spare parts. Notably, in the Spring of 1991, Porsche wrote a letter to Vasek Polak Racing Inc. detailing the unique history and race record of 935-001.

When the Polak collection was eventually sold in the late 1990s, Kevin Jeanette acquired 935-001 and the former works 935 once again joined an exceptional stable of racing Porsches. From there, the 935 was sold to John Kotts of Houston, Texas, a collector with a passion for important competition cars.

In July 2009, after a lengthy pursuit, Matthew Drendel was finally able to acquire 935-001. Due to its status as a factory team car and its unique place in Porsche history, the 935/76 has always been considered a centerpiece of the Drendel Family Collection, and its close relationship to R9 – the 1974 Martini & Rossi Carrera Turbo 2.14 – speaks to the earliest days of turbocharged racing cars.

Almost 40 years have passed since it last raced for the Martini factory team, yet 935-001 remains in remarkably original condition, never having been comprehensively restored. As a result, this important Porsche displays a lovely patina throughout and possesses an impressively authentic character.

Today, 935-001 retains several important distinctions that separate it from every 935 that followed. Not only is this the first 935 built and the first production Turbo chassis, this car is the only ex-works 935/76 in private ownership. That its sister car, 935-002, has been a part of the Porsche Museum Collection since the close of the 1976 racing season is a powerful testament to the enduring significance of the original Martini team cars.

Furthermore, its racing achievements at the height of international competition – a win and a podium finish – and well-documented provenance are beyond reproach. Since leaving the factory, 935-001 has had just four owners, each a respected and knowledgeable proponent of the Porsche marque.

The remarkable success of the original 935/76 works cars urged Porsche to build approximately 37 customer cars between 1977 and 1979. The 935s, in their various guises, remained competitive for nine seasons and achieved outright victories at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring. Even today, the Porsche 935 holds a legendary status in the history of international motor sport.

935-001 is the car that started it all: the car that was used to develop the 935 series, the car that helped capture the 1976 Group 5 Championship, and the car that contributed to Porsche’s peerless reputation as a leader in technical innovation.

The appearance of 935-001 at auction represents a remarkable opportunity, one that is not to be missed

Description courtesy of Gooding co http://www.goodingco.com/car/1976-porsche-93576

Estimate: US$1.7 million +

Value: ???

Comments: for the only 935/76 in private hands, the first 935, and more this has to be a stunning buy at ANY price, I say dont be suprised if it goes for $3 million. Stunning car

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