Mar. 2nd 2012 – Auto of the day – Auto #2
The Porsche Works, Otto Zipper and Scooter Patrick
1967 Porsche 906E
CHASSIS NO. 906-159
ENGINE NO. 910-032
Gearbox No. 906-011
*Please note that this car is sold on a Bill of Sale.
$1,000,000 – $1,250,000
- 1967 Porsche Works 12 Hours of Sebring Entry
- The 1967 USRRC Under Two Liter Championship Winner
- Five Overall Victories and Six Class Wins in USRRC, SCCA and Other Competitions
- One of Four Long-Nose Short-Tail Variants
- A Refined Late-Production 906E
- Beautifully Executed Restoration to Otto Zipper Specifications
- An Ideal International Concours and Driving Event Entry
Bosch Fuel Injection
220 BHP at 8,100 RPM
5-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Ventilated Disc Brakes
Independent Wishbones and Coil-Spring Suspension
Although the 904 blurred the lines of Porsche’s traditional double-duty sports racing car, the 906 was the company’s decisive move into the prototype era – an era of unequaled motor sport dominance for Porsche.
With few parameters and an essentially unlimited budget, Porsche’s Experimental Department Chief Ferdinand Piech set out to create racing champions. With roots planted firmly in the development of the 904, Porsche began to experiment with both flat six- and flat eight-cylinder powerplants in the fiberglass sports car. With new opportunities in regulations and the need to remain competitive, the 904 evolved into the new 906.
Although the 906 moniker had been attributed to a series of transitional chassis, the prototype 906 (906-10) was completed in August 1965 featuring a tubular space frame. The new structure formed the underpinnings for an entirely different racing Porsche. Significant attention was given to both weight savings and weight displacement, and development of the 906 shape proved a design success – the Porsche was both aerodynamically efficient and exceptionally good-looking.
Integral in the success of the 906 and perhaps of greatest importance was the continuous development of the model. Throughout the two years of production, Herr Piech and his team relentlessly refined the 906. Of significant note was the evolving shape, which included short and long variants of the nose and tail. Less obvious were the ongoing chassis modifications that, combined with Porsche’s engine development, kept the 906 competitive.
With their debut at the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona, the new 906 battled to 6th overall and a class win against the Ferrari Dino 206 Ps. Further competitive success came at the 12 Hours of Sebring with a 4th overall finish and a class victory followed by a similar result at the 1,000 km of Monza. A privately entered 906 secured an overall victory at the 1966 Targa Florio; at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 906 placed 4-5-6-7 behind three Ford GT40 Mk IIs, outlasting the previously dominant V-12-engined Ferrari Ps.
For the 1967 competitive season, Porsche looked again to the 906 to earn the company further victory. With Bosch fuel injection taking a nod over previous carbureted variants, the new twin-plug, slide-valve Type 901/21 flat-six engine boasted an additional 10 hp. The 906 Einspritzrung (906E) shared a notable improvement for drivers and, armed with a pair of these and two 910s, Porsche entered the 12 Hours of Sebring. The works 906Es, 906-159 and 906-160, were notable for their evocative long-nose and short-tail bodywork – a configuration that just four cars received. Additionally, the works entries were among the last 906s produced and therefore carried the most advanced technology Porsche had to offer.
Facing the grueling endurance test, Porsche selected two up-and-coming American drivers, Joe Buzzetta and Peter Gregg, to pilot 906-159. In factory white and sporting race number 38, 906-159 ran well, just at the heels of the new 910s. By race end, Buzzetta and Gregg had captured an impressive 7th overall with a grid made up of Fords, Ferraris and Chaparrals. Of the four works entries, both 910s and 906-159 finished.
By then, 906-159 had served its purpose for Porsche and was sold after the race to noted West Coast car dealer Otto Zipper. Otto Zipper was heavily involved in sports car racing with his stable including Ferraris, Alfa Romeos and Porsches of the highest caliber. The 906E was given a striking new livery of dark blue with three silver stripes. The car also received a roof-mounted mirror and was slated for USRRC and SCCA competition in the capable hands of Scooter Patrick. The pairing had an unsuccessful first race in Las Vegas and another problematic run at Riverside, although Scooter managed to bring the car in 10th overall and 1st in Class. The team’s third USRRC outing at the May 7, 1967, Laguna Seca event also resulted in a DNF.
After a trying start, the car and driver soon captured lost ground. 906-159 coasted to a 1st in Class at the May 27th SCCA Santa Barbara Road Races; in the modified class the following day, they earned a 3rd overall and a 1st in Class.
In July, at the USRRC Pacific Raceways event in Kent, Washington, Scooter piloted 906-159 to an 8th overall and a 1st in Class. The following month the car placed 1st at the SCCA National in California. Car and driver were primed for a hat trick and went on to win both the Ken Miles Memorial at Laguna Seca and the Revson Trophy at the Riverside Times GP.
Scooter Patrick’s USRRC competition in 906-159 landed him the 1967 Under Two Liter Championship for which he tied Buzzetta. After a rocky start, the 906E proved a worthy mount for the Otto Zipper team.
A return to Las Vegas in November brought a 1st in ESR at the Stardust International Raceway SCCA event. 1968 brought continued success for 906-159 with an overall victory at Willow Springs in February and an 11th at Riverside in April. For the rest of 1968, 906-159 was driven by Don Wester and Don Pike. In SCCA and ARRC competition, Pike brought the car to a 3rd overall and 1st in Class at Riverside, a 2nd at Phoenix and 8th overall, and a 3rd in Class at the Riverside ASR/BSR race. With several other starts, Pike finished 3rd overall in the Southern Pacific region’s BSR class.
Following the 1968 season, 906-159 was sold to Vasek Polak, who in turn sold the car to Gustav Mason O’Keiff of Houston, Texas. O’Keiff put 906-159 to use in SCCA events, predominantly in Texas, into the early 1970s. The car spent the next 15 years in inattentive isolation until 1988 when it was purchased by Warren Eads of Novato, California.
The 906E was immediately sent to talented Porsche restorer Robert Hatchman of Autocraft in Grants Pass, Oregon. Upon arrival, 906-159 was assessed as an ideal restoration candidate. The tubular frame was intact, including suspension points and the pedal assembly. Over the years, the frame had seen work and adjustment and several tubes were in need of repair or replacement, however the great majority of the original frame is said to remain.
The 906 also came complete with almost all mechanical components, including the engine and gearbox that remain in the car today. It is un- certain when the 910-032 engine was fitted – quite possibly during its late 1960s racing career. The only major component not present upon arrival was the fiberglass body, which was then faithfully executed by Autocraft to Otto Zipper specifications.
As the restoration progressed, serious attention was paid to both the accuracy of the restoration to correct specifications and the safe use of the car once complete. The finished product was sensational. The dark blue with silver Otto Zipper livery suited the shape of the 906 well and paid respect to the most important period in the car’s history.
After completion, the car and restoration were featured in Excellence magazine and in August 1992, Mr. Eads brought 906-159 to the Monterey Historics. After a decade of ownership, Mr. Eads chose to part with the Porsche, and the car was sold to Gerald Barnes of Anaheim Hills, California. In Mr. Barnes’s care, the 906 made the occasional outing where it was driven to local events and, in August 2006, the car was displayed at The Quail.
Acquired in more recent years by its current owner, a noted Porsche collector, 906-159 has received regular attention and occasional use. Since its restoration, track time for the 906E has been limited and, for all intents and purposes, simply exercised. The quality of the work completed approximately two decades ago is apparent. Few signs of age are present, the most noteworthy merely being the checking paint of the silver stripes.
With exceptional works and privateer racing provenance and a well-executed, quality restoration, 906-159 ranks high among its contemporaries; with the necessary preparation, this 906E could once again return to successful track use. Beautifully finished and well-presented, 906-159 also remains a welcome entry to concours and Porsche events internationally.