1967 Porsche 911R Prototype
This 911R Prototype is one of the most significant Porsches ever built. It marks the beginning of a 911 racing dynasty that would span decades and include multiple wins at Le Mans, Sebring, and Daytona.
In 1967, Porsche pulled four examples of their new 911S off of the production line and set about making racecars out of them. The 911R was born. These four prototypes, known now as R1, R2, R3, and R4, were to be the beginning of the homologation of a 911 racecar. In fact, after the prototypes only 20 production versions would ever be made. It would not be until the 1973 911 Carrera RS that the homologated 911 racecar would take the world by storm.
The 911R initial purpose was to demonstrate how much weight could be extracted from a production vehicle. While the production 911S weighed in around 2300lbs the R came in just over 1800 lbs. This was achieved by the fitting of GFK lightweight fiberglass doors, front and rear decklid, and bumpers. Aluminum hinges were used on the decklids and doors. Thinner steel was used throughout the body. There was no undercoating or sound proofing. Plexi window were used with manual pull straps. It was the ultimate 911 diet.
Some called the 911R a 906 in a 911 body. It wasn't far from the truth. The engine was twin-plug 1,991 cc flat six that put out 225 horsepower at 8,000 rpm. That shrieking powerplant was fitted to a 901 transmission with a dogleg first gear. The gearshift was moved back 100mm. The oil tank followed the same construction pattern as the 906 and 910, using the same fittings, filter, and thermostat. Mechanically it was all racecar.
This example, R4, is the last and most original of the 911R prototypes. Painted at the factory in Lemon Yellow, R4 would have a fascinating life. On May 12 1969 the factory would sell the 911R to the Porsche distributor, Sonauto, in Lavalloie, France. Its first owner would be Victor Blanc, a French privateer, who would enter the car in the Ronde Cevenole Rally. Apparently Mr. Blanc missed a few of his payments and the car was returned to the dealer, Etablissements Balsa, before being placed in an auction to be held on October 15, 1970.
Now things get really interesting. R4 never made it to the auction. It was stolen the day before the event and simply disappeared. In 1991, some 20 years later, the car was discovered in a warehouse in Marseilles in excellent condition and returned to Etablissements Balsa, the last legal owner. With only 2,300 km on the odometer the car was prepared for sale and found a new owner in Martyn Konig of the United Kingdom.
The car would arrive in the United States for sale in 2006 and would find its way to Canepa for a full restoration shortly after. Thanks to its long and dry storage during its prime years, R4 was amazingly original and damage free. All of the fiberglass panels were original to the car. This is unheard of for a car that was design for competition. The tub was found to never had any corrosion or damage. From the perfect dash material to the flawless paper hoses under the hood all the original parts were present and reusable. Racecar restoration usually involves the repair a multitude of sins created over a career of ruthless competition. R4 had no sins. None.
Now with just 9,176 original kilometers, R4 has been in the care of a private collector for the past decade, and appeared on the lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2013 alongside our restoration of the 1979 Le Mans winning Porsche 935K3. It was a stunning display to see the first racing 911 next to the first and only 911 to win overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This car belongs on the top shelf of any serious car collection, Porsche or otherwise.
We believe it is the finest example of the 911R in the world. Period.
9,176 original kilometers = 5,702 miles