The atmosphere is down-to-earth. No champagne spraying all over the stage – a small keg is tapped, nothing more. A brew by the name of “Stuttgart Ale” or “Race Porter” or some such. Whatever it’s called, the present protagonists, including former pro cyclist Mark Webber, Porsche Head of Sales Detlev von Platen, GT boss Frank-Steffen Walliser and Porsche USA CEO Klaus Zellmer, like it. They say cheers to the crowd that has gathered here for Porsche Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca, they say cheers to each other – and they say cheers to the birthday present being given to the fans on the occasion of the company’s 70th anniversary: the Porsche 935/18.
A present? Depends on how you see it. Yes, if you can’t afford your own Porsche anyway, are still excited about every new model, and constantly celebrate the history of the brand. No, if you don’t stand a chance of acquiring one of the only 77 limited edition units or if you have hopelessly fallen in love with the car but are unable to come up with the 700,000 plus 1,948 euros before taxes (notice the gag: the small change is a hint at the brand’s year of birth). Only consolation: there’s not much you can do with the car anyway.
As if that mattered. A new Porsche is an earthquake, especially when there’s so much retro in it as with the 935/18. The look and the name are reminiscent of the Porsche 935/78, dubbed “Moby Dick” – the most powerful factory variant of the 911 that was ever allowed to drive. In 1976, after five years of abstinence, Porsche won the FIA World Championship for Makes for Group 5 special production cars. “Moby Dick” – so called because of its white color and long tail shape – was the third version of the 935. Powered by 845 horses from a twin-turbo flat-six, the sports car sped into the finish line at an incredible 366 km/h along the Hunaudieres straight at Le Mans – which, however, was just enough for an eighth-place standing overall. Porsche took home a victory from the 6 Hours of Silverstone. The car wasn’t really challenged that much, but no matter – it was enough for cult status.
The new model is based on the 911 GT2 RS and features a 700 hp six-cylinder twin-turbo boxer engine mounted in the rear. The almost impertinently beautiful body consists of a carbon-fiber composite. The whole thing tips the scales at just 1,380 kg. This is probably the most valuable motor racing history book on wheels: the LED tail lights echo those from the 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car, the capped rims were adopted from the 935/78, the side mirrors were taken from the 911 RSR, the exposed titanium tailpipes come from the 1968 Porsche 908. The gear shifter (seven-speed PDK) features a laminated wood design reminiscent of the one found in the 917, 909 Bergspyder and Carrera GT, while the carbon steering wheel hails from the current 911 GT3 R.
The car could if it was allowed to. But it is non-homologated and as such can’t take part in FIA races. And it isn’t road-legal either. Which makes it the perfect car to disappear in a collection. A shame, really. But, after all, the only reason there is a 935/18 is because the engineers had freedom in the development. In the end, the 77 new owners can either race their buddies into the ground at the next track day without winning an official flower pot or they delight at the present and its out-of-this-world sound within the four walls of their own garage.
Maybe they will even discover the car’s hidden little secrets. Like the origin label. To find it, you have to crawl deep into the rear of the modern Moby Dick. There, at the top left, somewhat concealed behind the proliferous aerodynamics, you’ll find the “made in” reference as to the car’s manufacturing origins. Not “Made in Germany”, not “Made in Stuttgart”, not even “Made in Weissach”. “Made in Flacht” it says – a proud testimonial to the Porsche motorsport team, which, though at home in Porsche’s Weissach facility, is geographically located within the village boundary of Flacht.
Credit where credit is due.
Info: First appeared in the ramp #44 ramp #44