Porsche 911s are more commonly seen in sportscar racing series today, so it may come as a surprise that the first 911 Porsche ever raced participated in the Rallye Monte-Carlo—an event that is now part of the grueling World Rally Championship! Yes, Porsche 911s even look fantastic with a spotlight for a hat.
According to Porsche, Huschke von Hanstein had the idea of taking Porsche’s newest road car to the grueling stages of Monte-Carlo. At the time, Porsche was small enough that employees often held multiple roles at once, and von Hanstein was both the racing director and the press officer for the company. there was only one opportunity in early 1965 to really prove that the 911 was a car fit for both daily life as well as racing: the Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Driver Herbert Linge and Porsche development engineer Peter Falk were chosen as the duo to share their car thanks to their clever mix of driving and mechanical skills.
The international racing event would provide exactly the kind of press von Hanstein was looking for, so Porsche prepared a lightly modified red coupe.
The 911 was powered by an 2.0-liter flat-six engine that was upgraded from 130 hp to somewhere around 140 to 150 hp with the use of a Weber carburetor. Who needs all-wheel-drive when you’ve got the weight of the engine over the drive wheels?
Linge also requested that the shifter knob be moved back slightly, but otherwise, the car was very close to stock.
Falk and Linge with the car today.
The duo ultimately finished fifth, despite conditions so rough that they sometimes had to navigate by compass to get through snowstorms with no visibility.
Years of competition use and neglect following the Rallye Monte-Carlo left the car in rough shape, so recently, Porsche’s own Porsche Classic restorations department helped restore the car to its former glory. Behold: all that is Porsche.
According to Porsche, the car was equipped with standard rally equipment for the time: a roll bar, a Twinmaster trip meter, stopwatches, two additional lights in the front, and a roof-mounted spotlight.
The spotlight on the roof was used by the navigator to illuminate road signs.
The car also came with a rear-mounted pipe for the co-driver to stand on in and leather straps above the engine grille for the co-driver to hold onto, should they need additional weight on the rear drive wheels for traction.
It’s only fitting that the very first racing 911 is again one of the most beautiful. The little rear-engined coupe solidified the 911's place as a solid rally competitor with its fifth place result, and the 911 has kept racing in just about every series it can enter to this day.
Photo credits: Porsche
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