1970 PORSCHE 914-6 GT
“Thank god there’s no 48-hour race anywhere in the world, because chances are nobody could beat Porsche in a 48-hour race. They’re probably the only cars in the world that would stand-up for something like that.”
Carroll Shelby – Porsche Brochure, 1972
Chassis No. 9140430032
From the very beginning, Porsche and its motorsport department intended for the 914’s lightweight unibody chassis, and nimble, mid-engine layout to be modified as a perfect platform for racing development. Beginning in 1970, just one year after the debut of the 914, Porsche offered a racing variant of its mid-engine sports car, dubbed the 914-6 GT. Porsche had created a surprisingly versatile race car, one that was more nimble and, in the right hands, just as quick as any 911.
Raced in-house by Porsche System Engineering and sold as a customer car through Werk 1 to the best international racing teams (Max Moritz, Sonauto, Strähle Autosport, and Brumos), the 914-6 GT received a long list of upgrades and bespoke racing parts for both Group 3 and Group 4 racing classes. The chassis was lowered, featured competition shock absorbers, and body reinforcements for all manner of endurance racing events, including the 84-hours of the Nürburgring (Marathon de la Route), the Targa Florio, and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Additional chassis modifications included larger brake calipers and rotors, long-stud wheel hubs with spacers, and wider wheels fitted with racing tires. The body was widened with steel fender flares and lightened with the addition of fiberglass racing parts including the front and rear hoods.
The GT featured a simplified interior, a larger air intake grill, front bumper oil cooler cutout, and a standard 100 liter fuel tank. Motorsport engine modifications included hard-chromed racing pistons, cylinder heads with polished intake and exhaust ports, Weber 46 IDA carburetors, dual ignition, racing camshafts, a special exhaust system and a competition clutch. All told, engine performance improved to 210-horsepower at 8000 rpm. Finally, Porsche’s racing gearbox featured a limited slip differential and a main shaft with five forward gears – all interchangeable depending on the race track. What Porsche produced for international Group 3 and 4 GT racing was a revelation. Just as quick through Tetre Rouge, Arnage, and Maison Blanche as it was on the corniche overlooking the Mediterranean, the Porsche 914-6 GT won its class finishing sixth overall at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans, placed second overall at a snowy 1971 Rally Monte Carlo, and finished second in class at the 1972 Targa Florio. Impressive results, indeed.
As a factory built ‚Werk 1‘ customer car this 914-6 GT, chassis no. 9140430032 was ordered by Swiss privateer Gusti Schlup for the Ecurie Biennoise racing team. It was entered in numerous local and continental competitions throughout 1970 and 1971, most notably the 1970 Spa 1000 km. In 1972 this GT passed to Jean Bernard Canonica. Canonica entered his new 914-6 GT in seven 2.0-liter European GT Championship races in 1972 and two more in 1973, with entries at Hockenheim, Estoril, Jarama, Zandvoort, and the Nürburgring. After its competition career ended the car became a showpiece at Marcel Willemin’s Garage du Bout du Monde, the official Lamborghini dealership in Geneva, Switzerland.
On display in Geneva until 1980, this GT then entered long term German ownership, during which a full decade-plus mechanical and cosmetic restoration commenced. Work included complete body repairs, which revealed very minor damage to the front left and original GT detail modifications throughout, culminating in a refinish in its period correct Ecurie Biennoise livery and Tangerine ‚Blutorange‘ paint. Separated from the car, palletized, and sold in 1980, the original 1991 cc race engine was located during restoration. Amazingly, it remained perched on exactly the same pallet all those years later and was subsequently refreshed with new rings, seals, and gaskets and reinstalled to complete the reunion and restoration. After the completion back to its 1970 guise, this GT changed hands for just the first time in 41 years.
Today the car remains in excellent condition with the owner noting its immaculate presentation, as the restoration focused on the car’s ability to be shown with pride and compete in its natural habitat, the race track. While piloting the car on fresh race tires through the twists and turns of Laguna Seca, a well known professional racer noted that he was able to catch and pass a less confident driver in a 700-horsepower 991.2 GT2 RS! Additionally, the sale includes a spares package with additional gear sets, suspension bits, and other pieces specific to this GT. Without doubt, the next owner of this 914-6 GT has a fantastic array of options available. Luftgekühlt or Cars and Coffee? Rennsport or open lapping day? All of the above? As a top-level restored example of Porsche’s finest factory GT race car of the early 1970s, this 914-6 GT will open a world of possibilities and, most assuredly, will be a star on any stage throughout Porsche’s 75th anniversary in 2023.
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