£5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale

| 5 Oct 2018
Classic & Sports Car – £5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale

Love Porsches? Then you’ll be in heaven at RM Sotheby’s forthcoming auction dedicated to the German marque.

The £20m-plus Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction will feature 64 cars plus a host of memorabilia, and is absolutely packed with fascinating vehicles.

Chief among them are a 1983 Porsche 956 that competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours and a 911 Carrera RSR once owned by Paul Newman, but they’re far from the only standouts.

Other highlights of the sale, which takes place on 27 October, include a 959 prototype, a Paris-Dakar competitor, eight 356s and a faintly ridiculous number of 911s – we counted 41 – ranging from a relatively early ’65 example to a 2018 model.

Classic & Sports Car – £5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale
The 956 in action at the 1983 Spa-Francorchamps 1000km

Price-wise at least, there’s no question what the most exciting vehicle is: the Le Mans 956, which has an estimate of $5.25-6.75m (£4-5.1m).

This car, chassis 956-110, competed in the 1983 and ’84 editions of the endurance race, both times for privateers. In the ’83 running it donned the livery of John Fitzpatrick Racing (JFR) and, driven by Fitzpatrick himself plus Dieter Quester and David Hobbs, was running 3rd when fuel-pump failure forced its retirement.

The following year it was entered by Lord Paul Vestey and competed for the Charles Ivey Racing team. Driven by Chris Craft, Alan Grice and Alain de Cadenet, it was running as high as 11th overall before it was again forced to retire.

Away from La Sarthe it enjoyed much more success, winning the 1983 Brands Hatch 1000km with Fitzpatrick and Derek Warwick behind the wheel before finishing second at Imola, and third at both Mugello and Silverstone that same season.

Classic & Sports Car – £5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale
This 959 was one of seven rally versions produced by the marque

Another exciting car up for grabs is the 1985 Porsche 959 Paris-Dakar.

One of just seven 959 rally cars produced by Porsche, it is the only one in private ownership and goes to auction with a $3-3.4m (£2.3-2.6m) estimate.

Driven at the 1985 Paris-Dakar rally by three-time winner René Metge, it was forced to retire due to a ruptured oil line and was sold soon afterwards.

It’s since had considerable success on the classics circuit, appearing at the Goodwood Festival of Speed three times – where it was driven by Porsche legend Jacky Ickx – and winning its class at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and Quail Motorsports Gathering.

Classic & Sports Car – £5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale
Classic & Sports Car – £5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale
The two ‘Split Window’ 356s look exquisite

A pair of very early 1951 Porsche 356 ‘Split Window’ models bodied by Reutter – one a 1300 Cabriolet and the other a Coupé – are further highlights.

Both have roughly £600k upper estimates, and both are resplendent in their original finishes of, respectively, Pascha Red over Beige and Maroon.

Classic & Sports Car – £5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale
Classic & Sports Car – £5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale
Classic & Sports Car – £5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale
Training chassis offers something a little different (top), while these two 356 A 1600s go to auction in markedly different states

They’re among a host of 356 lots, including a fascinating 1956 Training Chassis used by New York distributor Hoffman Motors to instruct its mechanics on the model’s mechanical functions, minus the bodywork (£75-115,000). Or, if you really want to strip things back, there's a 356 B Carrera GT/GTL four-cam engine available for £150-190,000.

If you’d prefer your 356 to arrive fully formed, you might want to bid for another Reutter-bodied example: a 1956 Porsche 356 A 1600 ‘Super’ Speedster, one of just 645 made that year and arriving at auction in superb condition with a £385,000 price tag.

Then again, you could save some cash by going for a rather sad looking 1958 356 A 1600 ‘Super’ Speedster that is actually mechanically sound and just needs a sympathetic restoration; that’s available for around £100k.

Classic & Sports Car – £5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale
This 1975 Carrera RSR 3.0 was owned by Hollywood star Paul Newman

There are so many 911s in the auction that we're not going to even attempt to list them all here. But one of the most interesting has to be the 1975 Carrera RSR 3.0.

With an estimate of £1.5-1.7m, it’s one of the pricier options on the menu, but it’s also the most successful competition car on offer – and happened to be owned for a while by one Paul Newman. 

Chassis 9115609121, it is one of only 10 RSR 3.0s built in 1975 to compete in Group 5 racing. 

Delivered to the factory-supported Tebernum Racing team, it took part in six rounds of the 1975 World Sportscar Championship and scored a highest overall position of fourth at the Coppa Florio 1000km.

At Le Mans that year it failed to finish, but it performed far more strongly in the European GT Championship, taking 2nd place at Imola and 4th at Zeltweg, and helping driver Hartwig Bertrams to the overall title.

With its racing career done it was then sold, in 1977, to Oscar-winning actor and motorsport enthusiast Paul Newman. Newman was certainly a man who knew a thing or two about Le Mans Porsches – it was during his ownership of this car that he competed in the 1979 edition, finishing an incredible second overall in a 935.

Newman sold the car in 1982 and it has since became a mainstay of the historic racing circuit, appearing in both the 2016 and 2018 Le Mans Classics.

Classic & Sports Car – £5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale
Classic & Sports Car – £5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale
Classic & Sports Car – £5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale
Classic & Sports Car – £5m Group C legend leads RM Sotheby’s spectacular Porsche sale
The auction is packed with wonderful Porsches

A couple of prototypes also catch the eye: a 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7, one of four built, and a 1985 Porsche 959. The latter is the seventh of 12 created for testing and development purposes and is one of only three or four to have survived. 

Another rare car is the 1980 Porsche 935 K4, one of two produced by the hugely successful Kremer Brothers team from Cologne. Or, if you’re after a vehicle of slightly more recent vintage, there’s a 1994 Porsche 911 turbo S X85 ‘Flat-Nose’.

The Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction takes place at the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta on 27 October. You can view a full lot list here

Images: RM Sotheby's, Motorsport Images


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