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Porsche Works Team Car at Le Mans, Targa Florio, and Monte Carlo RallyPorsche AG (retained for factory team)Fa. Gasner & Co., Munich, Germany (acquired from the above in 1966)Leonard Renick, Orange County, CaliforniaAdam Smith and Ned McDaniel, CaliforniaDan McLoughlin, CaliforniaRay Stewart, Carmel, California (acquired from the above)Gerard Layer, Solvang, California (acquired from the above circa 1991)Michael Shoen, Paradise Valley, Arizona (acquired from the above in 1997)Scott Gauthier, Scottsdale, Arizona (acquired from the above in 1998)Stanley Gold, Burbank, California (acquired from the above in 2000)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Targa Florio, April 1964, Herbert Linge/Gianni Balzarini (2nd overall)1,000 Km Nürburgring, May 1964, Gerhard Mitter/Herbert Linge (12th overall)24 hours of Le Mans, June 1964, Gerhard Koch/Heinz Schiller (10th overall, 3rd in GT)DARM GT Norisring, July 1964, Herbert Linge (2nd overall)Tour de France, September 1964, Herbert Weber/Michel Muller (4th overall, 2nd in Class)Rallye Monte Carlo, January 1965, Eugen Bohringer/Rolf Wütherich (2nd overall)
Porsche Rennsport Reunion, Daytona Beach, Florida, November 2007Porsche Rennsport Reunion, Monterey, California, October 2011
This fantastic Porsche is a rare factory-raced example of a 904 Carrera GTS, the company’s landmark machine built to compete in race and rally competition at the highest levels for the 1964 season.
Porsche enjoyed a watershed year in 1964, with the 911 debuting as its all-new production car and the 904 ushering in a new era of sophisticated design and engineering with the intent of winning races. The fact that the 904 and 911 were designed at the same time, and both by F.A. Porsche, marks a truly significant moment in Porsche’s history. Each model is masterful in its respective execution.
Porsche had been experimenting with fiberglass as early as 1954 and had filed for patents relating to its use in the construction of automobiles. The 904 was the first model on which Zufenhausen used fiberglass in earnest, and that came after much consultation with aircraft manufacturers that had pioneered the use of the material. Construction of fiberglass laid over a stamped-steel chassis allowed for a very lightweight package, and the 904 initially weighed a svelte 650 kg (1,433 lbs.). This weight was accompanied by stellar aerodynamics, which featured a small frontal area allowing the 904 to achieve top speeds that weren’t possible with Porsche’s earlier sports racing cars. Additionally, and importantly, the 904 marks the last of Porsche’s sports racing cars that were developed with at least some thought toward road usage, and the cars were available with all necessary road equipment.
The 904 also marks the significant final application by Porsche of the Ernst Fuhrmann-designed four-cam four-cylinder engine. Used to great effect for a decade by 1964, this complex and potent design was still very capable of winning races in the right chassis, and the 904 was destined to be a reliable package after years of refining and optimizing the power train in earlier models, such as the RSK.
When debuted at a press launch in November 1963 at the Solitude circuit in Germany, the response to Porsche’s new racing machine was immediately very positive. Soon, 904s were being entered in races and rallies all over the globe. Results were spectacular, with the model achieving more than 300 class wins and 145 overall victories in the 1,300 race entries, which were compiled by Rolf Sprenger and Steve Heinrichs for the book Carrera.
Nine of the first 10 Porsche 904s built were kept for works race team use, including the car offered here, 904-006. Chassis 006 was first put into service during April 1964 as one of four entries by Porsche in the Targa Florio. An accompanying letter sent by Porsche and written by historian Jurgen Barth to Scott Gauthier, a former owner of 006, notes that 006 was the overall winner of the Targa Florio. That history was later changed in Mr. Barth’s published work on the 904 to a 2nd Place result, perhaps highlighting the sometimes-difficult task of historical attribution of race results to 904 chassis numbers. Regardless, the car had a spectacular result at the Targa Florio, either driven by winning drivers Antonio Pucci and Colin Davis or by the 2nd Place pairing of Herbert Linge and Gianni Balzarini.
In its second outing for Porsche, 904-006 was driven by Herbert Linge and Gerhard Mitter at the 1,000 Km Nürburgring. against diverse international competition, the pair finished 12th overall. Next came the 24 hours of Le Mans, where 904-006 was driven to 10th overall and 3rd in Class by the duo of Gerhard Koch and Heinz Schiller. after finishing 4th overall and 2nd in Class at the Tour de France, 904-006 raced in its final event as a factory entrant at the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally, driven by Eugen Bohringer and Rolf Wütherich and placing 2nd overall.
According to Mr. Barth, Porsche sold the car to Fa. Gasner & Co. in Munich, Germany, in 1966. The trail then goes cold on 904-006 until it was purchased, possibly from a used car lot, by orange County Cadillac dealer Leonard Renick. Then the 904 Carrera GTS, now missing its engine, went through the hands of two more owners before being purchased by Gerard Layer. Mr. Layer sourced an appropriate type 587/3 engine and transaxle and had the car restored, eventually selling it to The Ferrari-Cobra Wars author Michael Shoen in January 1997. Mr. Shoen, an accomplished author and historian, says he never used 904-006 during his one year of ownership and sold it to Scottsdale-based collector and jeweler Scott Gauthier in January 1998. With Mr. Gauthier, the 904 was to become a cornerstone of a very significant collection of sports racing cars.
Upon arrival to the collection of Stanley Gold in 2000, 904-006 took a turn from occasionally used display piece back to its natural role as a competition machine. Mr. Gold had his friend and master technician Brant Parsons of Shamrock Racing prepare the car for track use and, over the course of his 14-year ownership, this Porsche was entered in no fewer than 27 vintage racing events, including three Tour Auto appearances, six trips to the Le Mans Classic, and four entries at the Monterey Historics.
Now offered from one of the world’s preeminent Porsche collections, 904-006 remains ready to capture the imagination of a new owner looking for either a track machine or a stunning showpiece. This car is an approachable classic that will continue to be eligible for entry into events all over the world.
Porsche’s legend has grown through the years, and the importance of its role in the annals of motor racing history cannot be overstated. The 904 is a key element in the lineage that built such a legend, and it now offers the modern enthusiast an extremely useable platform and dynamic ownership experience. With only 107 examples of the 904 Carrera GTS built, and only nine ever used by the factory for competition purposes, 904-006 finds itself at or near the top of an elite list of desirable racing Porsches. With known ownership and exemplary recent stewardship and competition successes, this simply must be one of the most desirable 1960s racing Porsches available today.