c.1980 Porsche 935 IMSA Racing Coupe
Chassis no. 930 6700 161R (see text)
* 3.2-liter single turbo flat six-cylinder
* Tube-frame independent chassis frame
* Period IMSA & Latin American race history
* Highly competitive vintage racer
* One of the fastest 935s racing today
* Eligible for all major IMSA-class events
Porsche's Type 935 was the fastest and most successful production-based circuit racer of the late 1970s and early 1980s, dominating IMSA and Group 5 grids of that period, but its history is really that of evolution from an already successful line of racing cars.
The FIA's decision to restructure Group 5 sports car endurance racing after the lackluster 1975 season created a resurgence of interest in that category. Porsche's weapon of choice for the following year was the 935, a 185 mph successor to its first series-built turbocharged racing car, the 934. Although it was still based on the standard 930's steel floorpan, the 935 was a "silhouette" racer; it looked sort of - like a 911 Turbo, but was truly nothing of the sort. Just as the 934 had evolved from the Carrera with even wider fenders, bigger wheels and tires, and a larger rear wing to cover its intercooler, so too the 935 would take this theme to extraordinary lengths, also borrowing from the factory's radical 2.1-liter Turbo Carrera RSR. For 1976, the 935 would retain the 934's coil-over suspension, huge 917 ventilated brakes, and 16-inch diameter center-lock BBS wheels. Now, however, the output of its 2857cc (3999cc turbocharged equivalent) motor would warrant 19-inch-diameter rear wheels, and an even larger, higher, rear wing above the intercooler. Its fiberglass body had an aerodynamically cleaner flat nose with widened front fenders, the headlamps being incorporated into the front fascia. Rear fenders were also extended, but the doors remained of standard shape and placement, a detail that wouldn't be amended until much later in the car's life.
Porsche produced just two examples of its new Group 5 model for 1976, which were raced by the factory team. Four more team cars were built in 1977, and two in 1978. By then customer demand for the new model was high; Porsche obliged, selling 13 cars during the 1977 season, followed by 17 updated examples in 1978 plus seven more in 1979. By then, independent teams and individuals were either buying additional body shells "in white" from Porsche, or crafting their own versions either for Group 5 or IMSA's GTX category.
The 935 offered here is an example of an independently-manufactured chassis - the vendor believes it was built by Hank Kleban - with some important changes under the skin. It is believed that this one-off chassis was first built as a copy of a 934, but normally-aspirated, and its first owner is believed to have been the 1980 IMSA GTO champion Luis Mendez. Sr. Mendez is thought to have raced this car a number of times in IMSA with 934 bodywork before selling it to his friend and frequent co-driver, Kikos Fonseca. Fonseca had already purchased a real 934 ('9306700161') with a good IMSA race history from Mendez, but wanted a faster machine. Fonseca upgraded the tube car with 935 bodywork, and installed an Andial-built 962 single-turbo engine. A new ID plate with the factory-built 934's number was attached to the chassis. It appears that the copy-cat number may have been intended to facilitate the car's movement around Central and South America, where it was raced extensively. The car is believed to be Mendez' entry at Sebring in 1988, co-driven with Fonseca under the Latino Racing banner and again in 1989 when it retired with gearbox trouble. It was even reputedly used as a bank robbery getaway car by Sandinistas in Nicaragua and neighboring Costa Rica!
As presented here, "0161R" was recently restored by the seller in the Latino Racing/Coca Cola © livery in which it is understood competed in the early 1980s. It is fitted with a 3.2 liter, twin-plug, flat-fan, single-turbo intercooled flat six cylinder engine prepared by Burbank Coachworks. With Bosch 935 mechanical fuel injection, it produces an estimated 660 hp at 1.2 bar of boost. Torque is estimated to be 559 foot-pounds at 6,400 rpm. The transmission was prepared by Werks II of Burbank, California and is geared for Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. The suspension is fully race prepared with coil-over shocks and adjustable swaybars, and it is equipped with "Big Red" Porsche twin-turbo brakes and replica BBS center-lock alloy wheels. After Dave Hall brought the car back to the U.S. from South America, it was raced by Dennis Aase, then sold again. After its restoration, it appeared at Rennsport Reunion IV in 2011, where it finished an impressive second place in a very competitive field of 935s, 934s, and RSRs.
This extremely fast, attractive, and well-built aftermarket Porsche 935 with a most interesting "back-story" should be welcome on any vintage racing IMSA class grid.
- Please note that the actual chassis number for this vehicle is 9306700161.