1970 Tour De France

For over 30 years the Porsche reference books and several “Experts” mistakenly believed that the Porsche Works entry 1970 Larrouse Tour De France car identity was chassis 911 030 0949.

This in many ways was extremely fortunate because it seems that there have been more than one example of 0949 in existence in recent years.When i first purchased the car i got in contact with Porsche Stuttgart and the archives department once they were fully satisfied via their checks that the car i had was in fact the original car and over the years they have supplied me with copies of all the internal paperwork relating to the cars conversion and lightening at the race department. All of the papers show on each sheet categorically the chassis number of the car which is very helpful and there is an interesting note that 1 week before the beginning of the Tour Gerard requested that they remove more weight from the car as he did not believe the car was light enough. Having spoken to the retired mechanics that prepared the car they laughed that they would have received more bottles of Champagne if they had remembered that they had left fuel in the car on its final weigh in prior to their bottles of champagne reward for their commitment shown!

For many years there had been rumours that the real 1970 TDF 1127 car had been sold by the Porsche Factory to a wealthy Greek Entrepreneur customer who bought the car to race personally, 1127 arrived at Thruxton still in its psychedelic livery fresh off the boat from Greece as reported in Autosport July 1974, this was only half correct. The car had been in Greece but it was sent back to the Porsche Race Department to be upgraded to 2.8 RSR specification. By pure coincidence i found myself talking to Mr Wayne Hardman at a Hedingham Castle Porsche Classics event and he commented that he had at one time run Sharp Racing at the Goodwood Motor Circuit and one of his main driving instructors was David Purley this awakened my knowledge of the famous first outing of 1127 at Thruxton and the Sharp Racing name rang a bell in my head as the entrant of the car for the race. As it turns out Wayne Hardman had personally been sent with a car and trailer from the UK to Stuttgart to collect the newly finished car with all 2.8 RSR upgrades to suspension,brakes,gearbox and engine. Wayne had to use hisCanadian charm at the Dover ferry border customs and was soon on his way to make good time for the race event at Thruxton however the trailer suffered a puncture and not to be beaten Wayne took the car of the trailer and proceeded to drive on Slick race tyres to Thruxton he arrived at the circuit unscathed and had to drive down the hard shoulder past all the queuing race fans to arrive to late for race practice so David Purley was allowed to start from the back of the grid for the race and he proceeded to break the Class lap record and was only just be pipped to the flag by Nick Faure in the new 3.0 litre RSR so they finished 1st and 2nd. I just love this story it was so typical of race people of the 60’s and 70’s and so refreshing so unlike the clinical rules and regulations of the current motor sport world.

Nick Faure remembers seeing the car for the first time as it was very unusual and had many differences to the other 911’s Nick was used to racing and he was asked to drive the car several times at races through the 1974 season. At some point soon after this race 1127 was hurriedly repainted yellow and green because the owner was nervous of all the media attention the car had caused at its initial race, Autosport and the Motoring News had picked up that it was the exLarousse TDF car.

Nick Faure and John De Stafano both drove the car through out the 1974 season racing at Brands Hatch and Silverstone. The car was also entered in the 1000k at Brands Hatch with Raymond Touroul and the Greek owner under his pseudonym  but DNF due to a driveshaft failure.

In 1975 the car was sold to Brian Nelson a prominent Irish Rally driver. He was going to come up against the earlier import duty situation so the identity of a 911T Coupe (YHR 911K) was purchased. Using this new identity 1127 was taken into Southern Ireland and rallied from 1975 to 1980. Slowly changing body panels until it looked like a 3.0 RSR and at some point changed to RHD. 1127 won the circuit of Ireland and had many strong finishes through it’s life in Ireland.

It was then sold to Geoff Crabtree, William Owen and then Ian Corkhill in the Isle of Mann. Ian Corkhill eventually gave the car to a London dealer to sell on his behalf. In July 1987 Cicely Nichols bought 1127 the invoice described the sale as a “race car only”. Cicely later made the car roadworthy and got an MOT issued. Cicely then drove 1127 to a Porsche race meeting at Donnington where she meet Josh Sadler and John Starkey. When they looked at 1127 they immediately knew what car it was and told her she had a Porsche of Historical interest and importance. Cicely immediately drove the car home and in her shock parked it in the garage where it lived for the next 9 years. In August 2006 GT Porsche magazine covered the car in an article, i knew immediately it was the car i had been searching for years ago as previously I had tracked down the car to the Isle of Mann but the car had already been sold before i could get there. So I had missed it once and was not about to miss it again. After a phone call to Cicely and a hurried journey to Burton on Trent I inspected the car, negotiations took place and the car was purchased.

Once I took the car home I began to meticulously dismantle and photograph each part. Once stripped the shell was blasted. Luckily most of the main structure of the shell was sound and original with the competition modifications that were made to the 5 works cars of 69/70 still evident plus the extra strengthening and other modifications including lightening that were only done for this car.

Over the last 5 years this shell has been totally restored we even managed to source all original period panels including genuine 1970’s ST fibreglass front bumper, bonnet, engine lid and new old stock ST fibreglass arch extensions. Thousands of hours of research and man power have gone into the car, which is now half way to completion and is now a rolling shell.

The car was originally sold from Porsche with a 2.4/2.5 and a genuine prototype 2.8RSR engine, both of which are being rebuilt. The car will run with the 2.4/2.5 as it did in the 1970 Tour de France.

Unbelievably many of the original parts were still on the car and have survived 30 years of use. The original plastic fuel tank, the leather tyre strap, the very special works competition Weber 46’s, the competition engine parts such as the race thermostat valve etc etc etc.