Introduced for the 1976 racing season, the Porsche 934/935 was the factory-racing version of the Porsche 911 Turbo. Mainly prepared for FIA Group 5 rules, a liberal silhouette formula from 1976 to 1982, the 935 is also known for racing in the IMSA GT championship and the DRM series. The 935 went on to win no less than 123 races through 1986, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 1,000 km Nurburgring , becoming one of the most successful Porsches ever created.
The Porsche 935 can still be seen on the track throughout the United States and Europe in historic racing events. Still a crowd-pleaser, as it has always been, one of the only 31 935s ever built is about to cross the block during an auction event hosted by Mecum in August 2014. A rare occurrence for such a prestigious race car, one that classic race car collectors are likely looking forward to.
What you’re looking at is a 1976 Porsche 934/935 dressed in 1981 Daytona livery and upgraded to twin-turbo specifications. It’s lightning-fast, light as a feather, and ready to storm the track. Unfortunately, this is a vehicle we can’t borrow for a test drive, but we’re more than happy to review it 38 years after leaving the Porsche factory.
Click past the jump to read more about the 1976 Porsche 934/935 IMSA El Salvador.
It may seem hard to believe at first glance, but the Porsche 934/935 is essentially a 911 on steroids. However, the roofline and the glass area are the only noticeable details reminiscent of the road-legal, 930-generation 911 . Everything else has been reshaped for either increased aerodynamics and speed or FIA regulations of the era. The standard headlamps seen on the 911 have been shaved off the nose and moved to the lower apron, while the fenders have been enlarged to host wider wheels. Around back, a huge wing sets a completely new landscape, while the regular 911 taillights are barely visible with the body kit in place. It’s fast, mean and beautiful at the same time. A silhouette racer like no other, one that only Porsche managed to envision and build.
For the record, the unique "Slantnose" version of the 911, which Porsche launched in 1981, was actually inspired by the front end of the 935. The race car was so popular by then that the 911 "Slantnose" became a huge success, with most of them selling for a premium of up to 60 percent over sticker.
Getting back to the 934/935 "El Salvador", the racer was restored in its 1981 Daytona livery. The bright-yellow and light-blue combo is rather unique to the 935, despite the fact that these racers have changed clothes and owners many times throughout their motorsport career.
Built in 1976 as the 27th of the 31 examples of the 934 Turbo RSR (soon to evolve into a 934/935), this specific chassis spent two years with the Georg Loos GELO team and Claude Haldi before being sold off to Enrique Molins, the El Salvadoran Mini ster of Sports in 1981. Molins converted it to full twin-turbo 935 specifications and raced and upgraded it through 1986, which explains the "El Salvador" nickname that comes with the car. Throughout its 10-year-long career, the 934/935 "El Salvador" raced in more than 40 GT races in Europe, U.S. and Latin America, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. Now that’s an impressive record!
Also restored to its 1981 specifications, the cabin is fitted with FIA-approved, IMSA-specific gear, including a bolstered driver’s seat, a competition roll cage, a fire extinguisher, and other race-specific equipment. There’s no passenger seat, so you’d better forget about taking your friends for a ride around Laguna Seca. Also, don’t expect any of the bells and whistles available in road-going Porsches.
The 934/935 was built to win races and no compromises were made during development. It was designed as a powerful, lightweight machine that had very little in common with the Porsche 911 it was (loosely) based on.
This beast of a race car is powered by a turbocharged, 3.2-liter, flat-six engine rated at 760 horsepower. Although initially motivated by a single-turbo unit, this specific 935 was later updated to twin-turbo specifications. The engine mates to a four-speed manual transmission, the sole gearbox available on the 935.
The 3.2-liter is legendary among Porsche racing enthusiasts. The mill began its career in 1978, when the Germans also introduced water-cooled cylinder heads, giving up on air cooling following several head gasket failures during the previous racing season. At the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans, a 935, powered by the newly enlarged 3.2-liter flat-six, became the fastest car on the Mulsanne Straight at 235 mph.
|Type||3.2 liter turbocharged and air-cooled flat-six|
This Porsche 935 is scheduled to go under the hammer in mid-August 2014 in Monterey, California. Although Mecum doesn’t offer a bid estimate ahead of the auction, we expect this race car to fetch more than $600,000. In 2013, the "El Salvador" 935 remained unsold after a high bid of $525,000 during the same event.
The Porsche 934/935 competed against many famous race cars back in the day, including the Lancia Beta Montecarlo, the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 or the BMW 3.5 CSL. At the 1981 Daytona 24 Hours, the "El Salvador" Porsche also faced competition from the BMW M1 .
Based on the road-legal car built from 1978 to 1981, the race-ready M1 featured the same 3.5-liter, inline-six engine, but had its output increased to more than 500 horsepower. The M1 was less successful than the dominating 935 overall, but a factory-backed racer managed to outgun the "El Salvador" Porsche at Daytona that year.
With 62 wins to its name in various events and classes, the BMW M1 is commonly known as the only supercar built by the Bavarian automaker.
The 934/935 is one of the most competitive Porsches ever built. Due to the availability of customers’ models, the Porsche 935 was a race car no other make could challenge, as most events featured at least five examples. It won 123 of the 370 races it was entered and left the motorsport scene with Le Mans, Sebring, Daytona and Nurburgring triumphs to its name. All told, the possibility of owning one of the only 31 934/935s ever built is like a dream come true to any racing enthusiast. Given his wallet is thick enough to pay for it, of course. To whoever wins the auction, please don’t lock those wild 760 horses behind a garage door!
- Rich motorsport heritage
- Fully restored
- A true collector’s item
- Eligible for historic racing events
- You can’t drive it on public roads
- Requires high maintenance