Porsche’s Top 5 Rarest Factory Models As Told By The Man Who Takes Care Of Them
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Creating a “Top Five” or “Top 10” list is always an exercise in caution because these rankings are largely of the subjective variety. One person can have a his top five on a specific topic only to see another person with a different top five of his own. In such instances, we usually rely on persons of authority to make these definitive calls. When it comes to making a legitimate top five list on the rarest Porsche factory models no person is better suited for the task than Dieter Landenberger, the manager of Porsche’s own Historical Archives.
The latest episode of Porsche’s always fun and informative “Top Five” series brings us to the Porsche Museum where Landenberger is its chief archivist. As somebody who knows pretty much knows as much about Porsche as anybody alive today, Landenberger is the perfect person to make a list of the rarest Porsche factory models in the world. The list itself is indicative of Porsche’s long and proud history and all the cars that Landenberger named each carried a storied history behind its exclusivity.
It’s fitting too that Landenberger’s choices come from a number of different Porsche generations spanning over 50 years of Stuttgart’s finest creations. Most of us probably know what the number one spot on this list is, but watching the episode and seeing Landenberg pull the sheets off of each of the cars that comprised the top five also made us realize just how awe-inspiring this museum is and just as important, how incredible Porsche’s history really is.
So without further adieu, check out the top 5 rarest Porsche factory models in the eyes and words of no less than Dieter Landenberger himself.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Be warned. Before you proceed reading through this list, there’s a good chance that you’ll experience some anxiety over these beauties. It comes with the territory of seeing some of the rarest Porsche models in history. If you’ve strapped yourselves up and are ready, then you can proceed. We’ll count the list down from #5 to #1 in the same format that Dieter Landenberger did in the video above.
Number five on Landengerger’s list is the 1992 Porsche 911 (964) Turbo S, a car that has a surprisingly interesting history behind it. These days, the 911 Turbo S is considered the range-topping variant of the entire line of Porsche 911 models. But 25 years ago, the 911 Turbo S was as rare as a Porsche could get. The story behind this model dates back to January 1992 when then-head of Porsche’s Exclusive department (known back then as “VR Department”) Rolf Sprenger championed the release of a lightweight street legal version of the 911 Turbo that would be limited to only a handful of units. Months of discussion culminated with the decision to green light the 911 Turbo S Leichtbau, which would then evolve into this rare yet exquisite piece of German engineering.
In addition to being significantly lighter than the 911 Turbo, the Turbo S also featured a lowered suspension, front strut brace, manual steering, and a 3.3-liter turbocharged flat-six engine that produces 381 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. At that time, it was considered as one of the fastest sports cars in the world. More importantly, Porsche limited production of the car to just 86 models and almost decades later, the 1992 Porsche 911 (964) Turbo S was selected as one of very few models to go on display as part of the 25 Years of Porsche Exclusive event held at the Porsche museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany back in 2011.
Read our full review here.
If there was ever a car that became an example of why Porsche’s design has remained largely the same for the duration of its history, it’s the Porsche 924. Suffice to say, the entry level sports car for little styling resemblance to anything Porsche made before it and has made since. It didn’t have the automaker’s iconic round headlights as Porsche decided to give it pop-up square headlights that were in vogue at that time. The design of the car drew flak from Porsche purists, as did its performance, which a lot of people claimed to mediocre, even for an entry-level Porsche. Still, the 924’s legacy rebounded towards the end with the introduction of the 50-piece 924 GTS and the even rarer 17-piece 924 GTR.
The 924 GTS stood out for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that of the 50 units built of the car, one was used as a race while the remaining 49 were built for the road. All 49 also had the same Indian Red paint finish and came with an output of 245 horsepower. It may not be the rarest of the 924 variants – that distinction still belongs to the 924 GTR with only 17 units ever built – but the 924 GTS has carved quite a name for itself as one of the most desirable and rarest Porsche models that also happened to be one of the most derided in its time. Today, the 924 GTS is a sought after piece of Porsche’s history, proving once and for all that when it comes to Porsche, even the “so-called” misses in their time have aged very well.
Read our full review here.
At number three is a car that probably wouldn’t have even been built were it not for regulations in the GT1 class of motor racing that required automaker to build 25 street versions of the cars they’re competing in to become eligible in the series. And so, the 911 GT1 was born. History says that Porsche actually developed two fully road-legal versions of the car, one of which was christened the “911 GT1 Straßenversion” and another that remains in the hands of a private collector. Over 20 more units of the 911 GT1 soon followed with all them carrying the 996’s familiar front headlights. More importantly, the engines of these cars – a 3.2-liter twin-turbo flat-six engine – came with 537 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, enough to post a series of staggering timed records, according to tests done by German auto outlet Auto, Motor und Sport. For instance, the 911 GT1 clocked in a 0-to-62-mph sprint time of 3.9 seconds, a 0-to-124-mph time of 10.5 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 11.6 seconds, and a top speed of 191.4 mph.
A number of variations of the Porsche 911 GT1 have been auctioned off in the past few years, including one back in 2012 that sold for $1.175 million and another one for the one and only – a literal one-off! – 911 GT1 Evolution race car that fetched $3.1 million at an RM Sotheby’s auction in May 2016.
It may not hold the distinction of being the most iconic Porsche in history, but rest assured, the 911 GT1 has a special place in the hearts of Porsche purists as much for its exclusivity as its outright dominating power and performance capabilities.
Read our full review here.
#2: 1984 Porsche 911 SC/RS
The 1984 Porsche 911 SC/RS gets lost in the shuffle as one of the rarest Porsche models in history and a big reason for that is that the car wasn’t a road car, but was actually developed and built exclusively for rally sport. The actual car’s history can be traced back to the 1970s with the 911 RS/RSR. Unlike the model from which it takes inspiration from, the 911 SC/RS was also the result of a set of requirements that Porsche had to abide by if it wanted to compete in rally racing. According to reports back then, the German automaker had to abide by another set of regulations that called for 20 of these models to be built before Porsche, or any of the teams that ordered them, could use the car for rally racing purposes.
Most of the 911 SC/RS models were immediately pressed into competition soon after getting built. Among other things, the 911 SC/RS featured a lightweight body shell, an aluminum hood, a rear deck, door panels, 935 racing seats, and Kevlar bumpers. Ultimately, the 911 SC/RS came in at a kerb weight of just 2,160 pounds, more than 1,000 pounds lighter than the standard 911 SC. Most of all, the 911 SC/RS featured a 3.0-liter flat-six engine that produced 290 horsepower, enough to propel it from a standstill position to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds before peaking at a top speed of 155 mph. At that time, the 911 SC/RS was considered one of the fastest cars in the world and while the car can no longer make that claim, it still holds a special place in the hearts of Porsche enthusiasts, both for its rallying purpose and its outright exclusivity.
That’s what typically happens when there are only 20 units of the Porsche 911 SC/RS that modern-day Porsche collectors can fight over. These days, the 911 SC/RS can be found in auctions all over the world, including one that was hosted last year by Gooding & Company where it carried an estimate price of $1.4 million to $1.8 million.
#1: 1952 Porsche 356 America Roadster
The Porsche 550 Spyder may be considered the holiest of Porsche holy grails – an unrestored model fetched $6.1 million at at Bonhams’ Goodwood Revival sale in 2016 – but most people forget that the 550 was actually inspired by the Porsche 356, the iconic Porsche sports car that came to life in 1948 and lasted until 1965. One particular variant of the 356 that’s consider the rarest factory-produced Porsche of all time was the 356 America Roadster, which only came in 16 units. That’s how rare it was back then and you can imagine how many of those 16 units are still alive today. At least one though can be found in the Porsche Museum and part of its appeal revolved around it being marketed specifically to the US market, which at that time was dominated by a number of American luxury brands.
As the story goes, Ferry Porsche, the son of Porsche founder Ferdinand Porsche, agreed to produce the 356 America Roadster at the behest of importer Max Hoffman, who saw the potential of the car if it somehow made its way into the U.S. Ultimately, only 16 units were built of the 356 America Roadster and all 16 came with some unique features, including having an aluminum coachwork, a lower front fender well, and a fixed windshield. The 356 America Roadster didn’t have a powerful engine by any standards – a 1.5-liter aluminum block that only produced 70 horsepower and 58 pound-feet of torque – but it did come with a $4,600 price at the time of its release, or the equivalent of around three same-era Chevrolet Corvettes.
As far as rarity of factory-built Porsches are concerned, the Porsche 356 America Roadster takes a back seat to no one.
Source: YouTube - Porsche