The ultimate 924, up for sale

Back in the Porsche 924mid-’70s, Volkswagen contracted Porsche to develop a car based on parts already available from Volkswagen. As the project came closer to completion, Volkswagen canceled it, blaming certain financial setbacks as the reason. Ultimately, Porsche bought the rights to the design and produced the car now known as the 924. Over the years, the 924 spawned a number of different variants, such as the 924 Carrera GT and the 924 GTS, but neither were as potent (or as rare) as the 924 GTR. Only 17 examples of the GTR were built, with more than half of them racing or qualifying at Le Mans. Other models were raced in Europe, the U.S., and Japan, but there was one example of the GTR that was practically unaccounted for on the race track, and that’s the example you see in the pictures here.

The 924 GTR was derived from Porsche’s factory development strategies and featured a number of enhancements over other 924 models. One of the first things Porsche did was enlarge the intercooler and move it to the front of the vehicle – leading to the need for a much taller front fascia with a huge air dam. Furthermore, there was a special suspension system, performance brake system, some serious engine modifications, and a roll cage to help keep the driver safe should it go belly up during an unfortunate incident on the track. We’ll talk more about that a little later, so keep reading to learn more.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1981 Porsche 924 GTR.

History And Background

1981 Porsche 924 GTR Exterior
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Meet the rarest, and probably most valuable, 924 GTR you’ll ever see. This car was one of only two delivered to Japan straight from the production line. It was taken to the track just a handful of times during its first seven years of life. It was used to cover just 68 miles in those seven years, after which it was placed in storage. Having just a single, caring owner, this 924 was removed from storage once a year to undergo regular service and maintenance. Furthermore, from 1981 to 2006, the car was serviced by Porsche specialist Tomei Car Service, then later by Porsche specialist Garage Tool Box. In between maintenance periods, the 924 was started and run regularly to keep everything in smooth operating condition.

This 924 GTR is now being offered up on the auction block at the Silverstone Classic Race Car Sale in July, and is estimated to go for anywhere between £475,000 and £575,000 ($695,956 and $842,473 at current exchange rates, 06/21/2016). It’s a 1981 model, chassis No. 10 with engine No. 36. It comes with a Japanese title, plus records of usage and maintenance. As an extremely rare and exquisitely maintained Porsche 924 GTR, it is – according to Silverstone Auctions – the “most original, untouched, and completely unmolested example” of any Porsche the auction house has ever put under the hammer.

Exterior

1981 Porsche 924 GTR Exterior
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1981 Porsche 924 GTR Exterior
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1981 Porsche 924 GTR Exterior
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On the outside, there are a number of enhancements that set the 924 GTR apart from its standard, road-going counterpart. Up front, the car has the same headlights and amber lights arranged side-by-side, but down below, the front fascia takes a more extreme form with a large air dam featuring a square inlet on each side. There’s a large hood scoop and HVAC-vent-looking air inlets on the nose. The pop-up headlights were replaced with recessed, sealed units with external lenses that sit flush with the front end.

To the sides, the 924 GTR features widened wheel arches to go with the body-colored side skirts

To the sides, the 924 GTR features widened wheel arches to go with the body-colored side skirts. The fuel filler cap is exposed, making it easier for filling in the pit, and the front doors have a revised window that includes a small vent in the rear. The side profile is rounded off with some odd-looking, somewhat flat-faced rims wrapped in exceptionally wide Dunlop tires.

To the rear, there isn’t a whole lot of change. The GTR uses the same square-shaped tail lamps that were common to the era, and the lip around the rear hatch is a little more pronounced, most likely adding even better downforce to the rear. A GTR emblem adorns the rear hatch, but it doesn’t appear as if there is any diffuser down below. As you can see from the images here, this particular 924 has been extremely well-kept, and while it hasn’t been specifically noted, looks to wear its original paint and is completely free of any restoration.

Interior

1981 Porsche 924 GTR Interior
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1981 Porsche 924 GTR Interior
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1981 Porsche 924 GTR Interior
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As expected, there's a roll cage, that – I must point out – blocks driver access to the handbrake located left of the driver’s seat.

Inside, the 924 GTR is all about business. It’s equipped with a racing steering wheel from Momo, and features two racing seats with five-point harnesses. The dash has been dumbed down to a boring (but functional) piece that features just two HVAC vents, a few buttons, six gauges, and a few idiot lights to let the driver know something has gone wrong. The door panels are void of any aesthetically pleasing features, with a cheap-looking pull handle and a latch handle. The front windows clearly roll down, however, in the images provided, I see no evidence of a window crank. Carpeting is limited to your basic, industrial-like material, and the floor mats look more like something you would find in a work truck. The shifter handle is basic at best, with a tiny shift boot and round ball at top. As expected, there’s a roll cage, that – I must point out – blocks driver access to the handbrake located left of the driver’s seat.

The 924 GTR was designed to look, feel, and drive like a race car. You won’t get any of that fancy crap you see in today’s race cars. There’s no Alcantara, no fine leather, and no fancy technology to make the driver’s life easier. Looking at these images, I want you to take it in, because race cars these days come from the factory as heavily molested models that feature materials that are said to be rare or bespoke, yet are used in just about everything. Not here. In the 924 GTR, you get basic functionality at its best. Don’t pass the chance to see what race cars are supposed to be, because they don’t make them like this anymore.

Drivetrain

1981 Porsche 924 GTR Drivetrain
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Tipping the scales at just 2,050 pounds, 375 horsepower is enough to push the GTR to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds, with a top speed of 180 mph

Powering this track-bred beast is the same 2.0-liter engine found in other 924’s, but it comes largely modified, including the addition of dry-sump lubrication. Total output sits nicely at 375 horsepower and 299 pound-feet of torque. That’s an increase of 165 horsepower over the Porsche 924 GT. Tipping the scales at just 2,050 pounds, 375 horsepower is enough to push the GTR to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds, with a top speed of 180 mph. Both figures actually improved on cars that came with better aerodynamic enhancements, but we’ll save that conversation for another day.

Under the body, you’ll find a fully adjustable suspension system, which is perfect for customizing at any track you can think of. Stopping power is handled by four-piston, 935 calipers and 12.2-inch brake rotors. All told, the GTR is an excellent race car for its time, and I sure wish I had a chance to look at this model’s untouched engine in person. As far as this specific model goes, the car, engine, and transmission have just 68 miles on the clock – a figure that’s absolutely astounding.

Pricing

Only 17 examples of the 924 GTR were produced, so as you can imagine, pricing information is hard to come by. Reports suggest that of the 17 examples created, at least a few were offered for sale to privateers – much like the one shown here – with pricing set at $75,000 before any options, taxes, delivery, or fees. The specific example featured here is expected to sell for anywhere between $696,540 and $843,180 at current exchange rates when it goes under the hammer by Silverstone Auctions. That’s one hell of an investment return, don’t you think?

Conclusion

1981 Porsche 924 GTR Exterior
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Given the rarity of the 924 GTR, not to mention the unbelievable condition and upkeep of the specific model mentioned here, the fact that this car is literally an icon of icons doesn’t need to be said. I can’t imagine why anyone would wish to part with such a model. Moving on from that thought, it’s also a mind blower that someone has owned this thing for decades and only enjoyed driving it a handful of times. I mean, seriously... just 68 miles? That’s absolutely insane. I understand what it means to be a car collector and all, but it seems a shame to have a model such as this 924 GTR and never really play with it. Then again, I’m sure those few times it did go to the track were full of soul and emotion, among other things. With that said, we’ll be watching for the results of the auction and will update you with the end result as soon as possible.

  • Leave it
    • Rare
    • I can’t have it
    • The front window design looked better as a single-piece design

Press Release

An amazing and totally original, one owner and 109 kilometres from new Porsche 924 GTR, hidden in Japan for 30 years, will headline Silverstone Auctions’ Competition Car Sale on 28th July at the Silverstone Classic.

1981 Porsche 924 GTR Exterior
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Not just any Porsche 924, this ‘ultimate’ version, a 1981 Carrera GTR, has an incredible story to tell and is by far and away the most original and untouched example of any Porsche Silverstone Auctions have ever seen. Delivered new to Japan in 1981 by Porsche importer Garage Italya, this is one of only two cars delivered to the country, with the other example used extensively for racing. In 1983, after being stored for two years, it was purchased by a Japanese businessman and classic car enthusiast who wanted to add it to his private collection.
Uniquely this factory built Porsche race car was only enjoyed a handful of times on the track at Suzuka and the Fuji Speedway. On each occasion, the fastidious Japanese owner made a record of the distance travelled at each track day. According to his records, the car covered just 109 kilometres in the first seven years of ownership, after which the 924 was carefully tucked away in his two-storey garage, with his prized Porsche ’racer’ safely in the first-floor attic space accessible by a car lift.
Removed from storage each year, the car was taken on a trailer to be serviced, brought back, and then placed back carefully in position in the garage. From 1981 to 2006 the car was serviced by Porsche specialist Tomei Car Service, then latterly by Porsche specialist Garage Tool Box. In the intervening period, the engine was started and run regularly.
It is presented today exactly as the factory built it, perhaps the most original Porsche factory race car in the world? Its authenticity is without doubt and the details even go even down to the initials on the engine management box signed by Porsche factory race technicians. Now in the UK and offered for public sale, the car joins the auction at the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival, estimated at between £475,000 and £575,000. The car comes with a Japanese title document and records of its minimal usage and extensive maintenance.

1981 Porsche 924 GTR Exterior
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Speaking ahead of the sale of the car, managing director of Silverstone Auctions, Nick Whale, said: “This fantastic car can only be described as a time capsule with everything original throughout, even down to handwritten stickers on the loom and the last two numbers of the chassis and engine number written on the ECU in marker pen! It’s a very special collector’s item that would be the icing on the cake to any serious Porsche collection.”
Just 17 examples of the 924 Carrera GTR were made available to private customers at a cost of $75,000. Benefitting from constant development, the cars were delivered from Porsche with fully integrated roll cages, fully adjustable suspension and four-piston 935 brake callipers squeezing larger 31cm discs. The engine was a highly modified version of the 2.0l motor used in all 924s, featuring dry sump lubrication, which helped it produce 375bhp. Weighing just 930 kilos, the GTR was good for 180mph and 0-60mph took 4.7 seconds.
Nick added: “It’s the 40th anniversary of the Porsche 924 this year and we’re delighted that we’re able to offer what is surely a total one-off investment opportunity and the best available example of Porsche’s ultimate and rare incarnation of the model.”

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