Artcurial Motorcars is currently preparing for the much awaited Rétromobile 2022 which will be held on March 18 to 20, 2022, and one of the highlights of the sale is a 1968 Porsche 907 Ex-works with a rich racing history.
May 19, 1968. The Nürburgring 1000 Km. The sixth round in the International Championship for Makes. Ford and Porsche have been going head-to-head against each other the whole season.
Porsche’s 907 claimed victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona as well as at the 12 Hours of Sebring. The powerful GT40s will not willingly go down without a fight and they decided to catch up. They conquered Monza, Brands Hatch, Spa, and Watkins Glen. Porsche fought back. At the Targa Florio, they recorded a victory for Elford and Maglioli’s 907.
To be able to compete at the Nürburgring, Porsche entered two 2-liter 907s and two 3-liter 908s. At the beginning of the race, Silfert and Elford’s 908 was in the lead. Following behind was Ickx and Hawkins’ Ford GT40 then Herrmann/Stommelen’s 907. Neerpasch/Buzzetta laid in ambush.
Ickx’s Ford used the strategy of stopping for fuel less often and it paid off with them taking the lead, but it was shortlived. Siffert then led the pack, with Herrmann and Stommelen in the 907 closely behind. Neerpasch in the 907-031 – the example on offer – lost time as he almost ran out of fuel and had to limp back to the pits. Still, he was able to hold on to fourth place.
It then started to rain.
Australian Paul Hawkins, who replaced Ickx in the GT40 was not as confident compared to his Belgian teammate and Neerpasch and Buzzetta took advantage of the chance to make up some time.
Will they be able to take the third place from the Ford?
Ford’s team manager John Wyer noticed that things were starting to go against them and he told Ickx to get back behind the wheel to be able to defend their position.
Porsche took victory at the finish line. The 908 came in first with the 907 close behind. The 907-031 driven by Neerpasch and Bussetta was able to take fourth ahead of a few Alfa Romeos and Hobbs/Redman’s Ford GT40. They really had the chance to make it a three Porsche win and claim third place, except for the unfortunate incident of them running out of fuel.
The car on offer is chassis 907-031. It was able to claim fourth place in one of the most challenging races in the world, proving its endurance and performance. Its 2.2-liter engine was able to go up against and almost claimed victory against its 5-liter V8-engined rival.
The Porsche 907-031 was the last one built and it left the Zuffenhausen workshop just a month before the race. The final preparations on the car were done in May 1968.
After its impressive performance at the Nürburgring, the example was serviced, and Porsche decided to let go of the vehicle. On January 10, 1969, it was sold to Alejandro Soler-Roig from Barcelona. A certificate of the sale signed by Ferdinand Piech shows the transfer.
Spanish Soler-Roig was an excellent privateer racing driver. His career began in 1958 behind the wheel of a Porsche 356. In 1968 In a long tail 907 (907-005) he entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire from the race due to timing gear problem. Despite the mishap, the car won him over that he bought one himself in 1969.
In the same year, he used the Porsche 907-031 to compete in several rounds of the International Championship with Rudi Lins as his teammate. Driving for the Escuderia Nacional CS, the season started at the 24 Hours of Daytona where unfortunately the Porsche was involved in an unfortunate accident after being caught in a cloud of smoke that formed after the engine of a Jaguar exploded. It ended up in a pile-up with several other competitors.
It was sent back to the factory for repairs, but it was ready for the Spanish team to join the next race: the 12 Hours of Sebring. There was an impressive line up of cars that joined the race. They had a few Porsche 908s, the Ferrari 312P, Alfa 33, Lola-Chevrolet, and even Ford GT40s.
During practice, the 907 only placed 16th, but thanks to its consistent drive in the race and dependability despite other cars retiring, it was able to finish 4th making it the best-placed private entry behind the works teams.
The car was forced to retire at the Brands Hatch 6 Hours, but it got back in shape by June. It raced for the Spanish Championship at Jarama and Soler-Roig claimed victory, beating a Ford GT40 and another Porsche 907.
In 1969, Soler-Roig purchased a 908/3 and ordered a Porsche 917 a year after. The Porsche 907-031 was sold in 1970 to the Wicky Racing Team. André Wicky was a Swiss driver who started his career at the Ollon-Villars hill climb in 1956 behind the wheel of Triumph TR3. From 1960 to 1974, he also participated at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1966 and 1967, he grabbed attention driving the Porsche 906.In 1970, after Wicky Racing acquired the 907-031, he competed the example for around 20 races through Wicky Racing although there are times that he would let other drivers take the wheel like Gérard Larrousse for the Trophée Paul Richard.
From 1970-1972, Wicky Racing continued to race the example with various drivers taking the wheel, with Peter Mattli as one of the regulars. In 1970, 907-031 again joined Le Mans under number 61 with Hanrioud and Wicky at the wheel. Unfortunately, it was forced to retire at the 17th hour.
History repeated itself in 1971, wherein Wicky stopped using the 907-031 himself after acquiring the new 908/3. He did entrust the example to other experienced drivers. A copy of the weighing records from the ACO archives show that in 1971 Wicky entered the example at Le Mans with Brun and Mattli as drivers joining the race under the Prototype category. The only car in the group with an engine smaller than the 907’s was the Lola T212 from Enever/Stewards.
During the race, regularity was their priority and it paid off. It was at 14th at the halfway mark of the race and having been equipped with a 6-cylinder engine (no. 907-030) it was able to finish 7th overall and only 381 meters behind the Porsche who claimed victory. It recorded first in the Sport Prototype category and was also able to also get first in class (1601-2000cc)
In 1972, it was able to finish 18th, with racing number 24 (Mattli/Bayard/Brun). In the same year, Mattli and his co-driver Hervé Bayard were able to grab first in class at the 1000 km of Monza despite the pouring rain. Even four years after leaving the factory, the Porsche was still as competitive as ever.
The example had a long racing career where it raced in the United States, Africa, and Europe. In the later part of the 1970s, the Wicky Racing Team sold its ‘old’ cars which have lost its competitive edge. Two 910s were acquired by an American collector, while a Swiss collector, Albert Eggs was the one who acquired the 907-031. It wasn’t long before Eggs also purchased the 908/2 #10 from Wicky.
Eggs was a collector who was passionate about racing Porsches and BMWs. He had the car restored and then displayed it at a local show at Sierre in May 1979. In 1983, in issue 17 of Auto Motor Sport magazine, Eggs advertised the 907 for sale and it was then that it was acquired by its current owner and consigner, Ernst Schuster.
Schuster was a high-level amateur racing driver, and he even took part in the 1986 endurance racing season using a Porsche 936 C. He was able to finish sixth overall at Le Mans. Schuster collected timepieces as well as cars, and even when most collectors were not as discerning about the pieces in their collection, Schuster set himself apart as he was very selective and had strict criteria for the cars that will be part of his collection.
Since he was fascinated by the history of Le Mans, his collection centered around the most iconic GTs and Porsche prototypes that he could drive and use. Since the 917 seemed too heavy and complex for Schuster, he leaned towards the 8-cylinder prototypes and chassis 907-031.
The 907 moved from modern races and was then competed in historic events. In the mid-1990s, he made the decision to entrust his car to the best specialists in the model. He sent the complete chassis, body, and running gear to Butch Dennison, an American restorer who lived just outside Seattle. Dennison was known for his work on top-flight racing cars. Robert Hatchman, from Autocraft workshop in Oregon was known to specialize in Porsche prototypes from the period and he worked on restoring the fiberglass bodywork of the 907-031.
Gustav Nietsche and Valentin Schäffer were tapped to work on the 8-cylinder engine (no. 907-022). Nicknamed ‘Turbo-Valentin’, Schäffer used to work at Porsche as an engineer while Nietsche was a mechanic.
The restoration was done for a period of four years from 1991 to 1995. By April 1995, the car was ready to go for the Tour Auto Historique.
It was the start of 907-031’s second life on the track, but this time it was for historic motorsport, and it was even entered in the Le Mans Classic.
Historically, the 907 was an important turning point for Porsche. In 1967, it was introduced primarily for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and its main goal was not simply to win its category, as it has been achieved by the 906 and 910 (called 906/10 by the factory) countless times, but to claim victory in the races for the World Endurance Championship.
To give it a better chance of success on the racetrack, Ferdinand Piëch placed the driver’s seat on the right as it supposedly helps the drivers perform better. The first 907s build were the ‘long tail’ versions, also called LH or ‘Langheck’. It was equipped with the 6-cylinder 2-liter engine. The model had a great start as it was able to finish 5th during the 1967 Le Mans. The 907s had an average speed of 200 kph and was left behind by the 7-liter Fords and the 4-liter Ferraris.
With the changes in the regulations in the following year, Porsche grabbed the opportunity where the capacity for Prototypes were limited to 3 liters and the Sports category was limited to 5 liters, so it immediately excluded the Ford GT40 Mk IIs and the Ferrari P4s.
Porsche gave the 907s a more powerful 2.2-liter 8-cylinder engine (280bhp), and the Porsches immediately took the first three places at the 24 Hours of Daytona. The 907 evolved into the 908 where they upgraded the 8-cylinder engine to 3 liters. In 1968, lost the world title to Ford. In 1969, Porsche claimed victory for the first time mainly due to the 908. The 907 was the company’s first step towards dominating the sport and they were able to continue the momentum until 1972 with the release of the 917.
There was a total of 27 units of Porsche 907s built. They made six in 1967 and fifteen in 1968. The last twelve models produced were the more versatile short tail models. In 1968, the 907 was able to claim overall winner in three rounds of the championship namely the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the Targa Florio.
907-031 is the example on offer and its well-established history is clear. It is the penultimate 907 as the final production chassis was 907-032. It was built as a short tail version of a 2.2-liter 8-cylinder engine developing 270 bhp.
The sale would come with a file that details the full history of the example, a summary of its race results, as well as copies of the weighing records from the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 to 1972 from the ACO archives. They also have copies of the Porsche factory papers that describes the example’s set up when it was first raced at the Nürburgring. There is also a photo from 1968 where the example can be seen with its yellow nose in a photo taken at the factory in Züffenhausen where it was in a group of 911s with Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand Piëch, Butzi Porsche, and Peter Porsche.
It has been well-kept and meticulously maintained since its restoration. It was part of Porsche’s history as the marque rose to the highest level of motorsport. It has a rich racing history, taking 4th at the Nürburgring and has proven its importance in the history of motorsport. The example is also eligible to enter the top historic events worldwide where it would surely be noticed.
The 907-031 is a truly exceptional car that would surely be the highlight in any collector’s garage. Due to its impressive Racing history, the example is estimated at €4 million to €6 million. Those interested to bid on the example can attend the Artcurial Retromobile event in March.