In the Brands Hatch BOAC 1,000 race in England, Gerhard Koch/Gerard Larrousse finished sixth in ’05’, and in the Monza 1,000Kms the French former rally star Larrousse was re-teamed with Austrian Porsche specialist Rudi Lins. They finished 14th after a troubled run on this high-speed circuit. The very different demands of the Targa Florio around the 44-mile Sicilian Piccolo Madonie public-road course followed, Larrousse/Lins finishing 13th there.
For the Spa 1,000Kms in Belgium, this experienced pairing then did better, taking ninth place overall while at Nurburgring in Germany for the ADAC 1,000Kms they took a strong sixth place.
Long-tail (‘Langheck’) bodywork was then adopted for the biggest sports car race of any year, the Le Mans 24-Hour Grand Prix d’Endurance. It was there that promising new Austrian driver Dr Helmut Marko was recruited by Dechent to co-drive with Rudi Lins, and the pairing performed brilliantly — as did chassis ’05’ offered here — to come home after the day-long grind in third place overall, thereby completing the Porsche marque’s historic — and trend-setting — 1-2-3 whitewash race result. The Porsche Salzburg team’s 4.5-litre 917 Coupe co-driven by Hans Herrmann/Richard Attwood won the long race to provide Porsche with its first-ever outright Le Mans win, while Martini International’s Porsche 917 ‘Langheck’ Coupe shared by Gerard Larrousse/Willy Kauhsen finished second, ahead of the team’s ‘Flunder’ Langheck as now offered here — chassis ’05’ — which in turn was the winner of the prestigious 3-litre sports-prototype category.
Subsequently, the Martini International team used ’05’ again in the Watkins Glen 6-Hour race in upstate New York on July 11, finishing seventh, and then back in Europe for the Osterreichring 1,000Kms on October 11, 1970, Larrousse/Lins drove ’05’ home into another World Championship level third-place finish.
At the outset of the 1971 World Championship season, this Porsche 908.02 was entered for German driver Hans-Dieter Weigel’s Team Auto Usdau, and he co-drove with the local Argentinian star Eduardo Jose Capello in the Buenos Aires 1,000Kms on January 10. Their car retired with engine trouble after 54 of the scheduled 165 laps.
On April 4, 1971, chassis ’05’ then reappeared at World Championship level in the Brands Hatch 1,000Kms, entered by Hans-Dieter Weigel’s Team Auto Usdau for himself and Swiss Porsche specialist Dieter Spoerry. After a troubled race they finished 10th overall although third in the 3-litre sports-prototype category. Fortunes declined for the car’s last three World Championship appearances, in the 1,000Km races at Monza and Nurburgring and in its second Le Mans 24-Hour race, failing to finish each time as the car was crashed in Italy, but was classified 25th in Germany, before suffering gearbox failure at Le Mans. Co-drivers were Weigel/Spoerry at Monza and the Nurburgring while at Le Mans Claude Haldi both joined Weigel as co-driver and entered the car under his own name.
The full ownership provenance of this beautifully-presented, very rare and intensely desirable Porsche 908.02 ‘Flunder’ is from Porsche AG, Stuttgart, in 1969 to Hans-Dieter Dechent’s Martini International Racing Team in 1970-71, then to Weigel, perhaps on loan or hire. Around the time of Le Mans 1971 it then passed to Jo Siffert of Switzerland — the great Formula 1 and sports-car racing driver but also garagist and classic car collector — who hired it out to the Solar Productions film unit as a running ‘prop’ used during the filming of Steve McQueen’s celebrated motor racing movie ‘Le Mans’. It appeared in several scenes in its Martini International Racing Team livery, as presented today.
Following Jo Siffert’s tragic death during the Brands Hatch Formula 1 World Championship Celebration race at the end of the 1971 racing season, ’05’ offered here passed into the ownership of Swiss collector Hans Grell who displayed it amongst some 120 others in his private museum. Another Swiss owner followed — Peter Monteverdi of Monteverdi car manufacturing and Formula 1 team ownership fame. From him ’05’ later passed to enthusiastic Historic racer, car collector and International watch dealer Ernst Schuster who appeared in it at Goodwood and in the Monterey Historics events. From Ernst Schuster it then passed to Porsche enthusiast collector Julio Palmaz in Napa, California, and from him to its most recent owner prior to the current vendor.
The car is presented in its 1970 Le Mans ‘Flunder’ Langheck form and it simply goes without saying that it is an outstanding classic-era Porsche with great history both ex-works and post-works. It has benefited from a wonderful restoration carried out by Porsche specialists Willison Werkstatt of West Palm Beach, Florida, during Ernst Schuster’s ownership. We are advised that the car’s nose section, floor, doors etc are all original from period, the only substantial new replacement section being the ‘Langheck’ tail itself. The engine has been rebuilt by renowned ex-works specialist Gustav Nietsche, and the car itself has in recent times been included within the Le Mans display at the Porsche Museum, no less, in Stuttgart.
This Ex-Works 1969-70 Porsche 908.02 ‘Flunder’ Langheck Group 6 Racing Sports-Prototype sold for £2,185,500 ($3,430,352 USD) at the Bonhams Bond Street sale, held 30th November, 2014 in London.