This 911 rally car is unique among historic Porsches in so far as it has covered more competitive miles than any other from the Stuttgart marque, equivalent to circumnavigating the world three times. It was built specifically for the 1977 London to Sydney Marathon and driven in that event by Polish rally ace Sobislaw Zasada and with his co-driver Wojciecj Schramm.
At over 18,500 miles, the 1977 London to Sydney is the longest rally of all time and one of the toughest ever. Zasada and Schramm faced strong competition from a six-car Mercedes team with a substantial budget. Nevertheless, by Germany they were in the lead, and the Porsche would lead as far as Singapore, swapping places with the leading Mercedes more than once, eventually finishing this gruelling event in 13th place overall and 10th in class having lost over three hours stuck in deep sand on one of the closing stages in Australia. Victory went to Mercedes.
At the rally's end, Porsche Australia purchased the car from Zasada for Dean Rainsford to drive in the Australian Rally Championship. During 1978 the Carrera was converted to right-hand drive configuration and went on to finish in the top-six in most rounds, setting a number of records, and even won the Western Australia round.
Its next big event was the Repco Reliability Trial in August 1979, an 11,500 mile marathon around Australia. The Carrera was entered by Porsche for Rainsford and Edgar Herrmann, twice winner of the East African Safari Rally, and eventually finished 7th overall, the leading two-man team home. After the Repco rally, the car was sold. By this time it had clocked up over 35,500 competitive miles.
Since then it has competed in numerous other long-distance rallies including the Australian Safari Rally (1985 and 1988), Targa Tasmania (1996), London to Sydney Marathon (2004), and the East African Classic Safari Rally (2005), as well as appearing at many of the most prestigious historic motor sports events.
The toughest and most competitive of these historic rallies was the 2005 Safari which was run over a distance of 2,400 miles (1,200 competitive) across Kenya and Tanzania. For this event the Carrera was crewed by David Cavanagh and four-time Safari winner Björn Waldegaard, the latter returning to Africa after 13 years away. The Martini-liveried Carrera eventually finished 7th overall, less than a minute from 5th place. Unlike many of the other Porsches, the Carrera retained in-period suspension and engine technology, yet was the fastest Porsche on many stages. Björn and David received the Henry Liddon Memorial Trophy for the team best demonstrating the spirit of the event. The Waldegaard Martini Porsche became the hero car for the Safari, and was used to promote subsequent runnings of the event.
Bonhams will be offering this 1976 Porsche 911 Carrera Rally Car at their upcoming Goodwood Revival sale held on the 14th September. For more information on this and other vehicles at the sale, click on the link below. Photos © Courtesy of Bonhams.