Monday, October 12, 2015

London-Sydney Marathon Porsche 911 S

All photos courtesy of  Porsche.
Back in 1968 Porsche did something really gutsy. These days, we all know that the company can go a little nuts with its vehicles, especially when it comes to motorsports, making them undeniably awesome. But back in the day Porsche was small and its crazy side wasn't well-known. Then the London-Sydney Marathon rally was held.

Porsche entered one factory car - a 911 S. There were two other Porsche 911s in the field of 98 starters. To get the vehicle ready for the unusual and incredibly arduous race, it was outfitted with a cage that looks similar to an American football player's face mask. Up front was a roo bar that was made for exactly what it sounds like - smacking marsupials out of the way in the land Down Under.

The roof carried all sorts of supplies necessary for the long journey. At the rear, the Porsche 911 S rally car had an exhaust system that would make an elephant jealous.

To some people, rally racing a 911 S against a field of impressive sedans was pure lunacy. Most teams had three drivers to deal with the grueling task of driving day and night, which was probably necessary considering that the cars had to traverse a dangerous and war-torn landscape through areas such as Iran and Afghanistan. One team even had four drivers. Anyone who's ever ridden in a vintage 911 knows they aren't exactly spacious, which I'm sure made for quite the challenge.

Some of the borders the racers crossed had been closed up for years, thanks to wars that raged between nations. The competition was being hailed as a bringer of peace in a region of unrest, and people would flock to the course in some areas to cheer on the drivers (sometimes throwing celebratory rocks in a kind of revelry I'll never understand).

The race was truly grueling, testing the limits of the machines and humans alike. Sand would clog up the various air intakes, bogging down the engine and brakes. Flying rocks presented an unfortunate chance for damage. Cars would get stuck, but cars weren't allowed to tow each other.

This is a real slice of Porsche history, and fortunately there's work underway to fully restore the original factory car. Once finished, I think the most appropriate spot for it would be in the impressive Porsche Museum, which of course is located it Stuttgart.

1 comment:

  1. Goodness! Look at their method of "protecting" the car in case it rolls over. That's scary stuff right there. Not to imagine it looks like it adds a fair amount of weight to the vehicle that's supposed to be at race weight!