Vehicle restoration is a very meticulous process, much like building a car from scratch. Obviously, if the machine in question has a history, the responsibility is even greater. Fortunately, there are specialists who are dedicated to reviving these jewels. The best example is the department of Porsche Museum and Heritage that left like new a Porsche 924 Carrera GTS Rally that he used Walter Röhrl at German Rally Championship in 1981.
In that year Röhrl, who had just achieved the title of World rally with Fiat 131 Abarth, won four races (the Hessen, Serengeti, Germany and Baltic Rallies) and took the runner-up. The following season he signed for Opel, brand with which he reigned again in the WRC.
The Porsche 924 Carrera GTS Rally ran a few more races in 1982 and at the end of that year it was handed over to the Stuttgart brand museum after having passed through the workshop to remove the blue decoration of the cigarette firm. Gypsy that he had worn at the Rally Belgium in the hands of the Belgian Jacky Ickx and replace it with the original black and gold paint from the cognac producer Monnet.
Everything from the mechanics to the paintwork remained unchanged until Porsche set out to surprise Röhrl: let him drive the car as he had four decades ago.
THE STORY OF THE PORSCHE 924 CARRERA GTS RALLY
The rally car was based on the 924 Carrera GTS which in 1981 was the most expensive model in the range with a price of 110.000 German marks. It was also the most expensive production Porsche ever made. With the 924 series, Porsche proved that the transaxle concept could also be successful in racing.
There were many versions that were developed on the basis of the 924 Turbo (Type 931), which was the starting point. The 924 Carrera GT (Type 937) was introduced in June 1980 and was approved as Group 4. The most powerful was the 924 Carrera GTS (Type 939), which produced 240 hp in its normal variant and reached 275 hp in the so-called Clubsport. He GTRdesigned exclusively for track use, it produced 375 hp. Series production of the 924 Carrera GTS was sparse: between February and April 1981, 50 units were manufactured, all with left-hand drive and in Guard red. Including prototypes, a total of Car 59.
The 924 Carrera GTS Rally left the factory on December 12, 1980, was one of the pre-series vehicles and the fifth of nine prototypes made. Its two-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine was also a test unit: it was a powerplant without a serial number, which survived a full rally season without damage.
THE RESTORATION STAGE
The objective of the restoration of this very relevant Porsche was preserve the maximum originality in all the details and preserve the patina. Some elements such as red safety harnesses have been kept, despite being discolored by the effect of the sun and the passing of the years. It is precisely on these belts that the initials "R" and "CG" are embroidered, referring to Röhrl and Christian Geistdörfer, your navigator.
In addition to wearing parts, various components of the chassis and fuel supply system have been overhauled or rebuilt during the restoration process. An endoscopic examination of the engine and the KKK 26 turbocharger revealed that everything was in order; the gearbox, however, was removed and serviced for safety reasons, although it showed hardly any signs of wear.
The Porsche Museum workshop had a racing clutch in stock to complete the transmission and Pirelli kept in its warehouses a set of tires in size 255/55 R15 with the design of the time, which served to give it a touch of authenticity.
In carrying out the work, the Weissach specialists were able to draw on the experience, technical knowledge and comprehensive documentation of a former colleague: Roland kussmaul. Test driver, engineer and rally driver, he built the car in two months. Schmidt Motorsport, based in Nuremberg, was the company responsible for maintenance and repair work during the races.
Among the characteristic details of this 924 are the rear axle arms with fiberglass protectionsas well as the underbody with thick metal plates to protect the crankcase and the gearbox. The fuel supply system comes from the V8 engine of the Porsche 928, which ensured proper operation at high speeds. The oil tank for the dry sump system was located at the rear and was filled through an opening next to the trunk lock.
THE SURPRISE TO WALTER RÖHRL
"The biggest problem in putting the car back into operation was not the technology but keeping it a secret"Said Kuno Werner, Head of the Porsche Museum Workshop. The plan was for the 924 Carrera GTS to appear by surprise at the door of the two-time World Rally Champion on his birthday. "But Walter Röhrl knows so many people here that it was difficult to ensure that the project did not reach their ears". Still, mission accomplished: at the beginning of March, the team from the Porsche Museum and Roland Kussmaul surprised Röhrl with the fit-for-use Porsche “Monnet” as a gift on their 74th anniversary.
“It was totally unexpected. I had last driven the car 40 years ago and had not sat in it since. So I was amazed when Roland suddenly showed up with this car. "Röhrl explained, delighted. “This car opened the door to Porsche for me. That is why I feel a particularly strong bond with him. For me, it is a trip to the past. I immediately feel 40 years younger. "
The turbocharger was a novelty 40 years ago. “As a driver of naturally aspirated cars, the characteristics of turbocharged engines drove me crazy at the time. The turbo lag was huge! To get out of the curves quickly, you had to start accelerating shortly before entry and always keep the engine speed high ”.
The newly formed Porsche team did not really expect to have options that 1981 season. The main objective was simply to finish. "But the car was fast from the beginning "Röhrl continues. “At first we had 250 hp, then we even managed to exceed that figure, but the strengths of the 924 were its behavior and its traction capacity, above power. And everything worked perfectly, as usual in Porsche. "