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Grand Palais Sale, Bonhams (7 February 2013)

The classical Porsche 906  much more commonly known in period as the 'Carrera 6'  was produced new for the 1966 season of World Championship of Makes racing. It was designed to meet the requirements of the FIA governing body's new Group 4 Sports Car regulations, while modified variants of the model  using larger engines or cut-down Spyder bodywork  could be accepted for Group 6 Sports-Prototype competition. The 906 became the last street-legal racing car to be produced by the Porsche company. It replaced the steel pontoon-chassised Typ 904 model and was the first substantial product of Technical Director Ferdinand Piech's new design regime at the Zuffenhausen factory. Where the complicated and costly Porsche 904 had derived structural rigidity from its bonded-on moulded glassfibre bodywork, the new Porsche 906 featured a racing-bred multi-tubular spaceframe chassis, clothed by unstressed moulded glassfibre body panelling. The fiberglass mouldings were as thin, lightweight and accurately made as possible using hand lay-up techniques, replacing the poorly quality-controlled fibre spraying technique used on the 904. As a resultant, the basic batch of 50 Porsche 906  or Carrera 6  Coupe cars that then emerged offered competitive lightweight - some 580 kg (1,300 lb) which represented a weight saving of around 250 lb (113 kg) compared to the similarly-engined 904/6. The Porsche 901/20 6-cylinder lightweight racing engine was specified as standard, offering 220bhp on carburetors. A handful of factory-entered works cars were alternatively powered either by fuel-injected versions of the 6-cylinder engine, or were adapted to accept flat-8 cylinder power units, all  of course  air cooled. The Carrera 6 model was very notable for its external envelope shape having been developed in light of extensive wind tunnel test results. This research and development work endowed the model with a straightline top speed as high as 280km/h (170mph) at Le Mans, which for a 2-litre engined car was immensely respectable. It is from the Porsche 906 as a tap root that the subsequent  hugely successful, long and varied line of modern-era Porsche endurance racing specialist Coupe cars subsequently evolved. The new cars made their International racing debut in the 1966 Daytona 24-Hours race, one example finishing 6th overall and beating the Ferrari Dino 206 in its 2-litre category. Its drivers on that occasion were Hans Herrmann/Herbie Linge, and at the subsequent Sebring 12-Hours race Herrmann won the category again in a new Carrera 6, co-driving it this time with Gerhard Mitter and Joe Buzzetta, and finishing fourth overall. The Monza 1,000Kms also saw 906s dominate the 2-litre class, this time with Herrmann/Mitter in a works 906 leading home the private customer version of Charles Vogele/Jo Siffert, these two cars also placing fourth and fifth overall behind the victorious Ferrari 330P3 and a pair of Ford GT40s. Such exotica were absolutely the big boys in the neighbourhood in which these distinctive, gull-wing-doored Porsches so excelled. The Targa Florio mountain road race in Sicily was the next World Championship race that year, and there the Carrera 6 won outright, Willy Mairesse/Herbert Muller co-drove the Swiss Ecurie Filipinetti-entered car. The Dutch racing brothers, Gijs and David van Lennep, then won the Sports 2-litre class in the Spa 1,000Kms  co-driving their bright orange-liveried Racing Team Holland Porsche 906 - and in the ADAC 1,000Kms classic at the Nurburgring the Dutch pairing won again, from Swedish private owner Sten Axelsson and Bo Johansson in the former's sister car. The 1966 Le Mans 24-Hours then saw works-entered prototype category Porsche 906LE Coupes finishing 4-5-6-7 behind the leading trio of 7-litre engined Ford GT Mark IIs, outlasting all of the previously dominant V12-engined sports-prototype Ferraris, while the 2-litre Sports class was again dominated by a standard 906  co-driven in this instance by Gunther Klass/Rolf Stommelen. Completing that memorable season of endurance racing achievement, the Hockenheim 500Kms was utterly dominated by Porsche 906s filling the first six places  works drivers Mitter, Klass and Herrmann placing 1-2-3 in the factory-entered 906LE variants, while Udo Schutz, Gerhard Koch and Andre Wicky showed how well competent private owners could do in their customer cars by chassing the works stars home to fill 4th, 5th and 6th places. The Austrian 500Kms event at Zeltweg then saw Gerhard Mitter/Hans Herrmann and Jo Siffert (driving solo) finishing 1-2 for Porsche System Engineering, with the Scuderia Lufhansa-entered sister 906 of Udo Schutz/Herbert Linge finishing third for another complete 'Carrera 6' whitewash. Into 1967 the Carrera 6s continued to be campaigned by prominent private entrants and drivers, while the Ferdinand Piech-directed Porsche factory team moved on to introduce their very much more specialised and larger-engined Typ 907 models, culminating in the Typ 908 flat-8 cylinder replacement for 1968-69. All of this, of course, led directly to the immortal Porsche 917  towards which the 906 (as offered here) was a crucial stepping stone. This particular example, chassis number 906-126 is offered here accompanied by appropriate FIA Historic documentation, and is on the button and in excellent overall condition. The car's history is well understood, as presented in Porsche authority  and 1977 Le Mans-winning racing driver  Jurgen Barth's well-known 'bible' upon these Typ 906 or'Carrera 6' cars. We understand that its initial owner ex-works was the Swiss owner-driver Hans Khunis who ran it under the Ecurie Basilisk banner with well-known hill-climb driver Heini Walter. They competed in such events as the Targa Florio up to the end of 1967 when the car is believed to have passed to Richard Brostrom for 1968. His last race in the car is said to have been the Jarama 3-Hours in Spain in September, 1968, after which Mr Brostrom upgraded to a 3-litre Porsche 908 Spyder. Portuguese amateur drivers Manuel Nogueira Pinto and Joao Posser de Andrade Villar subsequently acquired 906-126 but while competing in the December, 1969, 'Angolan Grand Prix' race in Luanda, poor Villar was confronted by police and onlookers standing on the track. He crashed into the crowd and sustained severe head injuries, from which he subsequently succumbed on March 13, 1970. The car was badly damaged, but repairable, and was acquired by fellow Portuguese 906 owner-driver Carlos Santos, who had won the Luanda event. Some three years later the car was revived as an open-cockpit Spyder wearing body panelling either inherited from, or inspired by, the British Chevron B19/21 design. Carlos and Eduardo Santos together with a fellow Portuguese named Giannone campaigned the car in this form for several seasons through the mid-1970s. The ageing car then sold to Canada, passing to Ted Rowbotham in Vancouver, before being restored by Bill Currie in Maryland, USA and offered for sale as a "Porsche 906, restored frame and running gear, all original and complete less body $25,0000 US". In 1982 the car passed to well-known American owner-driver Dick Barbour and after many years in the US  latterly with Leonard Cummings - it returned to Europe around 1999. The car was with David Clark in London in 2000 whilst in the ownership of well known historic racer Irvine Laidlaw, before passing to Dr Oliver Maierhofer in Dusseldorf, Germany, circa 2002 when he ran 906.126 in the Tour Auto and Le Mans Classic. In 2004 the car passed to Oliver Mathei of Hildesheim who raced it in earnest and it is now offered here from a private collector after a full restoration by MEC Auto in Belgium. Road registered in Belgium and with an FIA HTP, this exceptionally beautiful Porsche prototype would surely be a welcome entry on the 2013 Tour Auto where these models are the featured car this year.

Lot Details
Auction Grand Palais Sale
Bonhams, Paris, France
Lot Number570
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price€470000
Hammer Price (inc premium)€540500
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis number126
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Engine capacity (cc)
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