1968 Porsche 909 “Bergspyder” Pilot: Gerhard Mitter Team: Porsche KG Race: DNR (“Two-seaters” class) at the Gaisberg Hill Climb in 1968 Norev (Provence Moulage) - PM0068 (resin)
By the end of the 60s, Porsche dominated the European hill climb events. In 1967 and 68, their 910 Bergspyder (“mountain spider”), with 200-270 hp and 420 kg (!), decimated the competition. Though the undisputed King of the Hill (pun intended), rumors surfaced about a new special Ferrari. That being so, Ferdinand Piëch (yes, that Piëch) wanted something new, the 909. With the winning 910 as a basis, the imperative feature of the new car was low weight. And they did it: the car weighed an absurd 375 kg! To put that into perspective, a current F1 car weighs 740 kg (minimum). A 2019 Honda Goldwing (Tour version) motorcycle weighs 379 kg. Therefore, the thing was feather light, literally. To achieve that Porsche almost didn’t use steel. According to legend, Ferdinand Piëch passed a magnet all over the car, and wherever the magnet stuck, the team had work to do.
The chassis of the 909 was all aluminum, and suspension bits were titanium. For all the wiring on the car, instead of heavier copper, Porsche used silver wires. Even the disk brakes were special: they used rare (and carcinogenic) beryllium, and only five disks were possible. Since hillclimb were always short events, the 909 didn’t have a fuel pump. Instead, it had a nitrogen-pressurized 15 liter titanium fuel tank – it weighed 660 g. The engine of the little beast was the Typ 771/0 B8, mounted extremely forward for weight balancing. It was a 1981 cm³ boxer-8 with DOHC and 16 valves. With an aluminum block and heads, it delivered 275 hp, moderated by a 5-speed manual gearbox. That was enough to take the car from 0 to 100 km/h in just 2.4 seconds. However, with such expensive technology, only two cars were made.
With two cars ready, Porsche would debut them on September 8th, 1968, at the Gaisberg Hill Climb in Austria. The pilots would be Gerhard Mitter (car #95, chassis #909-001) and Rolf Stommelen (car #96, #909-002). Mitter was doing very well that year with a 910, so despite testing 909 #95 in practice, he drove his 910 in the race. While Mitter finished in 1st with the 910, Stommelen came in third in the 909 #96. The 909 would race just once more (Stommelen in the #96) later at Mount Ventoux, and that was it. Today #909-002 is at Porsche’s museum in Stuttgart.
Well, not a winning car and not a Le Mans car. And a very short career. So why is it here? Because it weighs 375 kg and doesn’t have a fuel pump 😁. Honestly, being the gearhead that I am, I was interested in it as soon as I found out it existed. Yeah, yeah, I admit, I’m a geek.
In scale, it’s not common, and this is my first Provence Moulage model. Well, actually it’s a Norev. Provence Moulage initially appeared in the early 80s as a model kit maker. They produced kits until 2004, when the brand closed. In 2007 Norev bought the brand and transformed it into their high-end line. However, new models are very scarce to come out, and they have a very limited run, so they’re hard to find. Model-wise the Bergspyder is VERY nicely made, almost Spark-good, so it looks great. Definitively not for everyone, but with that weight and pressurized titanium fuel tank, it’s at home at W-143.