Porsche 911S #35 – Spark

911S #35
1965 Porsche 911S #35
Pilots: J. Dewes, J. Kerguen
Team: J. Franc
Race: 14th overall (1st in GT 2.0 class) at Le Mans in 1966
Spark - S9735 (resin)

Published 06/09/23

Designed by Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche, the 911 debuted at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. Initially called 901, however due to copyright issues with Peugeot, in 1964 Porsche changed the name to 911. The model came to replace the 356, and production of the first units began in 1964. The first cars came with an air-cooled 1991 cm³ flat-6 engine that delivered 130 hp, called Typ 901/01. For 1966 Porsche introduced the 911S, the “sport” version of the base 911. Along with chassis enhancements the 911S also received a new flat-6 engine, called Typ 901/02. The 901/02 had higher compression, new camshafts, bigger valves and ports, new carburetors and a revised exhaust system. All those changes allowed a higher power output, delivering 160 hp. Side by side with the regular 911, the 911S looked almost identical, yet it was much more fun to drive. More racier

911S #35
Though the 911S looked almost identical to the 911, it was a much better car.

Chassis #911.303076R3 was one of three 911S prototypes that Porsche produced in late 1965. Receiving factory registration S-WX 450, it first raced in the Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo. On January 14th, it came in 20th overall and third in Group 3. Subsequently, on May 11th, it raced at the 1966 Tour de Corse, coming in third overall and first in class. After those two races as a works car, Porsche put it on sale. French privateer Jacques “J. Franc” Dewes, together with his friend Jean Kerguen, raced at La Sarthe since 1961. However, their best result was only a 12th place (fifth in class) in 1964, piloting a 904/4 GTS. For the 1966 24 Heures du Mans they needed a ride so they bought #911.303076R3 from Porsche. And with that car the duo finally found success: 911S #35 finished in 14th place and first in class.

This car was the first 911 to race at Le Sarthe.

The 911S #35 was a class winner, yet it has one more distinction to its name. Chassis #911.303076R3 was the first 911 to race at Le Mans. Porsche officially recognizes the car as the first 911 to race at La Sarthe. However, there is some controversy here. That’s because at the Le Mans 1966 test day (March 4th), there was another 911 on the grid. Jean Kerguen with Herbert Linge and Huschke von Hanstein drove a 911 to 21st place. Information on the event is rare, though it looks like that 911 was a factory press car. Nonetheless, that was test day and not race day. Therefore, in my view 911S #35 here was de facto the first 911 to race at La Sarthe. What I do have to mention is that car #35 was the only car in the GT 2.0 class 🤔…

Just completing the 24 Hours of Le Mans is no small potatoes, and #911.303076R3 was the first 911 to do so.

So, we have a car that was the only car in its class and it won the class… For the 1966 Le Mans, 55 cars started the race, and only 15 finished. Since to win Le Mans you first need to finish the race, #35 here did both. In other words, I would say it did pretty good. Controversies aside, in 143rd the 911S #35 is a total dandy. Top notch details with a crisp paint job turn it into a looker. As always, Spark did a heckuva job on it. To the point I think it would appeal to almost all race car collectors.

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