1979 Porsche 935 K3/80 Pilots: A. C. Verney, R. Ratcliff. B. Garretson Team: Garretson Racing Race: 11th GC (5th in GTX class) at Le Mans in 1982 Spark - S4168 (resin)
Porsche made quite a few outstanding race cars. They made everything, from everyday sports cars adapted to go racing to full-blown cutting edge prototypes. And though the 917 was the car that brought their first Le Mans victory, undoubtedly the car that marked the 70s for the manufacturer was the 935. The car first appeared in 1976 as a works car, but the following year it became available to privateers. The car was a solid racing platform. But with the seasons it received improvements both by Porsche and also by some privateers.
One of these privateers was Kemer Racing. They invested a lot in the car, and by 1979 they developed the 935 into the so-called “Kremer Type 3”. For the 1982 24 Heures du Mans Garretson Racing’s #77 was one of these 935 K3. Unfortunately though, ACO imposed fuel regulations that had a high cost to the team. Running lean to save fuel caused the engine to overheat which damaged one cylinder. With that, the car had to run only on five cylinders for almost half (!) the race. Still, #77 managed an 11th place overall.
But running with only five cylinders is not what makes chassis #009-00030 a really interesting car. It was fabricated in 1978 as a 935 and bought by Dick Barbour for Le Mans (the “Hawaiian Tropic” 935). For the 1980 season it was upgraded to K3 specs, and was raced almost everywhere. Garretson Racing bought the car in 1981. They upgraded it to K3/80 specs and raced it in 1981 and 1982. Garretson sold the car in 1983 and it was transformed into a 934 (!). As a 934 it managed a 1st place in Sebring that year in the GTO class.
For the next season (1984) it became once again a 935 K3. But Electrodyne Performance bought the car in 1985, and converted it (again) to a 934 configuration, racing it in some small time events. On the following year it it morphed again, but this time into a 930 S. Electrodyne Performance raced it through 1987 as a 930 S , and soon after chassis #009-00030 finally retired. This car still exists to this day, restored to the original 1978 specs and livery. Best of all, it’s a common sight at historic events.
With all that history behind it the car earned the nickname Old Warhorse. Without a doubt, it’s one of the most prolific race cars ever. So when I first saw the 935 K3/80 #77 I wasn’t very interested, but then I did a quick check and found out it was called Old Warhorse, and why. Since I’m a confess sucker for a good race story, right there it became a must buy. AND, it has the “Mason wing”, manufactured by Mason from California – AFAIK it’s the only Le Mans 935 with that style of wing. As always, a fantastic effort by Spark in 1:43, but what makes this car really shine is the history behind it. Definitively a model for all race car fans.