Classified spotlight: Porsche 911

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Porsche’s Weissach operation – responsible for all the manufacturer’s RS models – has been working hard over the winter. The Cayman GT4 burst onto the scene last month and the soon-to-be-revealed GT3 RS is likely to attract similar levels of fanfare. Spy shots have littered the internet for months and it looks perfectly menacing. Mounting speculation that the GT3 RS will feature a manual gearbox is good news, although undoubtedly PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) sales will heavily outstrip the DIY gearbox. Even so, Porsche is to be commended for offering the option.

Long gone are the days when 911s were only available in manual specification. Enter HKT 62D, an FIA-certified 911 first registered in 1966 when customers had far fewer options to choose from. The ivory white 911 is now on offer to you, the general public, for an undisclosed price. The car doesn’t boast rear wheel steering, carbon ceramic brakes or forged alloys yet it retains a charm and purity its modern siblings can’t quite match. Indeed, sat on its old school steel wheels, Porsche’s latest offerings pale next to this classic 911.

Although traditional in shape, chassis number 304575 has not led an ordinary life. It rolled off the production line in the mid-60s before crossing the Atlantic en route to Texas. The original purchaser, George W Rhoade Jr, racked up 58,504 miles during his 26 years with the car. I like to imagine that George and HKT 62D caused quite a stir driving through small town Texas during the ‘70s and ‘80s, gawped at by men wearing cowboy boots and spurs. Alternatively, perhaps it slipped through unnoticed, lacking the visual drama of similarly aged American sports cars? Whatever the case, when HKT 62D arrived on British shores in 1992 it received the attention it deserved.

Purchased by British racing driver Roy Lane, the car was modified to meet historic rallying requirements. It received the appropriate FIA papers soon after and has been competing ever since. Roy Lane deserves a special mention, for he won four British Hillclimb Championships across three decades, in ‘75, ‘76, ‘92 and ‘96. To put that into context, Lane’s first hillclimb success occurred in parallel with Niki Lauda’s maiden F1 drivers’ title and his last coincided with Damon Hill’s championship-winning season with Williams. Very impressive indeed.

Ever since Lane’s original modifications, HKT 62D has led a busy life, campaigned successfully by Richard Clarke of Westerly in 12 historic rallies across Europe between ‘02 and ‘13. If you’d like to have a go yourself, HKT 62D remains certified for FIA Period F events (historic events for cars manufactured between 1962 and 1965). HKT 62D is also eligible for the John Aldington Trophy at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting later this month – an event reserved for pre-67 911s in honour of the man widely acknowledged for introducing Porsche to the UK.

The motor sport connections don’t stop with Roy Lane or Goodwood eligibility either. During a recent three-year restoration programme, the gearbox and LSD were rebuilt by Tuthill Porsche. As anyone who stood beside a stage of this year’s Monte Carlo rally will attest, the class-winning Tuthill 911 R-GT looked fabulous with François Delecour behind the wheel. Delecour wouldn’t have won driving HKT 62D but he’d have had just as much fun trying.

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