1964 Porsche 904 GTS

Cymon Taylor ©2015, courtesy of RM Auctions

In 1963, the imminent threat of Abarth’s Simca 2000, which was to be raced in the European 2-liter championship, was the impetus for Porsche’s creation of the Carrera GTS. Porsche chassis designer Hans Tomala decided the required production run of 100 cars could not be quickly and cost-effectively produced in the traditional welded-tube frame format. He therefore specified chassis construction combining tubular and flat-sheet steel construction, bonded to a fiberglass body structure.

Design of the body was entrusted to company stylist Ferdinand Porsche III, known affectionately as Butzi. Butzi’s attractive 904 lines and efficient chassis sported independent wishbone suspension with coil-overs, four-wheel disc brakes and rack-and-pinion steering. Weight distribution was excellent since, unlike the 356 and 911 road cars, the engine was installed ahead of the rear axle with the five-speed gearbox behind it. Most 904s were fitted with an upgraded version of Porsche’s tried-and-true four-cylinder, 2-liter, four-cam, plain-bearing racing engine that developed a healthy 180 hp in street trim.

Results came quickly for the new GTS in 1964, with perhaps the most significant being the overall win for Colin Davis and Antonio Pucci in the Targa Florio. They managed to beat all the Cobras, Farraris and Abarth Simcas in this classic open road race, in spite of the much smaller displacement of the Porsche engine.

Further victories in 1964 and 1965 included class wins at 12 Hours of Sebring, Nürburgring 1000, the Daytona Continental, Le Mans 24 hours, Rheims 12 hours, Spa 500 km, Watkins Glen 500 and SCCA production championships in the US. The fine balance of speed, handling and braking combined with decent fuel economy and superb reliability meant long-distance and rally competition suited the 904 perfectly.

This particular 904 was sold new at Brumos Porsche in Jacksonville, FL, and delivered to George Barber of Birmingham, AL. Its history was lost until 1971, when a Porsche dealer in Vermont, Al Alden, bought the car off a used car lot in Bridgeport, CT. The car was repainted the wrong silver and fitted with a 2.2-liter 911S mechanically injected motor, as well as a competition 906 transmission. When Alden died, the 904 was purchased from his estate by his brother Ray, who set out to restore and preserve the car.

Last year, the current owner turned the 904 over to the respected Porsche specialist Gunnar Racing of West Palm Beach, FL, for a “no expense spared” refurbishment, including a total strip of all old paint and respray in the original “Sebring” silver. During this process it was discovered that the car retained all of its original body components that showed no signs of damage. The body fit and panel gaps are therefore reported to be as delivered from the factory, as is all chrome and Plexiglas. In addition, the car sports original correct outside mirrors, lights, turn signals, lenses, headlamp covers, instruments, gas tank, oil tank and gas cap.

The 911S six-cylinder engine and 906 gearbox are fresh and the braking system has been rebuilt, including new calipers, flex-lines and cylinders. The five alloy wheels are date-coded and fitted with new Michelin AS tires and original-style alloy hub caps.

Carrera GTS cars rarely appear on the open market, making the purchase of 904/067 not only an excellent investment but a fun experience as you explore its dual-purpose character at Laguna Seca, in the New England 1000 or on the Tour de France.

Jim Schrager

Jim Schrager - SCM Contributor - %%page%%

Jim wrote for the 356 Registry and SCM for over a decade, was a Contributing Editor for Porsche Panorama (the magazine of the Porsche Club of America), and wrote for Excellence and the Porsche Market Letter. He has written two popular books on vintage Porsches: Buying, Driving, and Enjoying the Porsche 356; and Buying, Driving, and Enjoying the Early Porsche 911. He owns about 20 vintage Porsches, which he attempts to keep on the road through all kinds of weather. He is a clinical professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he teaches a popular course on strategy. He actively races his family’s 41-foot sailboat with his two boys on Lake Michigan.

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