If you're racing a 911 and it's feeling twitchy in a high-speed turn, just hang in there, it will be okay. Above all, do NOT lift


While the Porsche 911 has amassed an unmatched record of racing successes, its entry into road racing was not initially championed by Zuffenhausen. With the exception of the 911R for 1967 and a short run of European rally-prepared 911L models, factory support was non-existent.

Racing drivers interested in piloting a 911 had to do so on their own. The car presented here, however, has a very early and successful racing history and was campaigned by Milestone Racing for the 1968 season in the year-old SCCA Trans Am Under Two-Liter division. Marvin Davidson at Milestone hired the 27-year old Tony Adamowicz to drive, and the Milestone Porsche 911 made its first appearance at the Daytona 24 Hours. Unfortunately, a wreck in this first race placed the team's future in jeopardy.

Luckily, they managed to use the shell of a 912 and married it to many of the parts from the first car, upgrading it to 911 specs in the process. Their efforts proved successful; Milestone won six of the ten races that season. Following its successful season, the car was sold by Milestone in early 1969. Thereafter, however, it disappeared for nearly 30 years.

In the late 1990s, Adamowicz and a fellow Porsche enthusiast decided to go vintage racing together and embarked on an exhaustive search for the old Milestone car. Just as they were about to settle on a similar 912, they discovered the original car in time-capsule condition after having been converted to street use.

Following restoration, the 1968 911 Race Car was displayed at the Porsche Rennsport reunion in 2007. Featured in Dave Freidman's book, Trans Am, The Pony Car Wars 1966-72, the importance of this Porsche cannot be underestimated. In many ways its success proved the viability of Porsche's 911 as a capable racing car. It remains a glorious American piece of Porsche's Rennsport heritage.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1968 Porsche 911 Race Car
Number Produced:8,987
Original List Price:$6,190
Chassis Number Location:Above fuel tank
Engine Number Location:Front beside crank pulley
Club Info:Porsche Club of America, PO Box 1347 Springfield, VA 22151
Investment Grade:C

This 1968 Porsche 911 Race Car sold for $50,600, including buyer’s premium, at RM’s Automobiles of Amelia Island, Florida, event on March 14, 2009.

Regular readers will be aware that I frequently hold forth about the difference between “collector” values and “weapons grade” values in vintage racing cars. If you have any thought of putting a car on the race track, or taking it on a rally, or anything more than investing and gazing fondly at it, “weapons grade” values are important. If, on the other hand, you are buying cars the way others might collect paintings, as a place to invest capital that will be fun to own, look at, and maybe impress your friends, then the investment or “collector” values are crucial.

That the Porsche 911 is one of history’s great cars is a given. The mere fact that some recognizable variant has been with us for over 40 years demonstrates that. As racing cars they have ranged from the dicey to the fabulous over the years, with the early cars tending toward treacherous and the later ones closer to unbeatable, but they have all been highly competent.

The first thing to remember is that Porsche stretched the wheelbase for 1969, so the early cars are easily identifiable as “short wheelbase” cars vs. the later “long wheelbase” versions. Conveniently, the timing of the change matches many vintage clubs’ eligibility rules, so the SWB cars are more generally acceptable. They are also more challenging to drive; between the rear engine, the shorter wheelbase, and the lack of tire and chassis assistance available on the later variants, early cars can be very exciting, particularly in the high speed twisty bits. A personal observation: If you’re racing a 911 and it’s feeling twitchy in a high-speed turn, just hang in there, it will be okay. Above all, DO NOT lift. A Porsche can do a triple axel quicker than most figure skaters if you get it wrong.

Don’t misunderstand me, they’re generally very forgiving cars to drive, but they do have their quirks. That said, if you are going to have a “big one,” there is probably no safer or stronger chassis to be strapped inside than a 911. If things go very wrong, paying the body shop is far less painful. On the subject of paying for things, unless you’re planning on playing at the extreme upper edge of the go-fast spectrum, 911s are relatively easy on the pocketbook.

Easy on race-expendables like tires and brakes

Most vintage racers get 45-50 hours between engine rebuilds (roughly twice what English racing engines can pray for), replacement parts are easy and inexpensive to find, and the cars are very easy on race-expendables like tires and brakes. All in all, Porsche 911s are among the most user friendly of all vintage racing cars. Thus they have very high “weapons grade” value and consistently sell for between $35,000 and $75,000.

Collectibility is more of a problem. Porsche built an awful lot of SWB 911s (about 9,000, plus maybe 30,000 visually identical 912s), so they’re hardly rare; other things need to exist if you want to assert specialness to one. This is complicated by the fact that Porsche itself didn’t see the 911 as anything more than a sporting production car until well into the 1970s, so factory racing provenance is almost non-existent with the early cars. They did build a run of 24 “911R” cars in 1967 for both road racing and rally use under Porsche’s banner, and these are the gold standard of collectibility, with a current value in the $750k range. Unfortunately, there’s little else that can claim much racing history unless you want to look for cars that privateers ran, and at best they’ll have a fraction of the collector value.

The subject 1968 Porsche 911 Race Car claims a very impressive U.S. racing history, having won the Trans Am in 1968, and as such probably would justify the $90k-$140k estimate proposed in the auction catalog. The car certainly looks the part and seemed technically correct, but trusting auction catalogs to be historically accurate documents is a dangerous pastime. In researching this car, I spoke with five Porsche specialists, all of whom knew this car, and none of them believed there was any chance that the chassis or any major parts actually raced in 1968.

The original wasn’t a Ferrari GTO, after all; it was a derelict 912 chassis bought out of a New York police impound yard and fitted with the engine, etc. from a totaled 911 to build what became a successful racer. I doubt it even had a title, and that used-up racer was sold off in 1969 to disappear for 30 years. The assertion that it was fortuitously rediscovered as a street vehicle and subsequently brought back to its former glory stretches credulity.

Though the 911 had been built by people closely associated with Adamowicz and was presented as an important car, it’s obvious that nobody with a bidder’s paddle took the history written in the catalog as anything other than interesting reading. Offered without reserve, the car was hammered sold at a bit over $50,000, which I would say is very close to the right money for a well-presented but mechanically unknown vintage racing 911. There was no collectibility value assigned in the purchase, only weapons-grade value, so I would say it was correctly bought and sold.

Comments are closed.