Jump to content
Buchanan Automotive

Front Engine' Porsche's at Le Mans ( 1981 )

Recommended Posts

In June 1981, Le Mans 24 hour car racing event ( France ), Porsche entered a prototype 944Turbo ( 924 GTP ) , it was the 2.5L 944 all alloy engine ( half a 928 engine in many ways ) , but with a prototype Twin Cam 16V cylinder head & was the first Porsche to race with the very new /experimental for 1981 , Bosch full electronic ( motronic ) fuel injection system with digital ignition ( mapped )  , this was used to make the best possible power & fuel economy in this prestigious 24 hour event & with better fuel economy results in less pit stops & over 24 hours this all adds up , in fact this Porsche ( 924GTP / 944/ 71 engine ) was the first car ( ever ) to race at the Le Mans event with full electronic fuel injection & mapped programmed ignition system 

 

Note } The Porsche 944 model ( NA ) had not yet been released to the public yet , but would be within a few weeks of the running of the 1981 Le Mans event & as Porsche's top executive at the time ( Ernst Fuhrmann) summed up his marketing strategy by saying " Racing is good for every car " , very much like the saying we had in Australia or the USA , meaning " race on Sunday & sell on Monday ", and if you're car does well at the track , it often results in more sales 

 

Note 2 }  This special pre production 944 Turbo engine with its 16V twin cam cylinder head ( engine code number 944/71 ) was designed by Hans Metzger even though the Porsche 944 alusil engine crankcase & crankshaft & balance shafts were all standard production ( 944 ) items for the upcoming 944 model range , the special twin cam head / cams etc was unique to this engine and Porsche made very few of them 

 

Engine 1 = Development engine , at times had a twin cam head & 352 HP

 

Engine 2 = New engine 16V head

 

Engine 3 = Tested at Paul Ricard circuit & after test engine was scrapped

 

Engine 4  = New engine , some parts from engine 3 , used for long distance testing at Paul Ricard circuit

 

Engines 1-2-4 ran in both 2 valve head & 4 valve head configurations , some of the engines that had 4 valve heads were rebuilt & also tested with 2 valve heads 

 

Engine 5 = Like engine 4 

 

Engine 6 = This engine was also tested in one of the race cars

 

Engine's 7 , 8 , 9 = Information lost 

 

Engine 10  = was used to race ( 924 GTP Le Mans car )

 

Engine  12 = For practice at Le Mans (Bosch motronic electronic injection ) and Kugelfischer mechanical injection at the Norisring

 

Engine 13 = no information if this engine was even made ? 

 

Engine 14 = Engine went to Australia ( Alan Hamilton ) , I was even luck to get a photo of this engine at Porsche cars Australia back in 1983 while I was participating at a Porsche training course & at the time I / we had no idea how rare this engine was 

 

These Metzger designed 944 Turbo ( 944 / 71 ) engines had a unique twin cam ( cam cover ) with the cast word on the Top section of the the cover the word Porsche , and on the lower section the cast words " Le Mans " 

 

  Note 3 } at the same 1981 Le Mans 24 hour race , Porsche had other cars competing as well }

 

Going for an outright win ,Jules sponsored  Porsche 936/81 "Group 6 "Space-frame open top Spyder , this Non Road car based proper race car driven by Derek Bell & Jacky Ickx , took out the outright win 

 

Going for a class win was ( Car no 01 ) 924 GTP ( 944 / 71 engine ) driven by Walter Rohrl & Jurgen Barth , starting 43rd on the starting grid & finished with a class win and an astonishing 7th place outright in a road car based vehicle .

 

In the book " The Porsche 924 Carrera" written by Roy Smith , Walter Rohrl comments on co driving this prototype 944 Turbo ( 924 GTP ) at Le Mans }

 

  In the number 01Porsche 924 GTP everything was going smoothly - well almost , it was something very special because we were racing the 944 engine for the first time , it had bad turbo lag and only had power between 5,300 RPM & 5,700 RPM ,( was designed to have power from 3,000RPM ) it was incredible , so difficult & I remember sometimes you had the feeling on one lap it had no power & then on the next lap the car felt like it was a bit better , the good thing was it always kept running , we never had a problem during the race ( part from the strange turbo lag issue ) , we drove for 24 hours just filling with fuel , changing tyres once or twice and I think brake pads once , We got a special prize for the car with the shortest standing time in the pits and 1st in the GTP 3+ Litre class ( GTP over 3 litre class is for NA engines over 3,466cc )

 

In the number 36 Porsche 924GTR driven by Schurti / Rouse , they came 1st in the IMSA GTO class and a fantastic 11th outright , not a bad effort for the little Audi based engine that started 48 th on the starting grid

 

Note 4 }  The 924 GTR is based on the 924 Turbo / 924 GT / 924 GTS , meaning 2.0L cast iron block and a single cam , 2 valve alloy cylinder head and of course Turbo Charged with a front mount intercooler , but with mechanical fuel injection .

 

Note 5 } The 2.0L 924 GTR ( for the 1981 24h Le Mans race ) was geared to do 330 Kmh 

 

Regards

Bruce Buchanan

Buchanan Automotive 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Bruce,

Very interesting hearing these Factory specs.

Do you know the engine type in Alan Hamiltons only Factory RHD 944 Turbo Cup car ?

Cheers, Mark.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Mark , are you confusing it with Alan Hamilton's  red / black 1981 R/H/D 924 Carrera GTS ( I think that car was one of one,  from memory ) , I got photos of that car & thats the car that went missing in the mid 1990's & its never re surfaced 

Regards

Bruce B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Buchanan Automotive said:

Hi Mark , are you confusing it with Alan Hamilton's  red / black 1981 R/H/D 924 Carrera GTS ( I think that car was one of one,  from memory ) , I got photos of that car & thats the car that went missing in the mid 1990's & its never re surfaced 

Regards

Bruce B

Great info above Bruce.. any chance of uploading the photos of the Alan Hamilton's 81 924 GTS that went missing ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Buchanan Automotive said:

Hi Mark , are you confusing it with Alan Hamilton's  red / black 1981 R/H/D 924 Carrera GTS ( I think that car was one of one,  from memory ) , I got photos of that car & thats the car that went missing in the mid 1990's & its never re surfaced 

Regards

Bruce B

No it's the later only RHD 944 T Cup car (Red) still in Melb. 

I know that Colin Bond was campaigning a 924 Turbo in sports sedans I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, 9fan said:

 

I know that Colin Bond was campaigning a 924 Turbo in sports sedans I think.

 That's in a video I posted recently

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, James P said:

Great info above Bruce.. any chance of uploading the photos of the Alan Hamilton's 81 924 GTS that went missing ?

That car was in Germany being restored about 2 years ago. I can't remember who was doing it but was quoted as being the Aust GTS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Airhead said:

That car was in Germany being restored about 2 years ago. I can't remember who was doing it but was quoted as being the Aust GTS

So its not missing? for years i heard it was missing & rumoured to have been seen last in a shipping container.

Is this the one? its a GTR not a GTS https://www.freisinger-motorsport.de/porsche/uk/Porsche_Restoration_Detail/2937.html

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nope wrong Porsche  , the one that is missing is the GTS , not the GTR , Alan Hamilton's 924 GTS was registered as a road car in Victoria & it was R/H/D 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Gts was not alan hamiltons ,it belonged to Jim Rolfe

it was later converted to Gtr with the engine you spoke of.

i did the pd on this car and most of the work on it until it disappeared(including the engine transplant.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excuse my ignorance but when you say "missing" do you mean stolen or just the last owner decided he/she didn't want anyone to know it's whereabouts. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, 3legs said:

Excuse my ignorance but when you say "missing" do you mean stolen or just the last owner decided he/she didn't want anyone to know it's whereabouts. 

Looks from a 2013 Sydney Morning Herald article stolen:

Judge puts brakes on pursuit of lost Porsches

By Steve Butcher

1 January 2013 — 3:00am

A FORMER international racing driver's multimillion-dollar damages action - mostly to recover three classic Porsche cars - has failed, with a judge dismissing each of his claims.

Retired Melbourne managing director James Rolfe alleged Investec Bank (Australia) was responsible for his seven shipping containers he said held the cars, valuable parts and personal items.

 

James Rolfe: claims dismissed.

Mr Rolfe, who had owned a Yarraville container business, claimed Investec took possession of the containers when it seized the land in 2003 to help recover an $11.8 million loan to his company.

 

The County Court heard in 2012 Mr Rolfe had raced Porsches at international and Australian rallies.

His transport logistics company, started in the early 1970s, allowed him to assemble a collection that included a 924 Carrera GTS, a 911 rally car - once just one in Australia of 50 worldwide - and a 924 GTR.

But the assets of companies Mr Rolfe controlled were seized and sold, including two properties in Port Douglas, the Verandahs and the Boathouse. (A judge in 2007 awarded him $2.7 million damages against Investec for its sale method that undervalued the properties.)

But not the three Porsches, or the thousands of ''very special'' nuts and bolts - many titanium - and hand-polished parts Mr Rolfe said he stored in the containers.

He claimed Investec took possession of the containers when it seized the land and so had a responsibility to care for and protect them.

Investec and co-defendants to the action, Gadens Lawyers and real estate agent Sutherland Farrelly, denied liability.

In her recent decision, Judge Kathryn Kings said she accepted the evidence of a Gadens' solicitor that there was no conversation with Mr Rolfe or agreement that allowed him to store the containers on site.

She said Mr Rolfe's evidence was ''confused, uncertain, inconsistent and unreliable''.

Judge Kings found Investec did not know or consent to him storing the containers at the premises and dismissed his claims of negligence and misleading and deceptive conduct.

Judge Kings accepted that Mr Rolfe owned containers and stored them at the premises and that the vehicles existed and were stored there ''at some point''. But he gave inconsistent evidence about ownership of the cars and parts and there was no written documentation to support his claim he had paid for them, she said.

''I am not satisfied that Mr Rolfe has discharged the onus to prove ownership of the vehicles,'' Judge Kings said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, jnr356 said:

The Gts was not alan hamiltons ,it belonged to Jim Rolfe

it was later converted to Gtr with the engine you spoke of.

i did the pd on this car and most of the work on it until it disappeared(including the engine transplant.)

In 1983 & 1984 & 1985 I attended quite a few Porsche Cars Australia ( Porsche Technical ) training classes at their ( then ) training centre at Noble Park Victoria , This was also the site of the training facility & PCA main spare parts warehouse & this is also where PCA had their bond store ( where new Porsche cars are kept in stock before compliance plates are fitted etc ) & this sprawling site was used by the owner of PCA ( yes PCA was privately owned back then by Alan Hamilton ) for his private collection of rare / exotic Porsche racing & sports cars & where they prepared / repaired race Porsche's , like Alan's 917/30 ( 004 ) & numerous 906 , 908 race cars 

I basically lost count of how many exotic Porsches Alan owned & he had several incarnations of the 924 GTR for racing reasons , like the 924GTR that Colin Bond raced in the Australian GT Championship in 1982 , this GTR started off with the normal Audi based engine , but ended up with the super rare 2.5L two cam 944/71 engine 

But the red / black 924 Carrera GTS ( club-sport from memory ) that I am referring to & luckily  I took some photos of in 1983 was the Victorian Road Registered 924 Carrera GTS & it was most defiantly owned by Alan Hamilton , because I asked one of the two technical trainers that was in charge of our class about that specific car & he  Klaus Kaestner was more than happy to tell us what he knew about it , it was a special build request to Porsche Germany by Alan Hamilton & because he was such a good customer Porsche competitions dept at Weisssach built him a one off R/H/D Carrera GTS and I will have to study the photos again when I get back to work next week , but I am 98% sure it shows a factory roll cage and sliding perspex door windows , so its probably an even rarer clubsport 

Now this is the Porsche ( Alan's ex Carrera GTS club sport ) along with another Porsche that went missing after these cars ( along with others ) had to be sold in or around 1992 or 1993 ( remember the recession with massive interest rates ) & this is an interesting story in itself , but ( going on memory )  they were sold to another busnessman who had them stored in shipping containers at a property he owned or leased & its from this property that the then owner reported( later ) the containers with contents stolen & to my knowledge , they ( the containers or the valuable Porsche cars )  have never resurfaced ( quite an apt word )

Remember , Alan Hamilton & or PCA back in the 1980's & early 1990's had numerous versions of racing & non racing 924 Carrera's & this is where it gets understandably complicated 

Note } this 924 Carrera GTS I am referring to did NOT have the 944 / 71 Le Mans engine & that engine ( 944/71 )never went missing & it probably did end up in another GT or GTS or an ex raced GTR , but its not the victorian road registered GTS that I am referring to 

Note 2 }  When I get back to work I will, ask Sean about another Carrera GT or GTS that was used for rallying that was in Victoria , that could be the Jim Rolf one 

And I will get Sean to put up the photos of Alan's 924 Carrera GTS R/H/D ( probably a Club Sport )

Regards
Bruce Buchanan
Buchanan Automotive 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The cynic in me is telling me that the "stolen" cars may in fact be hiding somewhere in a location known to the last known owner as payback of some form.

Bruce,I remember seeing Alan Hamilton's 917 in action around Mallala racetrack in 1984. What a beast. I have some old photo's of it somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sorry have to disagree

it also had inertia reel race harnesses ,which i thought were the duck's guts at the time

he also didn't have numerous versions,he bought all the left over parts(many of them left over from le mans,still had the sign writing on them)from the factory

i did work there including the racing dept for 22 years

klaus struggled with english ,let alone facts

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Klaus spoke english well enough to be a teacher at PCA , so there goes another one of you're facts , I was very good friend of Klaus and his wife Christine ( in his retirement )  , you should be more respectful of the dead ( very very poor ) , but then again you would not know that would you ? , because you are just making things up as you go 

By the way Jnr , what is you're name ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

believe what you like, i don't need to make things up.

you can ask peter h,ralph ,clive  or carlos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

don't get me wrong klaus was a nice guy and a wizz with electronics

to say i'm making things up is a cop out

must have imagined this

IMG-9774.jpg

IMG-9772.jpg

IMG-9775.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the photos @jnr356  So this is the GTS with road reg & is the green sticker on the windscreen the reg label? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yes james ,after it was upgraded to gtr

the last pic was at calder after the work was done

i did drive it on the road(mulgrave freeway)in this configuration ,horrendus turbo lag..definetly built for mulsanne.

that engine never had cooling fans originally,managed to squeeze in thermo's

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the poor quality photos , it only shows the single cam engine ( GTR spec if thats correct ? )  , thats not the twin cam"Le Mans " engine that I spoke of , so are you saying this GTR engine in the photos was also removed later & the 944/71 was fitted later ? 

So are you also saying that Jim Rolf somehow purchased the car new ? , because Alan sold a red R/H/D 924 GTS in 1992 or there about 

If I knew you're name I could ask the people you mentioned , so what is you're name ? 

8 hours ago, jnr356 said:

The Gts was not alan hamiltons ,it belonged to Jim Rolfe

it was later converted to Gtr with the engine you spoke of.

i did the pd on this car and most of the work on it until it disappeared(including the engine transplant.)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i never said the 944 engine i said gtr ,that would be 924gtr

there was only 1 r/h/d gts,this was it..sacraligious nowadays..and jim wasn't the best steerer

i think your confusing the sale in 92(when the recession came to being and alan sold off his collection to keep the company afloat)for the 944 cup car with the big rear wing

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

gee this is so confusing , I last saw the R/H/D 924GTS( probably a clubsport ) at Noble Park PCA in or around 1984 , it was there in 1983 , registered as a Victorian road car .  I was told in 1983 or 1984 that it was owned by Alan Hamilton and it was in his possession which made sense because it was in his premises because I saw it there over a couple of years 

What year do you think the car was converted ( shame really ) to a GTR ?

The below is from the post about the court case , so do you think that the GTS ( now a non genuine GTR ) is in the container/s with the real GTR mentioned below }

His transport logistics company, started in the early 1970s, allowed him to assemble a collection that included a 924 Carrera GTS, a 911 rally car - once just one in Australia of 50 worldwide - and a 924 GTR.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1987..i was in race dept late 86-early 88

it wasn't alans and pretty sure it was an 82 model

that premises was pca ,and was also the bond store so every car went through there

alan always had cream 928's(yearly ),the red 944 cup car in 88.white 911cs in 88,purple 964 cup car 90

we also built the 911 spyder in 87 and the 911(959 4wd) factory protoype(lindsay foxes now)

only a handful of people had access to some of his cars and "goodies",i like to think i was one of them

i wouldn't trust that article too much...polished titanium??..i know he did have a short wheel based 911 with turbo running gear

 

i don't know if you recall,but before the gtr engine went in ,it was on pallet racking(as you walked in from service dept to race dept) with a spare 908 engine above it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

PFA [Porsche Forum Australia]

This is an online platform for like-minded Porsche fans/fanatics/tragics to come together to read, chat and share.

It is also a platform to arrange and participate in off-line social meet-ups, events and drives.

×