The Porsche 911 came out at a time when men of outstanding calibre were allowed to hold two positions; such as Racing Director and Press officer, or Technical Specialist and Racing Driver. The role of the new Porsche was also quite similar to the men of the age, a 2+2 seat couple that could be used for the daily runabout, while all all one needed is to empty the glovebox for it to become a racing car that would prove its metal on the weekends. This was a quality quite bespoke to the German coupe, and Race Director / Press Officer Huschke von Hastein was eager to show his car’s new trait to the public. And the best way possible was to enter the brand new Porsche 911 into the earliest race in the year’s calendar – the Monte Carlo Rally.
The Monte Carlo Rally started in 1911 practically coined the term ‘Rally’ in motorsports. In its early days, competitors used to start from four corners of Europe to “Rally” or meet at Monte Carlo to celebrate the end of the unique event. And by the time the Porsche 911 was launched, the Rally of Monte Carlo had become one of the most prestigious events in the entire motorsport calendar. So a good result at the rally would instantly bring the 911 the fame that it and Hastein so direly needed.
For this feat, Porsche’s technical specialist and multi-talented Herbert Linge was chosen as the man behind the wheel, while Development Engineer Peter Falk was given the reponsiblity of the roadbook. Just before the start of the rally, the duo were handed over a fresh coupe that came painted in ruby-red with a period-correct Pepita artificial leather interior. While most of the red Porsche 911 was retained as stock, the power was increased 150bhp (from the stock 130bhp) and its Solex carburettors were replaced with Webers. Standard rally equipment like rollover bar, Twinmaster, stopwatches, extra headlights and a co-driver operated roof headlight was provided alongside the winter traction aids of the time that included a pipe at the rear for the driver to stand on incase the wheels got stuck and a pair of leather straps above the air grille to hold while doing so.
While the 1965 Monte Carlo rally proved to have one of the harshest weather conditions ever seen, the Porsche 911 with Linge and Falk marched on along the French Maritime Alps. But as per Hastien’s orders, and awaiting global press at the Price’s Palace in Monte Carlo, the duo pressed on through southern France, managing to soldier the ruby-red 911 up to the Princes Palace, securing fifth place in overall ranking… something that wasn’t bad at all for a car that partook the treacherous conditions of rally for the first time.
Along side Linge and Falk, the star of the evening became the ruby-red Porsche 911, which went on to be sold to a dealer in Munich, and then on to Sylvian Garant, a private French driver who continued to compete with it in local events until a time came when the car truly became to old to be used for racing. The 911 slowly vanished into the dark, but as it goes with men who have an eye for good things, it was picked up by a Porsche specialist who passed it on to another keep Porsche Collector from Germany … who brought it back to Porsche Classic for a full restoration, hence completing the circle.
Today, after 3 labours years of restoration, the ruby-red, 50-year-old Porsche 911 Monte Carlo has been once again given a breath of fresh life, once again its flat-six rumbles across the French Riviera reminding its owner, four-time Monte Carlo Rally winner Walter Röhrl the elegance in lightness of its timeless air-cooled design.