Editors’ Picks From RM Sotheby’s Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

To celebrate Porsche’s 70th anniversary, RM Sotheby’s announced a collaboration with the car manufacturer to present The Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction on 27 October 2018. The auction will feature approximately 70 of the world's most important and most sought-after collectible Porsche models, spanning the marque's illustrious 70-year history as a sports car manufacturer.

We have chosen some highlighted race cars from the auction, including a 956 Group C that competed in 24 Hours of Le Mans for two times, a 959 Paris-Darka, and a 911 Carrera RSR 3.0 that formerly owned by renowned actor Paul Newman.

The design allowed most of the rear suspension to be moved out of the airstream

Of all 70 Porsche models on offer, carrying the highest estimate is a 1983 956 Group C, which is expected to fetch US$5.25m-6.75m. At the end of the 1981 racing season, The FIA changed rules by replacing Groups 1 through 7 with new categories: A, B, and C. Within two weeks of the announcement, Porsche began design work on its first new prototype race car in a decade and utilizing a monocoque type chassis for the first time. The present one was designed to fulfil the requirement for Group C race cars in the 80s.

The new race chassis – designated Type 956 – would be based on a bonded and riveted sheet-aluminum monocoque. To this monocoque were attached the front and rear suspension units. The design allowed most of the rear suspension to be moved out of the airstream. When combined with a new wind-cheating carbon-reinforced Kevlar body and adjustable rear wing, the 956 generated immense downforce. The 956 is the winner of 1983 Brands Hatch 1000 KM and 1983 Can-Am Road America. It also reached a top speed of up to 225mph on the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans.

It has an adjustable rear wing

It was purchased new in May 1983 by John Fitzpatrick Racing (JFR)

It’s the winner of the 1983 Can-Am Road America

The production promptly began after the first chassis finished the track testing at Weissach in March 1982.  A total of 25 constructed for the factory team and then customer sales through 1985. The factory team returned to Le Mans in 1983, the 956s proved nearly unbeatable, sweeping the top eight finishing positions, plus 10th. Unfortunately, this chassis No.110 failed to finish the race due to a fuel pump failure. It returned to Le Mans in 1984 but again failed to finish the race.

After its last and final race in June 1984, the car was sold to California enthusiast and collector Jamey Mazzotta. Under his ownership, this 956 appeared at the 1990 Porsche Parade in Monterey, California. It is described by the auction house as the most original surviving example of the nine WEC privateer 956s.

The Rothmans team logo is still reserved on the 959 Paris-Dakar

It’s fitted engine no. 6380621, a correct 3.2-liter Carrera motor

A 959 Paris-Dakar will also be offered at the sale. The Paris-Dakar 959 is one of the seven developmental examples, five of which are retained by Porsche.

For the 1985 running of the Dakar Rally, Porsche unveiled three of the first purpose-built 959 examples, employing a new chassis and coachwork in the style of the Gruppe B concept. The featured example, chassis 010015, was one of these three entries. It was driven by three-time winner René Metge but it failed to finish with its oil-line failure.

Following the 1985 Paris-Dakar campaign, chassis 010015 was shelved from further competition use, and eventually entered a short chain of private ownership. Currently prepared for future use at vintage events, chassis no. 010015 is fitted with engine no. 6380621, a correct 3.2-liter Carrera motor.

Three-time winner René Metge drove this 959 Paris-Dakar

As an authentic Rothmans team 959 used in the 1985 Paris-Dakar Rally, this car is one of but a small handful that established Porsche’s supremacy in the field of all-wheel-drive supercars. In 2008, the 959 won its class at the Quail Motorsports Gathering in Carmel Valley, California, and soon after it was displayed in the lobby of the Royal Automobile Club in London. The 959 is expected to fetch US$3m-3.4m at the Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction.

It was formerly owned by renowned actor Paul Newman

Another iconic Porsche race car offered at the auction is a 1975 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0. It’s the winner of the 1975 European GT Championship and two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans entrant in 1975 and 1976. It also has an impeccable provenance as it was formerly owned by renowned actor and racing driver Paul Newman. This 911 Carrera RSR is estimated at US$2m-2.2m.

This RSR, chassis no. 9115609121, was the eighth of only 10 such cars constructed for the 1975 season. It was then delivered to the factory-supported Tebernum Racing team. It had two entries at Le Mans in 1975 and 1976 but it couldn’t gain victory due to engine failure.  

Paul Newman joined the 1979 Le Mans

Paul Newman joined the 1979 Le Mans

In 1977, the car was sold to Oscar-winning actor and accomplished racing driver Paul Newman. Newman embarked upon his remarkable 1979 Le Mans campaign in which he finished 2nd overall and 1st in class behind the wheel of a Kremer Porsche 935 with Dick Barbour and Rolf Stommelen.

Newman sold the car in 1982 to noted Porsche authority Ron Armour of Orange, California. Armour embarked upon a total restoration which included taking great care to preserve the original RSR body panels. It was then resold to several owners before the current owner bought it in 2014. Since, the car has been a regular front runner in historic racing events, having won its class at both the 2016 and 2018 editions of the Le Mans Classic.


Porsche 956 Group C

Lot no.: 200
Created in: 1983
Estimate: US$5,250,000 - $6,750,000

Porsche 959 Paris-Darka

Lot no.: 196
Created in: 1985
Estimate: US$3,000,000 - $3,400,000

1975 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0

Lot no.: 215
Created in: 1975
Estimate: US$2,000,000 - $2,200,000

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8

Lot no.: 181
Created in: 1973
Estimate: US$2,400,000 - $2,800,000

Auction details

Auction house: RM Sotheby's
Sale: Porsche 70th Anniversary Sale
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Auction date: 2018/10/27