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‘One of many Most Vital Porsche’s in Existence’ Is Now Up for Grabs.

‘One of many Most Vital Porsche’s in Existence’ Is Now Up for Grabs.

The late 1960s were equally turbulent and triumphant times for Porsche, whose road and race cars were evolving at an almost exponential rate. To say that the company had a lot of irons in the fire is a colossal understatement. That the marque juggled them—in the dealer showroom and on the track—is nothing short of a miracle. The 911, revealed in 1963, aimed the spotlight on the German automaker’s new flat-six engine, while simultaneous developments in motorsport saw the birth of its flat-eight, and before the decade was done, the invincible 917 flat-12 monsters.

As I look back on it now, growing up as a teenage car nut and reading all the blurred black-and-white news in Road and Track and other popular magazines of the time, it becomes clear that, at least to my generation, there has never been a more exciting period for cars, and motorsport. And now, a star from that era is coming to the Broad Arrow Porsche Auction in partnership with Luftgekühlt’s Air|Water exhibition in Costa Mesa, Calif., on April 27.

This 1969 Porsche 908/02 Langheck Flunder Spyder, shown racing in period, will be offered through Broad Arrow Auctions on April 27.

Courtesy of Broad Arrow Auctions

Crossing the auction block will be a 1969 Porsche 908/02 LH Spyder, certain to take center stage in the collection of its future owner. Porsche anoraks will know that LH stands for “Langheck” (German for “longtail”), but that this car was actually referred to as the Langheck Flunder, or “longtail flounder,” which is what the stretched and flattened race car was called by its designers.

“The 908/02 Langheck Flunder Spyder is one of the true icons of Porsche motorsport. Its competition career spanned some of the most celebrated races in the history of motor racing,” says David Swig, senior car specialist at Broad Arrow. “The stories this car could tell are in the realm of legend; it is without question one of the most important Porsches in existence.” 

Enthusiasts interested in every last detail will find Karl Ludvigsen’s tome Excellence Was Expected a must-read. This magisterial four-volume history (now updated to 2020), discusses the development of every Porsche, including the 908. A shorter version is that the 908 was launched in 1968 as a low-drag coupe designed for endurance racing, powered by a 3.0-liter, air-cooled flat-eight engine that made about 350 hp. By 1969, a lighter and more successful spyder came on the scene, which despite initial failures on the track, soon proved nearly unbeatable.

A motorsport race in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

Chassis No. 908/02-005 (racing as No. 27 and seen a few cars back in this photo) saw such motorsport greats as Vic Elford, Richard Attwood, and Gérard Larrousse behind its wheel.

Courtesy of Broad Arrow Auctions

During its racing life, the 908/02 Spyder model scored more than 50 major victories and more than 100 podium results from 1969 through 1972, making it one of the most successful Porsche race cars of them all. The technical regulations for 1969 specified no minimum weight, and no roof, luggage compartment, or spare wheel. The coupe’s steel spaceframe was replaced with an aluminum one, air pressurized to detect any stress failures. That, plus a plastic body weighing less than 30 pounds, combined with titanium axles and a lightweight five-speed gearbox, brought Porsche’s 908/02 Spyder in at just around 1,320 pounds.

That version was then subjected to Porsche’s Stuttgart wind tunnel, where it was given aerodynamic enhancements and emerged as a smoothed, flattened, and even more attractive race car. Interestingly, the new iteration was also used to evaluate the first tests of ABS, braking technology that was not adopted for racing but which has become universal since.

Chassis No. 908/02-005 will be recognized by followers of Porsche’s racing history as the car that saw such motorsport greats as Vic Elford, Richard Attwood, and Gérard Larrousse behind the wheel. Its most notable achievement was at the 1970 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where drivers Dr. Helmut Marko and Rudi Lins took third overall. That finish helped Porsche claim a 1-2-3 podium victory as Martini Racing took the top two spots with infinitely more powerful, 5-liter, 12-cylinder Porsche 917s.

A 1969 Porsche 908/02

In 2022, a similar example to car No.27 sold for $4,195,000 at auction.

See Also

Courtesy of Broad Arrow Auctions

Other contemporary World Championship events included the Sebring 12 Hours, the Nürburgring 1000 Kms, and the BOAC (Brands Hatch) 1000 Kms. Chassis No. 908/02-005 also co-starred in Steve McQueen’s 1971 film Le Mans—cementing its place in motorsport and on the screen.

While a close relative to the car on offer was reeled in by a new owner for $4,195,000 at an auction in 2022, Broad Arrow gives this example a high-end estimate of $5.75 million. If that’s the case, it would establish a new market price for “flounder” at about $4,000 per pound.

Source: Robb Report

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