1967 911R prototype: story of R4
Such is the historical importance of the 911R for Porsche, it’s ludicrous to think the car was relatively unheard of for years for even the discerning enthusiast compared to, say, a 2.7RS. Indeed it wasn’t until the arrival of the 991 R last year, itself a seminal moment in the legacy of our beloved 911, which really shone a light on those 20 early cars and their acute significance to the brand with Stuttgart’s prancing horse on its nose. And to think some of those 20 original ’67 Rs were still available as late as 1970!
The brainchild of one Ferdinand Piëch and the lightest Neunelfer to ever leave the Zuffenhausen factory, the R set the benchmark for the endless engineering possibilities Porsche would accomplish for its cherished 911 platform. Perhaps more importably though, its creation really started the 911’s unrivalled racing legacy, something which, more than 30,000 race victories later, Porsche is still incredibly proud of.
The R, then, wasn’t just built so Porsche could go racing – plenty of early 911s in both T and S guise had already tasted success in competition at various events around the planet – moreover it was an inquisitive exercise to find out just how much the company could evolve its new 911 sports car for competition purposes. In the end, these cars marked the beginning of the process of a Porsche 911 sports car being homologated, a move which would culminate in many historical feats at some of the world’s most famous races and events. That’s quite an imprint on history: simply put, Porsche’s later and notable success at La Sarthe, Daytona, and Sebring to name a few all starts right here with the creation of the 911R.
Though there were only ever 20 production 911Rs built, four prototypes were initially created, those cars pulled from the production line originally in 911S specification. Those four R prototypes are today known as R1, R2, R2, and R4, so named in accordance with their production dates. The car you see in our pictures is that of R4, the last R prototype Porsche built, which today can be found in Scotts Valley, California, its Lemon yellow coachwork glistening under the showroom lights at Canepa. However, its journey to this point is nothing short of remarkable, taking in four countries and two continents despite still being the lowest-recorded mileage R rolling the planet.
For the full feature on this incredible 911R prototype, pic up issue 159 of Total 911 in hardcopy here or get your digital copy from Apple or Android newsstands.