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Photo: Casey Annis

Identity Crisis—1970 SCCA Porsche 914-6

For better, and sometimes for worse, corporate culture and business strategy have historically played a significant role in motorsport. Over the years, racecars and racing programs have been created and eliminated for no other reason than to satisfy marketing strategies and brand positioning. While many of us tend to view corporate mergers, joint ventures and industry consolidation as fairly modern developments in the automotive world, the reality is that these forces have helped to shape the racing landscape since the dawn of motorsport. Interestingly, in the case of a joint venture between Porsche and Volkswagen in the late ’60s, one of the unintended outcomes was an exceptional, if not misunderstood, production-based racecar.

Like so many other sports car manufacturers before it, by the late ’60s Porsche had, in at least one sense, fallen victim to its own success. Up to that point, Porsche had built its business, and its small but fanatical following, on the production of fast and affordable sports cars. Throughout the ’50s, Porsche’s flagship was the 356; by the mid-‘60s it had added the faster and more refined 911. With each successive year, Porsche made incremental improvements to its cars – in general, they became faster, better made, more comfortable, and unfortunately, more expensive. By the late ’60s, the average price for an entry level 911 had risen to $6,500. This fact was not lost on the management in Stuttgart, who by 1968 were becoming increasingly concerned that they no longer had an “affordable” entry-level sports car to offer new customers to the marque.

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