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Mike de ‘Udy and the Carrera Six

Porsche Carrera 6
The formidable Carrera 6 outside the Porsche headquarters, Stuttgart Zuffenhausen, 1966

The Carrera Six, as Porsche officially called the 906, was a radically different car from its predecessor, the 904 GTS. The 904 was a sleek glass fibre bodied racer penned by Butzi Porsche, and it took over as Porsche’s competition model following such illustrious forebears as the RS 718 and RS 61 which brought the Stuttgart manufacturer so many victories in the early sixties. The 904 would maintain this tradition, winning the 2-litre class in top level European and US races. But as a hill climber, in the 1965 season, it had to yield to the nimbler Ferrari Dino of Ludivico Scarfiotti. Hitherto something of a Porsche chasse gardée, the Alpine hill climbs, today largely forgotten, were until the early seventies, a major feature of the competition calendar. Famous ascents such as Mont Ventoux, Schauinsland and Ollon-Villars attracted bigger crowds even than Pike’s Peak today, and winning them mattered.

Porsche 904 Carrera GTS
A Porsche 904 Carrera GTS Coupé in 1963 outside the factory in Stuttgart Zuffenhausen

Porsches were originally bred with mountain ascents in mind – sales of Gmünd built cars to well-heeled Swiss enthusiasts helped to pay for the move to Zuffenhausen in 1950. Hill climbs had become a key part of Porsche’s competition programme by the 1960s when Edgar Barth (father of Jürgen) gleaned three European mountain championships. So, half way through that 1965 season Porsche attempted a total redesign of its Bergspyder 904 to wrest supremacy from the Ferrari.

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