Porsche 718 RS 61 LM Coupé (1961)

Premiere: 1961 April 9, Le Mans test

1961 Porsche 718 RS 61 Le Mans Coupé
This photo shows the first version of the 718 Coupé which has less openings for cooling than the finished cars© Porsche

The story of the 718 coupé began in 1960 when a customer ordered a one-off design from Karosserie Wendler, the same company that built the 550 and 718 bodies for Porsche. The car was built on the Porsche 550 chassis. Front-end design came from the 718 Spyder. The roof and the rear end were unique creations by Wendler.

1960 Porsche Wendler Coupé
This is how the Wendler coupé looked in 1960. It was originally painted Reseda Green (pastel greyish green), but soon repainted in silver. After the car involved in an accident, the rear end was replaced with the one from 718 Spyder. The car still exists and has been converted back to its original look seen here. And it also has the strange old-school shade of green it originally had. The car can be seen at the Prototyp Museum in Hamburg, Germany.© Karosserie Wendler

For the Le Mans 24h race in June 1961, Porsche created two 718 RS 61 Coupés. They shared the side view silhouette of the Wendler coupé and the rear end of the 718 Spyder, but the front design was original to the car.

Chassis #  Engine
#32  718-0451.6-litre flat-4 Fuhrmann 4-cam
#30  718-0461.7-litre flat-4 Fuhrmann 4-cam

Porsche 718 RS 61 coupe at 1961 Le Mans
1961 Le Mans, 718 RS 61 Coupé #32 (chassis 718-045) of Hans Herrmann/Edgar Barth before the start © unknown (please inform us if you know)
1961 Le Mans, Porsche 718 RS 61 Coupé #30
1961 Le Mans, 718 RS 61 Coupé #30 (chassis 718-046) of Jo Bonnier/Dan Gurney with headlamps covered up in order to keep them clean until the night arrives. Note the front lid design completely different to the regular 718 RSK/RS60/RS61. © unknown (please inform us if you know)
Porsche 718 RS 61 coupe #30 at 1961 Le Mans
1961 Le Mans 24h race, 718 RS 61 Coupé #30 in the pits© Triumph

While the #30 car of Jo Bonnier and Dan Gurney had to retire due to an engine problem, the #32 car of Hans Herrmann and Edgar Barth scored 7th overall. With a small 1.6-litre engine it was a result on its own after 3-litre Ferraris, a 3-litre Maserati and a 2-litre Porsche.

What happened to the 718-045 is unknown, but the 718-046 chassis number was used for a new car called 718 GTR in 1962.


© James Herne / Stuttcars.com


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