Porsche 906 Ollon-Villars

Premiere: 1965 August 28, Ollon-Villars, Switzerland

© Porsche

Engine: Porsche type 771, 2.0-litre flat-8, 191 kW

In 1963, a very special man had started to work in Porsche company - Ferdinand Karl Piëch. The Porsche company was founded by his grandfather Ferdinand Porsche and co-founded by his father Anton Piëch. On Ferdinand Piëch's suggestion a dedicated racing department was set up in 1965 and Hans Mezger was appointed as the head of it. Mezger involved in designing Porsche's flat-6 and flat-8 engines.

1965: racing driver, PR-manager and chief of the racing department Fritz Huschke von Hanstein with Ferdinand Piëch © Porsche

Although Porsches with chassis numbers starting with "906" were made earlier, those were 6-cylinder 904 Coupés and 8-cylinder 904 Spyders. The 904s had fiberglass body bonded to steel frame, both members supporting each other. The last 904/8 Spyder, chassis 906-010, was only used for practicing at the Rossfeld hillclimb on June 13, 1965, and then a new car was created using the same chassis number. The 8-cylinder engine and gearbox combo was carried over, everything else was new. The first "real 906" was born. "Real 906" meant it was a tubeframe car. Typical Porsche wheels at the time were in the size of 15", but Ferdinand Piëch wanted to use Formula 1 suspension and tyre setup in order to get the center of gravity closer to the ground, to use the best racing tyres on the market and to save weight. As there was no time to develop Porsche's own solution, uprights and 13" wheels were used from a Lotus F1 car. One of Piëch's tasks was to create ultralight racing cars. The Ollon-Villars 906 weighed just 488-530 kg/1076-1168 lb. The 906 Spyder was the first Porsche engineered by Ferdinand Piëch and there could be only a person as determined as Piëch to use Lotus parts on a Porsche. It was Piëch's handwriting to get what he wanted no matter how, with only the top result in mind. Although these were the early days for Piëch, they showed what kind of an engineer and manager he was.

First public outing for the 906 Spyder or Bergspyder ("Spyder for mountain") was in August 1965 in Switzerland, at the Ollon-Villars World Championship hillclimb event (Championnat du Monde Ollon-Villars). The 906 Spyder scored second driven by Gerhard Mitter. The car was used only in a few events, but also for setting some records.

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Porsche type 771 2.0-litre flat-8 engine © Porsche
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Central lock wheels © Porsche

On September 30, 1965, Fritz Huschke von Hanstein took the 906/8 Spyder to Motodrom Hockenheim. The track was 6.8 km long and had two long straights for the acceleration tests and record attempts.

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© Porsche

With the 2-litre Porsche prototype von Hanstein set the following records:
1/4 mile from standing start: 11.892 sec. @ 121.97 km/h (75.683 mph)
500 m from standing start: 13.557 sec. @ 132.77 km/h (82.503 mph)
International class E record on 1 km from standing start: 22.212 sec @ 162.074 km/h (100.711 mph)

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The birth name of Fritz "Huschke" von Hanstein was Fritz Sittig Enno Werner von Hanstein© Porsche
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© Porsche

This spyder, chassis 906-010, was then converted to a targa (a coupé with removable roof panel). The 906-010 Targa became the prototype of the Porsche 910 Targa that followed it very soon. The 906-010 Targa was first raced at the Rossfeld hill climb in Germany on June 12, 1966, which it won.

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1966 June 12, Rossfeld hill climb is won by Gerhard Mitter with 906-010 Targa. The door opens like on the later 910. On the series production 906 coupe (behind the 906-010 Targa), open doors looked like gull wings.© Porsche

To win the 1966 European Hill Climb Championship Gerhard Mitter mostly used the 906-010 Targa, but also the new 910 Targa. Still in its Targa body form, the 906-010 belongs to the Porsche Museum.

Article © James Herne / Stuttcars.com

Continue to 906 K Coupé
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