Porsche 909 Bergspyder
Premiere: September 8, 1968 Gaisberg hill climb in Austria
Engine: 2.0 flat-8, 205 kW
The 909 was developed using the know-how from the 910 Bergspyder. The total length of the car was only 344 cm/135". The European Hillclimb Championship regulations stipulated 2-litre engine but didn't stipulate minimum weight. This is something genius engineer Ferdinand Piëch could fully enjoy.
As safety wasn't an issue these days, the car was built on an aluminium spaceframe. Different diameter tubes were used, but the average diameter was only about 1". Remember, the pipes were of aluminium, not high-strength material! Steel wasn't used at all, not even for the bolts. Light non-magnetic and sometimes even exotic and dangerous metals were used to save weight literally everywhere, even by grams. As the car was designed for short distances, the fuel tank could hold only 15 liters. A special pressurized tank was used to save the weight of the fuel pump. All this resulted in a car weighing only ~400 kg / ~900 lbs and with the 8-cylinder boxer this car was a mad thing to drive.
The two 909s were built by September 1968. On September 8 Gaisberg hill climb in Austria, championship leader (and 1966-1967 winner) Gerhard Mitter didn't want to take risks with using a new car (although it was delivered to the event and already had number #95 on it) and started with his 910 Bergspyder (remember, 910 came after 906 and before 907, 908 and 909). In the hands of Rolf Stommelen, the 909 scored 3rd. Mitter had won with his "old car" and Dieter Quester with a BMW Monti scored 2nd.
The second outing for the 909 was on September 22, 1968, at the season-ending Mont Ventoux event in France. Stommelen scored 2nd with the 909 #2. Mitter won again with 910 and didn't use his 909 #1.
As Porsche decided to withdraw from the hillclimb championships after three consecutive championship titles and 8 championship titles during the last decade, the 909 wasn't used again. Still, it was an absolutely amazing masterpiece and showcase, top of space-age engineering. Despite without any racing victories, the information gathered in constructing it made it one of the most important Porsches ever built. The know-how was extensively used in the racing cars to come.
Article © James Herne / Stuttcars.com
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