If You’ve Dreamt Of Buying A Brand New Porsche 924 GTR Race Car, It’s Time To Wake Up
Photography Courtesy of Silverstone Auctions
How many times have you reminisced, “Man, I wish I could travel back in time so I could purchase [insert nostalgic dream car],” all so you could have a factory fresh example to enjoy today? Despite the world’s most expensive restorations, an automobile is only original once. Good news: if you are the person who longed for a brand-new 1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GTR, this time capsule is the closest to fresh-off-the-assembly-line you’ll come across—it’s your second chance to buy one “new”.
When Porsche decided to enter Group 4 series sportscar racing in 1980, its hot-selling front engine rear-wheel-drive 924 was the obvious choice to further increase sales. The pedestrian 924 weren’t up to snuff for racing out-of-the-box, so Porsche prescribed a dosage of serious go-fast-goodies.
The 924 Carrera GT was born. The flared shells were fitted with all-new aero bodywork, a close ratio dogleg transmission, a limited-slip differential, and Bilstein suspension. To help keep the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-bangers cool, a large hood scoop allowed for more airflow directly to the top mount intercooler. Finally, all unnecessary amenities were removed to reduce as much weight as possible. In total, Porsche built just 0ver 400 of the 924 Carrera GT—but it was just getting started.
The superior GTS model arrived shortly after, and can be differentiated aesthetically from the standard GT by the plexiglass headlamp covers in lieu of the heavier standard flip-up units. For the GTS, Porsche cranked up the turbo for a bump in boost. More boost = more heat, so the GTS received an enlarged front mount intercooler to help cope with the snail’s extra Celsius. Only 59 GTS were produced, of which just 15 were ramped up to the even hotter Club Sport spec, which featured more power, less weight, and a roll cage.
Are you seeing the trend here? It’s as if Porsche was emulating the offspring of a boost junky and a track addict. I’m sure the Stuttgart engineers were yelling at the 924, “You could always lose more weight and be faster!” For the Le Mans spec 924 finale, Porsche constructed just 17 of the ultimate 924 iteration: the GTR.
The 924 Carrera GTR could dash from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds—this was in 19-freakin’-81—simply astonishing. Like the GTS, the GTR received a front mounted intercooler, albeit a much larger piece of kit. Under hood, a bespoke version of the standard 2.0-liter engine with a dry sump lubrication setup produced a monstrous 375 horsepower and 300 pound feet of torque.
Weighing just over one ton, the GTR is capable of rocketing to 180 mph. Thankfully, four-piston calipers and 31 cm disc brakes derived from the 935 were equipped to keep things under control. Fully adjustable suspension at all four allows for precise track specific dialing-in and a factory installed fully integrated roll cage greatly improves structural rigidity, while adding safety for brave track goers.
At the 1980 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche finished 6th, 12th, and 13th with three 924 GTRs. The GTR later earned a class win at Le Mans in 1982. Although built specifically for official Porsche competition use, select Porsche fanatics were able to purchase their own GTR for a measly $75k—no chump change in the early ‘80s. This unbelievably clean all-original low mileage time capsule GTR is one of two that were sold new to Japan. It’s believed that of the 17 built in total, this is the only 924 GTR that’s never seen competitive use.
Did I mention the odometer has recorded only 109 kilometers since new? That’s less than 6 kilometers a year since 1981. This GTR was originally delivered to Garage Italya and sat in storage for two years before being purchased by a wealthy Japanese collector in 1983. Although the car was never used in competition, the second owner apparently flogged the GTR around Suzuka Circuit and Fuji Speedway—outings thoroughly documented in a log book.
Rarely driven, it’s noted the owner pulled the car from storage once a year for servicing, then returned it to storage—we can’t imagine the discipline that’d take. The car was exclusively maintained at Tomei Car Service from 1981 to 2006. Since 2006, the car has been annually serviced by the P-car specialists at the Garage Tool Box.
Unfortunately, time travel hasn’t been figured out, meaning buying a brand new 35-year-old super sports car isn’t possible. So, I suppose you’ll have to settle with the next best thing: a like new classic. This is, without question, the nicest 924 Carrera GTR we’ve ever come across, and very likely the cleanest left in existence. Unrestored, numbers matching, completely original, and ludicrously-painstakingly preserved and maintained, this is the last chance you’ll have to buy a factory fresh Porsche 924 Carrera GTR.
– One of 17 924 GTR built
– Never raced in competition use
– One of two delivered new to Japan
– Completely original in showroom like condition
~375 horsepower turbocharged DOHC dry sump lubricated four-cylinder, five-speed dogleg transmission, independent front coil spring suspension, transaxle coil spring rear suspension, and four wheel 935 four-piston disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,400 mm.
Chassis no.: 10
Engine no.: 36