This Porsche 356 Super 90 Will Race Anywhere, Anytime
Photography by Rosario Liberti
There are many cars that can do 0 to 60 in 8.5 seconds, but few that can do so with so much character. This 1961 Porsche 356 B Super 90 is a showcase of everything worth loving about early Porsches: it’s an expression of Stuttgart’s philosophy for driving and technical finesse.
The Italian gentleman who owns it never took the word “investment” into consideration when he bought the car in 1985. He rather prefers saying the words, “driving and racing”. Even with skyrocketing prices for vintage Porsches, he hasn’t decided to part ways with it. “I’ve been through many things with her. I can’t just sell it,” he tells me.
There’s a saying in Italian that goes “non chiedere all’oste quanto è buono il suo vino,” which means, “never ask the innkeeper how good his wine is”. Right away, the owner proudly told me that this Porsche has won everything in historic racing over the last 30 years, with him at the wheel. It’s natural for a proud owner to exaggerate things…but the hard-fought trophies in his office was no boast.
This 356 has dominated many historic racing events in Europe from the mid-’80s until today. And it’s been seen all over the continent: Nürburgring, Spa-Francorchamps, Monza, Imola, Giro d’Italia, Paul Ricard, Hockenheim, and in the Italian Historic Championship…and it’s never failed to deliver an astounding performance.
The car has always been tuned and maintained by Gianfranco Marchetti, a renowned Porsche master mechanic in Parma. The engine was completely rebuilt to race spec with a lighter crank (over 6.6 lbs lighter than the standard one), Carrillo rods, high compression pistons, open trumpets and open exhaust. The car has a full roll cage and bucket seats and revs to 8,000 rpm.
It sounds divine. Of course.
It’s also “essential”: there’s nothing else other than what you need to race. When you’re driving it, it’s a wonderfully nimble and agile sports car; there’s no body roll, and it slides with grace from corner to corner with great accuracy. It expects and rewards driving finesse, considering its light steering and controls.
This 356 is also road registered, and you can go anywhere with it, and its owner loves it to take for an occasional drive every now and then. For the neighborhood, it might be an unpleasant early morning rooster call, but this car was made to be driven and raced anywhere, anytime.