In 1967 Porsche unveiled the 911R, a lightweight giant slayer that was powered by the same 2.0-liter motor that powered the 906 racecar. The bodyshell was constructed of wafer-thin steel to reduce weight, while further dieting was to be found in the fiberglass fenders, front and rear deck lids and bumpers. Side glass and the rear window were made of plexiglass and there were numerous drilled components throughout the car that shed further pounds. With around 210-hp and weighing 450-lbs less than the already light 911S, the R was an impressive performer.
Given its impressive stats, it’s not surprising that the 911R went on to great success as a racecar. The first major win came at the Marathon de la Route at the famed Nurburgring track in Germany, where it was driven by Hans Herrmann, Vic Elford and Jochen Neerpash. Examples of the 911R would also go on to great success under the ownership of privateer teams, winning the Tour de France and the Corsica Rally, to name just two of many track wins.
With around only 24 examples made by Porsche, the 911R is both exceedingly rare and extremely valuable. Luckily for those wanting a 911R experience, a short wheel base 911 from the late ‘60s can serve as an excellent starting point. The car pictured here is probably one of the most accurate replicas of an R in existence, even utilizing a lot of actual factory R components.
Currently owned by Porsche fanatic and collector Jim Edwards, the R homage began life as a 1967 911S (s/n 307767S) a valuable car in its own right. Edwards acquired the 911 in 2005, though he had known about it for some time before that. “For a guy who loves short wheelbase 911s, this car is just really neat, it’s just super cool. Everything was done right,” he says. “I was amazed when I found out it was for sale, and I was even more amazed that not one had bought it.”
Vintage racer Dick Mattie originally had the car built by Gary and Rod Emory, who have turned out some of the most stunning restomod Porsches in the world. Rod carries on the tradition to this day, working out of the Emory Motorsports headquarters in Oregon as well as Emory Design in North Hollywood, CA. The build was made possible in large part due to Gary Emory’s extensive collection of rare factory Porsche parts that were accumulated while he was running Parts Obsolete, which specialized in Porsche parts. Purchased from Porsche dealers in the U.S., a lot of the parts were actual factory R components. Many of these would find their way onto Mattie’s R replica.
“I built the car like an over the counter R,” says Emory. “Once the tub was painted, Rod handled most of the assembly of the car.” Getty Designs fabricated fiberglass panels from molds that were pulled off of a facory 911R. Just like real 911Rs, the Porsche’s front fenders, hood, doors, front and rear bumpers and engine lid are all made from the light stuff. Lightweight, externally mounted aluminum hinges hold the engine lid in place. The taillight housings were modified to accept the dual round taillights that are one of the R’s calling cards. Up front, small R-style turn signals can be found in the fenders. There is also a light, mesh engine grill and lightweight hood props.
A correct 80-mm Blau oil filler cap was installed on the right side rear fender for the 911R aluminum oil tank located in front of the right-side rear wheel. Side windows, the rear window and quarter windows were fabricated from plexiglass. Mounted in the front hood is the correct 110-mm Blau fuel filler cap, while the tank itself is an early 100-liter unit hiding a Fuel Safe fuel bladder.
The Porsche narrow bodywork is painted a color similar to factory Slate Grey, but one that Emory simply refers to as “Emory Grey,” and that was picked out of a color book. The silver stripe is set off by thin red and yellow pin-striping. Under the front hood is a drilled smugglers box cover, drilled hood hinges and an upper strut brace.
The engine mounted in the 911’s tail is similar to the factory 906-based, 901/22 flat-6. That means triple-throat Weber 46 IDA carbs, an open exhaust and around 210-hp at a sense-scrambling 8,000-rpm. There’s also a 906 high-rise intake manifold, fiberglass 906 fan shroud, oil filter housing and even an actual 906 cooling fan. The engine’s all-important oil supply is kept cool by a pair of oil coolers mounted in the front fender. Factory headers are the same type used by the original R, while a pair of extremely rare Marelli distributors handle spark delivery for the twin-plug motor.
A close ratio 901 5-speed with a ZF limited slip differential was built for the car. The suspension isn’t too extreme and utilizes 911S struts, larger sway bars and larger torsion bars. At the front the 911 uses “Deep-6” Fuchs and at the rear are early 15x7-inch 7R Fuchs, which are real 911R parts. The wheels are installed over 20-mm spacers and extended wheel studs. The 911’s weight also came out shockingly close to the original 911R’s weight, at 1760-lbs.
Inside the car, the 911R theme continues with a paired down dash, leather straps to raise the plastic windows. Even the door stays were designed with lightness in mind and are made from leather. In front of the driver is a factory 10,000-rpm tachometer. Behind the front seats is a simple rollbar. With full carpeting, the interior is actually pretty accommodating for the driver.
Under Mattie’s ownership, the 911R went on to an extensive vintage race career, racing in HMSA, CSRG, VARA, SOVREN, HSR and NSR West Legal. The fast and light machine turned in numerous top three finishes before it was sold to Jim Edwards, who parks it next to dozens of collectible Porsches, including everything from a 993 GT2 to a 924 GTP racecar.