The Taj Ma Garaj Collection | Lot 378
1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GTS Club Sport
$357,000 USD | Sold
| Dayton, Ohio
28 September 2019
- Presented as-new with only 47 km recorded
- Most likely the lowest-mileage example extant
- One of only 50 924 Carrera GTS homologation specials
- Factory upgraded with more powerful Club Sport package
- Delivered new by Bob Hagestad Porsche-Audi in Denver, Colorado
- Known ownership with only two owners from new
- Exceptionally rare and exceedingly original
When Porsche was planning its racing program for 1981, it faced an unusual problem: Its world-beating Type 936 prototype was outdated, and, as has been noted elsewhere, the ferocious 911-based 935 was still being raced with great success by private teams, especially in IMSA. Management decided that the best way to build customer interest in its two-year-old entry-level VW/Audi–powered 924 was to take it racing. To build a true Group 4 two-liter race car based on a current production model—the 924 Turbo—Porsche had to create a higher-performance derivative called the Carrera GT. Initially, 500 examples were required by the FIA, but during the development phase, this number was relaxed to 400. The Carrera GT was lighter by 330 pounds, lowered, and fitted with an uprated engine producing 210 horsepower. The Carrera GT’s body was modified to allow much wider front and rear track with extended front fenders and rivet-on flares on the rear quarters. These changes accommodated seven- and eight-inch-wide Fuchs forged alloy wheels and correspondingly wider tires.
When this series had been completed, Porsche took another step, creating an “Evolutionary” model that required just 50 street-legal examples, and they were named the Carrera GTS. All of these cars were aimed at winning FIA recognition for the brilliant 924 GTP, of which three were constructed to compete in the 1981 24 Hours of Le Mans. The trio not only completed the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic, but finished a quite amazing 6th, 12th, and 13th overall.
The 924 Carrera GTS is easily recognized by its flush, plastic-covered rectangular headlamps and additional venting in the nose. The rear body panel bore a very subtle molded plastic GTS badge. The GTS produced a healthy 245 bhp at 6,250 rpm with 1.0 Bar of boost on a compression ratio of 8.0:1. A skilled driver rowing through the Getrag G31/03 five-speed could reach 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds.
The 924 GTS was further lightened—down to 2,300 pounds—by use of hollowed-out, metal-framed fiberglass door shells fitted with sliding, rather than wind-up, windows that were now made of plastic. The GTS had a thinner and lighter flush-mounted windshield and a molded clear Plexiglas rear hatch to which the familiar black rubber spoiler was glued. The hood was now fiberglass with a functional air intake, with sliding panel and racing hold-down latches and a simple decal in lieu of Porsche’s metal badge. Underneath, protective plastic panels were removed, and the suspension was upgraded from torsion bars and steel shocks to Bilstein coil-overs at all four corners, the stock steel rear semi-trailing arms replaced with cast light-alloy, and the big four-wheel ventilated and cross-drilled disc brakes came from the 930 Turbo parts bin. The uprated GTR five-speed transaxle with a 40 percent limited-slip was cooled with an additional radiator.
Inside, there was a full bolt-in, heavily gusseted Matter alloy roll cage, a suede-wrapped steering wheel, a special VDO tachometer, and a pair of deep 935-type racing bucket seats with Autoflug race harnesses. The collapsible emergency spare wheel was mounted on the rear cabin deck (the back seats were deleted) to make room beneath for a 120-liter gas tank. A Halon fire-suppression system was also available to owners who wanted to race, and there are ignition cutoff switches installed on both the dashboard and front windshield cowling. The 924 GTS was a costly automobile when new, carrying a factory-delivered price near four times that of a standard 924. Still, their brilliant performance and scarcity meant they were quickly snapped up by eager enthusiasts. Famed factory driver Derek Bell was among them and has been quoted as saying the 924 Carrera GTS is among his favorites.
A total of 50 examples were built and sold, but within that group was an even more exclusive option—the Club Sport—which was considerably more powerful. The bore was increased slightly to raise displacement to 2,093 cc, and a larger air-to-air intercooler helped produce 275 bhp at 1.1 Bar. It could touch 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and see 160 mph. At the time, it was said to be the fastest production car Porsche had ever built.
This example was completed on 11 February 1981 and then shipped to Bob Hagestad Porsche-Audi in Denver, Colorado, where it was sold to its first owner, Dr. William Jackson, an ophthalmologist from Pine Cliff, Colorado, on 23 July 1982. The retail price was $44,062. Soon after his purchase, Dr. Jackson entertained the possibility of driving his new car on the street, but a letter from Mr. John Hitt, Hagestad’s sales manager, quickly disabused him of that idea. The letter stated that the car was sold on a Bill of Sale, without any MSO or title. “This car can only be used for the purposes of show, testing, experiment, competition, and repairs or alterations and will not be sold, licensed, or registered for use on public roads in the U.S.” It also notes that many cars like this are bought for collectible purposes and will not meet EPA standards in the U.S. Only a handful would reach the United States. In April 1987, Dr. Jackson had Eurosport, Ltd. of Englewood, Colorado, service the car and install a set of racing slicks. He otherwise stored the car amongst his collection of rare and highly original Porsches.
In August 2005, Dr. Jackson sold the Carrera GTS to John Dixon, only the second owner, at the Taj Ma Garaj in Dayton, Ohio. Most recently serviced in March 2019 by P3Autokräfte, this wonderful factory-built production race car presents in original and very good cosmetic condition, with only a few minor flaws. Notably, the engine and transmission numbers on the Porsche Certificate of Authenticity do not match those currently in the car. However, in speaking with the original owner, the car remains as he acquired it new in 1982 and has only been driven a handful of miles since he took delivery.
It is supplied with a tool kit, spare wheel, jack, factory literature, dealer correspondence, and a file of service receipts. This rare and very desirable 924 Carrera GTS Club Sport would easily be returned to track-ready condition. Its next owner can be assured that it will be the only one in the neighborhood.