Spotlight: The First Porsche 935

Cars, Features I By Justin Cornelison I August 18, 2023
Porsche 935 Martini

In the heart of the automotive world, a remarkable piece of history is about to take center stage.  Gooding & Company proudly presents a true automotive icon – the first-ever Porsche 935, chassis number 935-001. With a rich heritage and a trailblazing legacy, this extraordinary vehicle is set to capture the hearts of enthusiasts and collectors alike. As the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance approaches, this masterpiece will be showcased, allowing attendees to marvel at its unparalleled significance – a first since it last made a public appearance in 2018.

Porsche 935 Rear

A Triumph of Racing Heritage

The journey of the Porsche 935, chassis 935-001, began on the hallowed asphalt of the Six Hours of Watkins Glen in 1976. As the official entry for the Martini & Rossi Racing Team, it made a resounding debut, seizing second position on the grid and then going on to dominate the grueling six-hour race. This exceptional feat was marked by setting the fastest lap time and claiming victory under the checkered flag. The world had witnessed the birth of a racing legend.

Further cementing its place in history, the car ventured to Dijon, France, where it secured a commendable third place in the final race of the 1976 championship season. Piloted once again by the skilled hands of drivers Stommelen and Schurti, chassis 935-001 showcased its prowess on an international stage.

A Journey Through Time

The life of this remarkable Porsche 935 is a narrative intertwined with the passion of dedicated enthusiasts and collectors. After Porsche transitioned to the updated 935/77, the vehicle found itself among a package of cars sold to Vasek Polak. For nearly two decades, it resided in the embrace of Polak’s garage, a testament to the enduring allure of its design and performance.

Subsequent chapters of its story saw ownership transfers, each contributing to the tapestry of its history. From Kevin Jeannette to John Kotts in Houston, Texas, the car continued to captivate with its lineage and aura. The year 2009 marked a pivotal moment as Matthew Drendel acquired chassis 935-001, becoming a treasured addition to his collection of turbocharged Porsches.

Restoration to Glory

A labor of love and dedication, chassis 935-001 underwent a meticulous restoration journey. Under the expert craftsmanship of Cavaglieri Restorations, every detail was meticulously attended to, ensuring an accurate representation of its triumphant 1976 Watkins Glen appearance. The engine rebuild, entrusted to Ed Pink Racing Engines, breathed new life into the mechanical heart of this automotive legend.

The fruits of this restoration labor were unveiled to the world at the 2018 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, where chassis 935-001 received the prestigious accolade of Best Race Car Restoration. It once again graced the public eye at the Rennsport Reunion in 2018, sharing the spotlight with Porsche’s limited production track-focused GT2-based 935.

A Singular Legacy

In the realm of automotive history, certain vehicles emerge as touchstones, shaping the landscape of motorsports and inspiring generations. Chassis 935-001 stands as a singular embodiment of this legacy. As the only ex-works 935 in private ownership, it holds an esteemed position in the annals of motoring history. Its counterpart, 935-002, found a permanent home in the Porsche Museum Collection, a testament to the significance of this line.

The indelible mark left by the original 935/76 works cars resonates through time. Around 37 customer cars were born from this iconic lineage between 1977 and 1979. Over the course of nine seasons, the Porsche 935 achieved triumphant victories at storied circuits like Le Mans, Daytona, and Sebring. Its roar on the racetrack became a symphony of triumph and an anthem of excellence, solidifying its legendary status in international motorsport.

A Legacy Continues

As the first-ever Porsche 935, chassis 935-001, graces the stage at Pebble Beach, it does so with a sense of purpose and pride. This is the car that ignited a legacy of speed, power, and innovation, inspiring future generations of racing machines. Its journey from the racetracks of the past to the showcase of today encapsulates the spirit of automotive passion and craftsmanship.

For those drawn to the allure of this historic masterpiece, inquiries about its asking price can be directed to the knowledgeable specialists and team members of Gooding & Company. Whether through their website or at the Pebble Beach venue itself, enthusiasts have the opportunity to become part of the narrative of the first-ever Porsche 935, chassis 935-001.

Copyright and Courtesy of Gooding & Company, Images by Gianni Cabiglio.

Porsche 935 Martini Front

Porsche 935 Front

Porsche 935 Engine

Porsche 935 Interior

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