- 1971 Porsche 911E 2.2
- Bare-metal restoration during the 1990s
- Upgraded to fast-road/rally specification
- Competitive choice for historic rallying
Fully restored during the 1990s to fast-road/rally specification, this Porsche 911E has been meticulously maintained ever since and makes an exciting, versatile road car.
The bare-shell rebuild was carried out by the Messersi brothers, who were based in north-east France and were keen competitors in historic rallying. First registered on 28 May 1971, chassis number 9111200918 was painted red when work started, but it was subsequently refinished in an eye-catching shade of yellow.
Upgrades included period-correct aluminium 911S brake calipers and Bilstein Sport dampers. The five-speed gearbox was also uprated, with short ratios on second, third and fourth gears – ideal for competition use – but the standard ratio for fifth, which means that it’s still suitable for long-distance touring.
A front strut brace was fitted, along with uprated anti-roll bars front and rear, while inside there is a mechanical tripmeter, Recaro bucket seats and a six-point bolt-in rollcage. A degree of comfort has been maintained, however, thanks to the fact that the carpets are still in place and leather-lined door cards are fitted.
The 911E’s history file includes hundreds of photographs of the restoration, plus photographs of the car being used in competition. In 2017, it was bought by French enthusiast and classic-Porsche specialist Patrick Pugain, who continued using it in regularity events.
Having been exported to the UK and registered WWU 328J, this well-sorted Porsche 911E comes with a FIVA identity card and, thanks to its robust engineering and the strong performance from its 2.2-litre flat-six, it would make a rewarding road car as well as a competitive and highly eligible choice for historic rallying.
Over the course of nearly 60 years, the Porsche 911 has won legions of fans thanks to its blend of performance, engineering quality and clean styling. It has been developed into countless variants and enjoyed huge success in rallying and circuit racing.
Production began in 1964 using the basic template from the earlier 356 – a rear-mounted and air-cooled engine, but now with six cylinders rather than four. The 2+2 layout was also carried over, and the styling was largely the work of ‘Butzi’ Porsche – son of company founder ‘Ferry’ Porsche.
Development was rapid. In 1967 came the 160bhp 911S, the base-model 110bhp 911T, the limited-run competition-spec 911R, and the option of a Targa roof. ‘Quick Vic’ Elford won the European Rally Championship that year, Pauli Toivonen did likewise in 1968, and 911s took a hat-trick of victories on the Monte Carlo Rally between 1968 and 1970.
In an attempt to tame the on-the-limit handling, the wheelbase was extended in 1969 – the same year in which the 911E was introduced as a ‘mid-point’ in the range, sitting between the basic 911T and the more powerful 911S. The 911E and S both featured a fuel-injected version of the flat-six, which was initially 2 litres before being upgraded to 2.2 litres for 1970 and finally, for the 1972 model year, 2.4 litres.
When Car & Driver magazine tested a 2-litre 911E in 1969, it recorded a 0-60mph time of 7 seconds and a standing-start quarter-mile time of 15.3 seconds at 88mph. It also invited racing driver Mark Donohue to test it against the 911T and 911S, as well as the four-cylinder 912, and he summed up the experience by saying: ‘The design philosophy is terrific… Just the rear engine alone lends to building a better car… You have a low centre of gravity, good visibility, a minimum of mechanical loss through the drivetrain and, being air-cooled and light, the combination results in an impressive vehicle.’
From the 1974 model year onwards, the 911’s styling was changed to incorporate the impact bumpers demanded by regulations in North America. The earliest 911s have therefore become particularly coveted thanks to the purity of their design.