904 Driver

A cage-free 904 that’s been on the road since 1972.

July 2, 2010

Also from Issue 185

  • Chris Harris on the 620-hp 911 GT2 RS
  • Chris Harris races for Porsche at the 'Ring
  • A two-owner, D-I-Y four-cam 356
  • Driving the most expensive 997 of them all
  • Is Porsche's second Cayenne good enough?
  • American driver Patrick Long steals the show
  • 996s and 997s, the greatest daily 911s?
  • A new driver sensation
  • Turbo club racing 911s with a modern twist
  • 2010 Cayman S stance adjustment
  • Our 914 gets seals, an interior, and audio
  • M96 rear main seals
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Wow, a 904! Is that one of those new kits?” asked the soccer dad leaning out of his “soccer van.” Alex Pollock stepped towards him and replied, “No, that’s the real thing.” “Really? I never thought I would see one of those in Detroit,” said the soccer dad, before dropping his van into gear and slowly pulling away, still glancing back at the diminutive silver racer.

For my part, I’m not sure what’s more out of the ordinary: a 904 in the heart of Detroit or a casual observer in Detroit recognizing it! Detroit is, after all, the home of the Big Three, muscle cars, and rust. While some designers at the domestic automakers indulged themselves with European exotica, “little foreign jobs” weren’t really looked upon kindly here. That was especially true in 1972, when Alex purchased his 904.

Alex’s love affair with Porsche’s first fiberglass flier had started several years earlier and hundreds of miles south of the Motor City — when he was a student at the Uni­versity of Florida with a passion for sports-car racing. He went to Day­tona and Sebring every chance he got. He watched George Follmer win the GT class at the 12 Hours of Sebring in a 904, and promptly fell in love with the car. Away from the track, he purchased a plastic model kit of a 904 and decided that, one day, he would own the real thing.

Once he had graduated from college and was making a good living as an engineer, Alex bought a used 1967 911. He couldn’t shake his hankering for a 904, but as things turned out, the path from plastic model to plastic Porsche was a relatively short one — albeit one punctuated by a move to Detroit and a wedding.

In time, Alex placed a want ad in Hem­mings Motor News to see what might surface. Not long after, his phone rang. Uwe Buehl was on the other end, saying that on his lot in Pennsylvania was a 904, white with blue trim and equipped with a four-cam engine that would fit both expectation and budget. It was 904-028, and by 1972 it wasn’t much more than an old, used-up race car. In fact, Alex says he was young and impetuous, and that he should have looked the car over more carefully, calling its condition at the time “tortured.”

The 904 had earned its scars. Its first several years were spent on the racing circuits of Europe. First delivered to Ger­hard Koch in Germany, 028 competed in and typically won the GT class in regional Flug­platz­rennen (airfield races) in 1964. More noteworthy were a second-place finish in the 500 kilometers of Spa in May and a series of class wins at the Nür­burgring, the GP de Paris, and the GP Angola.

With a works ride for 1965, Koch sold 904-028 to Rainer Ising of Munich. Ising and Bernd Deg­ner piloted the car to a significant victory that year: the GT class win in the 84-hour Marathon de la Route at the Nür­burgring.

In 1966, the Porsche was brought into the U.S. by Uwe Buehl for yet another new owner, Roger Neuman in Pennsylvania. He kept 904-028 for only one year before selling it to fellow Penn­sylvanian Dieter Oest, who campaigned it throughout the 1967 season before replacing it with another 904.

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