Foto Finish

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Göring then sold 9060 to Willi Bartels in March 1978, who returned it to Group 4 specs and went hillclimbing with sponsorship from War­steiner. He managed four wins, three seconds, and a fourth. In 1979, he gave 9060 its best year, taking nine wins (including one at an ADAC race at the Nür­burg­ring). In 1980, 9060 was sold to new owners in Hong Kong. There, it ran in Vice­roy livery alongside 911 460 9073. The pair of ex-Auto­haus Max Moritz RSRs finished well at the Grand Prix of Macau, in second (9073) and third (9060).

Californian John Byrne discovered the pair of Porsches in 1985, recognizing them as RSRs not by what they looked like but by their serial numbers. After hiring a mem­ber of a Hong Kong car club to act as his agent, Byrne negotiated a deal: He’d get 9073 while 9060 would go to friends and fellow Bay Area residents Larry and Jan Grove. When the cars arrived stateside in a 40-foot container, they looked more like 935s than RSRs. The trio of Porsche nuts quickly began their re­search for the extensive restorations that lay ahead.

In the meantime, the Groves used 9060 at track events. Larry remembers it as a big step up from their 914-6. “There weren’t any straights at Sears Point anymore,” he says. “We thought we’d been going fast in the 914, only to learn we really hadn’t been.” The couple continued to track 9060 as they researched its history. Though the car was white, light green specks here and there had Byrne convinced 9060 was the Foto­Quelle RSR on the August 1974 cover of Christophorus, Porsche’s own magazine.

“John was more sure than I was,” Larry says. However, the Groves’ extensive re­search would prove Byrne right. Their commitment to the project prompted them to learn Ger­man and visit Europe several times. In a thick, beautifully organized binder, letters to and from Por­sche’s Jürgen Barth, historian John Starkey, Rein­hard Stenzel, Eber­hard Strähle (the man who shot the Christo­phorus cover), and others confirm 9060 as the FotoQuelle RSR.

When the Groves finally took 9060 apart in 1989, they found almost no structural damage. It had, however, lived on like most race cars, as an evolution of performance. Larry says the biggest challenge was figuring out what belonged on 9060 and what didn’t. While information from Ger­many was helpful, videos Byrne and the Groves made of other RSR 3.0s were the key. Kerry Morse supplied many new-old-stock RSR parts along with quite a few he made. Jim Brea­zeale at Euro­pean Auto Salvage Yard in nearby Emery­ville was a big help, too, as he recognized the importance of the cars and loosed parts from his personal stash.

The restoration of 9060 was completed by 1991, and the Groves campaigned it for 15 years. They may never have sold it, but a health issue brought them to a decision. “After 21 years with the car, it was time,” says Larry. What they would not do, what they could not do, was simply sell 9060 to the highest bidder — it had to go to someone who would use, enjoy, and share it.

Jim Edwards was the buyer they chose in June 2006, and he’s kept his promise. More often than not, 9060 can be found in the paddock alongside 9073, as Byrne and Ed­wards are friends. It’s clear that Ed­wards enjoys driving his cars, but he also respects their histories and wants to share them. “I remember being on the other side of the fence, and now here I am,” Edwards says flatly. “And be­sides, if you can’t have fun with these cars, there’s no reason to keep them.”

After trying the driver’s seat of 9060 on, I head over to check in with the Gen­eral Rac­­ing folks. When my racing license (provisional) and medical (suspiciously devoid of heart failure) fail to pass muster, I’m sent straight to the top: Steve Earle. After all that I’ve heard about him — from “he hates Porsches” to “any contact and you’re out” (verified) — I’m expecting a stern face. Instead, I find a kind one.

Earle cracks an easy smile as he looks over my paperwork. “I don’t know why you had trouble,” he says. “It even says that a racing license isn’t re­quired on our website. All those do is tell me you have minimum aptitude. I am not looking for minimum aptitude — I am looking for good judgement. You do have that, don’t you?”

Also from Issue 186

  • First Drive in 2010 GT2 RS
  • Rare one-off 1953 Phoenix-Porsche
  • Two Great Porsches of the 1980s Face Off
  • How the 911 won Le Mans in 2010
  • Real 1973 RS 2.7, Hot-rodded
  • Sebring Winner Kees Nierop
  • 911 Turbo Buyers Guide
  • Early 911: Affordable Fun
  • 2011 Panamera V6 Driven
  • The Cashmere Cliff Part 3 (911 SC)
  • Porsche's Latest Parts Emporium
  • Porsche Batteries and Electrical Systems
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