The production 911Rs were numbered 11899001R through 11899020R. The first of these, 11899001R, was driven from Stuttgart to Monza in October 1967, where it arrived just in time for the 96-hour race, collecting multiple world records. It replaced a broken 906 and averaged 130 mph over a distance of 20,000 kilometers (Excellence December 2001).
Of the four 911R prototypes that were constructed, the last was chassis 307670, today known as R4. Although all the 911R prototypes started out as 1967 911S models, R4 and R3 have no “S” where the number is stamped into the trunk frame above the fuel tank. Also noteworthy is R4’s color. In a Porsche document dated August 14, 1967, it is listed as being painted Zitronengelg (Lemon Yellow).
R4 appears to have a special place in Porsche history, although its race history was minimal. It’s rumored to be the 911R sent to Baur as a template for the production cars. Although unconfirmed, this makes sense, since R4 wasn’t delivered to the French Sonauto dealer until 1969. Apparently, the importer sold it to a concessionaire in the south of France that year, but the buyer couldn’t make the monthly payments. Records indicate the yellow 911R was to be auctioned on October 15, 1970. It was stolen the night before.
R4 was discovered in March of 1971 with broken connecting rods and missing seats. From there it remained in storage in France until reappearing in 1990. After being sold to a U.K. collector, it was refurbished and subsequently auctioned at a Christie’s Monterey, California sale in 2006. It was then restored in 2008-2009 at Bruce Canepa’s facility in nearby Scotts Valley, California. After that, it went into a private collection.
Terry English of Santa Barbara, California was blown away by R4’s glowing, bright yellow presence when he saw it at Canepa’s shop in August 2009. He had already built a 911R clone based on a long-wheelbase 1970 911T but wasn’t entirely happy with the result. This time, he vowed to start with a non-sunroof, short-wheelbase car and complete an R4 tribute — and do it for less than $25,000 total.
It took English two years to find the right donor car. “Shortly after Rennsport Reunion IV in the fall of 2011, I bumped into a fellow who had an old race car for sale in my home town of Santa Barbara,” recalls English. “When I went to look at the car, I found a neglected ’67 roller that was half 912 and half 911.”
“The owner was Ludwig Modl, an older Austrian gentleman who had raced Porsches in California during the 1970s and was now moving to Germany,” he continues. “According to Vasek Polak’s racing/parts director, Carl Thompson, this car was most likely one of the 912s that was converted to 911 race spec at Angelo Mezzaloni’s old shop in nearby Ventura. Modl says that he bought the 912 from Mezzaloni in the mid-’70s and subsequently rolled it at Riverside Raceway. A new roof was purchased from Dennis Aase and installed. Then it was crashed again, and a front nose from a ’69 911 was substituted.”