Porsche built just 235 examples of the 911 in 1964, the first 82 of which were designated as Porsche 901s. This is the story of #57, one of the very last 901s that rolled off the production line in October 1964, and its rediscovery in a barn some 50 years later. The lengths to which Porsche went to restore this once missing piece of its heritage is remarkable.
The desire to restore cars that have been lost to the elements and the value that the company places on its past is seen by the Porsche faithful as a part of the brand’s legacy. Nowhere is this legacy more evident than at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany. This magnificent facility offers a true structural reflection of the brand’s vivid nature, insight into the philosophy that echoes a challenge to the automotive norm, and exhibits the DNA that speaks of an enduring and winning legacy. As one can expect, investment into the brand’s collection of classic and historic machines is significant.
Enter #57. Most enthusiasts will likely agree that all 911s are special in some way. There are particular examples, however, that merit extra attention. There is something about a first. The first day of school, a first date, a first love, a first kiss…a first born. Imagine the ecstatic emotion that resonated through the corridors of Zuffenhausen when it was announced that Porsche was to be reacquainted with one of its first 911 sports cars.
The 911 name was born from a trademark dispute. Up until that time, the sleek new rear-engine coupe carried the 901 badge. But French automaker Peugeot objected to the ‘0’ in the 901 designation, citing their legal copy and trademark right to car model designations with a zero in the middle. Obliging, the 901 became the 911. Five decades later, the Porsche factory collection still lacked a 901 in their already impressive lineup of legacy-telling vehicles. That was until a phone call in August 2014 changed everything.
Alexander Klein, the manager of the Classic Car Collection at the Porsche Museum, was alerted of the find by German television station RTL2. The station had been filming a docusoap centered on a barn find of exotic vehicles on a farm in Brandenburg, Germany. The film crew notified Klein after unearthing two early 911s in the back of the barn.
Like any other day at the museum, Klein is inundated with calls from far and wide seeking his attention on vehicles that might be of interest to the collection. This, however, was not the usual short-ended conversation. His heart immediately jumped a beat when the caller mentioned that one of the chassis numbers of the unearthed cars read ‘300 057.’ It was indeed one of the earliest flat-six-powered Porsches ever produced. There was no time to waste. Realizing the void such a car could fill, representatives from the museum set off to investigate and validate the machine that had been described to Klein.