The indomitable legacy of the Porsche 935
Monday, October 09, 2017
Few racing cars conjure up the image and awake the emotion in me quite the same way as the Porsche 935. It debuted in 1975 and was the scourge of its competitors until the mid-1980's.
Even in the Camel and Winston GTs alone, various 935 types won 65 races and four championship titles.
The typical 935 was essentially a 930 turbo. According to regulations, the 935 had to use the road car's basic shape and floor plan. It retained its MacPherson-strut front and semi-trailing-arm rear suspension and the 930’s rear-mounted, air-cooled engine.
But this is where the similarity ends. Almost everything was modified or even eliminated.
Illustration: Dave Story
Everything from the front fenders and doors to the rear deck lid and spoilers were made of fiberglass. The production based steel cabin had its rear bulkhead moved forward 8 inches; the front arm suspension pick-up points were raised 1 1/2 inches and the A-arms were stretched almost 2 1/2 inches in length.
The 935 also supported huge, vented disc brakes and calipers derived from the 917. The wheels were a whopping 11 inches wide in the front and 15 in the rear.
All these modifications pale in comparison to the power plant. The engine was literally a fire breather. It was cooled with a top-mounted fan similar to the 917. It sported titanium connecting rods, dual ignition, and a mechanical fuel injection system.
A single large or a smaller twin-turbo system blew through air-to-water intercoolers located in the rear fenders. Depending on who was telling the story, the engines produced between 700 and 800 horsepower.
Hurley Haywood, a three-time Le Mans winner in various Porsches, described how one drove the 935, "You had to pitch 'em into the corner and slap the gas down."
The 935 was a muscular car in every sense of the word. It reminds me of the day when Arnold Schwarzenegger was in his bodybuilding prime; he dominated the sport. The 935 dominated its sport in the same way — with pure, over-the-top muscle.
Illustration: Dave Story
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