In the 1970s, the major governing body for road racing and road racing series was the Federation Internaltional de l’Automobile and this group was facing a major decision point, whether to allow the Porsche 935 continue as it was, winning race after racing or coming in second or third as it did in the 24 Hours of LeMans.
Or, it could change the rules so that the other vehicles in this FIA-sponsored series could complete by enforcing changes that the Porsche had to live with. FIA chose the latter and, in fact, mandated two series of races, each series was to be seven road races and they were open to any vehicles that met their requirements.
For the 935, there were certain engine restrictions enforced such as smaller restrictor plates on the fuel injection system and the pop-off valve on the turbocharging system was made to release at a lower pressure level so that the 800 horsepower the Carrera was able to build in straights was held down.
The key to the 935/Carrera, though, was its hadling ability. It had down-force galore thanks to the extra low ground-effects which meant there was a huge amount of force to hold the Carrera on any line the driver chose. It was sensational at the time, but, there was one tiny — really tiny — little problem (okay so we’re being a bit sarcastic) — and that was with so little ground clearance, it was pretty easy to hang the Carrera up on the lane change in a chicane or coming down off the high side of a speedway as you drove across toward the apex of a corner and once you hit the apex, it was very easy to break a rocker panel or rear end. Even the exhaust system and manifold base could easily be cracked by the downforce generated as there was less than a couple of inches below the vehicle to begin with.
The Carrera/935 was one of the most popular race cars of the road wars of the 1970s and there were a bunch of them made, but, as with all good things the numbers were limited so that in a great year, there were only about 1,200 that were hand-crafted and which rolled off the assembly line. Indeed, they were mostly put together. So, what types of cars are being used to create “new” Carrera replicars.
Mid-engined Porsche Boxsters are proving incredibly popular with replicar manufactures. Using one of them, though, is not an inexpensive proposition, though.
First, you have to have a clean Boxster to begin with as this is the key. There are some major body issues that have to be dealt with, although the suspension and drivetrain aren’t among them. The key to using the Boxster, aside from the $30,000 or so that you will have to invest in a decent vehicle, is the fact that that while you can still order the body panels from the factory, you will find the Boxster is just a tad short if you try to install them without making any changes.
Indeed, if you want an interesting analogy, think about when you were a kid and you tried to put on the pajamas of an older sibling. The chances were very very good that you couldn’t have them fit very well and if they did, you probably ended up rolling up the legs and arms quite a distance before they fit somewhat.
With a Boxster, the situation is much the same. Indeed, we would recommend having a master metalsmith do the major work that has to be done because you have to add a foot to the middle of the Boxster to the factory panels will fit. Further, if you notice the dual rear backlights, you should notice that there is quite a bit of metal working involved in making them look just right.
It can be done, but it will cost you a cool $35,000 to $50,000 to get them looking right as well as to ensure that the body panel are hung correctly. This means you’re look at an investment of at least $60,000 to $80,000 before you can put it on the road. That doesn’t cost the $5,000 to $10,000 that a near-factory paint job or equivalent will cost you.
So, while the Boxter is probably the vehicle of choice as the base vehicle — some people say the Toyota MR-2 is the choice, while others still swear by the Fiero – it still the Boxster that has the vote of most people. Of course, if you have the $500,000 to $750,000 to pickup a pile of Carrera bits and pieces and then if you have the $200,000 of so you will need to put it back into street shape, that is actually the way to go. However, since most people don’t have $1 million sitting around waiting for a car to fix up and $135,000 is a lot less expensive, the Boxster is still the replicar of choice.