“Huschke” was upset. Porsche’s legendary racing team manager, Huschke von Hanstein, was at the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona to look after one of the automaker’s new Carrera 6 race cars, but in the next pit was a race-prepared 911.
It shouldn’t be there. Porsche was not yet ready to put their newest model, a car on which their future depended, on the race track. But Jack Ryan was. A VW dealer from Atlanta, Ryan had bought the 1964 911, chassis number 300-128, from Brumos Porsche of Jacksonville, Florida. One of the first two 911s sent to the U.S., it arrived in December, 1964 to be used as a demonstrator. Ryan purchased 300-128 in 1965, promptly set it up for racing and entered it in the February, 1966 24-hour race. He was teamed with Lin Coleman and Bill Bencker. At the suggestion the 911 shouldn’t be raced, Ryan apparently replied, “It’s my car now and I’m entering it.” A funny thing happened on the way to victory lane. Starting 39th in a field of 59 race cars, Ryan’s 911 worked its way up the field to lead the 2.0-liter class. Now Huschke took interest, even offering assistance of the factory team.
Ryan/Coleman/Bencker went on to finish 16th overall, completing 548 laps, and winning the 2.0-liter Grand Touring class. The only other production based car to come in ahead of them was a Roger Penske-entered L-88 Corvette with a 7.0-liter V-8 and 540 horsepower.
It wasn’t part of the Porsche factory plan, but 300-128 became the first 911 to win a road race anywhere in the world. The following month, Ryan and Coleman raced the car to a 2nd in class in the 12 Hours of Sebring. This was only the beginning as the 911 went on to be a winner in SCCA and club racing for many seasons.
Now an automotive landmark, 911 300-128, is one of just 200 or so initial production 911s. It is a showpiece for Porsche’s evergreen 911 concept today in its fifth evolution more than fifty years later. Unusually for a competition car, it still has the same engine and transmission that powered it to a class victory at Daytona in 1966.
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