1985 Rally Porsche 911 Carrera - Jay Leno's Garage

If you've kept up with recent Classic car auctions, you already know that vintage 911's have been escalating in price at levels rarely seen with some versions now commanding over a half-million dollar price tag.

So who in their right mind would convert one into an off road rally car? Just some car guy. For those unfamiliar with the history of the 911, they were stellar performers in the rally category, dominating the Paris to Dakar Rally and many others for nearly a decade.


The various versions of the Porsche 911 proved to be a serious competitor in rallies. The Porsche works team was occasionally present in rallying from the 1960s to late 1970s. In 1967 the Polish driver Sobiesław Zasada drove a 912 to capture the European Rally Championship for Group 1 series touring cars.[4] Porsche took three double wins in a row in the Monte Carlo Rally; in 1968 with Vic Elford and Pauli Toivonen, and in 1969 and 1970 with Björn Waldegård and Gérard Larrousse. 
In 1970, Porsche also edged Alpine-Renault to win the International Championship for Manufacturers (IMC), the predecessor to the World Rally Championship (WRC). Porsche's first podium finish in the WRC was Leo Kinnunen's third place at the 1973 1000 Lakes Rally.
Although the Porsche factory team withdrew from the WRC with no wins to their name, the best private 911s were often close to other brands' works cars. Jack Tordoff was the first privateer to win an International Rally using a 911 2.7 Carrera RS Sport (Lightweight) on the Circuit of Ireland in 1973 (a round of the European Rally Championship).
This success was followed by Cathal Curley who won the 1973 Donegal International Rally in a 911 2.7 RS Touring. Cathal Curley followed this with the greatest run of International Rally wins ever recorded in a Porsche Carrera RS when in 1974 he won the Circuit of Ireland, Donegal and Manx International Rallies in AUI 1500, the last Rhd 911 2.7 Carrera RS Sport produced by Porsche. In 1975 Cathal Curley upgraded to the new 3.0 Carrera RS in 1975 and won the Cork 20 which became an International Rally in 1977. 
Cathal Curley won four International Rallies in a 2.7 Carrera RS, multiple wins in mechanically standard cars straight off the showroom floor. These wins were all the more impressive as Ireland was the hot bed of International Rallying for the Porsche 911 RS in the 1970s. Jack Tordoff's victory was steady and deserved as he stalked the leading works backed Escort that failed on the penultimate stage beating this car and two other entered 911s but by 1974 Cathal Curley's wins came against no less than fourteen other 911 RSs beating the great Roger Clark in a works backed Escort in the 1974 Manx International Rally too. Over half of the UK allocation of 17 2.7 RS Sport (Lightweights) were rallied at any one time in Ireland in the 1970s.

Jean-Pierre Nicolas managed to win the 1978 Monte Carlo Rally with a private 911 SC, and Porsche's second, and so far last, WRC win came at the 1980 Tour de Corse in the hands of Jean-Luc Thérier. In the European Rally Championship, the 911 was driven to five titles, and as late as 1984, Henri Toivonen took his Prodrive-built and Rothmans-sponsored 911 SC RS to second place behind Carlo Capone and the Lancia Rally 037. In 1984 and 1986, the Porsche factory team won the Paris Dakar Rally, also using the 911 derived Porsche 959 Group B supercar.