If you were Walter Röhrl and got a Porsche 924 Carrera GTS as a gift for your 74th birthday, what would your reaction be? It depends on the execution. Was it kept a secret before the fateful day? “Walter Röhrl knows so many people here (at Porsche) that it was difficult to keep the project quiet,” said Kuno Werner, head of Porsche’s museum workshop.
The car in question is a 924 Carrera GTS Rally. Based on the most expensive Porsche vehicle back in 1981, the 924 Carrera model is living proof of Porsche’s successful motorsports campaign using the brand’s transaxle concept: Four-cylinder engine in the front and a transaxle (transmission and rear axle) in the rear.
This year, Walter Röhrl and co-driver Christian Geistdörfer are commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Porsche 924 Carrera GTS Rally’s successful campaign at the 1981 ADAC Metz Rally. Finishing second-place overall, Röhrl and Geistdörfer were also victorious in the Hessen Rally, Serengeti Safari Rally, Anterior Palatinate Rally, and Baltic Rally, all in the same gold and black ‘Monnet’ Porsche 824 Carrera GTS.
After a stellar campaign at the Boucles de Spa Rally in 1982 with Jacky Ickx behind the wheel, the Porsche 924 GTS spent the rest of its days in restoration the Porsche museum, waiting for the right moment. It’s now wearing its original black and gold paintwork of the cognac producer Monnet. Still, the restoration focused more on preserving the car’s original patina, right down to the very last detail.
For instance, the sun-faded red seat belt harnesses under the glass dome are the original components from Röhrl and Geistdörfer’s Porsche rallying days. However, Porsche took the liberty to rebuild or overhaul all the original serviceable parts (like the engine, gearbox, and brakes), but the Pirelli tires and racing clutch are period-correct.
Porsche went as far as commissioning the man who built the actual car in 1981 to facilitate the restoration. Roland Kussmaul is an engineer, rest driver, and rally driver who made the 924 Carrera GTS Rally in two months for the 1981 German Rally Championship.
Walter Röhrl’s Porsche 924 Carrera GTS Rally is the fifth of nine prototypes built, and the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has no serial number. Despite this, the engine completed a rally season without succumbing to damage, and it still wears its 10,371 original kilometers proudly on the odometer.
At the beginning of March this year, Walter Röhrl got the roadworthy ‘Monnet’ 924 Carrera GTS Rally for his 74th birthday. And what does a former rally driver do when given a racing car that he once drove to stardom forty years ago? He takes it for a spin and gives it the beans.