A Porsche 934 with Provenance
One of the absolute most important aspects of a vintage racecar, both to be invited to the top events and resale value is provenance, which is its race history, including participation in the legendary events and the legends who drove the cars. For this particular Porsche 934, a seemingly simple, yellow, 911 Turbo, graced with the number 80, the provenance grabbed the attention of many Latin race fans in attendance at both the 2015 Monterey Rolex Reunion and Rennsport Reunion V at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It has a long and distinguished history worth noting, but like its owner, a low key computer engineer, Bill Kincaid, the car gets recognition from a small cult of fans. The car began its life as essentially a 1975 911 Turbo—but this unique 934 was one of 31 such competition customer cars built by Porsche in 1976 for the FIA Group 4 racers. From the factory, the buyer of this particular car, Nicolas Koob, got a 2,470lb, 485 bhp 930/71 3.0-liter flat six, with beefy coil over suspension, big brakes, an aluminum roll cage and a bare interior. Koob, a successful rally driver, who also raced a 911 with Erwin Kremer at LeMans in 1970, never got a handle on the car. In six races, the turbo lag produced by the larger than stock turbocharger and dual intercoolers, was a handful to contend. So many of the early street 911 Turbos were a handful as well—and these 934s in race trim, with big tires and fender flares, required patience and heightened awareness. Despite a win and a podium in the car, Koob decided to sell the car to Hans Christian Jürgensen. Hans Christian Jürgensen, would take a serious liking to this car as it clearly fit his driving style. He participated in 34 races in the German ADAC series between 1977 and 1979, winning 13 times in the 934—with 6 additional podiums. Needless to say the car had great pedigree—but here is what the story gets interesting—and it involves two legendary Latin American motorsports personalities: Mandy Gonzales and Diego Feble. At the end of the 1979 season, Jorgensen sold the 934 to Armando “Mandy” Gonzales of Puerto Rico. Gonzales was a independent racer with his eye on IMSA and LeMans. The 934 would be the key to Gonzales’ entry into the famed endurance classic, despite the upgraded twin-turbo monster Porsche 935s that began customer production in 1977. Unknown to many American race fans, Puerto Rico has a storied and passionate racing history. Despite the island being only 100 miles long by 30 miles wide, it had three different race tracks! During the winter, notable race drivers from all over the world would come to Puerto Rico to race. One of the most notable being Brumos Porsche owner and IMSA hero, Peter Gregg. “Peter Perfect,” as he was known, was a six time IMSA-GTO Champion and Daytona 24 Hour winner four times with equally notable co-driver Hurley Haywood. Diego Febles was an experienced and well-known entrepreneur and racer in Puerto Rico. He was exiled from his Cuban home in 1962 and emigrated to Puerto Rico. While there, he built a chain of speed shops that sold go-fast parts to guys like a young Bill Kincaid, tuning his Fiat 1100. Febles raced everything from VW Beetles on drag-strips to his beloved Alpina BMWs. He was also very close friends with Peter Gregg. As part of their friendship, for several years, Febles had a standing order to buy Gregg’s Brumos Porsche RSR racing car at the end of each season. He would leave the Brumos livery—changing only the number to 58—from the iconic 59 and painting “Diego Febles Racing” on the doors. One such car was the Daytona 24 Hour winner from 1975. It shouldn’t be a surprise, that when Gonzales was ready to take his 934 on the road to compete in the US and at LeMans, Febles, who had already run at the 24, partnered in the Puerto Rican effort. The first two races in the US were the Sebring 12 Hour and Road Atlanta. Taking development time and learning the car, Gonzales and Febles headed for the famed LaSarthe circuit with third driver, Venezuelan, Francisco Romero under the moniker of “Diego Febles Racing.” Certainly not as financed as the factory teams, the Febles 934 had three crew, including Diego’s own son, Tony and their wives in tow. The Porsche 934 was no match for the powerful 935s in the IMSA class despite clocking 200mph on the Mulsanne Straight sans chicanes. So the Puerto Rican team moved to join the GT class, which required some modifications to the bodywork and brake venting, and changing the tail. If anyone has had to face scrutinizing at LeMans, it is imagined that this was no small feat with mountains of paperwork and “perfect changes”. It got done and the Febles/Gonzales/Romero team lined up to race the 24 in GT. LeMans has a history of weather. It can be blazing hot or cold and rainy; 1980 was very rainy. The already tricky Porsche 934 was a handful in the wet but Gonzales and Febles managed to lead the GT class into the 16th hour, 164 laps into the famed enduro. A crash with Romero at the wheel ended what was a brilliant outing for the team. Current owner, Kincaid, fell in love with the car, remembering his youth in Puerto Rico as the son of an ex-pat American tractor company executive. “It was this photo that began to hook me on the car, which at the time belonged to my friend Mauro Borella and was still under restoration at Kremer Brothers in Cologne. What a wonderful old beast, I remember thinking, and Puerto Rico! Amazing, what a coincidence! The more I learned about it the more hooked I became... guess it was fate!” While the car was being raced by Gonzales in the States during the remainder of 1980 and 1981, with some South American races in 1982, development continued on the car—and like many of the 934s of the day, bodywork, intercoolers and upgraded turbos led many of these cars to be closer to the 935s. Affectionately these upgraded 934s are known as “934.5s.” In the mid 1980’s the car had a motor change from the 930/71 to a single turbo 935/79 with dual ignition, mechanical fuel injection and an even larger intercooler. Finally in 1985 Gonzales sold the car to Kikos Fonseca, a Costa Rican race driver who raced the car in IMSA. Some great drives produced several top tens and a third in class at the 1986 24 Hours of Daytona. After 1986 Kikos focused on Latin American events, competing through 1988 in Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The car was later restored to the LeMans Livery and 1982 condition—a true 934.5! The restoration was done by the famed German Porsche shop, Kremer Brothers. It was only recently that the car ended up in the hands of Kincaid, a long-time open wheel club racer. His major experience in racing ranges from Formula Fords to F2000s. However he has always loved Porsches and BMW CS “Batmobiles.” This Porsche 934 is a new experience for him, but he loves it all the same, “It feels a lot like old street 911s I have owned, but with a Saturn boost rocket at the back.” "The 934 is a HECK of a lot of fun to drive! When the boost comes on, it’s just a huge kick, in more ways than one. And I love the fact that it is so different from the “pure” formula race cars I have spent years in. OK, you can’t left foot brake (synchromesh gearbox, have to use the clutch downshifting!). OK, you can’t carry as much speed into a corner. OK, you have to be very precise in when you start picking up the throttle mid-corner. But hey, you can still throttle steer it! And who doesn’t like a little opposite lock (or a lot!) when you’re pushing the edge of the friction circle and those 6 or 7 hundred horsepower are saying GO! There’s just something raw and compelling and roughneck-friendly about the whole experience. I love it! And I love being in the midst of a whole pack of 934s and 935s and feeling like I’ve been indescribably lucky. I have the keys to a time machine…"