About the 1964 Porsche 911

“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.