Barn-find Porsche 901 makes post-restoration debut

An early production run Porsche 901 spent decades rotting away in a barn. After three years of restoration, it's driving again, competing in the Hamburg-Berlin Classic rally

An early production run Porsche 911 found in a barn and purchased by the Porsche Museum has made its first public post-restoration appearance, competing in the Hamburg-Berlin Classic rally.

Der Trödeltrupp – a German TV show with a premise akin to treasure-hunting – discovered a rare original 911, later identified as 911 chassis no.57, built in October 1964 and bearing the ‘901’ designation.

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It was discovered in amongst a private car collection which resembled something more akin to a car graveyard, with a very second hand-looking BMW 745i, Audi 80 and several Mercedes-Benzes scattered around a site in which the 901 was hidden.

Purchased by the Porsche Museum, it sold for €107,000, a remarkable sum of money given the car’s extremely dilapidated condition at the time of discovery. Rust had taken over swathes of the rotting 901, destroying its engine, brakes and much of the bodywork. Even both front fenders were missing entirely.

Porsche Classic spent three years painstakingly restoring the 901 to original condition, using as many original specification components as possible. Nearly a year after its restoration was completed in 2017, the 901 finally hit the road, competing in the 375 mile Hamburg-Berlin Classic rally.

Adding a human touch to its return, the 901’s driving line-up was split between the man who previously owned the car before its acquisition by Porsche, Bernd Ibold, and the man who discovered it in Ibold’s barn, Der Trödeltrupp host Otto Schulte.

The Hamburg-Berlin Classic rally is popular with German manufacturers, with the barn-find 901 only one of three 911s entered by Porsche Classic this year. Rivals Mercedes-Benz entered a quartet of classic vehicles, including a 300 SL Roadster, an SLC Coupé, a “Stroke Eight” pick-up version of the 220 D and an E 500 Limited.

However, every manufacturer entry was usurped by an unusual winner, with a British car beating the Germans in their own backyard. A Rover P6 3500 driven by Rainer Staudt and Ursula Schmidt-Staudt took overall honours, with a 1970 Maserati Indy second and 1979 Toyota Celica GT third.

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