In 1979 Porsche submitted a styling exercise to the Frankfurt Motor Show to introduce ideas that shaped the look of the forthcoming 944. The following year, the company entered the 924 at Le Mans, and needed to homologate a race car to meet Group 4 racing regulations. The homologation version was called the 924 Carrera GT, a developed 924 Turbo incorporating wider front and rear wings similar to those seen on the well-received styling exercise.
Porsche made 406 of the 924 Carrera GTs in 1981, including six prototypes. A step up from the GT was the GTS, of which 59 were made in the Stuttgart factory. These are more powerful than the standard Carrera GT, thanks largely to increased boost. The GTS are distinguished by perspex headlamp covers replacing the pop-up headlights on the GT, and an intercooler in front of the engine rather than on top of it. 15 of the 59 were Club Sport cars, featuring a roll cage, more power and less weight than the regular GTS.
The ultimate 924 though was the GTR. Porsche built 17 examples, of which nine either raced in or qualified at Le Mans. Other examples of the 19 GTRs raced in Europe, the US and Japan.
The GTR benefitted from much development to date. The intercooler was relocated to the front, as with the GTS, but was much larger, filling much of the nose of the car. The cars were delivered from Portsche with fully integrated roll cages, fully adjustable suspension, and four-piston 935 brake calipers squeezing larger 31cm discs. The engine was a highly modified version of the 2.0l motor used in all 924s, featuring dry sump lubrication, which helped it produce 375bhp and 299 lb/ft of torque. The figures were very impressive. Weighing 930 kilos, the GTR was good for 180mph (290kmh), 0-60mph was 4.7 seconds. The car’s price in 1981 was $75,000.
In 1980 Porsche entered three 924 GTRs at the 24hrs of Le Mans, finishing 6th, 12th and 13th overall. Another notable GTR achievement was a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1982.
This amazing one owner, 109 kilometres from new survivor, has an even more incredible story to tell. One of only two cars delivered to Japan from new (the other example having been used for racing), the GTR was brought into the country in 1981 Porsche importer Garage Italya. After being stored for 2 years, in 1983 it was purchased by a Japanese businessman and classic car enthusiast.
The car was never used on the road, but was used a handful of times on the track at Suzuka and the Fuji Speedway. Each time the car was used, the owner made a record of the distance travelled at each track day. He covered just 109 kilometres in the first 7 years ownership, after which the the 924 was carefully stored.
The gentleman built a pitched roof, two-storey garage for his car collection, keeping the Porsche safely in the first floor attic space, accessible via a lift. The GTR was removed from storage each year, taken via trailer to be serviced, brought back, then placed back position in the garage. From 1981 to 2006 the car was serviced by Porsche Specialist Tomei Car service, then latterly by Porsche specialist Garage Tool Box. In the intervening period the engine was started and run regularly.
Offered with a Japanese title document and records of usage and maintenance, this is surely the best available example of Porsche’s ultimate incarnation of the 924.