Of all the race cars that Porsche has made, the 962 was among the most successful. In addition to all the other races and championships it won, it took overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice in a row – both at the hands of Derek Bell (with teammates Hans-Joachim Stuck and Al Holbert). But of all the 962s that Bell drove over the years, this was his favorite.
It’s the very one in which Bell (this time with John Andretti and Bob Wollek) won the 24 Hours of Daytona, marking his last major endurance-racing victory. And if you’re as victorious in bidding as Bell was in racing, it could be yours.
Chassis number 108 is widely recognized as the fastest of the 962s in period, which is no idle praise considering the model’s vast trophy cabinet. In addition to two Le Mans wins and five at Daytona, the 962 claimed the World Sportscar Championship twice, the IMSA GT Championship four years running, the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship five years in a row.
By 1989, Porsche’s 962 was over four and a half years old – a long time for racing cars that are often replaced (or at least extensively upgraded) after just a season or two. But with Bell, Andretti, and Wollek behind the wheel, the old prototype racer still had a trick or two up its sleeve… but not much more than that. When it crossed the finish line, it was less than a minute and a half ahead of the second-place Jaguar XJR9 – barely a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of a round-the-clock race. But a minute or a second, the Porsche won – and it was the 962’s 50th race win.
962-108C-2 (as it was rechristened after modifications) went on to win the Palm Beach Grand Prix and the Porsche Cup USA before being retired at the end of the season. In the years since, it has passed through some prominent collections, and was reunited with Bell at Goodwood in 2005 and Amelia Island in 2007. It still wears its original Miller/BF Goodrich livery – which may not be as iconic as the Martini or Rothmans schemes some other examples bore. But its history speaks for itself, and will surely fetch a handsome price when it crosses the auction block at Mecum’s Monterey auction next month.