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The Cayman R is the spiritual successor to the 904 Carrera GTS of 1964, Porsche's first mid-engined coupe. Its engine positioned ahead of the rear axle, giving an optimal weight distribution and balance, the 904 was a new type of sports-racer for Porsche.
Designed by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche ("Butzi", son of Ferry), it featured a fibreglass-reinforced plastic body over a steel ladder-frame chassis and weighed just 530kg. 100 were built for homologation purposes - qualifying it to race in GT-class events - with a further 16 then assembled plus four more parts vehicles.
The engine initially fitted was the Type-574 four-cylinder, developed from the engine first used in the 1953 550 to a capacity of 1966cc and output 180hp; this unit had four overhead camshafts, twin carburettors, hemispherical combustion chambers and two spark plugs, two ignition coils and two distributors per cylinder. Six- and eight-cylinder engines were later used; an eight-cylinder 904 raced at Le Mans in 1964 and 1965, and this is the car (chassis number 904 008) now displayed at the Porsche Museum.
The first major race victory for the 904 was at the 1964 Targa Florio road race (pictured), in the hands of Antonio Pucci and Colin Davis. The 904 went on to win its classes at the Tour de France, the Nürburgring 1000km, Le Mans and in the Reims 24 Hours, and even scored a second place in the 1965 Monte Carlo rally, driven through deep snow by Eugen Böhringer and beaten only by the agile little Mini Cooper S of Timo Makinen. A picture in our gallery here shows this car, to the side of a then-new red 911, both departing from Porsche's HQ to take part in the event. The 911 achieved a class win and fifth place overall.
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