Walter Röhrl Relives His Youth In The Remarkable Porsche 953

Walter Röhrl
Walter Röhrl - 911 Carrera 3.2 4x4 Paris-Dakar [953]

Porsche Eighties legend and king of ice-driving, Walter Röhrl steps 40 years back in time and relives his youth through a remarkable 953 in sub-zero temperatures with a cheeky grin on his stern face and feet that dance quicker than Fred Astaire in his prime…

Produced in 1984 and designed to confront the infamous and arduous Paris-Dakar Rally head-on, Porsche Museum’s 953 is surrounded by terrain that’s more suited to huskies than motor vehicles with perfect snow-capped peaks and pristine ice as far as the eye can see – this was a car built specifically to endure extremes of heat and desert terrain the likes of which no Porsche had previously experienced.

The feisty 953 embraced a 911 G body and close to bog-standard 3.2-litre flat-six with a reduced compression ratio to better manage poor quality fuel but upgrades underneath were anything but standard with upgrades including a new all-wheel-drive system with 31:69 power distribution between the front and rear axles and a manually locking centre differential.

Porsche Eighties legend and king of ice-driving, Walter Röhrl steps 40 years back in time and relives his youth in the remarkable 953. Read more:

Posted by Classic Car Curation on Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Walter Röhrl:
“It stimulates you – It spurs you on.”

Porsche was deadly serious about facing a 14,000-kilometre marathon across some of the toughest and most inhospitable terrain on Earth… so much so the German automaker fitted double-wishbone suspension with twin shock absorbers at the front and a reinforced axle with additional coil springs at the rear in a bid to make the car indestructible. Other changes included heavily reinforced welded steel roll cage, while doors, roof, front fenders were made of polycarbonate plastics to save weight.

Walter Röhrl

Distances were so vast in the Paris-Dakar, Porsche’s tactical engineers also fitted a 120-litre fuel tank in the front luggage compartment with an additional 150-litre tank mounted directly behind the driver’s seat.

French veterans of the rally, René Metge and his co-driver Dominique Lemoyne took the radical new 911 to victory on its maiden outing, their success marking the first win for a sports car in the history of the Paris-Dakar. Teammates Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur fell back to 139th place following a cable fire, but even they managed to battle their way back up to a respectable sixth place at the flag, so quick and capable was the 953.

Walter Röhrl

Röhrl said:
“Of course, you approach the car with a certain respect. You know what it has achieved, what a success it has been. For a car fan, it’s the greatest thing when you drive a car like that.”

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