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The UK-delivered Porsche 904s
February 1st, 2021
There is a list at the back of Jenkinson’s From Chain-Drive to Turbo-Charger of the half dozen or so 904s that came to the UK in period. There have been others since, of course, but these are the cars that were here when new, or newish. The first car on the list is chassis 904-025 – the light metallic green car ordered by Stirling Moss’s SMART outfit. The unusual colour – vomit green to its critics – was chosen because it looked good in black and white! The car was driven by John Whitmore in the Lavant Cup at Goodwood in March 1964 and damaged in testing at Silverstone soon after. It went back to the factory and reappeared with a replacement body and chassis numbered 904-088. The repaired car seems variously to have been known by both numbers. More recently, cars with both identities have been seen in historic racing, with 904-025 apparently rebuilt from the remains of the original car.

904-025 at Goodwood
 
Moving on, the second car on the list is chassis 904-045 – Dickie Stoop’s Irish green car. It was photographed on German export plates outside AFN in March 1964, but soon took the more familiar registration YOU 4. Its first race appearance was at Silverstone in May, in a race that also saw Innes Ireland in the SMART car. In July, Stoop raced at Brands Hatch and Snetterton, finishing fifth and taking a class win in the at the latter. Then it was off to the Nurburgring. He did a couple of continental hill-climbs in the car too. After Stoop’s ownership, 904-045 went to the US, and from there to Australia. It returned to the UK five years ago and has since made regular appearances at Goodwood.

904-045 at Brands Hatch
 
Next is chassis 904-071 – a silver car destined for Mike de’Udy, aptly described as one of the most misspelled men in motor racing. It was also damaged in testing – this time at Goodwood – and reappeared with a replacement body and chassis numbered 904-085. In that form it took a class win in the Reims 12-hour race in 1965. The car was most recently seen in the US. The fourth car is Gordon Durham’s cancelled order for chassis 904-084. Durham was a keen enthusiast and, like Stoop, owned and raced a couple of RHD 356 Carreras and an early RHD 911S. However, unlike Stoop, he does not appear to have owned a 904.
 
Next is chassis 904-092, which Jenkinson suggests was owned by Ronnie Hoare of Maranello Concessionaires fame. The car initially went to Godin de Beaufort in the Netherlands before coming to F English – Hoare’s large and successful Ford dealership in Bournemouth – in 1965. There are pictures of the car subsequently being raced and hill-climbed in the UK and elsewhere by Patrick Godfrey and Alain de Cadenet among others with the registration AFX 1B. The car later went to the US and to Japan where it featured in the Matsuda collection and was the subject of a very nice – and nowadays rather expensive – book. It was most recently seen in the US. The sixth and final car on Jenkinson’s list is 904-097, owned and keenly raced by John Morris and Martin Hone – often under the MEFCO racing banner. It was a silver car with a green stripe and registered 904 MOP. Morris and Hone continued to race the car into 1967 before moving on to a newer 906 as de’Udy and others had already done. The car may have gone to Bill Bradley before going to the US and, later, coming back to Europe.

904-092 at Castle Combe


904-085 and 904-097 at Silverstone
 
In late-August 1964, three of the cars on the list ran in a 2-litre GT race at the Tourist Trophy meeting at Goodwood. Stoop initially led in 904-045 before finishing second to Mike Spence in a Lotus Elan with de’Udy third in 904-085 and Morris down the order in 904-097. More recently, a rather larger number of 904s competed in the Ronnie Hoare Trophy at the Members’ Meeting at the same circuit, including 904-045 and the winning car 904-083. The race is due to run again this year and it would be great to see more cars on Jenkinson's list take part. It would also be fun to see them matched with their period tow cars – in many cases these were regular road cars. The Moss car was towed by a similarly-coloured Ford Cortina estate with faux-wood side panels. Stoop pulled 904-045 behind a BMW saloon registered OU 4. Don Moore towed the de’Udy car behind a Zodiac while Morris and Hone towed theirs behind a Zephyr. Meanwhile, the F English Racing Department had a sign-written Transit van. What a fantastic and authentic paddock display it would make and Hoare would surely approve of the strong Ford representation! Something for the Competitions Department to consider? If the idea can’t be accommodated at the Members’ Meeting then maybe at a subsequent concours event. Race cars and their period tow cars. As ever, you read it first here.

A previous version of this piece appeared in Classic Porsche magazine. Robert Barrie E&OE