The Ex – Marty Hinze, Whittington Brothers, Preston Henn, 3rd Overall in the Sebring 12 Hours 1979 Porsche 935 A.I.R. M16 / K3

The Ex-Marty Hinze, Whittington Brothers, Preston Henn, T-Bird Swap Shop, 3rd Overall in the Sebring 12 Hours, IMSA

1979 Porsche 935 A.I.R. M16/K3

Porsche has to be one of the most evocative and prominent  brands of all time. Steeped in motorsport heritage, in its 89  years of existence, Porsche has achieved staggering heights in nearly all forms of motorsport. The crisp stylish lines of their cars evoke passion and excitement while also managing to remain functional and approachable. No mean feat. A great deal of the marques fame is due to the iconic 911, now in its 57th year of production. A car as at home on the road as the track, it has decimated the test of time and continues to innovate and lead the way forward. 

The 911’s long association with motorsport started in the hands of a few privateers, but it was not long before the factory took up the baton. The first visit in what became a long love affair with Le Mans was in 1966, and 911 went on to be a dominant force both on the track and the rally stage.

However; it was the forward vision of Ernst Fuhrmann, the newly appointment head of Porsche in 1972 that took the 911 to the next level and lead to some of the most coveted and desirable Porsches ever, the 911 Carrera RS. Fuhrmann, recognised the 911’s special nature and threw his full support behind the car; initiating a project led by master engineer Norbert Singer that resulted in 1973’s Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS and 2.8 RSR, along with the 1974 3.0 RS and RSR. 

Following the introduction of Porsche’s first turbocharged model, the 930 Turbo in 1975, production soon ensured that at least 400 units of the model had been built, qualifying it for the Group 4 category. The 930 Turbo called on the knowledge gained with Porsche having raced turbocharged prototypes in World Sports Car and Can-Am championships, and this led to the Group 4 variant, the 934 Turbo RSR, which was released ahead of the 1976 racing season. 

Working with the same concepts are the RS and RSR models which went before, the 934 featured a 3-litre version of Porsche’s tried and tested flat six engine, fuel injected and turbo charged to make 485 bhp in factory specification. Mated to the engine was a four speed gearbox, and suspension was independent with coil springs rather than the earlier used torsion bars. Centre lock, quick change hubs were used with large vented brake discs, and the same brake callipers as used on the famous 917.

Chassis Number 930 770 0960

The story of this car starts with chassis number 930 770 0960, a factory race 934, sold through well known dealer Vasek Polak to it first owner Ron Brown. 

Having escaped from Czechoslovakia in 1949, Vasek Polak Sr. made his way to Manhattan Beach, California in the 1950s to open his repair shop that, in 1959 became the first stand-alone Porsche dealership in the United States. In the 1960s his son Vasek Polak joined his father’s dealership and racing team, Vasek Polak Racing and they led a successful racing program in the 1960s and ‘70s and continue to be an icon in Porsche history to this day. 

Based in Lake Oswego, Oregon, Ron Brown ran the car in three Trans-Am races in 1977 before apparently coming to the conclusion that it was too much car for him. Entered as Brown Investments on all but the last occasion and carrying the race number 12, Ron was 36th Kent on the 30th of May, 22nd at Westwood on the 5th of June and 7th overall and 5th in class a week later on the 12th of June at Portland. 

Not long after Portland 770 0960 was sold to Clif Kearns who ran the car under his Desperado Racing banner always carrying the race number 28. Within a month of taking possession of the car he was out at at Daytona on the 4th of July for the IMSA series Paul Revere 250. Sharing the driving with well known driver and race promoter Charles Mendez, running in the GTO class they were 36th overall and 22nd in class. For the next four rounds, the Sears point 100 Miles, Pocono 100 Miles, Road Atlanta 100 Miles and the Laguna Seca 100 Miles, Clif drove the car on his own, taking 9th, 8th, 23rd and 24th respectively. For the Dayton Final 250 on the 27th of October, Kearns shared the driving with Milt Minter and they were 3rd overall. 

The 1978 season started with the Sebring 12 Hours on the 18th of March. Running in the GTX class Kearns shared the driving with Marty Hinze and Stephen Behr. Qualifying 7th overall they sadly went on to finish 49th and 12th in class. Next came the Talladega 6 Hours on the 2nd of April. Again sharing the driving duties with Marty Hinze they were classified 33rd with a DNF. Following Talladega were a string of 100 mile races which Kearns did by himself, finishing  30th (DNF) at Road Atlanta, 20th at Laguna Seca, 8th at Lime rock and 6th at Brainerd. Kearns and Minter were reunited for the Paul Revere 250 at Dayton where they were 2nd overall. 

After an 8th and a 5th in the Sears Point and Portland 100 Miles, Kearns again teamed up with Minter for the Mid-Ohio 250 Miles were they continued there competitive streak taking 3rd overall. Kearns then drove 770 0960 on his own for the Road Atlanta 100, where he qualified 12th but did not finish. The pairing reconvened at Daytona for the Final 250 Miles on the 26th of October. Having qualified an impressive 6th overall Milt Minter crashed out of the race. 

This car, Chassis Number DMV 470 12CA 

After the race, the damaged car was sent to Dan McLaughlin’s American International Racing (A.I.R) shop in Southern California. Known as the Wizard of Fiberglass, Dan was a famed Porsche builder whose bodywork appeared on virtually every American 935. Upon inspection he deemed the chassis unrepairable and he then stripped all of the mechanical parts and rebuilt the car using a new body shell with the State of California Vin number DMV 470 12CA, which it retains to this day. 

The original shell of 770 0960 was subsequent restored back to its 934 specification at a later date by Kevin Jeannette and remains in a collection in the USA.  

By the 17th of March 1979, Kearns was out again for the Sebring 12 Hours, this time sharing with well known Italian driver and founder of MOMO, Gianpiero Moretti. Again running in GTX and having qualified 11th overall they sadly ran out of fuel and failed to finish, classified 63rd. 

Kearns only raced the car twice more in 1979 with a 32nd at Road Atlanta and a 3rd in the Trans Am race at Portland. Kearns entered the Mid-Ohio 250 in July but never arrived. A privateer racer, he was no longer able to keep up the the financial demands of running a full IMSA schedule. It is believed the car was leased out from late 1979 to early 1980 but this is yet to be confirmed. 

In June 1980 Marty Hinze purchased the car from Kearns and entered the Watkins Glen 6 Hours with the youngest of the famous Whittington brothers, Dale. Qualifying 22nd they had to retire from the race with gearbox problems. It was at this point that Hinze decided to convert the car to full K3 specification. The engine was upgraded to twin turbo, matched with the upside down 935 gearbox and titanium axles, 935 suspension and large 935 brakes. 

By the 21st of September 470 12CA was back on the track Road Atlanta for the two heat 50 Miles painted white with green and gold highlighted stripes. Entered under Gunnar Porsche and Southeastern Wire, with race number 2 and driving by himself  Hinze did not finish the first heat and was 12th in the second. 

On the 30th of November Hinze saw the season out at Daytona for ther Finale 250 Miles. Still carrying race number 2 and this time just sponsored by Southeastern Wire, Heinz shared the  driving duty with Gary Belcher. Qualifying 12th they went on took 5th overall. Not a bad way to end the season. 

Marty Hinze started the 1981 season from where he had left off. On the 21st of March 470 12CA returned to Sebring for the 12 hours. Running under the banner of Marty Hinze Racing,  running in GTX class, with race number 2 and with the driver line up of Hinze, Milt Minter and former Le Mans 24 Hour winner Bill Whittington, they qualified 12th overall. At the end of the growing 12 hour race they were 3rd overall. 

From Sebring it was off to Watkins Glen on the 12th of July for the 6 Hours. This time running in Group 5, with race number 22 and sharing the racing with Dale Whittington and well known privateer racer Preston Henn, they qualified 15th and went to take 5th overall in the race.  

The remainder of the 1981 season consisted of the Road Alanta 150 Miles on the 27th of September for Hinze, Joe  Varde and Preston Henn and the Daytona Finale on the 29th of November for Hinze. Having qualified 15th and 9th respectively sadly they did not finish on both occasions. 

1982 and it was back to Sebring again for the 12 Hours on the 20th of March. This time running in GTP, with race number 16, a driver line up of Hinze, Bill and Don Whiitington, and Preston Henn. Presented in the livery you see it today it was sponsored by Henn’s T-Bird Swap Shop. Qualifying 10th sadly they did not finish. The only other race of the 1982 season was the Charlotte 500kms on the 15th of May. This time Hinze shared the driving duties with Randy Lanier, who he would later partner in Blue Thunder Racing. Again sponsored by T-Bird Swap Shop they qualified 11th but did not finish.  

For the 1983 season, true GTP cars were on the scene and the GTX class was no more. The 935s were forced to run in  the same GTP class as the newer lighter ground effect cars. Hinze did a deal with March for one of their 83G but would still bring the fast and reliable 935 along just in case the March had problems. Hinze had some great qualifying efforts in the 935 but the March proved reliable and the 935 was left in the trailer. 

470 12CA’s contemporary career was not done yet. Hinze reverted to his trusty 935 for both the 1985 and 1986 Sebring 12 Hours. Now running in yellow, it was sponsored by Hinze Fencing in 1985 and Tugboat Annie’s in 1986 carrying the race number 16 on both occasions. In 1985 Hinze shared the driving with Art Yarosh and his old friend Malt Minter. Qualifying 17th overall they had to retire with suspension problems. The following year he shared with Jack Newsum and Tom Blackallar. Having qualified 31st they went on to finish a credible 15th overall after 12 hours of racing. 

Hinze eventually sold 470 12CA in 1986 to Kevin Jeannette of Gunnar Racing who in turn sold it on to Phil Bagley in 1988. In 1998 470 12CA was bought by Mike Gammino. He retained the car for a number of years, successfully campaigning it in the HSR Thundersports Series, winning the championship outright one year. 

From Gammino ownership passed to 935 collector Van Zannis, before passing to the current owner in 2011. Himself an  avid collector, in the current ownership the car was restored back to its 1981 Sebring livery. The engine was rebuilt by Dick Evelrude in Portland Oregon. During the restoration the Kugelfischer fuel injection pump was rebuilt. The K-27 twin turbos were rebuilt, new MAHLE pistons and cylinders were fitted and the throttle bodies were reconditioned by Eurometrix.  

The factory upside down 935 gearbox with its  internal oil pump was rebuilt as were the large 935 Porsche brakes with updated rotor and hats. The distributor, CD boxes, rev limiter and coils were all sent off to be rebuilt. The suspension was overhauled with the uprights and hubs crack checked and coated, new seals and bearing were fitted, the rear trailing arms and spring plates were crack checked and the shock absorbers were fully serviced. The fuel cell was also replaced in 2019. 

Sitting on 16 x 10.5 and 16 x 14 BBS Centerlock E57 wheels with the evocative Turbo Fans, the car looks fantastic. With reputedly  only three to four hours running on it since the restoration this offers a wonderfully exciting and usable entry for Peter Auto’s prestigious CER2, Le Mans Classic and of course the Historic Daytona 24 Hour and Sebring Historics. Having raced in the Sebring 12 Hours a staggering five times in period it should feel right at home.