29 March 2012
Francisco Mota takes an in-depth look at TrueScale Miniature's 1/43 scale 1968 Porsche 911 that took part in the London-Sydney Marathon. ...
In 1968, Porsche prepared three 911s for the London to Sydney Marathon, a 10,000 mile rally organised by London’s Daily Express and Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspapers. With a total prize money of $55,200 this one-off rally attracted 22 different makes of car with a total of 100 entrants.
The rally started on 24th November. The route began in London before travelling to Calais, Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and West Pakistan. It finished in Bombay, where the first 75 cars over the line travelled via boat to Freemantle, Australia, before arriving at Sydney on 17th December.
One of the 911s was driven by the Polish team of Sobieslav Zasada and Marek Wachowski, who finished a credible fourth place behind the surprise winners, Coyle/Malkin in a Hilman Hunter, a second placed BMC 1800 MKII and a Ford Falcon.
The base model for Zasada’s car was a short wheelbase 911, with a preparation close to the example Porsche used for the East African Safari in terms of body shell reinforcements. But many other accessories were fitted for this special rally, which is what gave this 911 such an ungainly look.
At the front was a steel ‘bull bar’ frame that was hinged to fold forward and give access to the front compartment. There was also a 200-litre petrol tank, four extra spotlights and four air horns screwed to the front hood as well as mesh covers on the headlights. The roof rack carried four tyres and a pair of snorkels to fit to the exhausts, incase a deep river needed to be crossed!
The rack also carried three plastic 20 litre tanks with spare petrol. One of these tanks could be used as a spare oil tank, with special hoses provided to make the necessary connections to the engine oil feed. Another tank was set-up to be used as a spare petrol tank. The most intriguing feature was a steel cable screen that could be fitted in front of the wind shield to deflect kangaroos and other animals. When not needed, it was folded back over the roof rack so as not to interfere with the driver’s vision. Totally equipped, the car weighted in 3,200lb.
True to scale
American model maker TrueScale Miniatures, who manufacture in the Far East, has just released a high quality resin-cast replica of Zasada’s car.
Starting from a standard 911 and painted in the Monte Carlo Red of the official rally team, TrueScale added all the features of this version with great detail. The front steel structure looks really great and the screen folded over the roof rack very realistic, even if it would be more spectacular if it was fitted stretched in front of the wind shield. The three plastic tanks look perfect, fitted into place by leather straps.
The decals are very few but are all in the right places, even the ‘PL’ near the Sttutgart rear registration plate that identified the driver’s nationality. The lettering ‘Porsche’ on the engine hood is perfectly defined and positioned and the rear lights look just spot-on. Even the sump guards, front and rear look very strong indeed.
Looking through the side windows, with their photoengraved surrounds, one can even see the two rally bucket seats, a fire extinguisher fixed to the rear firewall and two 20 litre water tanks, apart from a complete panel with all the necessary driving and navigation instruments.
Looking at the complete model, the final result is probably one of the ugliest 911s ever. But that’s exactly what makes this model unique and desirable in any collection featuring 911 variants or rally cars. At €68, it’s not in the cheap price bracket but the high quality makes it worth it.