When I saw this paint scheme and the card reading “’85 Porsche”, I snapped this up right away. I was pumped; I loved the ProDrive livery and I’d been steadily amassing a good set of Dakar Rally vehicles, as well as general rally raid vehicles. 1985 was good for Porsche in terms of historical rally merit, with the 959 running the Dakar and winning the Pharoah’s Rally! I had to get my hands on this.
It, uh, took me a moment to actually pay attention and realize this wasn’t the 959. Says right on there, actually. ‘85 Porsche 911 Rally. It’s a once road-going Porsche 911 Carrera given some rally modifications; the paint scheme just happens to heavily resemble the Rothman’s racing livery they used then as a nod to their rally history.
It’s nothing new for road-going 911s to be all done up in rally gear; the “Porsche 911 Safari” is a whole category of beautiful sportscars all decked out and ready to hoon down the dunes. I can think of no more beautiful a fate for a road car, really. Rally’s where it’s at.
Looking into it, as far as I can tell, this one actually most specifically resembles as a build made by Patrick Long, a Porsche factory driver and a very successful endurance racer (won at Le Mans twice, even!). He put it together with the intent of auctioning it, selling it for $275,000 and putting all that money towards research for pancreatic cancer.
This is in the $1 Matchbox mainline, a 2018 creation in the MBX Off-Road lineup of that year. Honestly, Matchbox has been seriously stepping it up. Hot Wheels might have the gimmick cars that pop toast out or work as screwdrivers (and let’s be honest, I love those), but Matchbox is getting my attention with excellent details and a rather stunning focus on all sorts of off-roaders. Granted, being under the same umbrella of Mattel, it fits that the two wouldn’t compete as much... but they’re covering more ground now.
So, I had thought at first that it was a purpose-built racing machine, but in a way, I’ve found myself very pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t the case. After all, I’ve got plenty of those. This is something else. This is showing that just because a car can be a beautiful, capable machine in one category, doesn’t mean it has to stay limited. The beauty is in the transformation. With work and dedication, it can become something else altogether; any car can be a racecar. We can all change.
...I suppose that’s not too inspiring when you’re starting with a flippin’ Porsche 911 in the first place, which was already well capable of blowing the doors off anybody thinking they’re faster than you and they can prove it, but hey. I’ll take it. All in all, I’m glad that Porsche’s been bringing back an edited version of the Rothman’s livery and we could thus get something similar here, and it’s pretty awesome to have a car that encapsulates a lot of racing history while very much being its own thing.