Of all the 911-based Porsche racers, this one is probably the furthest removed from the base, as well as one of the most diverse. Between the look at introduction in 1976 and the last of the Kremer variations they could all have been completely different models. But the eternal thread here: flat-6 engine + giant turbo + mechanical fuel injection = roasting competition over an open flame.
The first 935s were modified 911 Turbos under the Group 5 regulations: bigger wings, wider axles, etc. From the front the car had to look like the street car, so no flat nose yet. The flat-6 at this point still “only” made 560hp with boost at 1.35-1.55.
Sidenote: some customers modified their Group 4 Porsche 934s to Group 5 spec, resulting in the 934.5, which we now all know and love as a Hot Wheels version as well.
Later in the 1976 season Porsche engineer Norbert Singer discovered a loophole in the regulations that required the same front end as the road car, and Porsche switched the 935 to the slant nose we all came to know on the 935. It also gained the long-tail rear bodywork, so it’s departure from the 911 was well on its way.
Changes for 1977 included front fenders that were higher than the hood, and incorporated the wing mirrors, allowing for a reduction in drag. In the rear, a second rear window was added above the old one, again to reduce drag and improve airflow to the rear wing. The single turbo was replaced by two KKK turbos, but head gasket failures would prove a thorn in the 77's side.
1978: A Single Purpose
Since the 76 and 77 versions each failed to win Le Mans, the 78 version was built with just that goal in mind.
A few of the mods: Watercooled heads and four valves per cylinder to help with the head gasket issues, capacity up to 3.2L, 845hp, a switch to right hand drive to help with weight distribution and lines of sight on the clock-wise Circuit de la Sarthe, altered floor pan, upside down-mounted gearbox, central exhauset, lower fairings along the doors, and the extended rear bodywork that led to the “Moby Dick” moniker.
At first signs were good, with Ickx/Mass winning the 6hrs of Silverstone. And at Le Mans, the car qualified 3rd, was fastest on the Mulsanne straight with 228MPH, but Moby Dick finished in 8th after a lot of early issues, behind three customer 935s.
That was the end of the Porsche factory 935 entries. As they did since its introduction, Porsche did support customer entries (the most well-known of which are of course the Kremer variations), and those continued to race well into the early 1980s, winning Le Mans outright in 1979, and 150 races overall for the 935. To me the K3 is still the best-looking of the 935s, and probably at least top-3 prettiest race cars overall.
Hot Wheels Moby Dick
Here are (almost) all of the Hot Wheels 935/78 variations (I used to have the Flying Kustoms as well, but somehow lost track of it. I see now that I traded it to Tfritch. If anyone has a spare, I’d gladly trade for it!), along with one custom and one ex-Corgi that could use some suspension calibration, if I’m honest.
My favorite of these is the Roadrcr silver version. Which one’s yours?