Barn-found oldest 911 restored and showcased in Porsche Museum

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Barn-found oldest 911 restored and showcased in Porsche Museum
Very early 911 has become part of the Porsche Museum collection | Museum photos

Having completed a three-year restoration of the oldest surviving 911 production model, the Porsche Museum is displaying the car at its Stuttgart facility through April 8, 2018.

Produced as 901 No. 57, the red coupe debuted in October 1964. Almost exactly 50 years later, the Porsche Museum found the car and bought it with a goal of restoring it to its original condition.

Barn-found oldest 911 restored and showcased in Porsche Museum
The car in as-found condition

The 911 originally was to be called the 901, but Peugeot held the rights to three-number vehicles with zero as the middle number, so the Porsche 901 became the now iconic 911. Though built on the assembly line as 901s, the cars were renamed 911 before any were sold to customers.

The Porsche factory collection had lacked one of those cars until No. 57 was acquired. No. 57 actually was discovered by a German television crew that explores for antiques hidden away in barns and other buildings. In 2014, the crew found two 911 models in a barn.

“After making enquiries with the Porsche Museum, it emerged that one of the two sports cars with the chassis number 300.057 was one of the rare models built before the model line was renamed,” the museum said in its news release.

The museum bought both of the cars the TV crew found.

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Barn-found oldest 911 restored and showcased in Porsche Museum
The display at the museum

In restoring the car, the museum’s goal was to emphasize repair over replacement.

“The old 911 had not been restored in any way, giving the specialists at the museum the opportunity to restore the sports car as authentically and as true to the original as possible,” the museum said.

“It took a total of three years to bring this very rusty sports car back to its original state, using genuine body parts from the time taken from a different vehicle. The engine, transmission, electrics and interior were all repaired following the same principle. The general rule was to retain parts and fragments where possible rather than replacing them.”

Barn-found oldest 911 restored and showcased in Porsche Museum
In the restoration shop before moving into display

“These intricate restoration methods used by the Porsche Museum as the standard approach are precisely the reason why it took so long to bring this highly historically significant sports car back to life.”

The work completed, the car was given a test drive and moved to its new display in the museum earlier this week.

 

A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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