In 1977 Terry Sabine got lost on his motor bike in the Lybian desert while taking part in the Abidjan-Nice Rally. Upon his return he promised to share his fascination with the desert with as many people as possible by creating “A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind” which took the form of the Paris Dakar (PD) a 10,000 mile mostly off road rally raid event.
The Paris Dakar is run for motor cycles, 4 wheel vehicles up to 3,500 kgs / 7,716 lbs vehicles over 3500 kgs / 7,716 lbs with numerous sub divisions within the three basic classes. All service vehicles must be entered as competitors.
The first event was run in 1979 with the four wheel class won by Alain Génestier and Joseph Terbiaut driving a Range Rover, other winning vehicles up to 1984 included an Volkswagen Iltis, Renault 20 and Mercedes 280 G by multiple Grand Prix and Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur in 1983, all of them were all wheel drive vehicles.
In 1983 Porsche built 3 cars for the 1984 event based on the 911 SC RS, a type I shall look at tomorrow, with 3 litre / 183 cui motors producing up to 300 hp, but featuring mechanical all wheel drive and over 12 inches of suspension travel to cope with the sand dunes in the Sahara desert. These three cars are known as 953’s but at the time were also variously referred to as 911’s, 911 SC RS 4×4’s or any combination there of.
Rene Metge and Dominique Lemoyne driving the #176 won the event at Porsche’s first attempt, Ickx and Brasseur came home 6th in the #175 while Roland Kussmaul and Erich Lerner finished 26th meaning all three cars survived the challenge.
In 1987 the #175 and #177 cars were repainted green for the Folténe team led by former Grand Prix driver Jacques Laffite who shared the ex #175 Ickx car with Pierre Landereau which appears to have retired from the event at the earliest opportunity once a minimum of sponsor obligations was met, while the other car driven by Jacques brother in law Jean Pierre Jabouille and G.Levent retired after hitting a bolder.
Toady’s featured car, seen at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is owned by the Porsche Museum, it carries an odd combination #176 with the names of Ickx and Brasseur on the roof and I have been unable to determine exactly which of the three 953’s this is.
It is possible today’s featured car might be the car Laffite drove in 1987 and Ickx drove in 1984, but it would appear more likely to be the repaired Jabouille car from 1987 that Kussmaul and Lerner drove in ’84, if you know please do not hesitate to chime in below.
Porsche went on to develop all wheel drive on its 959 and 961 twin turbo competition models, Metge and Lemoyne won the 1986 PD with the 959. The all wheel drive system was then used in the Carrera 4 road model range.
Event founder Terry Sabine was killed with 4 others in the 1986 PD when his helicopter crashed into a sand dune during an unexpected sand storm.
The PD became the Dakar in 2009 and relocated to Argentina after political tensions led to the abandonment of the event in 2008.
Thanks for joining me on this “For Those Who Go” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at another Porsche 911 variant. Don’t forget to come back now !