The History Behind the Seven Retro Liveries for the New Porsche 935
All the colorways joining the Martini stripes of the Le Mans “Moby Dick”
Seeing a racing livery on someone’s personal car is the automotive equivalent of showing up to your pickup basketball game outfitted in LeBron’s game-day kit. It feels like you’re playing dress up (especially because everyone knows you won’t be hitting 200 MPH or dunking).
Well, that’s normally what we would say. But this month, in anticipation of the release of Porsche’s second generation 935, the marque has unveiled seven custom liveries which will be available to customers of the 77 limited-edition cars. And you know what? They’re so damn snazzy we’re considering copying them onto our Hyundai Sonatas and Ford pickups.
If the Porsche enthusiasts and race fans among you recognize some of the color schemes, that’s not a trick of the eye; they’re all drawn from the brand’s extensive racing history. The actual design of the car is full-bore racing machine, so why not incorporate it into the paint, too?
As a refresher, this new 935 (which was announced back in September 2018) pays tribute to the marque’s 935/78 Le Mans racing “Moby Dick,” celebrates the 70th anniversary of Porsche’s sports car founding, and is not street legal — it’s a real-deal race car which the marque suggests for use in “clubsport events and private training on racetracks.” So even though regular citizens could pick one up, I guess the liveries are more acceptable in this instance.
Just beware that these are more than pretty faces. When you pull up to the track, you’ll be carrying the weight of iconic drivers and teams on your back. To help you discuss these — in greater detail than “cool colors!” — we’ve outlined the history of each livery below, including quotes from Porsche. We’ve ranked them as well, which may just help you decide which one to get, if you should be one of the lucky 77.
- Sponsor history: Vaillant, maker of heating, cooling and hot water products
- Racing history: Bob Wollek drove a Vaillant-branded 935 at the Nürburgring and Kremer Racing used a similar livery on multiple 935s.
- Sponsor history: Interscope (Ted Field, co-founder of Interscope Records, started Interscope Racing in 1975)
- Racing history: In 1979, a 935 using the Interscope livery won the 24 Hours of Daytona.
- Sponsor history: Gulf Oil, which you’ll find on some of the most iconic race cars of all time
- Racing history: “John Wyer was undoubtedly one of the most successful motor racing team managers … [he] secured victory for Porsche with the 917 in the 1970 and 1971 World Sportscar Championship.”
- Sponsor history: Shell. This is the only new livery not based on the original Martini & Rossi design.
- Racing history: This color scheme adorned the first Porsche to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, though it was a 917, not a 935.
- Sponsor history: Sachs Performance, the German tuning company, not Goldman
- Racing history: “A Sachs-sponsored 935 fielded by Dick Barbour Racing (with Paul Newman as one of the drivers) led the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans until heavy rain set them back; it ultimately finished second,” writes Car and Driver.
6. John Player Special
- Sponsor history: John Player & Sons, a tobacco manufacturer, which is why you don’t see this one around anymore
- Racing history: Like the Vaillant livery, this was used by Kremer Racing on multiple 935s.
- Sponsor history: Momo, steering wheel and performance parts company, not the meme
- Racing history: Used by driver Gianpiero Moretti, who also founded Momo, both on Porsche 935s and Ferrari 333 SPs, the latter of which he drove to victory at 24 Hours of Daytona in ‘98.