London - Sydney in a Rally Porsche 911S

1968 found Porsche manufacturing and outfitting this 911s for what seems like war. Why?

 Courtesy of Porsche Newsroom

Courtesy of Porsche Newsroom

In 1968 Brits found themselves in extremely low spirits. The British Pound kept falling lower and lower, and so did the rain.

To cheer their fellow citizens, Sir Max Aitken and his staff at The Daily Express created a "marathon" of a rally race from London to Sydney. Jack Sears, a driver of the time, was secretary of the race organizing committee, and helped to devise a 7,000 mile, 11 day route through 11 countries, including conflict zones in the Middle East.

Thus, this Porsche 911s was born to cope with desert sand, poorly maintained roads, and 11,000 miles of pushing well-engineered cars to and past their failure point. Herbert Völker for Christophorus said that, of the three 911S manufactured for the race, only two finished. Sand in the air filter and braking systems rendered the other model useless.


Interesting features of note, the cage and netting over the windshield was known as a "roo bar" or "Kangaroo catcher", designed to keep Kangaroos from doing too much damage should something bad happen.


Völker also notes that hundreds of thousands in Pakistan and India watched the race in person, sometimes even surrounding each vehicle, keeping the cars from going faster than walking speed. Thankfully, no one was injured.

Out of 98 drivers, 56 finished, and this particular Porsche came in 4th.

Here is short video showing how the rally car looks in action.