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Daytona-Winning Ex-Derek Bell Porsche 962 Heads to Auction

Submitted by on January 12, 2016

Ex-Derek Bell 1989 Porsche 962

Images via Mecum

This iconic Porsche 962 took endurance racing legend Derek Bell to his final 24-hour victory when they won the 1989 Daytona 24 Hours. It’s considered the fastest 962 in period, and it’s heading to auction at Mecum’s Kissimmee sale to be held over the 15th to the 24th of January.

The car, chassis 962-108, is considered one of the fastest in the period. When Derek Bell piloted it to victory in the 1989 Daytona 24 Hours, alongside Bob Wollek and John Andretti, he described it as his favourite Porsche – which means a lot from a man with four 24 Hours of Le Mans, three Daytona 24 Hour and two World Sports Car Championship wins at the wheels of Porsches!

Having set pole position and dominated much of the 1988 race only to finish second, ’89 saw 962-108 hold off the Jaguar XJR9 of Jan Lammers, John Nielsen and Andy Wallace and win by a slim 1:26.65. That margin was the closest in the Daytona 24’s history, Derek Bell’s third and final Daytona win and also the 50th in the model’s history.

Ex-Derek Bell 1989 Porsche 962

962-108 was one of four cars allotted to Jim Busby Racing. It was built to IMSA GTP specifications powered by a three-litre air-cooled turbo motor.

It debuted in the 1985 Daytona 24 sponsored by BF Goodrich. Pete Halsmer, John Morton and Dieter Quester handled driving duties, but sadly the team crashed out during the night when Halsmer moved to avoid a backmarker.

The front suspension and tub were damaged in the incident, which Halsmer walked away from unhurt. Happily, examination of the car found that almost every other part was reusable, so Bubsy hired Jim Chapman to build a new tub from honeycomb aluminium along with a milled billet aluminium rear bulkhead.

While that was going on Ed Pink gave the car’s turbocharged flat-six some love, squeezing an extra 80 horsepower out of the motor to put it up in the range of 830.

Ex-Derek Bell 1989 Porsche 962

When the work was complete the car was named 962-108B and taken to the 1987 Daytona 24. There it was driven by Busby, Daron Brassfield and Bob Wollek, but retired with an engine failure 89 laps in. For the next few races performances picked up and the team brought home a second, third, fourth and two sixth-place finishes.

While racing at Sears Point the car’s right rear tyre exploded with Wollek in the lead causing him to crash out of the race. The car was left once again with damage to the bodywork and tub.

Chapman built a third tub and the car evolved into 962-108C in time for Daytona in 1988. Mauro Baldi put the car on pole and shared the driver’s seat with Wollek and Brian Redman. They would finish just 1:48 behind the Jaguar of Raul Boesel, Martin Brundle, John Nielsen and Jan Lammers.

Ex-Derek Bell 1989 Porsche 962

The car was further developed with rear subframe bracing and suspension revisions to improve handling and stability. Gurney Eagle-designer Roman Slobodynskj ordered 956-style front bodywork for the car and implemented other developments to improve its aerodynamic efficiency, while continued engine development kept the car competitive against the newer Jaguars and Nissans.

1988 would see the car take home two third-place finishes, a fourth and two fifths with Wollek behind the wheel.

Heading into 1989 Ed Pink continued to push the engine, and the car received more radical sculpting of the front end and rear bodywork. The design was inspired by the speed of the Nissans and featured significant reworking of the rear to improve downforce.

Ex-Derek Bell 1989 Porsche 962

Demonstrating its fierce development, the car received yet a new name for the start of 1989 – 962-108C-2. The team’s wins at Daytona and Palm Beach were the only two for a Porsche in the 1989 IMSA series, which was dominated by the Nissans of Electramotive Engineering.

After its long period career 962-108C-2 was retired into a private collection. In 2005 it went to the Historic Porsche Collection in England and reunited with Derek Bell for the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The pair appeared together again at the 2007 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, as well as later that year for Rennsport 3 and at Daytona for display laps with the then-new Porsche RS Spyder.

This magnificent artefact of motorsport history is truly special. You’ll want to set aside $2,500,000 – $3,000,000 when it goes to auction next weekend at Mecum’s January Kissimmee sale. Head to the official Mecum site here for the car’s full story, and more details on the auction.

Images via Mecum

Mecum’s January 2016 Kissimmee sale will see a magnificent 3000 vehicles auctioned between the 15th and 24th of January. It will be held in Kissimmee, Florida.

Ex-Derek Bell 1989 Porsche 962

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