The launch of the 904 Carrera GTS marked the end of an era for the Stuttgart based manufacturer- their last dual-purpose street-legal track car, designed to get Porsche back into competition after leaving Formula 1 in 1962.

Porsche were faced with a major challenge when developing the 904 as recently introduced homologation regulations set out by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) required at least one hundred roadgoing examples of a vehicle to have been produced before it ( including the 904) be eligible to participate in track events.

With almost unlimited funds available, freed up by the end of Porsche’s involvement in Formula One racing, Ferry Porsche called upon his son Ferdinand Alexander Porsche to design the 904.

Porsche Jnr, better known as "Butzi" was at that time only in his late Twenties but had already established a reputation as a car designer who thought out of the box.

Butzi came up with an innovative design that would give the new model a definite edge.

To develop the Porsche 904 around a very attractive fibreglass coupe body bonded to an already existing steel chassis, as he so successfully used on his first design project for Porsche- the 911 Carrera.

Porsche farmed out the construction of the fibreglass shell was outsourced to the massive Heinkel coachbuilding company.

Another first adopted for the 904 was that the car’s air-cooled flat-four engine was mid-mounted for the first time, which improved weight distribution and handling dramatically.

The street-legal variant was renamed the Carrera GTS; despite its high price tag, all of the 114 road cars produced were snapped up without too much ado by Porsche fanatics across the world.

The remaining 20 or so purebred 904s were then able to replace the ageing 356 Carrera 2, to embark on what became a very successful, albeit short, track career that only lasted for the 1964 season.

Despite its short career, the 904 racked up dozens of class wins at circuits like Le Mans and Sebring, as well as several gruelling endurance events such as the Tulip and Alpine rallies.

The 904 Carrera GTS remains the company's only true dual-purpose road/race car and is rightly regarded as one of the finest cars Porsche ever produced.

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