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1978 Porsche 911 3.0 SC Group IV – The ‘Heigo’ Car

  • A veritable legend in Porsche circles – the ‘Heigo’ car
  • Built by a group of Porsche Motorsport’s own engineers working ‘after hours’
  • A successful and extensively documented period competition history
  • Famous ‘Heigo’ livery designed by the great Porsche designer Ginger Arnold Ostle
  • Celebrated by the Porsche Museum with a limited run of scale model replicas
  • Sold
  • Chassis no. 911 830 1619
  • Registration: United Kingdom
  • Vehicle Location: England

The Heigo Porsche

“I said to Walter [Röhrl], it can’t be that the world champion has no car.” That’s Porsche’s master technician and test-driver Dieter Röscheisen talking, a man who dedicated over four decades of his life to the Stuttgart marque. When Röhrl, the then-newly crowned World Rally Champion, was suddenly left without a drive in 1981, Röscheisen sought to help his dear friend out.

He took all his annual leave at Porsche, gained a generous sponsorship package and set about building a Porsche 911 SC 3.0 rally car. And as a result of Röhrl’s strong showing in the car, Porsche itself built a 911 Group IV for the World Rally Champion to drive on the Rallye Sanremo. Famously, Porsche subsequently went Group B rallying with its legendary Rothmans-sponsored, Prodrive-built 911 SC RSs. And with great success, we might add!

The blueprint Röscheisen used to build Röhrl’s special car was this, the Porsche 911 SC 3.0 famously known as the Heigo car, which we’re thrilled to be offering for sale. As with most classic 911s which have passed into Porsche lore, its story is intrinsically linked to a small band of charismatic individuals, the most integral of whom was Röscheisen, who’d risen through the ranks in Stuttgart and was among the most widely commended technicians and test-drivers at the company.

Having dabbled in rally driving at various national and international events in Germany throughout the 1970s, Dieter Röscheisen made it his dream to buy his own full-fat Porsche 911 rally car with which to go and write motorsport history. In 1979, having negotiated a moderate sponsorship package from the German motorsport safety wizards Heigo Autotechnik, Röscheisen acquired a one-year-old Porsche 911 SC 3.0 directly from the factory. It was game on.

The 24-year-old Röscheisen had been working in Weissach for three years by that point and had made many skilled engineer friends – friends whose expertise he leaned on when it came to converting his Porsche into a powerful and robust rally-winning machine. Over the course of a summer in a small garage in Hochdorf, Germany, the glorious Group IV racer came to fruition. The flared bodywork was the work of Lothar Weiner, Horst Sessler sorted the electronics, Jean Claude Mottet honed and strengthened the chassis, and Berthold Kleinbeck and (later) Peter Krotky prepared a killer engine.

You know what they say – a great rally car needs a great livery. Suffice to say, the Heigo Porsche received one. The striking Petrol Blue Metallic and Grand Prix White ensemble, punctuated with a continuous thin red stripe around the car’s midriff and those distinctive Heigo logos, was the work of the British Porsche designer Ginger Arnold Ostle. The design (which we have the original sketched mock-up for) was applied to the 911 by Rockle in Leonberg. 

Quite remarkably, the entire build process of the Heigo Porsche and all those characters involved were comprehensively documented by Röscheisen, who clearly wanted to cherish the realisation of his dream for years to come. We actually can’t remember the last time we encountered a competition Porsche with such extensive photo documentation of its original build and its period racing history.

Following its official presentation at the, erm, prestigious Caravan, Motorsport and Tourist Show in Stuttgart in January of 1980, the Heigo-sponsored Porsche 911 SC 3.0 was campaigned extensively in national and international German rallies throughout the year by Röscheisen and his co-drivers Rudi Reiger Klaus Hesse.

Röscheisen entered 11 events with the Porsche, scoring one third position, two second places and, remarkably, three victories. The latter were clinched at the Schwarzwald Rallye, the International Rallye Unterfranken and the Stadtanzeiger Rallye. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised after looking at the period photos of the Porsche in action and the sheer gusto with which Röscheisen piloted it.

The early-1980s was a fantastic period for rallying, with a broad range of competing cars and sporting camaraderie, before the moneyed manufacturer might of Group B took over. The fantastic photos of Röscheisen competing with the Heigo Porsche and clearly having an absolute whale of a time along the way are a testament to this. You have to remember he was just 25-years old, and living a life many men of his age at that time would have killed to experience.

All good things must come to an end and, sadly for Röscheisen, that end was far sooner than he’d have wished. Despite his successes with the car, the 1980 season took its toll financially and Röscheisen was forced to sell. An English rally driver by the name of Christopher Wathen was the buyer, having been introduced to Röscheisen at a World Cup party hosted by their mutual friend Walter Röhrl in December. Yes, that Walter Röhrl.

As an aside, when the newly crowned World Rally Champion was suddenly left without a drive in 1981, Röscheisen sought to help his dear friend out. He took all his annual leave at Porsche, gained a generous sponsorship package from a company called Doduco and set about building a near-identical Porsche 911 SC 3.0 rally car, using everything he’d learned with the Heigo car, and forming a privateer team under whose banner Röhrl could compete.

As a result of Röhrl’s strong showing in the Doduco car, Porsche itself built a 911 Group IV for the World Rally Champion to drive on the San Remo Rally. Famously, the Stuttgart marque subsequently went Group B rallying with its Rothmans-sponsored, Prodrive-built 911 SC RSs. And with great success, we might add!

Back to the Heigo. Wathen kept the car for over 20 years, initially competing in various British regional rallies. In March of 2002, the Heigo Porsche – then finished in a Works Rothmans livery – was acquired by the Englishman Stephen Davies, who drove it extensively at major events both in the UK and Europe as part of Reinhard Klein’s ‘Slowly Sideways’ series for several years. As a result, this car became well known in the British rallying scene.

Fast-forward to 2009, and having unearthed the car’s hidden production number and remnants of its Petrol Blue Heigo livery, Davies contacted Röscheisen, who subsequently visited Sweep Motorsport in England to inspect the 911 and confirm its originality and history. A restoration to its original Heigo specification was commissioned, Davies consulting with Röscheisen throughout and even asking him to apply the final decals upon completion of the work.

Fittingly, at the unveiling of the restoration at the Historic Motor Festival’s Race Retro rally stage in 2010, Röscheisen was reunited with the Heigo Porsche as he raced exactly 30 years prior.

Since then, this Porsche 911 SC 3.0 has competed in a further raft of events, including a Super Special Stage at Wales Rally GB in 2016. It’s also featured in two high-profile Porsche magazines: Porsche Post and Porsche Fahrer Magazin. Another well-publicised event occurred in 2019, when Davies travelled to Germany to unite the genuine Heigo Porsche with the three officially sanctioned replicas, which were built by Röscheisen in partnership with Walter Röhrl, to mark the original car’s 40th birthday.

The quartet of matching 911s was quite the spectacle, though of course this car – the real McCoy – hogged the limelight. The Heigo Porsche has another ace up its sleeve, or should we say 300 aces? In 2005, in recognition of Röscheisen’s success with the car and is relationship with Röhrl (who, as mentioned, raced another similar Porsche built to the same specification by Röscheisen in 1981) the Porsche Museum commissioned a limited run of 300 1:43-scale models of this very 911. They sold out almost immediately.

Since arriving with us here at Girardo & Co., we commissioned a Vin-Print report, which confirms the car’s identity as the 911 Röscheisen bought from Porsche in 1979. Following this, we sent the Heigo car to the renowned British rally car specialists at BGMsport for a comprehensive inspection, mechanical refresh and MOT. The work was extensive, beginning with the cleaning and recoating of the entire underside of the car.

The engine and gearbox were removed from the car to be inspected and, in the case of the latter, rebuilt. While the engine was out, it was serviced and the colour of the cowling was changed to period-correct red. The clutch and the flywheel were both replaced, along with the clutch cable and synchro rings. All four wheels were reshod with Michelin TB15 tyres, before the car’s geometry was professionally set up.

Four spotlights were affixed to the bonnet, as per the period photos of this 911 competing. The car’s wiring was tidied, as was the racy interior. In a nod to one of the more unusual original features of the Heigo car, the bucket seats were then retrimmed in the factory shade of Lobster. Finally, using the multitude of period photos of this Porsche, the striking Ostle-designed blue and white Heigo livery was meticulously reapplied.

Looking magnificent in its refreshed state, the ‘Heigo’ car returned to competitive action at the Goodwood 78th Members’ Meeting, where Max Girardo drove it in the thrilling Rally Sprint alongside some epic Group B, Group A and WRC machinery. It was a fitting return to form for what is an incredibly storied Porsche 911.

Today, the Heigo Porsche is waiting for the next chapter in its extraordinary story to be written – preferably with the same aplomb as the first few. The Modena Cento Ore is an event we could envisage entering. We must also credit Röscheisen for the wealth of documentation and imagery concerning the Heigo car’s history, all of which can be found in the beautiful book he had created to document the full-circle history of this incredible Porsche.

 

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