There are several good reasons you may have never laid eyes on a 936 before; there were never but four of them, the last was made some 35 years ago, and they were never raced in the US. A landmark car for Porsche, the 936 brought Zuffenhausen three overall wins and two seconds at Le Mans between 1976 and 1981, won at Kyalami, and then romped to the German Sports Car Championship title in 1982. Unusual in its configuration with the huge air scoop, I’ve always found the 936 to be strikingly beautiful in the swoopy Martini paint job, and was very lucky to get to photograph this one in California in 1987, only three years after it finished its racing career at the Nürburgring.
Perhaps the most unusual of the four examples is this car, 004. The last of the series, it was actually badged, entered and raced at Le Mans as a “908/80”—although it clearly was a 936. The story goes that Porsche, having decided not to enter the Group 6 class in hopes of another overall win in 1980, nevertheless let good Porsche friend and experienced 936 racer Reinhold Jöst privately enter 936-004, which they built up from a spare chassis. Not wanting to offend other Porsche privateers, the cover was to be that he had put a 936 body on his personal 908, an already much-modified racer. Looking back today it seems a pretty thin disguise, and the car was subsequently raced as what it was, a 936.
As the only 936 not then in possession of the factory, 004 was eventually sold by Jöst, came to the US, and was lovingly and meticulously restored by notable PCA enthusiast Dave Morse and his sons in California. Returned to the Martini livery of its Le Mans days, I was able to see and photograph 004 at its new home (medium format, Kodachrome). Following its time in California, the car was sold into France. 936-002 and 936-003 remained in Stuttgart, and 001 is in England. But 936-004, the wolf that pretended to be another wolf while still wearing its own clothing, has again moved to the US and will be at the Rennsport Reunion in late September; I look forward to seeing it again!