A modest shape, a good amount of suspension travel, and just enough power to spin the driven wheels is a dependable formula for hillclimbing success. This 1966 906 Carrera 6 has all three, and in the hands of hillclimber Mario Sala, we get a glimpse of how playful, accurate, and energizing a classic formula like this is on narrow Italian mountain roads.
The 906 Carrera 6 was designed with the intention of stripping weight from the 904 it was based on. In the hands of Ferdinand Piech, the 906 had all of the 904's heavy steel stripped from the body and replaced with unstressed fiberglass. In addition to adding plenty of structural support, the renovations reduced weight by nearly 300 pounds—bringing the 906 Carrera 6's weight to a scant 1,360 pounds. Its 2.0-liter engine produced 210 horsepower and that power-to-weight, complemented by a body designed in a wind tunnel, helped it secure class wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring as well as the 1000-km races at Spa, Monza, and Nurburgring in 1966.
Even where speeds were lower, the package worked well; it was known for hillclimbing success in its heyday. Its diminutive size and minimal overhangs made it easily placed—a quality relished on narrow country roads like the ones featured above. At the 2014 Trofeo Vallecamonica and the 2014 Alpe del Nevegal, Italian driver Mario Sala got to terms quite well with this capable little scalpel.
More than just a wonderful bark, this 906's engine made enough grunt to help the rear gently, gracefully glide over camber changes and the like. This adjustability and moderate power gave the 906 a character that was encouraging; it can be leaned on. Combine that with a classically elegant shape, a sonorous bark, and a tendency to dance over surface changes, and you have yourself the recipe for a gorgeous gem that is as appealing today as it was fifty years ago.