Back in the early 1960s, Porsche was still a tiny sports car manufacturer punching way above its weight in international racing. With an astonishingly small 1.5-liter flat eight motor stuffed into a bespoke chassis just barely large enough to contain the lanky Dan Gurney, the 804 was a beast from day one. While it’s difficult to call it a serious contender in 1962 Grand Prix racing, it did score a pole at the German Grand Prix, and a victory at Rouen in France (as well as a non-points race Solituderennen) against the mighty Jim Clark and Graham Hill who raced for Lotus and BRM respectively.
The Porsche 804 is a bit of a footnote in Porsche history these days as they are infrequently seen, and even less often heard. Only four 804s were built for the 1962 season, and one of those was never raced. Allegedly only two examples of the 804 remain in existence, one in a private collection. The example seen in the video below [by 19Bozzy92 on YouTube] was restored by the Porsche Museum in 2016. Since then it has only been run in a pair of vintage events, the Monaco Historique in 2016, and the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year (where this video comes from). I’ve been a Porsche fanatic for decades, and I’ve never heard this car shout its mighty growl before now.
The Type 753 flat eight makes about 177 horsepower, which is pretty impressive compared to what Porsche road cars were producing in 1962. More importantly, it weighs under 1000 pounds, and goes like stink. For such a diminutive displacement, I did not expect the engine to be quite so throaty. In fairness, the Type 753 can rev to nearly 10,000 RPM and the driver in these clips is surely not giving it the full beans. Considering how many millions something like this must be worth, I can’t say I blame them.
Even if that driver is the famed Le Mans victor Richard Attwood.