1978 Porsche 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’


1978 Porsche 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’

The 935/78 was the ultimate expression of the 911 factory race car before Porsche officially withdrew from motor sport. Raced under the Group 5 silhouette series, great liberties were taken with the design and the result was nicknamed ‘Moby Dick’ for its large size and huge overhangs.

The 935/78 was built under Porsche’s Chief Racing by Norbert Singer for high speeds at Le Mans. Due to the advanced shape of the car 227 mph or 366 km/h was possible. To achieve this, both the front and rear end were redesigned with detachable panels that could reveal what little was left of the production unitary steel monocoque with new aluminum sub-frames. The design even went as far as replacing floor and lowering the car 75 mm.

The engine had to use production car internals, but the cylinder-heads were open for modification. For the first time in the history of the 911 the engine came with water-cooled cylinder heads featuring four valves per cylinder. Maximum output of the turbocharged 3.2-litre six-cylinder with four overhead camshafts was 845 bhp at 1.7 bar of boost. At the standard 1.5 bar, 750 bhp was possible.

1978 Porsche 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’

The rear end of the car was completely new. Radiators that cooled the cylinder heads were mounted just ahead of the rear wheels and a massive adjustable rear wing was fitted above the engine.

With a firm eye on Le Mans, Porsche sat out most rounds of the Championship except the Silverstone 6 Hours. There, Jochen Mass and Jackie Ickx won outright with a large margin over the nearest competition.

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At Le Mans, only a single car was entered for the 24-hour race. It set the fastest lap among several specially-built prototypes. Rolf Stommelen and Manfred Schurti did the best they could despite engine troubles and brought the car home to eight overall.

Porsche used the car only twice more before retiring it as a permanent fixture in their Museum. In later years Reinhold Joest and Kremer each made their own versions of the Moby using the factory blueprints.

1978 Porsche 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’

In Detail

type Racing Car
built at Weissach, Germany
engineers Norbert Singer
production 2
engine Type 935/71 Boxer-6
position Rear, Longitudinal
aspiration Twin KKK Turbochargers
block material Aluminum
valvetrain 4 Valves per Cyl
fuel feed Bosch Fuel Injection
displacement 3211 cc / 195.95 in³
bore 95.8 mm / 3.8 in
stroke 74.4 mm / 2.9 in
compression 7.0:1
power 630.1 kw / 845 bhp @ 8200 rpm
specific output 263.16 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 824.39 bhp per tonne
torque 784 nm / 578.2 ft lbs @ 6600 rpm
body / frame Steel Monocoque with Fibreglass Panels, Aluminum Subframes
front brakes Ventilated & Cross-Drilled Discs
rear brakes Ventilated & Cross-Drilled Discs
steering Rack & Pinion
f suspension McPherson Struts
r suspension Semi-Trailing Arms
curb weight 1025 kg / 2260 lbs
wheelbase 2279 mm / 89.7 in
front track 1624 mm / 63.9 in
rear track 1624 mm / 63.9 in
length 4890 mm / 192.5 in
width 1990 mm / 78.3 in
height 1200 mm / 47.2 in
transmission Type 930/50 4-Speed Manual
top speed ~366 kph / 227.29 mph
0 – 60 mph ~2.6 seconds