Porsche has just released photos of its latest prototype version of its 918 Spyder hybrid supercar, and is making a big thing of the fact that the car features Martini livery. A pure marketing exercise, of course, but it does remind me of Martini Porsches of old.
Martini has been sponsoring motorsport since 1968 and supported Porsche’s 917 race team in the early 1970s. Road-going Porsches with the Martini livery date back to October 1976 when a 911 Turbo so-endowed was displayed at the British motor show. From then on until 1983 you could order a Grand Prix White or black Turbo or 911SC with ‘World Championship stripes’, or option M42. In other words, the so called Martini cars were never a limited edition, but simply standard production cars with optional stripes.
This very Porsche way of doing things means that it’s hard to know how many Porsche 911s were endowed with Martini stripes, although I remember an owner once telling me that he reckoned Porsche sold around 24 right-hand drive 911 Turbos in the UK in 1979, and most were white with Caramel interiors. Porsche also listed the stripes as an aftermarket option that could be retrofitted to an existing car.
Martini Porsches today
Today, Martini Porsche 911 Turbos and SCs are rare. Some owners removed the stripes or they were lost during a restoration (they’re not to everyone’s taste and new ones are hard to create). Indeed, I have seen a 911 Turbo with the option M52 on the options sticker but it no longer had its stripes. I did see a Martini Porsche 911 Turbo for sale last year, you can read about it here.
Although the 911 Turbo and SC were never sold as an actual Martini model, the Porsche 924 was. A special 924 Martini limited-edition model was sold in 1977 to celebrate Porsche’s victory in the 1976 Championship of Makes.
Finished in Grand Prix White, these cars had the distinctive Martini stripes down each side, plus white wheels, red carpets, black and red seats with pale-blue piping, and red, blue and black stripes on the head rests. There was also a plaque on the centre console commemorating Porsche’s racing victories. It is thought that 3000 examples were built, but I suspect that a lot have been lost over the years, which is a shame.