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From the Motor Sport Archive
THE PORSCHE factory has won the Targa Florio for the last five years as well as five times before that, but not consecutively, and to many people that would be sufficient, but not for Porsche. This time they came not only to win hut to pulverise any opposition that might appear and the whole weight of the racing department was thrown into the attack. The subtle niceties of there being no official works Porsche team, but two privately-sponsored teams with works support, went by the board, and although JW Automotive and Porsche Salzburg were the entrants that is as far as the non-works activity went. Everything was pooled in the name of Porsche-Stuttgart and it was a factory onslaught on the Targa Florio that was unsurpassed. They knew that the first half of the circuit from the start to Bivio Polizzi was a mountain hill-climb, and from Polizzi to Campolelice was a mountain hill-climb downhill. Only the straight along the coast back to the start was scientific and aerodynamic. Consequently Porsche concocted a Targa Florio Special. Two years ago they won the European Mountain Hill-climb Championship with a Porsche 909, which was a super lightweight open car, with a 2-litre flat-eight-cylinder engine mounted well forward, with the gearbox situated between the engine and the rear axle. The driver sat so far forward that the steering column was barely 12 inches long, and the front anti-roll bar ran across the car a few inches ahead of the steering wheel. This Special was called the "Bergspyder" and it was highly successful, but was only a 2-litre. Porsche thought "now if we could get a 3-litre 908 engine into that car ?" and thus was born the 908 Mark III, especially for the Targa Florio. The original "Bergspyder" was used to test the idea and taken to Sicily many weeks before the race, for evaluation purposes, a prototype Mark III was built and tested and then four brand-new cars were built for the race. The eight drivers required were taken from all the Porsche-supported activities and three of the cars were accredited to JW Automotive and Gulf, and one to Porsche KG and they were painted in the most beautiful array of colours and designs yet seen in European racing, the main reason being to be able to identify each car from a long way off in the mountains.