Every time another beautiful vintage race car is lost, another part of my soul withers away. Today, I’m experiencing yet another shriveling after watching a Porsche 962C worth $1.2 million eat a barrier at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
The video comes courtesy of Auto Addiction on Youtube. No one but the Porsche was hurt in the accident. Watch if you dare:
One look at the crash damage, and you’d be forgiven for thinking the 962C took a barrier head-on at full speed — but that’s not the case. The car was coming out of the slow-speed chicane that leads to the start/finish line when the driver lost control and snapped nose-first into the wall. You can hear the engine RPM climb just before it heads for the wall, which is likely what caused the rear end kick out in the first place. The force of impact was enough to demolish the front clip and even rip off a door.
This crash is especially hard to watch because the 962C is an icon. Developed in the early 1980s before hitting the track in 1984, the Porsche was based heavily on the 956 that it replaced, and it had a remarkably long life for a race car. The 962 was competitive well into the 1990s, which is damn impressive. In motorsport, new tech and new regulations can make cars obsolete within the space of a season.
Of the 91 cars built by Porsche, 16 were used by the factory team, while 75 were sold to private buyers. It’s the car that took sports car ace Derek Bell to 21 victories — but it’s also the car that killed Stefan Bellof. The car, for all of its technical supremacy, wasn’t necessarily where you wanted to be in a crash. That’s part of what makes this recent crash at Spa a relief; no one was hurt.
This particular 962C was rebuilt and restored by Steimann Motorsport. The on chassis is new, and the rest of the parts were sourced from all around Germany to create a machine valued at $1.2 million. Here’s hoping Steimann can put it all back together again.