It’s a great time to collect 1:64 Porsche race cars. Hot Wheels has been on a streak for the past couple of years with new racing castings like the 934, 917 LH and 962 to complement an ever-expanding range of stock road cars. There’s a rally-raid 959 about to drop and Matchbox has done an interesting rally 911, with a great-looking 550 Spyder on the way in the Moving Parts line.
At a higher price point, Tarmac Works and Spark are churning out recent 911 race cars in a host of different decos (look out for the upcoming Tarmac Pink Pig). Then there is a stack of tuner cars in retro race decos, real or fictional, notably the RWB and Magnus Walker machines, although personally I prefer the real thing.
Motorsport has been a part of Porsche since at least the official Le Mans entry of 1951 and customers have entered their cars in races and rallies for almost as long, so there is a ton of suitable subjects available for diecast companies to model. I thought it would be fun to dip into my collection and showcase 10 of my favourites.
I’m going to list them in alphabetical order by brand and leave out recent 911 GTEs and GT3s, both for space reasons and because they’ve received plenty of visibility elsewhere. Let’s get started!
I’m a fan of the recent Hot Wheels 962 casting (those Advan, GReddy and Momo decos are based on real cars) and they also did a nice job with the 917 LH (Langheck – longtail). But for me the 917K (for Kurzheck – short tail) casting from 1999-2003 stands above other Hot Wheels Porsche racers. The proportions and opening rear are fantastic.
The yellow 100% Hot Wheels 917K pictured here represents Jo Siffert’s Martini car from Kyalami in 1970. The red Porsche Salzburg car that won Le Mans the same year was also made, along with a Gulf version. All are now sought after and correspondingly expensive. The casting was later retooled without the opening rear, including for an RLC Gulf release.
Just for fun, here’s the Siffert car with a couple of other 917s – the Gulf LH (as raced at Le Mans in 1971), an old pink Redline and a nice Corgi Junior 917K that’s a whole lot cheaper than the Hot Wheels.
Next comes Kyosho. For me, the Japanese brand is the benchmark for 1:64 racing Porsches – just as it is for Ferraris, Alfas and so many other marques. I’ve picked out several here, beginning with the 906 Carrera 6. It was part of the original Porsche Minicar Collection about 15 years ago and is in the colours of the car that Tetsu Ikuzawa drove to victory in the 1967 Japan Grand Prix at Fuji.
The Kyosho 936 is another beautiful casting. It was issued in the Porsche MiniCar Collection 3 along with a couple of other versions. My Martini one represents the car that finished second at Le Mans in 1978.
I also have a couple of 935s from Kyosho, too, both from the Porsche 934/935 Racing MiniCar Collection (best collection name ever?!). The orange Jägermeister car is the Max Moritz machine from the Norisring in 1977. The teal Kremer #40, which comes in two versions, was raced at Le Mans in ’79.
The 935 has had a whole bunch of attention in 1:64. If you can find it, there’s an amazing Martini car by Kyosho that was in Porsche Minicar Collection 2, but its various evolutions have also been modeled by Corgi (wheelbase looks wrong), Matchbox (nice, but no real-life decos) and of course, Hot Wheels. The Momo and PPG/Bilstein cars are both based on real racing paint schemes.
Arguably less well known than Kyosho but every bit as good are the Minichamps 1:64 Porsches from a few years ago. I have a couple in my collection, including a Martini 935 that won at Watkins Glen in 1976 driven by Rolf Stommelen and Manfred Schurti.
My other Minichamps is a beautiful Bob Wollek 934 in the famous Vaillant colours. Majorette recently launched a Vintage Deluxe Edition of this car. For an affordable 1:43 Vaillant car, try the Bburago 935.
Next comes Politoys/Polistil (the name was changed after a few years to avoid confusion with Palitoy). My 1:66 Politoys 917 is probably the oldest model here; I’m unsure of its exact age but it was part of a ‘Penny’ range from around 1970 that included several other racing sportscars – a Ferrari 312, a Ford GT, an Alfa 33 and a Matra. What it lacks in scale accuracy, it makes up for in period charm.
The later Polistil RJ 917/10 is fantastic, capturing the over-the-top aesthetic of the Can-Am era in a chunky, three-inch toy. I’ll even forgive the fact that it should be dark blue, not black. As you can see, the chrome base has corroded with time, but a quick web search reveals this isn’t unusual for this model. Check out Doug Breithaupt’s recent article for more on the Polistil RJ racers.
It’s great to see Spark’s ‘Sparky’ 1:64 models now getting wider distribution in North America. Two Porsche favourites are the 956 and the 919 Hybrid.
The 956 is shown in the Joest New Man deco, in which the same chassis took consecutive victories at Le Mans in 1984 and ’85. Mine’s an ’85, but both are available. It’s an iconic colour scheme, but then, the 956 and its 962 successor raced in a ton of classic liveries: Rothmans, Shell, Canon, Löwenbräu, Coke, Leyton House, Trust/GReddy, Advan (below), Blaupunkt and Warsteiner, to name a few. Years ago, Onyx took advantage of this with a string of great 1:43 models. I hope that Hot Wheels chooses some more of them for future 962s.
The Spark 956 is also available in a tobacco-free Rothmans scheme but there were some fantastic Tomica versions made in the 1980s, too. These are hard to get now, at least outside of Japan, and correspondingly pricey. The MC Toys/Maisto knock-off – pictured here with the Spark and the HW 962 – is cheaper, but kinda nasty.
The Spark 919 Hybrid is the most recent racing Porsche featured here, so a good place to finish. The 2015 variant is available in three different liveries, matching the colours in which Porsche raced at Le Mans that year (there are a couple of 2017s as well). I went for the 2015-winning white car purely because I’m a Nick Tandy fan.
And that’s our 11! I know, it was supposed to be 10 models, but I’ve Spinal Tapped it up to 11 because I found it hard to choose…
Hope you’ve enjoyed this round-up. Clearly there are a ton more fabulous racing Porsche models that I haven’t included here (a couple of extras sneaked into the pic below) and yet more that haven’t been made in 1:64 scale. I’d love to see a DHL RS Spyder, for example. Tell me about your own favourites in the comments below!