Classic Driver Marktplatz
|DKW Porsche TM Special |
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|1963 DKW-Porsche TM Special|
Silver with Black Interior
During the 1950s and 1960s American Special racecars were a common sight at race meetings all over the US where they competed head to head with considerable success against the very best that the European manufactures could offer. Often hybrids by design, these American Specials were built from combinations of the preferred equipment available to the motoring public from their era, and are generally one-of-a-kind with colorful history.
This particular car is one such example. Admiring the lightweight, mid-engine construction of the highly effective Porsche 550, Curtis Thews, a mechanic for Studebaker and the owner of a VW/Porsche franchise, set out to develop his own small bore sports racer.
Curtis had experience racing in SCCA's production classes and had previously built a front-engine Crosley racer. Having access to Porsche's racing parts inventory, starting in 1963, Thews began laying out a design for his special.
Rather than constructing his own tubular chassis, Thews started with the welded-up sheet steel perimeter frame from a DKW Junior, a little front-wheel drive sedan with inboard brakes that was light and strong. Thews added some round tubing for a rollbar and front battery support, and a new rear sub-frame to support an engine and transaxle. The front suspension remained largely DKW, incorporating Porsche 356 brakes. The rear suspension was taken from a 356 as well, with VW Transporter brakes. Centaur, a small racing shop in Detroit, supplied the fiberglass body.
Thews then bought a pair of brand-new 1600cc Porsche Type 692 four-cam Carrera engines in Texas. To comply with H/Modified, (for under 850cc engines), Thews made one of his Carrera fours into a Carrera two. Removing one pair of opposing pistons and rods, machining special caps to block the appropriate oil passages in the crankshaft, blanking off the empty cylinders, removing lobes from two camshafts, and the no-longer-necessary valve train parts, Thews created a very effective four-cam twin of just under 800cc. Then he went racing. Not just in H/Modified with the twin, but in F, by swapping out the smaller motor and installing the 1600cc Porsche four-cylinder overnight.
The TM Special enjoyed great success while racing across the Midwest, however it proved too heavy to be a consistent winner in H/Modified. After a 911 motor was installed, the car became an autocross winner.
In 2004, the car was sold to a collector on the West Coast, who in turn then sold it to the current owner. The car was restored for vintage racing in a no-expense spared fashion by Emory Motorsports. New Koni shocks were installed up front, with Koni coil-overs in the rear. A new, stronger rollbar was fabricated. The car was subsequently featured in the November 2008 issue of Excellence.
This particular TM Special is fitted with a flat-four push rod engine prepared by Tim Morris at German Master Tech. It incorporates a Porsche 912 case and heads, Shasta pistons, and a Neutek cam. Morris says the new motor has break-in time only, and easily develops a hundred reliable horsepower.
This is a rare opportunity to acquire a one-off vintage American racing special of unique design an uncanny craftsmanship. The restoration retains a very fresh appearance, and the car comes with extensive documentation and period photographs.