Building the Porsche 908/80 – Le Mans 24 hours 1980 – from a Tamiya 936 kit 1/24 scale

by Guy Golsteyn © Modeler Site

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The average modeler encounters problems on a regular basis in his modeling career, and he has to deal with them: that is part of the challenge. But one of my main modeling dilemma’s has nothing to do with techniques, but everything with the decision about which model I will start building next. Building one model out of my stockpile means NOT building any of the other 260 models waiting construction, so it takes quite a while before I finally decide what to do. Sometimes lady luck gives me a hint like this time, when I stumbled on a Studio27 decalset on ebay to build the Porsche in which Ickx/Jöst became second at the 1980 Le Mans 24 hours race, behind Rondeau in a car bearing his own name. For years I had believed there was no kit or conversion set available for this car, so when I realized it actually existed I didn’t hesitate to buy it. And at the same time I made my choice about the model I was going to build: the 1/24 Tamiya Porsche 936 which had to be converted into a Porsche 908/80.


Study of the model and starting the basic conversion

Some research to the whereabouts and history of this car soon learned me that the name “908” made no sense at all because it was in fact a disguised Porsche 936, which apparently wasn’t allowed to be called like this for some reason. It seems this car was actually the fourth Porsche 936 factory chassis built as a spare car for the three official factory cars. It was never raced in Le Mans. Porsche participated at Le Mans with Porsches 936 in 1976 (victory for Ickx), 1977 (victory for Ickx), 1978 (second place for Ickx), 1979 (DNF) and 1981 (victory for Ickx). In 1980 Porsche didn’t race any factory prototypes at Le Mans. But Reinhold Jöst was aware of the spare chassis and got the chance to purchase it, after which he decided to participate at the Le Mans 24 hours as a privateer. Jöst succeeded in hiring Jacky Ickx as his team member. Since the Porsche factory didn’t want any Porsche 936 on the entry list they decided to call it “Porsche 908/80”. But to be clear: it had nothing to do with the old Porsche 908 from the ‘60ies.

To be able to execute this conversion I needed a 1/24 Tamiya Porsche 936 as a base. The question was: which one? Tamiya has two kits available: the 1977 Porsche 936 and the 1978 Porsche 936. More research learned me that the Porsche 908/80 in fact turns out to be a mixture of both models. The overall shape of the Porsche 908/80 comes closest to the 1977 Porsche 936, with the high side wings holding a large rear spoiler. But behind the air scoop of the 1977 Porsche are four air intakes which are not present on the 908/80. The central air intake, escorted by two air intakes to both sides and covered by some protective mesh caps are identical as shown on the 1978 model. So I decided to use the 1977 model as a base on which I made the 1978 adaptations. Finally I could start modeling!

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