There is a great deal of general confusion and incorrect information on the internet about the Schuppan street cars, especially regarding numbers built of the two very different variants-the 962CR and 962LM road / street cars. I aim to clear the confusion and correct the information with this page, and provide the definitive source that clarifies the situation.
My credentials for providing the definitive source. I started working for Vern Schuppan Ltd (VSL) in January 1991 on the development team for both of the two planned variants from the start of the very first prototype LM. On the imminent demise of VSL I joined ADA Engineering Ltd and subsequently Group C Ltd, and finally starting my own company Katana Ltd. My involvement with VSL cars is long and continuous. The following is based on my recollection of events, VSL records that I still retain, very many conversations with VSL colleagues and associates with whom I have been in touch over the intervening years, information provided by an owner and detailed information given to him by Vern Schuppan himself. If further credible information becomes available this page will be updated accordingly.
Vern Schuppan Ltd built:
1 x 962LM prototype Build #1 Build designation LM01 Chassis # VS 962LM P1
2 x 962LM production cars Build #3 Build designation LM02 Chassis # VS 962LM 01 (extant)
Build #4 Build designation LM04 Chassis # VS 962LM 02 (3) (extant)
2 x 962CR prototypes Build #2 Build designation CR01 Chassis # AS 962CR P1 (extant)
Build #5 Build designation CR02 Chassis # AS 962CR P2 (extant)
2 x 962CR production cars Build #6 Build designation CR03 Chassis # AS 962CR 04/50 (extant)
Build #7 Build designation CR04 Chassis # AS 962CR 05/50 (extant)
ADA Engineering Ltd built by ADA after VSL could no longer facilitate production:
1 x 962LM Build #8 Build designation LM03 Chassis # AS 962CR 06/50 (extant)
*Standard LM with partial CR rear bodywork.
Note: There was 1 x further VSL CR carbon fibre chassis which was never used by VSL and passed into the hands of a CR owner who subsequently sold it to Jochen Dauer to re-create the 1991 Havoline Andretti 962-172 as the original factory chassis was used to build one of the Dauer LM street cars that now resides in Brunei.
WHO-WHAT-IS VERN SCHUPPAN?
Vern Schuppan is a now retired 1970/80s Australian racing driver who had a very successful racing career in many race categories (including F1) across the UK, Europe, the US and Japan. He considers his greatest success to have been his 1983 Le Mans win in a works Porsche 956. His racing career is well documented, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vern_Schuppan but his post driving career is much less well known. In 1987, after retiring as a driver-Vern established Team Schuppan based in High Wycombe, England and during the period through to 1992 competed in the FIA WSPC (World Sports Prototype), AJSC (All Japan Sports) and IMSA (IMSA Camel GTP) championships. Alongside the race operation, he also formed VSL (Vern Schuppan Ltd) which provided specialist motor industry services to both race teams and major car manufacturers. With this corporate record and Vern’s personal success in Japan (where he had become something of a celebrity), VSL entered a joint venture with a Japanese conglomerate through their motor industry arm, Art Sports Corporation (AS). In 1992, with AS’s financial backing, VSL began to develop and get the approvals for a road going supercar that was as close as possible to the much-revered Porsche 962 race car, yet still user friendly for street use. To achieve this, VSL acquired new 60,000 sqft premises, hired an industry leading design and management team, more than 20 race engineers, and with substantially more than £2m (in 2019 terms) on R&D developments, designed and evolved the 962CR. The timing was catastrophic. No sooner than it was launched there was a severe World economic slump, and the market for cars such as the 962CR nose-dived. AS who had acquired the exclusive World distribution rights, had already contracted to buy 50 cars, but suddenly found themselves in the wrong place. After delivery of the first production car (AS 962CR 04/50) they negotiated their commitment down to 20 cars on the basis of a “20-or-nothing” offer. VSL wobbled but survived, and a few months later AS sought to re-negotiate again, then down to a 10-car commitment. VSL was not viable at that level and tried to enforce the 20-car contract through the English courts. Under that cloud AS dealt their ‘coup de grace’ and refused to take delivery of and pay for the next 2 cars (AS 962CR 05/50 and AS 962CR 06/50). VSL went into administration, and VS could not afford to continue the litigation and counter-litigation. AS were ‘off the hook’, and what were always intended to be exclusive and rare cars, became much more rare still.
The Schuppan-Porsche 962 CR and LM definitive history
THE FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A SCHUPPAN-PORSCHE LM & CR
Bodywork: Standard Porsche 962c Le Mans specification manufactured in carbon fibre, designed by Norbert Singer.
Chassis: Advanced Composite Technology (ACT) carbon fibre as used for the Team Schuppan and Team Davey race team cars.
Motor: Standard 2.65L factory 935-79 supplied by Porsche Motorsport Germany as used in both the 956 and early 962c between 1983 to 1985. Four valves per cylinder-four cam, air cooled barrels and water cooled cylinder heads producing 630BHP at 8200 rpm on Bosch Motronic MP1.2 management system.
Cooling: Intake for the water, engine oil and intercoolers are through the ducts on the top side of the doors.
Bodywork: Carbon fibre designed by Mike Simcoe.
Chassis: prototype #1 ACT full carbon fibre as per the LM - production chassis built by Reynard as per the ACT chassis in carbon fibre but 2" wider.
Motor: IMSA specification 3.4L supplied by Andial, two valves per cylinder-two cam, fully air cooled producing 600BHP.
Cooling: Intake for the oil and intercoolers are through the side ducts.
THE CHRONOLOGICAL PRODUCTION HISTORY FOR BOTH SCHUPPAN-PORSCHE VARIANTS.
Build #1 - LM prototype build designation LM01 chassis number VS 962LM P1
The LM prototype was built at the beginning of 1991 built primarily for systems testing using the ex-race chassis 962-123 which raced at Le Mans in 1988 finishing in 10th position. It was subsequently totally destroyed in a fire while returning from a test at the MIRA testing facility while being driven by Howden Ganley.
Build #2 - CR prototype build designation CR01 chassis number AS 962CR P1
VSL built in spring 1991 on the ex-Omron TS-01 ACT chassis as the 2" wider Reynard chassis were behind schedule. The 'AS' prefix indicating Art Sport Corp, Japan who were financially underwriting the CR development costs.This prototype is the black car in the VSL corporate brochure and the 1991 Le Mans yearbook. Now back in the UK under new ownership with a correct IMSA spec motor fitted.
Image from the 1991 Schuppan christmas card.
The author (right) with production manager Russell Naime in 1991.
Build #3 - The first production LM build designation LM02 chassis number VS 962LM 01
VSL built commenced 4th November 1991 on a new ACT chassis and delivered to Japan. Subsequently sold by Symbolic International (USA) circa 2009 after being updated with Motec engine management and a 1982 Rothmans livery. In the top left-hand corner of the workshop picture you can see the rear of the second silver CR prototype.
LM03 was originally assigned as the next build but for some reason (no one can now recall why) was not built at that time. The chassis was subsequently used to build the last car AS 962CR 06/50.
Build #4 - The second production LM build designation LM04 was VSL built over the winter of 1991 again in black number VS 962LM 02. Sold to Japan before being painted white by the second owner. In 2006 it was sold to its current owner Takeshi Moroi who repainted in the current 83> Rothmans livery. This is the car that features in the infamous Japanese online videos and also (below right) an episode of Top Gear
Build #5 - The second CR prototype build designation CR02 chassis number AS 962CR P2.
VSL built early 1992 finished in silver and used extensively in the US to promote VSL as a credible manufacturer. This was the first car to be built on the new Reynard carbon fibre chassis. This was two inches wider than the race spec ACT chassis to allow for more cabin room with only four chassis ever produced.
Image from the Schuppan brochure.
Image by John S Allen taken at Moroso Park in 1992.
There were a lot of pre-production issues with this car particularly with the engine cooling. It was later completely rebuilt with most of the original body parts being destroyed. Sold to Japan in VSL silver before being repainted and re-trimmed in canary yellow by Bingo Sports. Identifiable by the new duct on the tail for an additional engine oil cooler and the round Koito headlights with smooth five spoke wheels.
The chassis number is confirmed by the current (July 2019) owners Bingosports.
Build #6 - The first production CR build designation CR03 chassis number AS 962CR 04/50.
VSL built on the second wider Reynard chassis and finished in VSL silver before being re-painted flat black. This is distinguishable from P2 as it has six spoke SSR wheels along with twin rectangular headlights which were required for the production car to be compliant in Japan. To finance the whole 962CR project, VSL had sold the exclusive World distribution rights to Art Sports Corp in a fifty car deal with this being the first production car delivered to Japan in 1992, reputedly sold for 195m Yen (£3M in 2019 terms). At more than three times the (1992) price of a Jaguar XJR15 the Schuppan 962CR could arguably lay claim to being the very first Hypercar. Current whereabouts unknown.
The chassis number can be confirmed from the advert when it was advertised for sale by Flat 4 circa 2010.
Build #7 - The second and final VSL production 962CR build designation CR04 chassis number AS 962CR 05/50.
VSL built using the third wider Reynard carbon fibre chassis. VSL sought to deliver this car to Art Sports Corp (AS) against the AS/VSL contract which required payment on off-loading. AS got an 'ex parte' court order in the UK to get it off loaded from the aircraft at Heathrow, but it was literally hours too late as the aircraft had already left. Whilst it was en-route AS got another court order in Japan which prohibited their border authorities off-loading it, and VSL had to return it to the UK. At a subsequent court hearing, court ruled VSL had the right to sell the car elsewhere without prejudice to the AS/VSL contract. VSL sold it to a buyer in the US, but the car remained in the UK new and unused until Alain de Cadenet's Victory by Design TV special on Porsche where it was included as the closing marque feature car. It was subsequently acquired by the current owner in 1995.
In 2006 while working at Group C Ltd we carried out the modifications required to obtain an SVA (single vehicle approval) certificate for 962CR 05/50 in order that if and when required the car could be legally registered for use on the public highway in the UK. As compliance tests had become far more stringent than they were in the early 90s. Motec management system was required to comply with the emission test, a collapsible steering column had to be designed, new headlights, Polycarbonate side windows, speed rating correct tyres and a host of other items relating to the contactable areas on the exterior and interior which required attention.
Build #8 - The last of the three planned LM's build designation LM03 chassis number AS 962CR 06/50.
ADA Engineering built on the unbuilt LM03 race spec ACT carbon fibre chassis. Without the resources nor indeed the necessary parts required to build another CR a decision was made to build the last LM as most of the parts required were available at the VSL factory. By this time VSL was in complex litigation with AS and fighting for its financial survival. Seemingly encouraged by AS, but without the resources to build the car itself, VSL engaged ADA Engineering to build the car, no doubt helped by the fact that by this time the author Trevor Crisp had left VSL for ADA. It was built between 24 July through to 21 August 1993 in a record 1500 hours.
Rather than build it as a straightforward LM it was decided to make it "appear" as a CR primarily with a view to get it past the ACO (Le Mans organisers) to allow it to compete in the 1994 Le Mans race as a Schuppan 962CR entrant to help encourage Porsche AG's sponsorship/support buy-in and re-ignite interest from AS. Anyone who has ever had dealings with the ACO would realise that this plan would never work and they would spot that this was a completely standard race spec 962c albeit with a CR rear bumper and half a CR tail section. Additionally by this time three LM's had been registered for use on UK roads therefore it would have been more logical to submit a standard LM. The standard LM tail aero was a proven package and the CR tail would have very little, if any downforce being more aesthetic rather than functional. The story about it being taken to Le Mans and presented to the ACO as two separate cars is pure fiction.
Mike Simcoe designed the Schuppan 962CR, he did not design this car apart from the rear half of the tail/wing and the rear bumper. This as with the previous LM's was designed by Norbert Singer and is in essence a 1985 Le Mans spec 962c. The motor is exactly the same Porsche factory built 2.65L 935/79 unit as used in the 956 and early 962c with a maximum power output of 630 bhp at the factory recommended 1.2 bar.
Needless to say the Le Mans plan failed to progress and VSL sought to deliver the car to AS against a letter of credit in accordance with the AS/VSL contract. AS successfully argued in the UK High Court that CR06 was in no way compliant with their CR contact, but nevertheless an asset of VSL against whom AS had a pending legal claim. As with CR05 this also became the subject of a court ruling which allowed VSL the right to sell the car elsewhere. The current owner of CR05 bought the car in 1995 and sold it to a US buyer in 2009 where it has regularly been seen purporting to be a genuine VSL built 962CR which nomenclature it may well have, but in reality this was "a flag of convenience" designed to hoodwink the ACO and Art Sports Corp. From the time it was built in 1993 to the time it left the UK in 2009 it was always referred to as an LM.
This car was also owned by the owner of 962CR 05/50 so in 2006 we took 06/50 along with 05/50 for SVA compliance testing and found that the modifications required in order to pass were too great to overcome without substantial modifications that would greatly alter the overall appearance. Along with the aforementioned items required for 05/50 the headlights are some four inches too low with no room to incorporate any kind of pop up solution. We abandoned the application for 06/50.
The two VSL variants and the ADA built car giving a better perspective of the differences.
Once you take the rear wing out of the equation the differences become a lot clearer.
Due to the nature of this article it has been necessary to utilise various images sourced from the internet with no breach of copyright intended. If any image owners have concerns or require a photo credit please feel free to use the contact form in the menu.
Last update: December 2020.