In a rare move, Porsche is reproducing the four limited-edition 911 GT2 RS sports cars that went down with the Italian merchant ship, Grande America, on March 12.
Porsche only built around 1,000 of the 690 hp 911 GT2 RS models and four of them were among the 2,000 vehicles onboard the container ship, Grande America, that caught fire during a trip from Hamburg to Casablanca and sank off the coast of France.
Porsche lost 37 cars in total while the rest were various Audi models. The 911 GT2 RS sports cars are valued at $293,200 each.
Carscoops first broke the story about the lost cars, and Porsche later confirmed that it will reproduce the four cars for their owners, despite the fact that the line was discontinued in February.
— Boss Auto Service (@bossautocanada) March 19, 2019
In the letter obtained by Carscoops, Porsche wrote to the customers:
“We are sorry to inform you that, due to a fire, a Grimaldi group ship, that was transporting your vehicle, sank on March 12, 2019. And for that reason, your GT2 RS can not be delivered.
“As you may know, Porsche ended the 991 GT2 RS production on February 2019 and under normal circumstances, it wouldn’t be possible to give you another car. But, due to the nature of the situation, and considering that you’re a loyal and highly valuable customer for our brand, Porsche has decided to resume the GT2 RS production in Germany, and your vehicle will be produced in April, with delivery scheduled for June.
“We recommend that you contact your local Porsche Center for further information.”
The new Porsche GT2 RS Clubsport. Second. To none. What do you need to make the sports car of your dreams a reality? Vision. Determination. But above all passion. #PorscheRacing #LAAutoShow pic.twitter.com/e9SA4xuX1c
— Porsche (@Porsche) November 30, 2018
A spokesperson for Porsche in Brazil confirmed the loss of the cars and that the company would rebuild them.
“In a special decision and to uphold its commitment to its valued Brazilian customers, Porsche has ensured that those units will be reproduced in the order in which they were originally confirmed,” the spokesperson confirmed to Carscoops.
— Road & Track (@RoadandTrack) March 19, 2019
The Sinking of the Grande America
While none of the cars or cargo survived, the entire crew of 27 did.
The sailors on the HMS Argyll from the Royal Navy came to the rescue.
The HMS Argyll traveled the 150 miles through rough sea conditions to rescue the crew one-by-one.
It took them just eight hours to save everyone aboard the Grande America, according to Daily Mail.
— World Maritime News (@worldmaritimene) March 13, 2019
HMS Argyll Lieutenant Commander Dave Tetchner told the Daily Mail about the plight of the crew aboard the doomed ship. He said, “It was pretty awful for them—they’d had to fight a fire in dreadful seas.”
The crew had attempted to save the ship amid the flames but were forced to abandon it, climbing into their lifeboat despite the 16-20 foot waves surrounding them.
However, the lifeboat’s engine was damaged. The crew was thus unable to get away from the flames as they were left “bobbing around like a cork in a bathtub,” according to the National Post.
“Every one of them suffered smoke inhalation,” Lt. Tetchner said. “Then they faced the prospect of abandoning ship and then their lifeboat failed. It was pretty awful all round and they were shocked.”
RT RadioPlymNews “RT NavyLookout: MV Grande America being monitored by MarineNationale in Bay of Biscay. Still on fire and has developed serious list to starboard
— Radio Plymouth (@radioplymouth) March 12, 2019
The cause of the fire is unknown, although it is believed to have broken out on the car deck before spreading to a container, according to BBC.
“You see container ships like this every day when you’re sailing around the world,” Lt. Tetchner said. “What you do not see is one in flames—it was a dreadful sight.
The HMS Argyll took the rescued crew of 27 sailors to the French port of Brest where some required hospital treatment, although no one sustained any life-threatening injuries.
Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson commended the work of the HMS Argyll. “HMS Argyll’s swift and selfless response to [a] very dangerous situation in difficult conditions undoubtedly saved 27 lives. I commend her crew,” he said, reported the National Post.
“This rescue demonstrates that even on the final leg of a challenging nine-month deployment to the Far East, the Royal Navy’s sailors remain vigilant and professional at all times,” he added.
Not what we expected to find on our way home. But the affinity between all mariners at sea meant we could save all 27 lives onboard. Through close co-operation with @MarineNationale and @SGMer. Exceptional effort by all the team onboard. #savinglivesatsea #teamwork pic.twitter.com/m2ZDOmR2qe
— HMS Argyll (@hms_argyll) March 12, 2019