Classic Porsche 911 - Surveys owners, repair and operation of 911 news stories and page model, sales and much more in ou...
Classic Porsche 911 - Surveys owners, repair and operation of 911 news stories and page model, sales and much more in our club fans and fans of the legendary series cars Porsche 911. All about 911-901, 930, 964, 993, 996 and new era 997 and 991-series.

If you're buying a used 911 as an investment, send me your address so that I can arrange a visit from the boys. Investors who never drive their 911s bring a word to mind. That word is 'pimp'. As 911 diehards, the boys don't like pimps, so when they arrive, make sure your engine is still warm, the exhaust system is making that tinkling noise and there is evidence in your tyres of some recently accomplished brisk cornering.

All 911s, from 1963 to this afternoon, share a characteristic 911 'feel', but that varies greatly in degree. Bog-standard used Coupes from the late 1970s or 1980s once delivered the goods for sensible money but they might demand some restoration work now.

Choosing a 911 is such a very personal matter. Just go for what you really want, get the best straight car you can find and look after it. Reliability is legendary but repairs can be costly.

My choice is currently the 993 Carrera 2 Coupe of 1993-98. Its predecessor, the 964, was respectable but dull. The 993's different, agile feel makes it terrific to drive and good ones go for less than £30,000 - this week, anyway.
It's the last air-cooled 911 model but so what? Later models lost nothing by being water-cooled. No, pick a 993 for its exhilarating agility, and its price.

A friend of mine paid £26,000 for a superb 1994 993 Carrera 2 in late 2013. He loves it, whether he's tootling about the shops or on a 300-mile blast through the remote Highlands of Scotland, where it truly excels. And that's no more than it deserves.

Porsche 911 Carrera RS
1973 // £500,000
The eternally great, ultimate development of the original 911 concept, it combines high performance and low weight with inch-perfect precision handling. Superb but the price of this model now, sir, is officially‘through the roof'. If you buy one, promise us you will use it.

On an autumn day in 1972 the salesman from Porsche GB came to visit our house. 'We're making a special car,' he told my father. 'Only 200 will be built, and we're offering them to our best clients first as demand is sure to be strong.' They built more than 1500 in the end, and demand was so great that, instead of management having to use them as company cars to use up unsold stock as expected, Porsche sold out the first batch of 500 immediately and had to build two more series.

Why the fuss? Because the RS is so much more than the sum of its parts. It was derived from the relatively humble 2.4S, but with flared rear arches and wider wheels (a 911 first), bored-out engine (at 2.7 litres Porsche's biggest road car motor to date), a rear spoiler (another first, and not just for Porsche, so initially illegal in some markets) and, last but not least, weight-loss that took the RS under the magic 1000kg in 'lightweight' trim.
The result: 150mph, 0-60mph in 5.0sec, handling to die for (and you would if you lifted off mid-comer) and a string of victories on every continent including rallies, Le Mans and the Targa Florio. Oh, and you can drive it to the shops.

Mine's been in the family for 42 years and has never once 'failed to proceed'. Beat that, Enzo...

Porsche 911 GT3 (997-series, generation II)
2009-12 // £80,000-120,000
The 997-series Generation II cars were terrific in their time and the naturally aspirated 997 GT3 was a hugely powerful, seriously fabulous machine, subtly better in fast corners than previous GT3 models.
A classic in waiting - bound to be a sound long-term investment.

Any brand new 911
2015 // From around £75,000
Admit it, they are absolutely brilliant. If you don’t want one, you should. Buy it, keep it, service it properly. One day, it will be a classic but, meanwhile, enjoy a few happy decades driving it. The best of all worlds.
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    We take a look at the recently-restored Per Eklund #Porsche-911-SCRS rally car. Swedish rally star Per Eklund ran this factory-built 911 as a privateer in the WRC in 1978 and #1981 , and now it’s been totally restored. We caught it in action on the rally stage at 2014’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Words: Johnny Tipler. Photos: Antony Fraser (statics), Johan Dirickx (archive), Johnny Tipler (action).

    I duck instinctively. A cloud of dust, stones flying everywhere as the white 911 sweeps sideways round the final bend on Goodwood’s Festival of Speed rally stage, barrelling angrily along the final run between the bales to the finish line. It’s Johan Dirickx, Belgian Porschephile extraordinaire, resolutely helming his latest acquisition, the ex-Per Eklund SC.

    Whilst snappers are liberally showered with shingle, there’s no particular danger of an off as Johan is familiar with the course, having run his Bastos SCRS here on previous occasions. He has a penchant for 911s with provenance, and bought the Eklund car in 2013, its illustrious rally star owner having abandoned the restoration that he’d implemented a full 15 years earlier. In the past year, under Johan’s tenure, the car has been comprehensively rebuilt from the bare shell – including a repaint and replicating the original Happy People livery – at Johan’s 911Motorsport workshops in Kontich, Belgium. All mechanical work, including a comprehensive engine and transmission rebuild, has been expertly carried out inhouse by Mike van Dingenen.

    A passionate collector, Johan makes an acute assessment of the Eklund 911: ‘There were two factory cars – the East African Safari cars – and then there were three cars built to most of the Safari specs, and one of those is this one, the Per Eklund car. I think two of the three client cars still survive. So this car was pretty much built up like the Safari cars, and that’s why it is a little bit higher, and if you look at the rear wheel arches you’ll note that they are much wider than SC wheel arches, more like STs. There are signs that this is an experimental engine; you’ve got the high butterflies and single-plug ignition, which is strange because most of those engines ran on twin sparks. The engine sounds pretty similar to the SCRS; it’s a deep boom. I absolutely love it.

    ‘Also the suspension is different to what you would expect, and it could indicate it was a prototype, because the car is much higher. Those were some of the little things that #Porsche did at the time when it was built into a race car; all those little things that only Porsche did that no individual would ever have done.’

    The car has an intriguing provenance. Chassis number #911 410 2989, it only competed in a couple of WRC events, though Per Eklund campaigned it in a number of less important rallies, the car ending up with 935 style front bodywork doing autocross, a discipline (if that’s the right word) that Eklund excels in. A works Saab rally driver from #1970 to 1979, he scored a fair number of podiums at the wheel of a 96 V4, and like several of his countrymen he is up there with the gods of the WRC. He was Swedish Rally Champion in 1978, and Swedish Rallycross Champion as recently as 2004.

    So how come the #Porsche-911 ? In 1978 Per was looking for a suitable rally car for the #1978 WRC season, and was introduced by his pal, Prodrive engineer David Lapworth, to the exalted short run of rally 911s that Porsche was building in Weissach at the time.

    This batch consisted of just five cars, two of which were retained by the factory, one ordered by Alméras Frères (winners of the 1978 Monte Carlo Rally with Jean- Pierre Nicolas), and one by Prodrive, in the pipeline for Henri Toivonen to contest the 1984 European Rally Championship, while the fifth went to Eklund Motorsport.

    Rather than being the very latest kit to come out of Weissach, the specification actually dates from four years earlier, 1974, when Porsche homologated the 911 to FIA regulation 3062. The competition department didn’t actuate the homologation until 1978 when they decided to build up the SC as a competition car to Safari spec, based on FIA 3062. The factory finally decided to go for the East African Safari Rally and nail the win, according to Jürgen Barth, who was, predictably, involved with the project at Weissach, along with Roland Kussmaul.

    Working backwards, in 1974 Porsche created what they called the ST kit, which seems to have been an adjunct to the pre-existing ST race car spec that came into being as a factory-derived competition car in 1970. Although not well documented, it’s likely that 15 examples of the original 2.3-litre #Porsche-911ST were built in race and rally format, with a further 23 units of the 2.5-litre 911ST documented as race cars. In The Porsche Book, Jürgen Barth lists the chassis numbers of 15 special 911S race and rally cars from 1970 and 1971, with 23 race cars from #1972 . The ST designation was an in-house amalgam of the #Porsche-911S engine and the lighter #Porsche-911T chassis.

    Eight years on, it enabled Porsche to build this small run of rally 911s to comply with the #FIA papers based on the 1974 car. Porsche judged the 1974 car to be the lightest base-model of the range, and so that was the starting point for the 1978 project. While a number of key privateers like Kremer and GELO Racing acquired STs and SC packages in the early ’70s, these later kits were so rally specific that only Alméras, Prodrive and Eklund Motorsport got them.

    The Alméras SC was also a narrow-body Group 3 lookalike, and they had a second 911 which was the Group 4 car, built up as a wide body Tarmac specification car, on account of the fundamentally Tarmac requirement of French rallies, whereas Prodrive and Per Eklund stayed with the narrow bodied 911, given the gravel-strewn surfaces of the rallies they would be entering.

    These two cars were built at the same time, but with significant collaboration between Per Eklund and David Lapworth. As such, the cars resemble each other very closely, and were equally similar in specification to the two 1978 works Safari cars (see sidebar).

    The comprehensive ST kit installed in the lightweight car comprises the 300bhp 3.0-litre flat-six built by Porsche Motorsport (with butterfly injection instead of the slider injection that was prone to jam due to dust on rally stages), a close-ratio gearbox with oil pump and cooler on top of the ’box (like the RSR), a 10,000rpm rev counter, competition clutch, competition exhaust manifolds and system, and a front-mounted #Porsche-935 oil tank.

    The uprated suspension components include front springs and struts with coil-over rear shocks, wrapped alloy trailing arms, and uprated brakes based on the 935’s at the front. There’s a front-mounted engine oil cooler, bias-adjustable pedal box, rear ducktail engine-lid spoiler, rear wing extensions in metal, and front alloy crossmember. The shell is reinforced in strategic places, including the engine bay and suspension mounts, with double-skinned front wheelarches and alloy roll cage. A battery of four Bosch spotlamps on the front lid completes the image.

    According to Per Eklund, the kit did not include the additional rally equipment of sump guards, seat, spotlights and steering wheel, and hydraulic handbrake, which he didn’t like. At the time, seats and steering wheel were left to driver choice, and sump guards were fitted according to the nature of the stages the cars were rallied on. The fuel tank was original so the spare wheel could be carried. Fuchs wheels were fitted at the front, and Fuchs or ATS Cookie Cutters on the back, depending on the nature of the stages. Per Eklund confirms that he received the complete ST kit from Jürgen Barth as one of the three selected teams, and indeed Jürgen refers to the batch as ‘STs with Porsche Motorsport’.

    The Per Eklund 911SC (or is it ‘ST’?…) began life as a standard car, converted with Porsche support in his Swedish workshop and remained in his ownership until Johan bought it. Bedecked in its jolly Happy People livery, its moment of glory was Finland’s FIA 1000 Lakes Rally of 1978, where Per and co-pilot Björn Cederberg finished 4th – having been 3rd on the road but docked a place for speeding on a transit section and receiving a time penalty.

    The 1000 Lakes was also nicknamed the Thousand Jumps on account of the notorious ’yumping’ over countless blind crests. A photo in Motor Sport’s October 1978 edition shows the Happy People car chucking up mud while spectators on a sunny hillside shelter under brollies. Amazingly, this was the very first time that Porsche scored points on gravel in the World Rally Championship.

    And the sponsor? According to Johan, ‘Happy People was a non profit organisation, and it seems that it still exists.’ But whether any funds changed hands, or Per just liked the logo is a moot point. As Johan says, ‘Per did not have any sponsorship and therefore volunteered to carry “Happy People” on the car, and even if that isn’t 100 per cent true, it is a nice story.’ The Eklund SC was then used at National Championship level with a good degree of success in rallies like the Hunsrück in 1979, and in the #1981 Swedish Rally where, notwithstanding its age, Per finished 9th overall, sponsored by Publimmo, with co-driver Ragnar Spjuth. This pair contested the 1981 Rally of 1000 Lakes, but failed to finish because of mechanical problems. Resplendent in white Clarion livery, Per then went rallycrossing with it, funking it up with 935 style droop-soot nose, front lid and polyester bumpers, all parts supplied by Porsche. These period parts have been kept with the car, including the original Swedish number plate, HOH 276. The car was then retired and placed in the local motor museum at Arvik, Karlstad, Sweden, part of which is dedicated to Per and his WRC successes, including his formidable Metro 6R4 from 1986.

    Back in the late ’90s Per decided to restore the car with the idea that he would enter the European Historic Rally Championship, so he extracted it from the museum. In 1999 the original Porsche Motorsport engine and gearbox were dispatched to Francis Tuthill for overhaul, though they remain under wraps and have never been reinstalled in the car. The projected restoration was never finished: Per was pulled from the project to run an X-Games (X = Extreme sports) team in the States, so in #2013 ownership of the car passed to Johan Dirickx.

    Perfectionist that he is, Johan instantly embarked on a full restoration, from bare metal repaint and application of the red-nosed clown and Happy People identification, based on a multitude of period archive images, to a comprehensive rebuild of the drivetrain and running gear. Happy People? A genial identity for such a fierce bolide. Still, it makes everyone smile.

    Which brings us to the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s Rally stage. I asked Johan’s friend, Alan Benjamin from Denver, for his impression of hurling it around the Goodwood rally course. ‘Absolutely fantastic, and a huge grin every run,’ enthuses the laconic Colorado man. ‘I am one of the few American rallyists here; we don’t really do rallying in the USA that much. Except for Pike’s Peak, which is now all paved. But Johan, my best Porsche buddy in Belgium, allows me to do this, and then he comes over to the US and races some of my Porsches at Laguna Seca, so we have a good international alliance.

    ‘But the Goodwood rally track is narrow, it’s pot-holed and the edges of the track, as we would say in the US, are trees, so when you’re driving someone else’s expensive car you try and leave a little bit out there and let the car owner and the pros really go for it. But it’s absolutely fantastic and the car is getting better every day.’

    What about the particular methodology of driving a loose, off-road rally stage? ‘The skill sets are completely different. There are way bigger slip angles, and if you had that much slip angle on pavement you would be dramatic but overall you would be slower, a lot more power and oversteer, less four-wheel drifting, but either way, it’s a blast!’ From last year’s 3m 24s in the Bastos car, Johan managed 3m 11s in the Eklund car. ‘We could have done better if the gearbox and final drive were more adapted to the terrain,’ mused Johan. ‘If this had been the case, 3m 05s would have been possible.’

    The Happy People SC remained in Per’s ownership for 35 years, and that’s a testimony in itself, even though it got neglected latterly. But now it’s in Johan’s tenure, benefiting from a nut-and-bolt rebuild, and knowing of his penchant for letting his beast off the leash, we’ll be seeing lots more of the car in historic rallies. Happy days!
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Widebody backdated 911s Retro Spex. Backdating with style - retro 911s take on ST and RSR styling cues, but with a modern twist. Going back in time with your 911 necessitates a target model or an era to pitch it at. We sample two different takes on Porsche’s halcyon racing days of the early ’70s, but are they fit for the heroes who drove them back then? Words: Johnny Tipler. Photography: Antony Fraser.

    It’s amazing how much #Porsche 911s changed in the space of a couple of years. In 1972 they were long-bonneted, unspoilered, and in 1974 they’d sprouted wings, air dams and impact bumpers. Our two retrospectives this month were built to order by Specialist Cars of Malton, starting life as a 964 and a 3.2 Carrera, yet both project Porsche 911 racecar styling from either side of that major visual revamp. But what exactly are we being asked to believe we’re seeing? The pale grey car could be an ST along the lines of 1972’s European GT Championship contenders, and the yellow peril looks like nothing so much as a 3.0 Carrera RSR comps car from #1974 .

    Paradoxically it’s the later donor car that portrays the earlier longbonnet look and the earlier one that comes across as the 1974 IROC racer.

    So why would you want to ape an ST? Though never officially documented as such by the factory, that was the designation it was given in the race shop by the guys who built it. Following on from the hot 911R of 1968, Porsche supplied racing and rallying customers with the homologated 911T, fitted with the 911S engine and described it as a 911T Rally or TR, in effect a 911S lightweight. Then for #1970 they built a 911S lightweight as a homologated production model, basically a 911T with an S engine, so the factory called it an ST. For the #1972 racing season a number of 2.5-litre 911 S coupés were built, incorporating new anti-roll bars, harder Bilstein shocks, and a half roll-cage in the rear of the stripped-out cockpit. The shape of the swollen steel wheelarches is peculiar to the ST, and except for the front spoiler the rest of the body panels were in steel. The blueprinted 2.5-litre flat-six ran with Bosch fuel injection, racing camshafts and pistons, polished intake and exhaust ports, and twin-spark ignition, developing 270bhp at 8,000rpm. The ST was the first 911 available from the factory with the potential to score a class win at Le Mans, as Erwin Kremer did in 1970. Björn Waldegård won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1970 in a works ST and, moreover, John Fitzpatrick won the 1972 European GT series in a Kremer-built ST. ‘The 911 was the best rally car at that time, no question,’ declares Waldegård.

    Between 1970 and 1972, the factory made 18 ‘STs’ (J. Barth) with sufficient componentry manufactured for customers to build an additional 30 complete cars, plus the relevant parts to upgrade a further 100 cars to ST spec. And that makes doing a replica ST an attractive proposition indeed. There’s also comfortable scope for ambiguity, since the ST was itself abstruse, spanning two years and two fairly significant evolutions. If nothing else, it’s more esoteric than a 2.7 RS rep.

    Which brings us onto the yellow 3.0 RSR lookalike that we’ve got here, replicating the invincible European GT Championship winning car from 1974. In fact from 1974 to 1977 the 3.0 Carrera RSR was the staple Group 4 racer, with 17 of them running at Le Mans that year. Production of the 3.0- litre RS series began in Autumn 1973, and the first 15 units went to the States for the IROC (International Race of Champions) series, to be swapped amongst a bunch of elite drivers from F1, USAC, NASCAR, IMSA, TransAm and Can-Am competing against one another in mechanically identical, though individually wildly coloured, cars – the first 911 racecars with the new raised ‘impact bumper’ look and huge whaletail wing. Of the 109 RSRs made, 59 were road-registered, and just six in right-hand-drive.

    The 3.0 RS and #RSR were wellestablished midfield runners in the 1974 World Championship for Makes endurance events, and John Fitzpatrick lifted the crown in the European GT Championship with five class wins in the Gelo Racing 3.0 RSR. ‘I think the nicest 911 race car was the 3.0-litre RSR,’ Fitz proclaims. He’s not alone: Hurley Haywood’s career took off with the Brumos RSR: ‘In 1973 the factory gave a 3.0-litre 911 RSR Group 4 prototype to Peter Gregg and myself, and we won Daytona and then Sebring, so that car pretty much had me going.’ That was even before it had been homologated as a GT car. In 1975 Gijs van Lennep shared a 3.0 Carrera RSR at Le Mans with John Fitzpatrick, placing 5th overall.

    ‘That was the best Le Mans ever,’ says Gijs, who twice won the event outright, ‘as all we had to do was put a bit of oil in, clean the windows, put petrol in, change the front brake pads once, and that was it. Refuelling was very slow and you could work on the car and do the petrol in one go. We spent just 17 minutes in the pits in the whole 24 hours, and that seems to be a record too.’ Even we could do that! Jürgen Barth campaigns one these days on Tour Auto and declares that the competition 911 he would always come back to out of sheer dependability is the #Porsche-911-3.0-Carrera-RSR . ‘It wasn’t as quick or as powerful as the 935, obviously, but it was a great all rounder.’ So that’s what all the fuss is about. Pretty beguiling, emulating the legends in such an iconic shape, isn’t it?

    Bent on indulging in a bit of hero worship ourselves, we head up to the wilderness beyond Pickering: this is Heartbeat territory, but will my heart beat faster? There’s a fabulous 360 degree panorama from up here, surrounded by heather and limestone boulders, gorse, grouse, sheep and lambs, though the climate’s fickle. Sunny to start with, we manage to avoid a dousing, and back off the moor it’s summertime again.

    Let’s go with the pale grey car first. Prior to the transformation, the donor #Porsche-911-964-C2 was not at all in good shape. Allegedly every panel had something wrong with it, the paintwork was dreadful, the wheels were disposable, the interior was quite hideous. Then a visionary with a penchant for early ’70s race cars saw it and decided it had a brighter future. There’s a curious ambiguity about that too.

    The cabin interior is stripped out like a race car and partly trimmed like a limousine, so there’s bare metal showing all the lines where the panels have been welded together. Conversely, there’s leather trim along the bottom of the dash, the door cards are clad in quilted Alcantara, and along the top of the dash it’s also swathed in Alcantara. Ooh là-là! All very well executed, but somewhat theatrical for a parody race car, wouldn’t you say? There’s an aluminium strip along the central tunnel that suggests it could be a four-wheel drive transmission tunnel, hungover from the 964 structure, with the gear lever poking through that. It’s got footrests in the shape of drilled plates for the passenger/navigator and for the driver’s left foot, and then behind the pedals. It has a Momo Prototipo steering wheel, and the gauges are in pale grey, matching the colour of the car, and the computer aspect of the rev counter is blanked off, while the rest of the instrumentation consists of specially trimmed 964 switches. It’s all very nicely finished, but it does smack of an identity crisis. The dinky little streamlined door mirrors don’t do much, and I twiddle with the faces in a bid to find some rearward vision down the flanks. Seats are period-style sports buckets embraced by Schroth four-point harnesses, and a Safety Devices half roll-cage occupies the back of the cabin, rigged for driver/navigator intercom.

    Externally, the ST look has been achieved by swapping the 964 panels for 911 E-programme ones, trading short bonnet for long, impact bumpers for classic. I look underneath the wheelarches. The flaring technique is dimly discernable. They’ve cut off the original milder 964 flares, overlapped the classic arches slightly, pinned and welded them on, filling up any imperfections. At Specialist Cars, the painting process involves stripping everything out, engine, suspension, wheels, trim, interior, then it’s put on the spit, which holds the front and back ends so the shell can be tilted onto its side for the bottom to be prepped.

    Then it receives a primer base coat, which is flatted back, and the topcoat is applied. This is the two-pack method (as opposed to water-based with lacquer coat), with the shell oven-baked to make the chemicals harden off. Pale grey with understated racing stripes (painted on, not stickers) is extremely cool. The closure panels and wings are painted at the same time, and then fitted along with the rubber inserts. In the process it’s lost the 964 sill covers, and the front and rear bumpers are fibreglass, appropriate for the E- and Fprogramme 911. All window surrounds and door handles are in chrome. The 964 roof, doors and windows, plus the powertrain and running gear are retained. I reflect that the STs ran in 1972 without ducktail spoilers, which helps pin down the era it purports to represent more specifically; by 1973 aerodynamics had moved on a notch and they mostly had ducktails. Those deep-dished Fuchs, shod with Toyo Proxes, complete the picture, though in period the STs mostly ran Minilites at the rear as Fuchs did not produce any 9in rims at the time, and Porsche used Minilite ninespoke magnesium wheels. These Fuchs lookalikes are made by Braid in Spain, and it’s when I look at the hubs more closely I see why they fill out the wheelarches so amply.

    It’s because it’s fitted with 10mm spacers on the front and two – an 8mm and a 10mm – on the back. It’s all about the look, though, because to fill those arches up you’ve got to have wheels a long way away from the hubs.

    What’s the reality? The flat-six blares from the specially designed twin-pipe exhaust box, an ecstatic paean to 911 racers, prompting high revs and taunting bystanders in equal measure. Throttle response is sharp, the needle zinging right round the rev counter. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun in a 911 in an urban context for a very long time!
    Much of this has to do with the noise it’s making, which is a really outrageous amount, though on a long journey it could be quite painful on the ears. As it stands there’s a question mark over the comfort factor too.

    The seat is fixed, and I would alter the angle of the squab as I’m more perched on it than nestling in it. Out on the open road I’m a bit wary as it’s skittish over the bumps, unpredictably oversteering then understeering, and the ride is a tad harsh. The brakes are sharp, though, providing instant rallentando, and I can keep it under control by using the throttle to make the front end turn in and duck out, and giving it its head. It’s one feisty car, this, and lots of fun in a frivolous driving situation.

    Following the yellow car up to the moors, it looks for all the world like an IROC racer, a wide- bodied 3.0 Carrera RSR, sporting a huge whale tail wing, the top V of the roll cage visible through the back window, and a couple of vents in the trailing ends of the front wings to let the heat out, with corresponding ducts in the leading edges of the rear arches to aid cooling. It’s a plastic fantastic: the side windows are perspex, the doors, wings and roof are fibreglass, though front and rear windscreens are glass. The fibreglass wings are bonded in place with a flexible sealant called J-B Weld. The original 3.2 wings are unbolted, slots cut in the shell and the new ones slide in place, accompanied by the bonding medium.

    After the main painting process the rubber trims and seals are inserted, and when the bumpers are bolted back on they nip up the rubber. It has a matching rev counter, but mustard rather than rape, if I can use that hue, because I’d say the external colour is more of a rapeseed yellow. The ensemble is set off by lattice BBS wheels, and the Carrera graphics are a nice period touch too. This is the one that gets most stares in town. It’s got GT3 seats with Sabelt harnesses and a comprehensively welded-in roll cage, which just happens to be one of the most difficult roll cages I’ve ever had to get my leg over to get into a car.

    Plus there’s a bar right across the front of the cabin where your knees are. The top of the dash has been upholstered in a flock material, there are canvas door pulls, and the Kevlar pattern is revealed in the underside of the roof. The interior is so dominated by the vibrant yellow submarine effect, the Beatles would feel right at home living in here.

    There’s much more of a go-kart feel about the driving position, and I’m absorbing every last little bump on the road surface through the steering wheel, which is wriggling away like a mad adder.

    I’m traversing the fast moorland up on Blakey Ridge and the car bounces on the bumps, the suspension’s that hard. The brakes feel like they are of the period, needing firm pressure on the pedal to slow it down, while the 915 shift is the old fashioned pattern with reverse down to the right. I take advantage of those broad tyres, leaning hard on them in fast corners. On smooth new country lane blacktop, everything starts to make sense with the yellow car, and with no undulations to disturb it, it’s a fast, rock-solid performance car. Going back in time with a pair of 911s doesn’t mean they’re slower.

    The grey car is a 3.6, so there’s no question that’s a quick car. And despite its raw and rascally attitude, the yellow peril’s running un-modded 3.2-litre power, which means it’s more relaxed than racetrack revvy. It does sound the part, and a 231bhp flat-six in a largely fibreglass panelled body has a decent amount of get-up and- go to complement its radical looks. My driving accomplice on our shoot, Phil Robson from Specialist Cars, whangs the grey car while I yank the yellow, and we enjoy a hooley of a drive along the back doubles from Pickering to Malton, scudding around the corners in unison and blaring down the tree-lined avenues, pedal to the metal, great fun, really using the revs. A memorable blast, and he’s a brazen biker so he keeps it together.

    The conversion work has been accomplished superbly and each car looks the part. They deliver aesthetically, they turn heads, show a fair turn of speed on the blacktop, and they demonstrate they do go bloody well in the cross-country chase we’ve just had. But are they any better than the chassis they purport to replicate? After all, one of the points of backdating is to end up with classic looks and more modern running gear. Both boxes ticked. They have the looks and the performance, giving us a couple of contenders to indulge in some non-specific historic road rallying. Being John Fitzpatrick and Björn Waldegård.

    John Hawkins Specialist Cars of Malton
    York Road Business Park
    North Yorkshire
    YO17 6YB
    Tel: 01653 697722
    Email: Sales and Underwrites - [email protected]
    Sales – [email protected]

    Below: Engine is unmodified, but 3.6-litres is enough in this lightweight, stripped out shell. Intercom is essential!

    Grey ST-alike is based on a #Porsche-911-964 , while the yellow #Porsche-911-RSR clone is #Porsche-911-Carrera-3.2 derived. Both take the ‘clone’ look with a pinch of salt. These aren’t faithful replicas but look the business none the less. We particualrly like those lattice #BBS bad boys.

    “I don’t think I’ve had so much fun in a #Porsche-911 for a very long time. Much of this has to do with the noise: Outrageous ”

    Modern and retro mix together for a different take on the backdate look. Below: On the move and it all comes together.
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    Rallying for beginners. Will Page and MacLeman get lost? Navigational events are proving ever more popular, so James Page and Greg MacLeman went to Wales to see if they knew their Tulips from their tripmeters. Photography Tony Baker/Hero Events.

    During the 1950s and ’60s, rallying formed the backbone of amateur club motorsport. Across the UK, enthusiasts organised their own events, which often took place at night. A young Vic Elford competed in rallies organised by the Sevenoaks and District Motor Club, while Henry Liddon – who went on to win the Rallye Monte-Carlo with Paddy Hopkirk in #1964 and Rauno Aaltonen in #1967 – was a regular on the BAC Motor Club’s Cross Trophy.

    As historian Pete Stowe has noted, these grassroots events were ‘tests of route-finding rather than outright speed’, but even so the RAC began to increase the legislation around them. Clubs branched out into other forms of the sport and stage-based rallies came to the fore.

    In the 1980s, however, the late Philip Young instigated a resurgence in events that replicated the cerebral challenge offered by period navigational rallying. It has become a huge scene in its own right, which is why we’ve come to the Historic Endurance Rally Organisation (HERO) in South Wales to see whether we can tell one end of a map from the other.

    The company offers an Arrive & Drive package that enables you to compete in one of its own cars – from the #Porsche-911 for which digital editor Greg MacLeman and I make a beeline, to a Lancia Integrale, #Alfa-1750GTV and even an Austin Seven special. It’s not only novices that use this service as a way of trying a rally without having to invest in their own car. Seasoned campaigners from overseas often choose it instead of shipping their classic to the UK. There’s a single-day Driving Experience, too, which introduces newcomers to the various forms of navigation, using HERO’s fleet to head into the Brecon Beacons and surrounding countryside. That’s what we’ll be attempting.

    The basic premise of historic rallying is that you have to get from the start of a section to the finish in a particular time. That time assumes an average speed that will never be more than 30mph, and the amount of help you have in plotting your way along the route varies depending on the level of that particular rally. To add to the pressure, secret intermediate controls will ensure that you are keeping on time.

    The initial section that MacLeman and I have to tackle is a Jogularity, a system devised for the first Le Jog event in the early 1990s. We are given a printout of the route, with landmarks noted as well as the time at which we should be passing them. So, for example, it might say ‘gate on left’. Look across the page and it tells us that, if we’ve stuck to the required average speed, we should be passing that gate 2 mins 8 secs after leaving the startline. There is also information on the distance and time between each landmark, while junctions are highlighted.

    I take the first stint in the navigator’s seat, quickly discarding the interval details (far too confusing…) to concentrate on calling out each landmark and giving #MacLeman feedback as to how we’re doing in terms of time. We have 17 mins 41 secs in which to cover the 8.09 miles.

    The average speeds for the section are between 24 and 30mph, which sounds easy enough. For the most part it is, even though much of it is country lanes. The problems start when you miss a landmark and lose where you are on the list. Even on a practice day such as this, there’s a moment of slight panic; on a real event, it must be horrifying.

    The other issue is how quickly you go from being roughly on time to 20 secs behind if, for example, you have to stop to let another vehicle come the other way on a narrow section. It happens to us, and MacLeman enjoys a short section of spirited driving to get us back on time.

    It all goes to plan until the end of the regularity. Having tracked our progress via staggered crossroads, gates, junctions, warning signs and postboxes, I miss a turning into a lay-by (which would likely have contained an intermediate control were this a genuine stage) only 0.3 miles from the end. As a result, we arrive 6 secs early. After being worryingly vague to begin with (“Er, there’s a gate somewhere up here…”), MacLeman fares better when we swap places and try again, getting us to the finish line only 1 sec before our allotted time.

    Our next challenge is a 7.44-mile Tulip route. This system replaces written instructions with diagrams – a ball or blob at one end shows you where you are coming from, an arrowhead shows where you are going. Whereas the Jogularity had given us a near-constant stream of instructions to follow, here the guidelines are much less frequent – there are only seven in total, from going through speed-limit signs to crossing a cattle grid and taking junctions.

    The relative lack of information means that a decent tripmeter – which will need to have been calibrated over a set distance at the beginning of the event – is essential to ensure that you really are where you think you are. On the Jogularity section, we had been able to get away with it to a certain extent because the feedback came thick and fast. This time, there is longer between instructions so we need to know that we’ve covered, say, 4.61 miles since the previous one and that this really is the left turn that we need.

    Fortunately, it is a relatively straightforward run, and I deliver MacLeman to the end of the section without any navigational errors – or ‘wrong slots’. We then follow a marked route on the map back to the #HERO headquarters. This is the simplest form of map navigation. Others include ‘plot and bash’ (crew receives map references, translates them into locations, and charts a route between them), Herringbone (route is simplified into a straight line with roads ‘to leave’ – ie junctions – drawn above and below that line) and London Rally (a series of waypoints – A, B, C, etc – provide the framework for the route).

    ‘Plot and bash’ formed the basis for most period club rallies, and if it turns up in an historic event you will need to understand map references. In contrast, you could complete a Tulip or Jogularity section without referring to the Ordnance Survey charts. On some rallies, you will need to be au fait with each discipline.

    Take last year’s Le Jog. Competitors received three map books to take them from one end of the UK to the other. The road sections were marked with a black line that you needed to follow. That was the easy bit. Every so often, however, the black line stopped. There was an ominous gap of many miles before it started again, and it was between those two points that the regularity sections took place.

    Those legs took different forms. Regularity Section A began at Morvah in Cornwall and finished near Lelant. Crews used six map references that were supplied to them at Land’s End to plot the shortest route. Regularity Section B lasted for almost 20 miles and was a Jogularity. Section C was another Jogularity, D needed to be calculated from a Herringbone layout and E from a number of specified waypoints. Le Jog is renowned for its gruelling nature, though, and not all rallies are so taxing.

    “There are certain events where you need the sort of mind that could do a cryptic crossword,” says HERO’s Peter Nedin, who cut his teeth on the Welsh club scene, “but organisers can do that via trickery rather than making the route tough. Different levels of rally have different levels of information in the route book. Jogularity gives you times to be at certain points. Others don’t do that – you have to work it out for yourself, which involves using a separate average-speed table.”

    HERO rates its fixtures with a colour-coding system: Green is for introductory rallies, which means daytime driving, in summer, on surfaced roads and using Tulip and Jogularity navigation. Blue is intermediate, Red advanced and Black is expert, involving maps, day and night driving on mixed surfaces, and with an endurance factor thrown in. Cars have to be pre-1986 and to period-correct specification; the focus on reliability rather than performance means that you don’t need to spend a fortune on preparation.

    “Most events have a non-competitive touring element for people who still want to be part of it,” says Nedin. “You can get into it that way and then move from tour to trial. It enables you to enjoy it at first before you get more serious. When you do that, if you get the navigation right first, the timekeeping will come.”

    Taken separately, neither the navigational element nor the timekeeping one are all that difficult. It’s when you have to combine them that it becomes a genuine challenge. I can’t imagine what it’s like trying to do it in the dark, in the middle of night, having had very little sleep and with hundreds of miles still to go. Road rallying may be cerebral rather than visceral, but it’s no less rewarding for that.

    Thanks to Everyone at HERO. To find out more about its events and the Driving Experience, go to www. heroevents. eu

    Paul Crosby

    “I started rallying with a Mini when I was about 20,” says #2014 HERO Cup winner Crosby, “but later had to give it up because of other commitments. I only recently got back into it with a #1970 #Porsche #911 – last year was my first full season. It’s not the cheapest hobby, but everyone involved is incredibly friendly and welcoming. “I started at the deep end with the Winter Challenge, which is rated Black by HERO. We finished third in class and – being a bit competitive – I started to really get into it once those points were on the board. “Andy Pullen was my co-driver for many of the events. You can make the last bit of difference as a driver, and a reliable car needs to be a given, but really it’s 75% down to the navigator. How Andy kept going on Le Jog, for example, is beyond me – 27 hours without sleep. It’s all about having fun, too, and I wouldn’t sit next to somebody whose company I didn’t enjoy. You have to share responsibility – having a go at your navigator if something goes wrong isn’t going to help.”

    Clockwise, from left: a good tripmeter is essential if you are to keep track of the various instructions; beautiful Welsh roads and coastline, but the navigator has little time to admire the scenery; MacLeman doing the easy bit – driving.


    Stephen Owens

    “The people on this type of event are brilliant, so resourceful and always willing to help,” says Owens, who competes on everything from one-day UK rallies to the Mille Miglia, often with his wife Colette and son Thomas. “Who I take with me depends on the type of event. I do some, such as the Poppy Rally, where I will have a more experienced co-driver. I went on the 1000 Mile Trial with my wife, though, and that was stunning. I was blown away by the scenery. Then I took my son on the Scottish Malts. “They have both been to a rally school to learn about navigation and were told that they were very much in charge in the car; it was their ‘office’. The navigators are the unsung heroes. That’s where you see the youngsters coming through, because you don’t need to own the car, you just need to find a sympathetic driver. There is a skill to the driving as well, but you have to be a partnership. You do see people falling out – I’ve been on events where the driver and navigator weren’t talking by the end of the first day. It can certainly test a relationship.”

    Clockwise, from above: the 911 feels like overkill given the low average speeds, but comes into its own when you need to press on; Page checks that he’s got the map the right way up before setting off; an extract from a Tulip section of Le Jog.

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