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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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  •   Ben Koflach reacted to this post about 3 years ago


    With prices continually rising, getting on the #911 ownership ladder has never been trickier. We consider an underrated air-cooled classic: the 911SC, plus the #911T and #964 – all should make for appreciating classic investments in #2015 … 911SCs. Long the poor relation of the Carrera 3.2, the 911SC is now being appreciated for what it really is – a great 911. Values are rising accordingly so now could be the time to buy one – while you still can… 964 v 911T. Got a little more cash to splash on a 911? Two decades apart, the E-Series and 964 proffer alternative prospects for around £35k-50k…

    Living In the shadow

    Long the poor relation of the Carrera 3.2, the 911SC is now being appreciated for what it really is: a great 911. Values are rising accordingly so now could be the time to buy one, while you still can… Story: Philip Raby. Photography: Anthony Fraser.

    Did you know that Mozart had an older sister who, at the age of 12, was considered to be one of the best pianists in Europe? And then her pesky kid brother got in on the act and overshadowed her, to the extent that Maria Anna has been all but forgotten while little Wolfgang Amadeus went on to become a legend. It’s not uncommon, being eclipsed by a young brother or sister – psychologists call it younger sibling syndrome and it can lead to all sorts of conflicts, as you may well know if you have children of your own.

    It’s happened with the Porsche 911, too. For instance, the #996 today lives in the shadow of the arguably better-looking 997, while the 964 was long usurped by the curvaceous and supposedly more reliable #993 . And then there’s the 911SC which always struggled to play catchup with its golden child replacement, the Carrera 3.2. The 3.2 has long been portrayed as the perfect air-cooled 911, for first-time buyers and enthusiasts alike, while the poor old 911SC has been seen as second-best, the car you’d buy if you couldn’t afford a Carrera 3.2. I’ve always thought this was rather unfair, so now is the time to set the record straight once and for all.

    The 911SC arrived in #1978 and was significant as it streamlined the previous somewhat confusing range of 911s – which comprised the base 2.7-litre 911, the sportier (but also 2.7-litre) #Porsche-911S and the top of the range Carrera 3.0 – into one single model. If you wanted to buy a normally aspirated 911 in the late 1970s or early 1980s, your choice was made for you: an SC, take it or leave it. To create this one new model, Porsche took the bare bones of the previously range-topping Carrera 3.0, rejigged the 2994cc engine with reduced power (180hp) and a cheaper aluminium rather than magnesium crankcase, while the impact-bumper bodyshell and interior remained largely unchanged.

    The moniker, meanwhile, was never explained by Porsche. Some have said that SC stands for ‘Super Carrera’, ‘Sports Carrera’ or even ‘Special Carrera’, while others have argued that it signified the S version of the C-programme of 911 development. I once even heard someone suggest that it meant ‘Single Carburettor’! Personally, I like Super Carrera but am happy to accept the name SC for whatever it may stand for. Incidentally, the SC was a landmark Porsche in that it was the last 911 for many years to actually carry a ‘911’ badge – later cars all had a ‘Carrera’ label slapped on their rumps. It wasn’t, then, the most auspicious start to a new 911. There was nothing at all wrong with the SC – far from it – it just, well, didn’t offer anything particularly new. The engine was a peach, though, even in its original 180hp guise, as it produced more power and torque at lower revs than the rather peaky Carrera 3.0’s unit, while remaining remarkably free-revving and eager. Power on non-US cars was increased to 188hp in 1980, thanks to revised timing and a higher compression ratio. Then, the following year, the output was raised to 204hp by hiking the compression ratio further, which demanded 98 octane petrol. US-market cars, incidentally, were stuck with 180hp throughout the SC’s life – and Yank owners were incessantly reminded of this unfortunate fact thanks to a speedometer that read to just 85mph!

    For the rest of us, though, the 911SC, especially in 204hp guise, remains a lot of fun to drive. Its low-end torque makes the car a relaxed and easy cruiser when you want it to be but drop it down a gear or two and the engine really comes alive as it eagerly revs to the redline. Indeed, drive an SC back to back with a later Carrera 3.2 and it’s the older car’s engine that shines, while the 3.2 feels just a little bit reluctant (a trait not helped by higher gearing) and its extra power (the 3.2 produced 231hp) can be hard to notice next to the enthusiastic SC engine. Porsche quoted a 0-60mph time of 5.7 seconds together with a top speed of 148mph for the SC and, even today, that seems quite achievable.

    It’s not just the engine that stands out, either. The SC retains that wonderful lightness of feel which is such a classic 911 trademark. Sure, the non-assisted steering is heavy at parking speeds (by the late Seventies the tyres were much fatter than when the 911 was conceived in #1963 ) but once on the move you can pilot the SC with your fingertips. The rack is quick and the feedback through the wheel is remarkable. It’s a car that encourages finesse as it dances delicately through the corners. Yet it’s also surprisingly forgiving, thanks in part to the relatively supple torsion bar suspension, so long as you don’t try anything silly, in which case that rear-engined bias can bite back. Get it right, and an SC can be so much more rewarding to pilot than a modern 911 with its extra refinement and driver aids which get in the way of the experience. It may sound pretentious (and it probably is) but drive an SC hard and you really do feel at one with the car, as its compact dimensions shrink around you.

    Yet despite its directness, the SC is also surprisingly refined and it makes a superb touring car. Those high-profile tyres are forgiving and don’t transmit the road noise which is a bane of modern sports cars, while the seats are supremely comfortable and the whole interior remains solid and rattle-free. It’s a car you can cruise in all day and get out of feeling refreshed – and there aren’t many Seventies sports cars you can say that about.

    It’s a tough old unit, the SC engine, too. Sure, you hear stories of broken head studs (although that’s not exclusive to the SC) but, on the whole, there’s no reason for a well-maintained example not to cover 200,000 miles without any major work needed. The slightly more stressed 3.2 powerplant, on the other hand, while also strong, is more likely to require at least a partial rebuild by around 140,000 miles (which, to be fair, is in itself good going).

    The SC is mechanically reliable in other ways, too. When new, the model gained a bit of a bad reputation for transmission problems because it was originally fitted with a rubber-centred clutch. This was meant to reduce gear chatter at low speeds but, in reality, it had a habit of breaking up so Porsche dropped it in 1981 while most earlier cars were quickly updated by conventional – and trouble-free – clutch assemblies. The five-speed 915 gearbox was carried over from previous 911s and was criticised in some quarters for its agricultural feel, plus many suffered from poor synchromeshes. However, start with a good 915, treat it gently (especially while the transmission oil is still cold) and, once you’ve mastered the changes, the ’box is a real joy to use and part of the appeal of an older 911.

    The big killer with SCs, as with all 911s from the Sixties and Seventies, is rust. The SC had a fully galvanised bodyshell when new but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. Galvanising will slow down the rust process but won’t stop it, while there’s a fair chance that most SCs out there will have had at least some bodywork damage at some point in their lives, which can break the galvanised coating and give corrosion a foothold. Indeed, it’s rare to find an unrestored 911SC that doesn’t suffer from at least some rust. And once you find some rot, there’s a fair chance that there will be more lurking under the surface, ready to hit you with expensive bills when it’s uncovered. The 911 has a complex bodyshell and proper repairs aren’t cheap – you have been warned!

    Get a good one, though, and an SC is an appreciating asset. We’ve seen prices rocket in recent years. Just six years ago, I wrote that £13,000 was top money for a 911SC and, for that money, you’d expect to get a lowish mileage example with an impeccable history, with less good but still acceptable cars costing under £10,000, which made the SC the perfect ‘first 911’ for those with a tight budget. How things have changed! Today you wouldn’t even buy a rough example for £13,000, with most starting at around £23,000 upwards. Increasingly, though, good cars are selling for in excess of £30,000 with a few exceptional ones going for over £40,000. In fact, SC prices are now generally slightly higher than those for the previously more sought-after Carrera 3.2. Despite these increases, I still believe that the SC is undervalued and we shall see further price rises. Although over 60,000 were built during its production run, which isn’t much less than the Carrera 3.2 that followed, the SC is today the rarer car. That’s because, during the many years it was unloved, many were neglected and ended up being scrapped, crashed or modified in some way. Which means that good, original 911SCs are now few and far between. That rarity, combined with people’s realisation as to what a great #Porsche-911 an SC is, and the fact that earlier (and later) aircooled 911s are still going up in price, means that they’re in great demand, in the UK and overseas.

    However, I think it’s wrong to buy a 911 as an investment. It’s far better to buy a Porsche that you can use and enjoy and, if it happens to go up in value during your ownership, then that’s a happy bonus. And an #Porsche-911SC is certainly a 911 that you can both use and enjoy, while remaining affordable to buy and to run, refreshingly rare, and more than likely to appreciate in value. What more could you ask for from a car?

    And if all that isn’t enough to convince you of the SC’s worth, here’s something else to chew on. It could just well have been the car that saved the 911 from extinction. You see, back in the 1970s, Porsche’s then boss, Ernst Fuhrmann, thought that the 911’s days were numbered – it was just too old fashioned and not advanced enough to lead the company into the 1980s, so he commissioned the 928 – a larger, more sophisticated front-engined car – which would eventually take over from the 911. The #Porsche-928 made good inroads but the SC was always the better seller (in #1983 it sold in double the numbers of the 928), a fact that wasn’t lost on new chairman Peter Schutz, who also realised that the 911 was the only model #Porsche was actually making any money on, so he made the sensible decision to keep it in production. For which we should be forever thankful.

    So there you have it. The 911SC has at last been dragged out from the shadow of its little brother, the equally talented in its own way #Porsche-911-Carrera-3.2 . Now it’s time to let it flourish and thrive as the great Porsche that it should always have been.

    OPEN AND SHUT CASES

    The SC was the first ever 911 to be offered in three body styles. First there was the evergreen Coupé, which today remains the most sought-after choice, for its classic looks and rigidity. Then, as with previous 911s, there’s the Targa with its distinctive roll-hoop and clever lift-out roof panel which folds up and stores in the boot. Finally, you have the Cabriolet, which was a first for the #911 and wasn’t introduced until #1982 ; in fact, just 4096 SC Cabriolets were built before the model was replaced by the Carrera 3.2.

    Despite its directness, the SC is also surprisingly refined and it makes a superb touring car.

    A GOOD SPORT

    A popular option for the SC was the Sport package which comprised a whaletail rear spoiler, rubber front lip spoiler, driving lamps, 16-inch Fuchs alloy wheels (up from the standard 15-inch) with #Pirelli-P7 tyres, firmer #Bilstein (instead of Boge) dampers, Sports seats and an improved stereo. Ironically, though, tastes have changed and few people now want the big rear spoiler, preferring the pure lines of a standard engine cover. If the whaletail is removed, though, you should really also take off the deeper front lip spoiler to ensure balanced high-speed aerodynamics, although not many owners bother.

    The SC retains that wonderful lightness of feel which is such a classic 911 trademark.
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  • GALE FORCE PORSCHE 911 ROAD TEST #1987 #Porsche-911-Speedster

    The Speedster name is back, and with it some styling highlights from the 50s Porsche – witness the hump-back and low widescreen – which first carried the badge. But Georg Kacher is not impressed.

    In time for the 25th birthday of the 911, Porsche has released a special version of this classic sports car - the Speedster. Alter the coupe, Targa, Turbo, slantnose. Club Sport and Cabriolet, this is the seventh officially available 911 metamorphosis created by chief designer Tony Lapine and crew. The Speedster was unwrapped at the Frankfurt Show in September: it will go into production at a rate of around eight units per day after the works holidays in August 1988.

    The 911 Speedster is a back- to-the-roots car. It looks very much like a #1988 model, but there are still plenty of design details which evoke memories of the ’50s just as Drifters' music, hoola-hoop girls and pink iceboxes full of Coca-Cola bottles do. Not to forget James Dean, although he was killed in the Spyder and not in one of the 4822 run-of-the-mill Speedsters, which even in Carrera form did not muster more than 115 bhp. In the Porsche museum in Zuffenhausen, they still keep a vanilla yellow Speedster powered by the middle-of-the-road 1.6-litre engine. It has a low windscreen, a Bakelite triple-spoke steering wheel, a thin and tight-fitting black canvas top and beautiful brass Speedster badges on the front wings and dashboard.

    The Porsche design squad have tried hard to impose the original Speedster theme on the 911, but the result is not as harmonious as the 1954-1959 conversion. The problem is the single-piece cover which fills the opening behind the seats. Somehow, this pvc panel does not look right: the fat black rubber seal disturbs the other-wise smooth profile, the proportions between the tall cover and the lowered windscreen are not well balanced, and the rear power bulge looks ordinary and out of character. Even at this stage. Porsche should consider changing the design.

    The remaining revisions are more successful. The windscreen. whose angle is reduced by five degrees, is three inches lower than that of the 911 Cabriolet. For the Speedster, the massive body-colour windscreen frame is abandoned in favour of a thin and elegant black rim made of anodised alloy. At the eleventh hour. Porsche decided to replace the heavyweight rectangular door mirrors with a brace of ostentatiously aerodynamic devices which look like they are worth a million dollars but are about as practical as the token mirrors of a formula one racer. Inside, the Speedster features a mixture of Carrera and Club Sport trim elements. As in the Club Sport, the seats are fixed in the lowest possible position, and are not power-operated. Similarly, the electric window lifts give way to manual winders. And the useful dash-mounted heater and ventilation controls are replaced by an antiquated Beetle-style dual lever arrangement hidden between the seats. As a result of these and other weight-saving measures, the #911-Speedster - which tips the scales at 2552lb - is some 110lb lighter than the Cabriolet model.

    The roots of the second generation Speedster date back to September #1982 . At that time, chairman Peter Schutz was told by his American dealers that a modern Speedster was the one still-to-be-released Porsche model all the yuppies between Vermont and Oregon were craving for. The big boss subsequently approved the development of a first prototype which was completed in March #1983 . By then, chief engineer Bott, Lapine and Bezner (the chief project engineer) had put together an exciting, good-looking and pleasantly radical machine which had only one major fault - it would never jump all the legal hurdles which over the years have been erected between Weissach and Wisconsin.

    Based on one of the last SC Cabriolets, the Speedster that did not make it lacked such essential items as wipers and a proper windscreen. Instead, it boasted a trick three-part wraparound glasshouse which was only a couple of inches tall but looked great. In line with this leather-cap-goggles-and-gloves approach was the car's shallow hood cover which had commendably narrow outlines and only one subtle power bulge on the driver's side. Those who have been behind the wheel claim that this design exercise felt like a curious crossbreed of motorbike, horse, power boat and roadster - a fair description which also explains why the Speedster Mk1 had not the slightest chance of defeating unsympathetic bureaucracy.

    Despite this initial defeat, the team around Friedrich Bezrer were determined not to give in. Bezner, who joined #Porsche in #1954 (the year the original Speedster was launched), ex-plains: 'Instead of fighting the rule keepers for every minute modification, we decided to do two Speedsters. Number one takes a more conformist approach. It is basically a #911 Cabriolet with a twist, and it is street-legal. Number two is the Club Sport conversion. This car has no wipers, a tiny Brooklands-type windscreen and only one seat. It costs more money, requires a little bit of extra skill and patience and is not fit for public roads. But it is a lot of fun.'

    In terms of design, however, the Club Sport car is even less convincing than the standard Speedster. Among the controversial styling elements are the bulbous shape of the top panel, the token windscreen, the particularly prominent rubber seal and the crude wiper axle mounting points. Porsche maintains that one man can convert the Speedster into the Club Sport in a mere 20 minutes, but alter watching three Porsche employees at the Frankfurt Show struggle for over half an hour to get all the bits in the right place, I think I’ve decided the official timing appears somewhat optimistic.

    And here is how you do it. First, take off the wipers. That's easy. Next, off comes the windscreen. That's difficult - because some of the screws are hard to get at while others are over five inches long, and because the screen is heavy and threatens to tilt once you are halfway through the removal process. Step three deals with unbolting the passenger seat, which is as effortless as it sounds. The most arduous task concerns the fitting of the big and heavy Club Sport panel which replaces the compact Speedster soft-top cover. While the full-length segment uses the same rear hinges as the short Iid, at the front it is secured to the body via the wiper axles.

    To enter the Club Sport car, you can either unbolt the front end and lift the entire clamshell (tedious and time consuming), or you open the driver's door and slip in from below (looks funny, and the intervertebral discs might object), or you simply straddle the damn' thing, John Wayne fashion (looks great, but you're likely to split your trousers or do even more serious damage).

    Although the Speedster is identical to any other 911 up to the beltline, the driving position is different. Even in the street legal versions, you feel almost as exposed as in a monoposto sports car. Because of the thin frame which becomes almost invisible as soon as you are facing the sun, the windscreen becomes one with the horizon. While the tinted glass still provides a certain amount of protection against the elements, it does in no way impair the stunning panoramic visibility - on a bright day, this car feels like a 3D 363 degrees cinema on wheels. Other bonuses include the improved adjustment range of the seats as well as the extra oddments space, including two lockable compartments hidden beneath the rear lid. On the debit side, you instantly notice the nonsense door mirrors (they are neither heated nor adjustable from inside the cabin) and the high rear deck which catches the wind.

    The Speedster is one of these cars which calls for certain preparations by the driver. Of course, you can take it for a ride in Bermuda shorts and Polo shirt, but who can afford a midweek crisis consisting of flu. ear-ache and a stiff nock? All it takes to avoid such misery are a cap, glasses or goggles, gloves, a scarf (preferably shorter than Isadora Duncan's) as well as ear-muffs and/or ear-plugs, plus, of course, a decent sweater. Between Knightsbridge and Clapham, these ingredients may not do more than amuse bystanders and fellow motorists, but once the tempest breaks loose above 45mph, they are absolutely vital.
    On the open road, the two most obvious Speedster characteristics are 'thunder' and 'hurricane'. Thunder is a decibel cocktail mixed from the chain-saw yell of the familiar flat-six and hostile accompanying noises. Hurricane stands for the draught of anything from a stiff breeze to a force 10 gale.

    Apart from these two idiosyncrasies, the latest #Porsche-911 embodies all the vices and virtues its stablemates have become notorious for. It has a powerful engine which sounds better than my favourite CD. It has a surprisingly rigid chassis and a race-proven suspension which offers plenty of grip and strong roadholding. And it is built to last with quality and durability designed into every single component. But the Speedster is by no means flawless. Take, for instance, the heavy clutch, the vague and rather slow gearbox, or the very unassisted steering which is neither well balanced nor well enough damped. Look at the poor ergonomics, the bad ventilation, or the speed-sensitive heating. And consider the unsatisfactory directional stability, the car's susceptibility to crosswinds and the tricky handling in the tightrope demarcation zone between wow! and ohmigawd!

    Fact is though that, as with all 911s, the fascination will eventually outweigh the flaws, The 911 is a challenging car, and although there are now plenty of rivals which offer better handling, better roadholding, more comfort or even more power, it is this challenge of mastering the rear-engined monster which makes you come back time after time. If Porsche had positioned the new Speedster in the same niche of the model hierarchy as the #1954 original, it would have been much easier to excuse the weak design and the drawbacks which result from it. But instead of making this most basic 911 also the least expensive, the Zulfenhausen management nave decided to price it at the same level as - or even above - the 911 Cabriolet. And that is hard to justify because the Speedster is a less complete car than its brethren. It is neither as well equipped nor as competent as the Cabriolet. It is no better as a driving machine than the baseline coupe. And it is not even particularly exciting for a poseur, since the eye-catching Club Sport version is not street legal. Are you perhaps going to think this one over again, Mr Schutz?

    Interior of Speedster has elements of 911 Cabriolet and new Club Sport coupe. Scat adjusters and windows manual, to save weight. Hunchback pvc cover does not integrate well, covers solt-top. Mirrors daft.

    Speedster based on normal 911, engine and rest of mechanicals are Identical. Styling changes Include shallower windscreen, rear pvc lid. Normal Speedster model - not Speedster Club Sport-is shown. Dash same as 911’s.
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