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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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  •   David Lillywhite reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    #RPM 996 CSR. The 996 is today’s poor-relation of the #911 family, but this brilliant sports car has much to offer, even more so when it’s been in the hands of a leading specialist. Road to Redemption RPM 996 CSR. Despite many having an issue with the #Porsche-996 #Carrera , RPM Technik thinks it’s still a 911 to savour, which is why it has developed its #CSR concept for this much-maligned 911. Story: Jethro Bovingdon. Photography: Gus Gregory.

    Its time is coming. It has to be. People are waking up to the #996 because, frankly, for many it’s now the only affordable 911. Cheap 964s are a distant memory, once unloved SCs are now hot property, the 3.2 Carrera is heating up in its afterglow and the 993 has been commanding strong money for some time. The air-cooled cars are, quite rightly, now solid gold classics with prices to match. So you want a genuinely cheap 911? Welcome to your only choice, people. The one with water pumping through its arteries, fried egg headlights and, as legend has it, an engine made from chocolate, old paper clips swept out from behind the cupboards at #Weissach and chewing gum scraped from the underside of the engineer’s desks: The 996 Carrera.

    Of course I’m being facetious. As you might know I own a 996 Carrera and all my formative #Porsche-911 experiences were at the wheel of various flavours of this much-maligned series. So I’m biased. But before we try RPM Technik’s lighter, harder, faster version of the 996 Carrera it’s worth taking a little trip back to the late 1990s to see what the 996 promised. Its task was simple but critical: ensure Porsche’s survival by turning a meaningful profit. In order to fulfil its mission the 996 was cheaper to build than the 993, shared many parts with the recently launched Boxster and was intended to broaden the appeal of the 911 by offering more practicality, accessible handling and greater refinement. Hardly a list of qualities to get the die-hard 911 fan’s heart pumping faster. In fact you might conclude that Porsche was, ahem, watering down the 911 experience.

    Of course, that devastating conclusion has become the prevailing view, but it rather ignores the 996’s many strengths. Namely that the 996 was lighter, more powerful and faster than the car it replaced. It accelerated harder, stopped faster, had more grip and finer balance. I have a copy of German magazine Sport Auto’s ‘Supertest’ of an original 996 Carrera 3.4 and it serves to highlight that the 996 delivered more than just a sound business model for Porsche. From 0-200kph the 993 clocked 26.7-seconds to the 996’s 22.9 seconds. At Hockenheim the 996 lapped at 1:15.9, a full 2.3 seconds quicker than the 993. Its margin at the Nürburgring was 11 seconds (8:17 vs 8:28), it had better aero balance in the wind tunnel and so the list goes on. So while there’s no question that the 996 was a cheaper, more profitable car it’s equally true that it evolved the 911’s dynamic capabilities with considerable success. And not just in terms of cold, hard objective data. The 996 Carrera emerged victorious in various magazines’ Car of the Year gatherings and won nearly every group test it ever showed up to. In other words if this is your only choice for 911 thrills, maybe you shouldn’t be too depressed.

    RPM-Technik understands the 996 Carrera’s appeal and with GT3 prices continuing to rise the company felt now was the right time to give the model its CSR treatment. Regular readers will remember the #997 CSR from last year, a sort of GT3-lite that realised much of the potential of the 997 Carrera. The new 996 CSR package follows a similar approach but perhaps makes more sense.

    Early 3.4s are still hovering around the £12,000 mark but these are 15-year-old cars now and will usually require a sort of mini rolling restoration if you buy one. I’m going through this process myself and although you can find a sweet early Carrera that still drives very well, inevitably you’ll start thinking about new bushes, maybe refurbished dampers, new discs and pads… the list tends to get longer every time you log on to one of those addictive Porsche online parts shops. It’s a really rewarding process and can be done pretty economically, but RPM argues that although the CSR package isn’t cheap it’s less painful if you factor in the cost of refreshing everything back to OE standard. And, of course, you end up with a more focused, more special end result.

    The silver demonstrator, riding at GT3-style height and wearing gorgeous HRE wheels, certainly looks special and the spec suggests the dynamics should match the aesthetic. The CSR uses three-way adjustable KW suspension complete with new top mounts, polybushes allround, hollow adjustable anti-roll bars from Eibach, a rear axle housing a Wavetrac torsen limited-slip differential, a new intake and exhaust system and carbon fibre side sills and engine cover complete with ducktail spoiler. The brake discs remain OE but Performance Friction pads beef-up the response and should prove more durable under demanding conditions. RPM claims a total weight saving of around 30kg but the expensive HRE wheels are an option that I suspect few will take up (they cost £5000 plus VAT), the alternative being GT3-style Sport Classic wheels. The M96 engine has been fitted with an LN Engineering IMS bearing upgrade, low temperature thermostat and features a lightweight clutch and flywheel. You can go further with a carbon fibre bonnet (as fitted to this car), RSS solid engine mounts, GT3-style adjustable suspension arms… The list is almost endless.

    No question then, the CSR has some choice modifications. However, it does not come cheap. Deliver your slightly baggy Carrera to RPM’s workshop and it will transform it into a lean CSR for around, gulp, £20,000. RPM is also looking to source 3.4 Carreras and offer turnkey cars for around £27,000. Expect a 100,000-miler with the engine upgrades and a clean bill of health for that price, but there’s no actual rebuild cost included. I absolutely understand where all that money goes, but it’s still not going to be especially easy to persuade people to ignore a nice 996 Turbo or a 997 Carrera S and instead buy an early 996 with some tasty suspension and aesthetic mods. It needs to be bloody marvellous, in fact.

    I love jumping into 996s just because they bring memories flooding back. I adore the amazing tactility of the steering, the slim dimensions that make the whole car feel so intimate and the tangible sense of lightness. Remember, the GT3 utilised the heavier C4 chassis and with all the other bigger items it required (think brakes etc), a Carrera carries a small weight advantage at just 1320kg. That relatively low mass infects the whole car, from the way it changes direction to the way it rides over a bumpy road. As you’d expect it is preserved and exaggerated in the CSR. First impressions? This trimmed-down 996 is still properly quick, sounds terrific with the new exhaust silencers and builds on the donor car’s agility and responsiveness. Good signs. Shame the original but optional hard backed seats are set a shade too high. I think the CSR needs some tasty replacements.

    We’re on one of my favourite roads in the whole world, the surface is mostly dry and visibility can be measured in hundreds of metres – perfect to carry a bit of speed in safety. The surface is coarse and many of the corners drop away or hide wicked lumps to unsettle a car when it’s already well loaded-up. Despite the aggressive looking ride height the CSR rides pretty well. It doesn’t quite have the fluidity of a first generation GT3 (which is amazingly supple) but the KWs do a great job of parrying the worst bumps and the damping is decisive and controlled. In fact, the main thing that strikes you about the CSR is the tightness of all of its movements… it’s amazing what a fresh set of bushes and some expensive dampers can do. Any thought that a 996 must feel a bit baggy evaporates. In terms of response and control the CSR feels completely fresh.

    From the outside you notice the rake of the setup – front splitter almost scraping the floor but the rear running a bit higher. The car looks ‘on the nose’ and that’s exactly how it feels. Turn-in is very quick indeed and the front Michelin Pilot Sport 2s seem to serve up almost Cup levels of grip. The signature 996 light, bobbly front end is gone completely. If you can get this thing to understeer on the road in the dry then you should probably be sectioned. That initial response is more than matched by the traction available. The Wavetrac LSD is a geared diff and it finds simply tremendous drive. Even if you actively try to provoke the tail it barely budges, just giving a little wiggle of exit oversteer and only then when you’re fully committed at turn-in.

    Skimming over the moor, the engine hollering a distinctive, bassy growl in the strong mid range and yet revving with energy out to over 7000rpm, the CSR feels focused and genuinely exciting. The brakes feel excellent, too. The Performance Friction pads can be a bit noisy at low speeds but the solid brake pedal feel that they create is full of detail and is hugely reassuring. There’s just a real sense of quality to this enhanced 996 experience that’s at odds with its reputation. Even the long throw but deliciously fluid six-speed ‘box feels superb. I’d always thought that the gritty, heavy feel of the short-shift kits might be a good upgrade, but the lightness and accuracy of the ‘box on these roads matches the rest of the car’s controls beautifully.

    My only concern is that I’m not fully confident in the CSR and the 996 is a car I know better than perhaps any other. I’m certain it’ll turn in instantly and grip really hard… but what comes next? To me, some of the steering feel has been lost and the Wavetrac differential, for all the traction it provides, alters the dynamic responses of the 996 to a significant degree. With no locking action on the overrun you get superb front-end response and grip, but without any gentle understeer to lean up against, some of the famed 911 adjustability is lost. Usually a #911 comes alive when you feel the nose go light at the onset of understeer, because what you do with the throttle from here on in determines the balance of the car. Without that understeer, you lose the phase where the car snaps back into line with a throttle lift and then reacts precisely to further inputs, either almost organically around the neutral point or with a twist of oversteer. The CSR would be more exciting, easier to read and, crucially, more accessible if that quality could be reinstated. Maybe a plated differential just suits the 911 better?

    Sure enough when rain starts to fall the CSR proves that beyond the limit it’s trustworthy, well balanced and there are no nasty surprises. The front-end response still takes some getting used to as even in slippery conditions you need to be alert to the most subtle messages from the front tyres. Feel a micron or two of understeer and you can be sure there’s oversteer to follow pretty quickly behind. It’s easy to correct or even hold should you find that killer corner, but I still think most drivers (including myself!) would be able to exploit the CSR more fully with a little more understeer built in to the setup. I know there’s a whole aftermarket industry set up to eliminate understeer from the 911’s make-up but I’m not sure that’s necessarily the right thing to do unless you’re chasing lap times above all else. On the road it’s the gateway to a whole world of subtle thrills. Of course, I’d love to try the CSR on track, where perhaps the set up of the KWs and the Wavetrac diff would combine more naturally. For the most part RPM’s new baby is a huge success. For those who’ve only ever heard bad things about the 996, this car’s combination of speed, composure and excitement will be eyeopening.

    For me, it’s just nice to drive a 996 with all-new components, a tight focus on driving thrills and meticulous execution, because it still stacks up so well even in the context of 997s or the earlier cars. It makes the 996 seem a bigger bargain than ever and I suspect many Carreras will get a new lease of life over the coming years. The 964 used to be the hot rodder’s 911 of choice but as prices rise that pattern is ending. The 996 – the next great unloved 911, I suppose – is its natural heir and I hope RPM do good business with the CSR. They really pour their love and expertise into these projects and the components are top notch.

    Of course the burning question is whether anybody will dig deep to spend circa £20,000 on the full conversion? This is a tricky and personal question and, I suspect, each and every one of us might build a very different CSR. For example, much as I like the carbon fibre ducktail – it’s carbon fibre and a ducktail, after all – I’d save the money and put it into some better seats and an Alcantara rimmed steering wheel just because they’d enhance the driving experience on every single journey. I’d also love to try it with a plated diff and maybe wind up the ride height just a bit to give the front end a bit more travel. Of course RPM can and will do all of this for potential customers, in fact the choices and tuning of those choices is pretty open ended.

    So how you judge the value of all this stuff is as personal as ‘your’ CSR could become. If a basic but clean 964 Carrera is worth £35,000, does a fully-fettled, track-optimised 996 CSR stack up at under £30,000? In terms of pure driving enjoyment, absolutely. Is it a good substitute for that GT3 you’ve always promised yourself but now might not ever be able to afford? Again, yes. Aside from not being fitted with that engine, it’s not a million miles away at all. And you might find its more humble beginnings will mean you’ll be happy to drive it as Porsche intended with more freedom. Does it look like value compared to that rare thing – a well loved and cared for 3.4 that’s mechanically fresh and advertised for, say, £12,995? Not so much. So, like anything that involves a substantial investment, the CSR can be dismissed or justified in a million different ways. But if you want a highly focused, relatively affordable and seriously enjoyable #Porsche 911 for road and track days then the 996 as a platform is looking more attractive by the day. The CSR, with a bit of fine-tuning to your own personal requirements, could just be the answer.

    The KW Variant 3 suspension gives the CSR a quasi-GT3 stance. HRE alloys are £5000 plus VAT, lovely but pricey. 3.4-litre M96 gets a full overhaul including an LN Engineering IMS bearing upgrade.

    To discuss the CSR range and options contact RPM Technik at 01296 663824

    Revving with energy out to over 7000rpm, the CSR feels focused and genuinely exciting.
    The 996 was lighter, more powerful and faster than the car it replaced.
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  •   David Lillywhite reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    NEW DIRECTION PORSCHE 911 996 DESIGN HISTORY

    The New Generation is how Porsche referred to the two entirely new models that would be the hoped-for saviours of a company which had witnessed some lean years. We look at the development of one of those models, the #Porsche-996 … Words: Keith Seume. Photos: Porsche Archiv.

    We hated that drip rail so much! We tried so hard to get rid of that!’ Those were the words of Pinky Lai, the Hong Kong-born stylist responsible for the smooth looks of the 996-series 911, in a reference to the old gutters (drip rails) that were a feature of earlier 911s, and of virtually every car designed in the 1950s and ’60s.

    Of course, getting rid of these archaic details wasn’t the prime reason for giving the 911 such a comprehensive overhaul. The main reason was that the car was starting to look old – and the company had been in financial trouble for some while. In styling terms, the first radical redesign of the 911 had been its transformation from the plastic-panelled 964 – itself little more than a waistline down revision of the original 1963 design – to the more sensual 993. Suddenly the #Porsche-911 was beginning to look a little more up to date.

    Jointly, the 964 and 993 had represented considerable mechanical updates compared to the original air-cooled, torsionbar suspended 911, the roots of which could be traced back to the late 1950s. Coil-spring suspension, with subframes to isolate the body from the running gear, along with technical delights such as power steering and four-wheel drive, meant that the last of the air-cooled 911s were a far cry from the originals, arguably better in dynamic terms, if not to everyone’s taste with regard to styling.

    Porsche had made a loss – no, make that ‘considerable losses’ – back in the early 1990s, and boss Wendelin Wiedeking knew there was only one option available: Porsche had to spend its way out of the financial hole if it was to survive.

    Referred to as ‘The New Generation’, two new models were proposed, one being the mid-engined Boxster, the other a new 911 – the 996. The ‘New’ of ‘New Generation’ was as much a reference to the way the cars were to be manufactured as to any aspects of their design.

    They were the first cars built by Porsche to share major components – and the first ‘world’ cars, where there would be relatively few variations in specification between models offered for sale in different export markets. The first modern Porsches, in fact. Wiedeking persuaded the board to set aside the sum of DM1.5million for the development of the new models, with half – DM750,000 – allocated to each project. In 1994, when the decision was made to proceed, this called for a massive injection of cash into the company’s ailing finances.

    Porsche’s management had already recognised the need for investment, following the lacklustre sales of the 964. But then the 993, which had been produced on something of a tight budget – it was, arguably, little more than a new body over old mechanicals – had turned out to be a big seller. This came as a surprise to the board, some members of which had been expecting the worst.

    The success of the 993 was almost the undoing of plans for the New Generation. Nobody expected it to sell well, so every effort was put behind creating a new car to drag the 911 into the rapidly-approaching 21st Century. Had the board had an inkling that the 993 would sell as well as it did, they might not have been so keen to invest so much money into coming up with a suitable replacement!

    Wendelin Wiedeking and Porsche’s chief financial officer, Walter Gnauert, had successfully argued the need to release funds, pointing out that, despite falling sales, the company was still asset-rich, and had plenty of money tucked away for a rainy day. Plans were drawn up to slim down the workforce and, ultimately, to reduce the product range to just two cars, which shared 36 per cent of their components. But in the meantime, the 968 and 928 would continue in production until declining sales suggested it was time to pull the plug.

    We can thank the research and development department’s Horst Marchart for pushing forward the idea of the two-car line-up. While others favoured the idea of concentrating on one new model – the Boxster – Marchart was a keen backer of the two-car New Generation. But it had to be cost-effective in every way. That meant looking at sharing as many components as possible, including the front bodywork and underside, doors and other components. The challenge would be to give the two cars their own separate identity.

    Ulrich Bez, as head of research and development, turned to senior designer Harm Lagaay to work on the new projects, Lagaay having returned to Porsche and being largely responsible for the 968 and 993. Hong Kong-born Pinky Lai had also been invited by Bez to join the design team (known as ‘Porsche Styling’) as studio chief under Lagaay, having previously worked at BMW (as had his boss). The two had joined Porsche in January 1989 at the start of what was to be a critical era in the company’s history.

    Although it was clear the #Porsche #911 needed to be updated – and not only by the loss of the drip rails and the sharing of components with the Boxster – it was vital that the ‘DNA’ should be clear for all to see.

    Lagaay is quoted by Karl Ludvigsen in his masterwork Excellence was expected as saying of some designers that ‘(they) just cannot do a Porsche. Simplicity has always been a Porsche trait. Proportions and graphics are important, but above all it’s the Formsprache (‘form language’). It’s the sheetmetal being shaped in such a way that you cannot compare it with anything else.’ In other words, it was imperative that a new Porsche had to look like a Porsche.

    There was much discussion about how to achieve a coherent family style with the two new models. In theory, if they could be made to share the same front-end sheetmetal, they would at least look like members of the same family in the rear view mirror. Whether they would be recognised as a member of the Porsche family was another challenge…

    One of the most significant features of the new look also proved to be by far the most contoversial: the so-called ‘fried egg’ headlights. Loved or hated – there was no middle ground – the new light units chosen for the Boxster and 996 were likened to a frying egg, the yoke of which had run to the edge of the pan. It wasn’t a particularly flattering comparison…

    From Lai’s point of view, the project was a designer’s dream challenge come true. The new 911 had to look like a 911 – had to look like a Porsche! – had to look good, and had to be fresh and different.

    The 993 had a distinctive slotted nose, a feature carried over to the #996 and used to accommodate two radiators at the front of the car – the new models being watercooled. Lagaay felt that the design, with two intakes either side of a central number plate, was now recognised as being a ‘symbol for Porsche’. Both the Boxster and the 996 displayed an overall ‘corporate’ look, but detailed differences helped identify them as two separate models.

    The design process was not simply a case of a couple of stylists being given a sheet of paper and a pen, and then told to go away and design a new 911. There was an element of competition about it, with four teams within the design department given the opportunity to prove their worth.

    Each team was asked to lay out their designs as full-sized tape ‘drawings’ on a blank wall, as well as showing a range of sketches to demonstrate how they had reached their decision. Pinky Lai recalls being stressed as each team tried to outdo the other, but there was a happy twist to his tale, as Ludvigsen once again recounts.

    In addition to the drawings, the teams were tasked with creating a full-sized clay model of their proposed design. This called to the services of the highly-skilled in house modellers, among who was an Eberhard Brose. Brose was legendary among the designers, having been part of the team responsible for finalising the shape of the original 901 (911) prototypes.

    After looking at the various design ideas on show, Brose turned to Pinky Lai and casually said, ‘Pinky, I’m going to do yours’. Lai recalls that ‘When he picked mine, I knew I had a winner.’

    Lai’s design was chosen as the best of all the submissions, having succeeded in retaining the original 911’s character yet bringing it firmly up to date. Gone was the need for widened rear wings – the new, more subtly-curved bodywork could accommodate wider rims than before – but the 911’s trademark ‘boomerang’ rear quarter window profile remained, albeit tweaked to give a more modern feel.


    The windscreen was raked back to an angle of 60 degrees, compared to the original’s 55 degrees, while the higher tail and sleeker roofline helped make the car more aerodynamically efficient. Door mirrors were relocated, too, now being mounted in the front corner of the door windows as opposed to the door top itself. The raised tail helped in three ways.

    First it added a ‘power bustle’ to the profile, emphasising the rear engine location and hinting at the car’s performance potential. It also helped airflow over the rear of the car, and finally it provided more space for the bulkier new engines.

    As a carry over from the days of the 964, the engine lid featured a combined intake grille and spoiler that would raise automatically at speed.

    Harm Lagaay is quoted as saying the 996 looked more ‘relaxed’ than the rather more aggressively-styled earlier cars. ‘With the 993,’ he said, ‘we had exhausted the visual possibilities. I wanted the new car (the 996) to look more relaxed, and I think we achieved that.’

    Amusingly in hindsight, he likened the two cars to the two famous American sprinters of the time: ‘The old 911 is like the athlete Ben Johnson, packed with muscle and aggression. The new 911 is like Carl Lewis, still powerful but with a slimmer figure, more elegant and much more perfectly proportioned.’

    Clearly Lagaay was impressed with Lai’s design, going on to say ‘If it doesn’t stir anything inside you, inspire you, then it isn’t a Porsche…’

    Lai’s design wasn’t all about sleek looks, though – it was also very efficient, with a drag coefficient of just 0.30. Whereas in its early days the original 911 had been plagued with problems of rear lift at speed, the new design had a lift factor of seven per cent at the front and just three per cent at the rear. Testing showed that, at 170mph, the overall lift was just six per cent, an extremely low figure.

    Such efficiency was achieved by a number of small but significant details. Early wind tunnel tests showed that drag over the rear bodywork was high, calling for changes to be made that wouldn’t adversely affect rear lift. Underbody cladding helped greatly here, as did a small lip that reduced air pressure in the engine bay, also aiding airflow through fans which helped cool the engine compartment.

    Porsche examined the possibility of using aluminium to build the 996’s basic body structure, with plastic panels used for the front and rear ‘bumpers’. This technque had been used by Honda on the NSX, but Porsche was unimpressed with the way the Japanese company had used the material. Whereas in more recent times cars with an aluminium substructure, such as Audi’s A2 and A8, treated the lightweight material in a different way to steel (smaller complex pressings welded together to make a light but rigid structure), Honda preferred more traditional techniques, similar to those used to press steel body panels.


    This technique left Porsche’s engineers unimpressed, but it was also clear that the process used by Audi was simply not cost effective – indeed, it is still claimed that Audi lost money on every A8 sold, while repair costs were (and still are) so high that many cars would be written off after suffering relatively little damage. Neither problem appealed to the bean counters. In the end, zinc-plated steel body panels were decided upon, these being stamped out by BMW – this was truly a time of cooperation between rival companies, all of whom had been through lean times in the early 1990s.

    Modern manufacturing techniques, such as using laser welding equipment, led to a reduction in the time necessary to complete a body ready for paint. In fact, according to Ludvigsen, the 996 body took 20 per cent less time to make than that of its predecessor, the 993.

    This wasn’t the only major improvement over the old model. The 996’s bodyshell was some 30 per cent more torsionally rigid than that of the 993, with bonded-in glazing, front and rear, accounting for 21 per cent of that increase.

    The torsional rigidity helped the 996 to be one of the safest cars in its day. ‘Our goal was to build the world’s safest highperformance car,’ said Horst Marchart, ‘and all our tests show we’ve done that.’ Whereas the old 911, with body engineering dating back to the early 1960s, was never a car in which you’d expect to have a major accident and walk away unhurt, the 996 was a very different proposition. Increased public awareness of vehicle safety meant that Porsche, like all other manufacturers, was keen to promote this aspect of its product design.

    The latest computer modelling – FEM, or Finite-Element Modelling – was used to demonstrate on-screen how strong the 996 was. This system, which referenced no fewer than 180,000 separate analysis points, allowed engineers to look at the bodyshell in a way that their predecessors could only have dreamed.

    FEM allowed them to simulate crashes from all angles, reducing the amount of time and expense associated with the destruction of prototypes at a preproduction stage. Project leader Bernd Kahnau is quoted as saying that his team ‘put a lot of effort into designing a new car that would meet all anticipated crash safety requirements. It was a fantastic effort!’ Porsche’s engineers would spend literally hours – as many as 40 or more per computer session – assessing the damage inflicted on a 996 bodyshell, primarily in frontal impacts. Only when they were happy would a ‘real’ crash test be performed on a prototype.

    It was the responsibility of Bernd Kahnau, as project leader for the 996, to see that the new car had sufficient customer appeal to be a success. After all, the 911 family had been the flag wavers for Porsche since 1964. With two new cars being marketed alongside each other, it was important that customers be able to differentiate between them.


    To this end, the decision was made to market the Boxster as a more youthful product, the emphasis being on ‘hedonism’ rather than the ‘success’ and ‘evolution’ of the 996 – references to the 911’s long bloodline and competition history. However, the sharing of components and, to a certain degree, styling inevitably meant there was a cross-over between the two models. It was potentially a challenging situation, the task of the sales and advertising people being to separate the products and sell them into two different markets.

    As has been mentioned previously, there was more component sharing here than at any other point in Porsche’s past, unless you compare the six-cylinder 911 and its four-cylinder sibling, the 912, in the 1960s. This was different, though, as the Boxster was an entirely new concept, rather than a ‘less expensive’ 911, its mid-engine layout clearly defining it as a stand-alone model. The front suspension was shared between the 996 and the 986 Boxster, consisting of a MacPherson strut design with aluminium lower links, on an aluminium subframe.

    At the rear, the 996 featured a far simpler layout than the suspension assembly of the 993. The old car had required a substantial aluminium subframe to carry the suspension components, but the greater torsional rigidity of the 996 body allowed the engineers to do away with the 993’s subframe in favour of a less complex design with just one main crossmember. Mounted on four rubber bushes to the bodyshell, the new set-up was both lighter and cheaper to manufacture.


    Of course, there was one other major component shared by the two ‘New Generation’ Porsches: the engine. Both models were now water-cooled, largely to satisfy noise and emission regulations, but the Boxster was equipped with a 2.5-litre six-cylinder engine, the 996 a larger 3.4- litre version. This in itself is a subject worthy of an archive feature in its own right, so we’ll leave the development history of the latterly much-maligned M96 engine to a future issue.

    For Porsche, the launch of the New Generation was a very big deal. On these two models rested the fortunes of a company which had seen many highs and lows over the previous decade. So what did the media think of the new 996?

    Damned as a ‘bastard son of the Boxster and the 928’ by one critic, the 996’s styling came in for a lot of comment. But the influential Auto Motor und Sport probably summed it up best of all, tipping its hat to the efforts of the stylists, Harm Lagaay and Pinky Lai: ‘That the traditionalists sulked a little was only to be expected. The bigger overall dimensions, the nose from the Boxster, with the oddly-shaped headlamps, the lack of muscular bulges on each rear flank, even the loss of the drip rails – all must evoke sadness in a fan of the old 911. But next to the new 911, the old one looks like a relic from days gone by.’

    Time has been cruel to the 996, with its engine problems and criticism of its lack of character, but it was a success for Porsche in marketing terms. It also, along with the Boxster, helped the company keep its head above water…

    The 993 Targa had been seen as a controversial design by many but a triumph as far as the stylists were concerned. The same sliding roof concept was considered at an early stage for the 996, too, as demonstrated here in this 1996 sketch.

    Crash testing took place only after considerable time had been spent acting out various scenarios on computers. But once the design had passed with flying colours, it was time to hit the road – much of the long-distance testing was carried out in North America, while Weissach’s wind tunnel honed the final details (GT2 pictured).

    It’s probably true to say that no other Porsche before had undergone such rigorous preproduction testing as the 996. On the far left a Carrera undergoes wetweather testing, while left and centre, 996 GT2 and Turbo undergo suspension and wind-tunnel evaluation.

    The 996’s bodyshell was some 30 per cent more torsionally rigid than that of the 993…

    At first glance you might guess this was a 993 Carrera 4S, but in fact it’s the original test mule with all the underpinnings of the soon to be released 996. Bonnet pins, roll cage and small bulge in the bonnet hint at something out of the ordinary…

    Under Wendelin Wiedeking (centre) several different projects were investigated, including a stretched four-door cousin to the 911. For the first time, computer modelling played a major part in a design process that led to the creation of the new Porsche 996.

    With the 993, we had exhausted the visual possibilities. I wanted the new “car to look more relaxed…

    Pinky Lai lays out a full-sized tape drawing of his new design. His idea came out on top at an early stage, but he found the whole process ‘stressful’.

    Narrow rear to the glasshouse on this 1994/5 drawing resembles that of the much later Cayman. Sensuous curves reflected a desire to make the 996 look more modern than its predecessors, including the 993, which had itself been regarded as a major departure from the established 911 shape.

    Left front is Harm Lagaay, with back to camera, while behind him is Pinky Lai – studying the painted clay model in daylight for the first time.

    Pinky Lai (in the background, with glasses) watches over the creation of the clay model of his design in. By this stage, the overall style had been established – now it was time to concentrate on the details, such as the controversial ‘friedegg’ headlights.

    The go-ahead was given to the new project in 1994 and within a few months, all kinds of ideas were being kicked around by Harm Lagaay and Pinky Lai, as this range of sketches proves.

    Crude 1995 design sketch (above) demonstrates the stylists’ desire to give the 911 a fresh, modern look. Pinky Lai’s solution was more sensuous than earlier models, but hopefully it was still recognisably a Porsche 911.
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  •   Ben Koflach reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    WORK OF ART PORSCHE 1973 CARRERA RS

    The 1973 #Porsche-911-Carrera-RS is recognised by many as being the finest #911 ever. Hailed by many as the greatest road-legal 911 of all time, the #1973 #Carrera-RS remains top of the desirability stakes more than 40 years after its launch, but how many people are aware of the links between this desirable #Porsche-911 and the mighty 917? Words: Keith Seume. Photos: Stefan Bau.


    Some people believe that the Carrera RS is the best road car that Porsche ever built, and it’s easy to see why they might think that way. But can you really say that this 42-year-old car is better than, for example, a modern #997 GT3RS, or the newly-announced #Cayman GT4? That’s an impossible question to answer, for you have to put the RS in context with what else was around at the time.

    Modern limited-run, high-performance Porsches, such as the 911 GT3 (and its sibling, the turbocharged GT2) are undoubtedly breathtaking cars: they are seeringly fast – too fast, one might argue for road use – and, in the case of the GT3RS, pretty uncompromising. They are brutal trackday machines that are, to be frank, a pain in the proverbial to drive on anything other than billiard-tablesmooth roads. Drive a GT3RS for very long on the average British country road and you’ll soon be visiting your dentist to have your fillings replaced…

    And this is where we get to the crux of what makes the 1973 Carrera RS such a fantastic car. It is simply a great all-rounder. But before we go any further, let’s take a step back in time and look at the circumstances surrounding its development and release.

    Elsewhere in this issue you can read of the story behind Porsche’s greatest race car of all time, the mighty 917 (The Big One). As the cost of developing and competing at the highest levels of sports car racing – Can-Am in particular – had spiralled to what many within Porsche believed was an unacceptable level, the company began to consider other more costeffective ways to promote its products.

    Ernst Fuhrmann is well-known in classic circles today as the father of the four-cam motor in the 1950s. After a sabatical period at Goetze, he returned to #Porsche in #1971 initially as Technical Director, before being appointed Chairman of the Board in 1972. Fuhrmann’s return to Porsche coincided with the departure of Ferdinand Piech, father of the 917, who left to go to Audi. Fuhrmann made no secret of the fact that Piech’s obsession with the 917 and its race programme wasn’t in line with his ideas on how best to promote the marque. In Karl Ludvigsen’s Excellence was Expected, he is quoted as saying of the 917’s participation in Can-Am ‘That was a very interesting adventure, but one cannot constantly play on so many pianos. Now we are going to stay closer to production cars…’.

    But Fuhrmann still believed in the value of racing as a way to improve sales, and even though he was personally at the forefront of the movement within Porsche to ultimately kill off the 911 in favour of the 928 (plans for which were already on the drawing board in the early 1970s), he knew the rear-engined, air-cooled model still had a few years left in it. ‘Racing is good advertising for every car,’ said Fuhrmann – even a flagship front-engined V8-powered GT, like the future #Porsche-928


    Fuhrmann was a shrewd businessman as well as a great engineer. He looked dispassionately at the #Porsche-917 programme, weighing the expense incurred against the monetary returns in terms of sales – ie, did the 917 actually make the company any money? Amazingly, it seems it did, for the cost of the race programme was more than offset by the return in publicity generated by the 917’s successes on track.

    Just two months after he was appointed chairman of the board, Fuhrmann gave the go-ahead to develop the 911 for racing. Not since the days of the #911R had there been such a push, but this was not to be a short-term effort like the lightweight R. Porsche entered a raceready 911 in the #1972 GT Championship, beginning with the 1000km event at the Österreichring in June.

    Driven by Björn Waldegaard and Gunter Steckkönig – an experimental race engineer with Porsche since 1953 – the highly-modified 911 was forced to run under the looser, but highly-competitive Group 5 classification. It finished 10th, behind a series of all-out competition cars. Now lay the challenge of how to apply the lessons learnt from this early success to the 911 as a whole.

    The main questions were how to make the 911 more competitive on the track, and then to examine what modifications would have to be incorporated into a limited-series, road-going production car. To satisfy the requirements of the FIA Group 4 regulations, Porsche would need to build 500 examples – a far cry from the 25 (or, initially, 50) required years earlier for the 917 to be given the go-ahead.

    Norbert Singer was placed in charge of the project and his first task was to see how he could ‘build in’ lightness, to achieve a target weight of just 900kg. This was done by reducing the thickness of the steel used on the body pressings of the earliest cars, from 1.00 or 1.25mm to just 0.7mm. At the same time, the glass used in all other 911s was replaced by thinner, lighter material made by the Belgian company, Glaverbel. Lightweight glassfibre panels replaced the steel deck lid and rear bumper/ overriders, too, on models destined for the track. Interior trim was an obvious candidate for attention, with the rear seats deleted, all sound-proofing removed and new door cards installed, which dispensed with the normal armrests and door pulls in favour of plain panels with lightweight plastic handles from a #Fiat-500 and a pull-cord door realease.

    The heavy stock reclining seats were replaced, too, this time with lightweight buckets with thumbscrew adjusters to set the angle of the backrest. Oh, and there was no clock, no passenger sun visor, threshold trims or glove box lid. In short, anything that wasn’t needed got left in the parts bin…

    The bodywork came in for some significant restyling, too, with wider rear wheel arches designed to accommodate 7Jx15 Fuchs wheels, the fronts remaining at 6Jx15. Tyres were 185/70x15 and 215/60x15 #Pirelli-CN36 radials. Under those wheel arches were #Bilstein gas shock absorbers, which helped save just under 4 kilos, while a thicker front anti-roll bar (18mm instead of 15mm) was fitted, along with a 19mm rear.

    Visually, the most significant change to the 911’s profile was the distinctive RS ‘ducktail’ on the rear lid. This followed extensive wind tunnel testing at Stuttgart in the early 1970s, which led to the incorporation of the small lip spoiler under the nose of the 911S models. That was fine for a car with the performance potential of the regular road-going ‘S’, but at higher speeds it was discovered that airflow over the rear of the 911 generated significant lift at speeds over 150mph. By adding this simple ducktail, according to Ludvigsen, lift was reduced from a heady 320lbs to just 93lbs at 152mph. At the same time, the Cd figure fell slightly from 0.41 to 0.40 – a small improvement admittedly, but still worthwhile in the quest for perfection.

    A further advantage of the new spoiler was that it improved airflow into the engine bay, providing extra cooling and intake air for the new engine. And what an engine it turned out to be.

    The contemporary production unit displaced 2341cc (optimistically tagged ‘2.4’ by Porsche), but by increasing the bore from 84mm to 90mm, the capacity rose to 2681cc (nominally 2.7 litres). This was a deliberate choice to allow the engine to be developed for use in the 3.0- litre class, and in fact meant the Carrera had the same bore and stroke as that of the 5.4-litre 917/10: 90mm x 70.4mm. As we are starting to see, the Carrera RS owed much to the mighty 917…

    The lessons learnt from the all-conquering 917 didn’t stop there, for the Carrera’s engine featured Nikasil-lined aluminium cylinders produced by Mahle, in place of the Biral cylinders of the #Porsche-911E and #Porsche-911S models. This process proved to be far tougher than the previously-preferred chome-plating used on aluminium cylinders, thanks to the tiny grains of silicon-carbide contained in the coating. It also had the added benefit of allowing an oil film to adhere to the cylinder walls more effectively.

    The new (or rather ‘revised’) engine, which shared the remainder of its major components with the 2.4-litre unit, produced 210bhp at 6300rpm and some 255Nm of torque at 5100rpm. The transmission – type 915 – was the same as that used in the mainstream models, other than a slightly taller fourth and fifth gear ratios than those used on the 911S.

    The plan was to build just 500 examples of the Carrera RS (as the model became known) but as history has shown, the response was so great that this initial run sold more quickly than had been imagined possible. Four versions would be be available, the rarest being known as the RSH (for ‘homologation’) – a lightweight (960kg) model of which just 17 examples were built. Then came the #M471 and #M472c options, better known as the ‘Lightweight’ and ‘Touring’ respectively.

    The former was essentially a productionised version of the RSH, with slightly less attention paid to all-out weight savings. As a result, the factory-specified weight of the M471 model was 975kg, just 15kg more than the RSH. The #M472 , though, featured the same interior trim and detailing as the regular 911S, other than a smaller 380mm-diameter steering wheel. This trim package added around another 100kg to the all-up weight. The final offering was the 2.8-litre RSR (option M491), of which 55 examples were built for competition use. Ultimately, 1580 Carrera RSs were sold, not including the RSR – a far cry from the original planned run of just 500. However, by building 1000 (or more) examples, Porsche could now homologate the RS for use in the very competitive Group 3 GT racing category.

    The value of genuine, original RSs has, over the last few years, gone through the roof. After a period in the late 1980s when even a Lightweight could be purchased for £20-25,000 in the UK, they have continued to rise in value at an almost alarming rate. This has led to tales of fakes and forgeries (which is where the latest forensic examinations of VIN numbers comes in useful – see Drive-My News, so it is a wise man who seeks expert advice before entering into the purchase (or sale) of an RS today.

    But is an RS really worth a high-six figure (or more) price tag? How much better a car is it than a good 2.4 911S? That depends on who you ask. With a good ‘S’ costing between a quarter and a third of an equivalent RS, you’d need to be pretty set on Carrera RS ownership. But, on the other hand, there is no doubt that an RS is something very special – it’s a limited run model which has direct links to the 917. It was developed by Porsche’s finest engineers for use in the most competitive of all race categories. The letters ‘RS’ stood for RennSport, and that’s a pretty good indication this is something special. If you’ve not driven a 1973 Carrera RS, it’s hard to appreciate what a perfectly balanced package it is, be it in Lightweight or Touring trim – it’s definitely far more than just a ‘hopped up’ 911S. It hasn’t become the stuff of legends without cause. But what would you expect from a 911 born at a time when Porsches ruled the racetrack?
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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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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Narrow Bodied #Porsche #911 Turbo - Vanilla Shake. Don’t let the innocuous looks of this delectable cream classic fool you! This pretty Porker has a dark side too in the shape of a #930-Turbo engine in the back Words: Johnny Tipler. Photography: Antony Fraser.

    Buy Pirelli shares now! Johan is on track, lighting up the Cinturatos on the back of his #1972 911T around Abbeville circuit’s twelve twists and turns! Sideways action is his forte, but it’s easier with this car because, unbeknown to the casual observer, there’s a surprise lurking in the engine bay. This innocent-looking cream cracker with its mellow green stripes just happens to be packing… a #1977 European-spec 3.0-litre 930 engine, complete with K27 turbo and 964 camshafts! It’s a pretty special prospect even before we open the engine lid. Created in San Diego by veteran Porsche specialist Tom Amon, it has an exemplary paint finish: Chrysler ‘Cool Vanilla’, overlaid with Ford ‘Kiwi Green’ stripes – painted, not decals. In Abbeville and the surrounding villages it’s a real head turner.

    The 930 engine and 915 transmission were rebuilt by Tom Amon and fitted around 15 years ago. Other modifications carried out at the same time included a B&B dual outlet exhaust, new Bilsteins, anti-roll bars, rear torsion bars, ball joints, steering rack, TT rods, plus 964 front brake calipers with a 22mm master cylinder. The Fuchs wheels are special items as well, being Harvey Weidman refinished ‘Deep Sixes’, with 7R on the back.

    Once I’ve finished admiring the tantalising exterior I open the door. Another amazing aesthetic feast! Green leather upholstered GTS Sport S seats, and similarly clad dash top and door furniture, with carpeting consisting of German Squareweave matting by Autobahn Interiors. There’s a 380mm RS steering wheel, and a North Hollywood Speedometer turbo boost gauge instead of the 911 clock. The 1972 F-programme 2.4-litre 911T was good for 140bhp, and now with the 3.0-litre 930 engine it sports a rampant 300bhp. The first direct evidence I get of its enhanced performance capability is on Abbeville’s twiddly circuit. Among the tracksters doing their hurlaround thing is a red Ruf CTR, a Yellowbird in all but plumage, and having warmed up the 2.4T, Johan locks on. Like a cruise missile, gradually we reel in the Pfaffenhausen twin-turbo CTR, and it’s a well-driven car too. With 500bhp it pulls away from us along the half-mile start-finish straight, but not by much and, a couple of turns into the mid-field section, Johan’s caught up again. We are holding onto a Yellowbird, and we are not in a lowered chassis, just a narrow one. It’s incredible to be able to do that with a 1972 car, to have that kind of power available, and it’s enormous fun riding the kerbs. Talk about doing a Ruf, this is exactly the sort of concept that Alois Ruf embraced when he began tuning Porsches.

    Of course, Porsche was one of the first car manufacturers to embrace turbocharging, beginning with the 917/10 Can-Am cars in 1972 when this 911T started life. The first 911 race car to run with a turbo was the 500bhp 2.14-litre RSR that came 2nd in the 1974 Le Mans 24-Hours and Watkins Glen 1,000kms, and then another year on, in Spring #1975 , the 930 Turbo road car was unveiled.

    There’s another angle to this. Forced induction is one thing, but a dramatic capacity hike is another, and the impact on performance is inevitably startling. Shoehorning a bigger motor into an unsuspecting minnow has long been an efficacious way of gaining more horses: in the ’60s Carroll Shelby did it with the AC Cobra, and TVR did it with the Griffith. In the early ’70s, Autofarm’s Josh Sadler was an early Porsche panderer, transplanting a 911’s flat-six into a 912 to go hillclimbing with. A decade later I worked over an innocent Alfa Romeo 1300Ti tin-top, installing a 2000 Berlina engine and LSD so it went like shit off a shovel. The 911 was a special case though: its flat-six had the advantage of having individual cylinder barrels so you could increase capacity by changing bore and stroke without resorting to a larger engine: no need to switch a 2.0 for a 2.7. But the temptation to transplant little for large remains attractive because it’s swifter to achieve and probably less fiddly. And that’s what Tom Amon did with Johan’s car in the USA in #2005 , out with the 2.4, in with the 3.0 turbo.

    Back in the paddock apron, Johan lets the turbo cool off. ‘We’ll just let it spin out for a minute or two,’ he says, ‘because the oil line for the turbo comes from the engine, so when you turn off the engine the bearings on the turbo are still spinning without oil so that’s why you need to have it come down from about 100,000rpm to zero, just as a cool down, and that’s why you have to let it run on idle so that when the turbo is on zero rpm the bearings don’t need oiling. And that prolongs the life of the turbo.’ It’s a recent addition to Johan’s collection. He first saw it in the States in 2007, but it changed hands and came to Holland in the meantime. ‘The car wasn’t sorted, and I’m sure that the last owner didn’t drive it much. In fact, I’m almost certain that he was daunted by the car, so he decided to sell it. It wasn’t cheap, and of course if you make a conversion like this it’s an expensive task, and then you take into account the lavish interior, but even so, the price I paid was a fraction of the build cost of the car. The only thing I don’t like is the coconut floor mats, but that’s typically American; they absolutely love those things, but on the other hand they protect the other mats underneath. When we first got the car we ice blasted the chassis to clean it, and we could see that the original colour of the car was probably Gemini Blue. But I think it does look period in vanilla and green. Whoever painted the stripes on did a good job, and that was done in the States. It’s got the mph speedometer so it’s still to US spec. Otherwise, the only thing I would have liked is a sliding roof, but then it’s better not to have one for optimum torsional rigidity.’

    Johan still wants to make some minor adjustments. ‘I like everything about it, except that I need a steering wheel that comes closer to my body because my knees are hitting the wheel. And I would like to change the gauges, so probably I’m going to have a design made to match the beige and the green stripes of the exterior. Something like they had in the Sport Classic. And I’m going to get a 300kph speedo like the RS’s, and a rev counter that goes to 10,000rpm without a red line, just for fun. I’ll have the turbo boost gauge incorporated in the speedo, and a proper clock re-fitted, because it bothers me that I don’t have a clock. I couldn’t care less if I have 1 bar or 1.2 bar or 1.8 bar boost; it’s nice to see the needle going up and up, but if you’re driving really fast you don’t have the time to look at it! Basically I don’t have time to look at my speedometer either, the only thing I’m concentrating on is changing gears.’ It’s a fine looker from any angle. But the posture of the car is slightly out of kilter with a normal F-programme 911, because the rear wheels have been made wider on the inside so that there is no offset projecting into the wheelarch; common practice in the ’60s before specialist aftermarket wheel manufacturers got going, a set of wheels was taken to the local blacksmith where the wheel rim was cut off, a hoop spliced in and the rim welded back on again, and a suitably wider tyre fitted. That’s what’s happened to the rears on this vanilla fudge car, though the offset has been implanted on the inside of the wheel so it’s not obvious externally. It allows bigger tyres to be fitted on the back than this narrow-bodied car would normally have and it does give it a slightly curious tail-up attitude.

    Those extra millimetres do make a difference on track, according to Johan. ‘Though they kept the original body they widened the back wheels on the inside, so from the outside they look like the standard wheels, but they are half-a-centimetre wider on the inside, and although my rear tyres are a little wider than the front ones it is still not enough to handle the potential power and provide traction. You sense that, when you come out of a corner and floor it so you’re in turbo boost mode, the wheels are spinning and you don’t get the power to the tarmac, but at the same time you have to be very tender on the accelerator.’

    How does the 911T turbo compare with the 930? Johan provides a very interesting take on the two installations: ‘Well, the early 930s were even more dangerous than this one, because they had huge turbo lag, which this one doesn’t have. To counter that, they changed the turbo and the response time, so you still had a little bit of turbo lag but you didn’t have the residual power coming through when you lifted off and the turbo was still blowing. And because this one has a smaller turbo the response is better all round, with no lag or hangover.’ The 930 benefited from much broader tyres, brakes and suspension, which Johan acknowledges: ‘Chassis-wise, this one is not as good as a Turbo because it’s smaller, so I guess the 930 would be the better bet as a turbo road car, but they still remain dangerous cars. What you’ve got here is the classic body and in this body size they never had more than 210bhp in an RS, and even that was a little wider at the back. So, basically, the most brake horsepower we had in this chassis was 190bhp in the 2.4S, so this car has another 110bhp on top of that, and in fact it’s a bit too much for the chassis.’ Therefore, upping the boost pressure is of no interest to Johan. ‘There was still a way to get more out of the 930’s 260bhp 3.0-litre engines; basically you’d just turn up the turbo boost, and I’m sure that you can boost it with this one, but I don’t want to go any higher because we could have some problems with reliability. It’s fun on the road and the way it passes cars like the BMW 6-series on the track is simply awesome.’ Seems to me it passes everything – except, frustratingly, that CTR!

    Surprisingly, the chassis has not been upgraded in any way, apart from slight wheel widening, and that smacks of a novelty exercise. Surely you would augment the damping and brakes while you’re nigh-on doubling the power? ‘I don’t think anything has been done to improve it torsionally,’ says Johan, ‘so what I’m doing here on track you can do once in a while, but you are not supposed to do it on a regular basis. You have to put in a roll cage and lower the centre of gravity to start with. So it’s a nice car on the road. When you are on the highway it’s very fluent in traffic, with the power capability to match any modern car, and that’s the main aim of the car.’

    The ‘3.0’ T has also provided Johan with an inspiration. ‘It’s a fun little car, and I’ve been thinking of building something like it just for pleasure, and I’m going to sell my r-gruppe car because I’ve bought this one, so now I’m thinking I’ll build something like it myself, but have it torsionally stiffened, have a rollcage in the cabin, clad in leather just like a real CTR. And I absolutely like the idea of having a Targa with 300 brake horsepower, but then you really do need to stiffen up the chassis.’ Watch this space! I search for parallels with other on-track experiences: to make it work around the circuit like he just demonstrated, is Johan’s technique particularly different to the lightweight 911R? ‘The R is easier because it’s lighter, and this car has a bigger engine which is heavier in the back end, so in order to make this a really good track car we would have to upgrade the suspension and probably put on low profile tyres.’ But to be able to stay with a Yellowbird like we just did, there’s not that much wrong with the way the suspension is set up as it is. ‘No, but I could make it better, with less body roll, and I could probably make it so it would get ahead of the Yellowbird! But then you’d have to work on the suspension, and I don’t want to do that to this car because I don’t think you have to change everything on a car. Once in a while you have to give the car a shakedown on track as it is, and it would be possible to make it better in that context, and if we did that, despite the disparity in the power, I’m sure it would be faster than the CTR.’

    There are no two ways about it, of course, it’s a much quicker car than a regular 2.4, a direct result of its lightness and the available power, and in terms of on-road performance it feels more like a 2.7RS, and that’s without bothering to trouble the turbocharger. The narrow-bodied Turbo T’s steering is very light, and the ride is admirably dainty for such a veiled beast with a latent sting in its tail. It’s firm but light over these bumpy French country roads that switchback over the arable hills. The tall tyres that no doubt contribute to the easy ride are Pirelli Cinturato P1s, 205/60/R15 on the front and 215/65/15 on the back.

    When the turbo starts to kick in at 3,500rpm it’s a very smooth power delivery – though I don’t hoof it lest it plays the bucking bronco. In fact, on these back roads I’m resisting the temptation to explore it to the full but one excuse is that the brakes require very firm pressure on the pedal and I’ve used up half the travel without anything very much happening. That means I’m having to pre-judge acceleration as well as braking points, what with the turbo thrust and the ‘period’ anchors.

    Like the brakes, some other aspects are also authentic #1973 . For instance, there is only a single Durant door mirror, and the rear three-quarter windows open but the front ones don’t. On a hot, sultry day in Picardy the cabin needs as much ventilation as I can muster, and those back side windows levered open certainly help cool it down.

    Fundamentally this is a great open road machine, where you can be fairly relaxed about driving it. Gun it on a back lane and you’d better be pretty sure where it’s going to go. First gear is hardly necessary because it’s so torquey, pulling strongly from 2nd through 5th. Five gears: one more than the 3.0-litre Turbo ever had. It’s a smoothie when simply cruising around and off-boost. Ultimately it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing, though. A bit like Johan himself: there’s a little of the Jekyll and Hyde going on, the easy-going charmer becomes the sideways king who takes no prisoners on the race track. So it’s a paradox of a car. You’re not supposed to have that many horsepower in a small body, but it’s huge fun! Cool, too, just like a vanilla shake.


    Left: It’s a 911T but the ‘T’ takes on a rather different meaning when there’s a turbo in the back! Subtle metallic green stripes are painted on. Those opening rear windows are essential on a hot day in an early #911 .

    Widened rear wheels give this narrow-bodied turbo a slightly raked stance and lose in the battle for grip against 300bhp. Twin exit exhaust is a bit of a giveaway if you know what to look for.

    Interior is testimony to an impeccable custom job. Seats are green leather clad, as is door furniture and dash top. Steering wheel is an RS item. Coco mats protect the German Squareweave carpets. Right: Getting a wheel off the ground!
    Now that’s a bit of a surprise! Where once a normally aspirated flat-six sat, now resides a full on #930 Turbo engine giving a wholesome 300bhp.
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    HAPPY DAYS EKLUND RALLY PORSCHE 911

    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
    ONE OF THE FAMILY

    Ron Fleming has owned his #1972 #Porsche-911S for four whole decades… Not many people can boast of having owned a car for as long as Ron Fleming, for he bought his black #911S 40 years ago! We look back over four decades of life with a 1972 #Porsche . Words & photos: Keith Seume.

    Ron’s name will be familiar to many people with a passing interest in high-performance Volkswagens and off-road racing. His company, FAT Performance, based in Orange, California, has an enviable reputation for building race-winning motors for cars competing in the SCORE off-road race series in California and Mexico.

    Ron is still also heavily involved with the world of VW drag racing, a sport in which he first became embroiled back in the late 1960s, first at the wheel of a Bug called Underdog, later in control of a legendary racer called Tar Babe. And today, he competes regularly in the VW Super Street championship in a 300+bhp nine-second Beetle. But let’s turn the clock back a way – back to the early-1970s, in fact. Having spent (who said misspent?) his youth racing VWs on the drag strip and embarrassing muscle car drivers on the street, Ron – like so many other #VW owners, then and now – began to lust after a Porsche. He bought a 911T which he proceeded to modify, with a hot 2.4-litre engine, boredout Webers, Carrera-style flares and suitably wide Fuchs wheels. It scratched the itch, but he still wanted more – more in the form of a 911S.

    In 1975, He sold the #Porsche-911T and tracked down a black sunroof 911S. Being a 1972 model, it had a 2.4-litre engine and oil-filler in the rear quarter panel. The stock engine (which displaced 2341cc) produced 190bhp at 6500rpm and was equipped with the original Bosch mechanical fuel-injection. The car already had an interesting story attached before Ron bought it. The ‘S’ left the factory in Light Yellow, destined for sale at the famous Vasek Polak dealership at Hermosa Beach, on Pacific Coast Highway. It seems that a customer came in one day and was desperate to buy a new 911S, but it had to be in black. After some phone calls, the salesman came back with the news that there were no black ones available anywhere.

    The solution? Take the Light Yellow car sat in the showroom and repaint it for the customer! Can’t help wondering how many dealers today would go that far to get a sale – and how many customers would be happy to accept a new car that had been repainted before it had even turned a wheel? Not many, I’m sure.

    With just 34,000 miles on the clock when it came into Ron’s ownership, the 911S was sound in wind and limb but, Ron being Ron, he dropped the engine out in his workshop and tore it apart to check all was OK. It almost goes without saying that it was fine after so few miles but Ron just wanted to make sure…

    However, it was perhaps inevitable that Ron’s hot-rod instincts would come into play before too long, so it was only a matter of time before he tore the engine apart and rebuilt it with a pair of SC-spec cams, which helped boost power to a very useful 212bhp – 22 more than stock and enough to keep Ron happy (for now).

    Ron’s programme of personalising the ‘S’ has manifested itself in a number of ways, some subtle, some not quite so. None, however, have done anything to detract from the character (and desirability) of this most sought after of early 911Ss. Ron likes black cars – his race car had been black, as was his old Oval-window VW street car – but to him the 1972 #911 just wasn’t ‘black’ enough. ‘When the later cars came out, with their black-anodised trim, I knew that was what I wanted,’ says Ron.

    But rather than have the brightwork around the windows and door frames anodised, he chose to have them powdercoated instead, because he’d seen how black anodising often suffered in the strong California sunshine, turning purple before your very eyes. He had the headlamp rims coated, too, along with the door handles and ‘S’ body trim. He also swapped the door mirror for one from a 1974 model as it was the smallest available in black, at the same time fitting factory-supplied tinted glass all round.

    The personalisation process didn’t stop there, though. Turning to the interior, Ron had local trim specialist, Don ‘Brad’ Bradford reupholster the seats and door panels in his trademark ‘fat biscuit’ style. This is a reference to the double-stitched pattern on the seat inserts, which many thought resembled a tray of freshly-baked biscuits! Brad’s handiwork was regarded as unsurpassable for quality in the 1970s and original examples of his workmanship are treasured today, particularly within the VW scene.

    Among other changes Ron made to the interior were to fit the passenger door card from a European-spec RHD 911 to the driver’s side door of his LHD car. This meant that he now had a proper arm rest and door pull on both doors, for greater comfort and convenience. Later, he also had Brad stitch up some new footwell mats, which included a pair of speakers so that he wouldn’t have to cut holes in the retrimmed door panels.

    Ron drove the car like this for close to 10 years, by which time the paintwork was beginning to show its age. Needless to say, he had it repainted in – you guessed it – the original black. Well, what else did you expect?

    By the mid-1990s, the car had clocked up over 230,000 miles on the rebuilt engine and showed no signs of needing anything other than routine maintenance and tyres – ‘Oh, plenty of tyres!’, quipped Ron. He drove the 911 virtually every single day to work from his home in Yorba Linda, California, and was constantly hassled by people wanting to buy the car.

    One Japanese visitor would regularly leave his business card under the windscreen wiper, while another hopeful offered Ron the sum of $25,000 for the car… Yes, we did say $25,000. That was quite a bit for an old 911 back then, even an ‘S’. But, as the owner said at the time, ‘What else can I buy that would give me as much pleasure?’ – and he was right, what could he have bought?

    And talking of prices, one of the little extras of which Ron is most proud is the factory touring kit, which he bought for the car not long after he acquired it. Consisting of all that was deemed necessary to keep the 911S on the road during a lengthy transcontinental drive, it includes a spare valve spring, a new belt for the MFI pump, a drain plug, fuses, clutch cable and a set of plugs and points. In the 1970s, it cost just $27, but it’s hard to imagine what it would change hands for on the open market today.

    You can’t own a car for this length of time and not have some stories to tell, particularly if you’re a hot-rodder at heart. Ron still smiles when he recounts his two favourite tales, one being of the time when he was heading across the desert on the way to a show. Feeling the need for ‘refreshment’, he spied a sign stating that the next service station was 143 miles away. As his needs became more urgent, he planted his foot to the floor and rolled into the gas station within the hour…

    The second story is one of those which are best enjoyed around a fire with a beer or two to hand. Ron and a friend were on the way to New Mexico, rolling along at a steady 130mph, or so, when they were spotted by a member of the Highway Patrol who took a rather dim view of the 911’s rate of knots. Pulling the Porsche over, clearly the officer thought it was his lucky day as he took out his notebook and wandered over to speak to the anxious driver.

    Ron, knowing that the safekeeping of his licence lay in the balance, immediately launched into a tall tale that he hoped would appease the officer’s obvious wrath. When asked why he was driving so fast, his reply was to the effect that the car was suffering from serious fuel-delivery problems, thanks to the belt-driven fuel-injection pump. ‘I need to keep the engine rpm as high as I can, or it won’t run at all!’ he told the patrolman. ‘If I leave it in low gear, it overheats, so I need to drive as fast as I can to keep up the airflow.’ he said.

    The officer gave Ron a sideways look and asked if he thought it was possible to reduce the speed just a little. ‘Would a hundred be OK?’ asked the driver, to which the officer mumbled something which Ron took to be in the affirmative, at which point the black 911S headed off down the road, with one very relieved owner at the wheel.

    In more recent times, Ron has continued to make changes to the car, the most evident of which is a swap to 16-inch wheels, which have been detailed to resemble the earlier style of Fuchs (the original 15-inch rims are tucked away safely in the garage). This has broadened the choice of tyres and also helped to sharpen the handling. In addition, Ron carried out another engine rebuild, swapping the cams for new grinds from WebCam, who also supply camshafts for his drag race motors.

    Today, the black ‘S’ competes for Ron’s favour with his beloved rag-top #VW-Beetle , with which it currently shares garage space. He’s taken the ‘S’ on R Gruppe ‘treffen’, and frequently visited the late lamented Cars & Coffee at Irvine – he’s even lent it to yours truly on several occasions. But it doesn’t get used as much as he would like, so Ron occasionally talks about how maybe he should think about selling the 911.

    Sadly, the way the market is now, it’s too valuable to drive every day in rush hour freeway traffic, and he can no longer simply park it outside while he dives into his favourite sushi bar for fear of theft or damage. But selling it would leave a Porsche-sized void in the garage which he would struggle to fill. And anyway, how could anyone bring themselves to sell a member of the family?
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    The Next Level #Porsche-911T vs. #Porsche-911-964 . 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… Got a little more cash to splash on a 911? Although two decades apart, both the #Porsche-E-Series-911T and the #964 offer alternative prospects for around £45,000… Story: Simon Jackson. Photography: Gus Gregory.


    There’s a simple and realistic question everyone should ask themselves prior to purchasing a vehicle of any kind. This question cuts through all the hype, drastically reduces any hastily pencilled list of pros and cons, and immediately delivers a sense of serene clarity, and that question is: ‘What am I going to use it for?’. It seems indisputably obvious but it’s not always the first thing a passionate petrolhead considers before embarking on an excitable, sometimes emotional, car shopping journey.

    When it comes to Porsches, in particular over 50 years worth of #Porsche-911 variants, asking yourself this question is absolutely imperative. This argument is clarified here with two 911s available for around the same price, both of which are fantastic in their own right, yet which on paper offer very divergent ownership prospects. Indeed, choosing between them could well be a case of deciding exactly what you plan to use them for…

    964 C2
    The 964’s transformation in fortunes is almost entirely complete now. Today it’s virtually impossible to purchase one of these post-1989 911s for under £20k, with the exception of the odd rogue convertible or #Targa version perhaps. Once the abhorrent black sheep of the 911 family, today the 964 stands tall as a cherished 911 with a strong following – and rightly so. But despite this reversal in favour the 964 still has some headroom to grow, and prices reflect this steadily rising as the cars become older and good examples become more sought-after. As such, anyone looking above the SC and 3.2 Carrera for a classic yet useable 911 could do far worse than considering a 964 as their #Porsche of choice.

    This #1991 #Porsche-911-Carrera-2 , finished in Mint green, is for sale at 4 Star Classics in Hampshire. The lefthand- drive model has been imported from Japan at some point during its lifetime, has covered just 46,000 miles and features the ‘love it or loathe it’ controversial Tiptronic gearbox. As you might imagine given the mileage it’s in exceptional condition, and is offered for sale at £39,995.

    Stepping inside the 964, one is reminded of how this model really does bridge the gap between what you might interpret as a true ‘classic’ 911s and more modern versions such as the 993 or 996. The driving position and dashboard layout owe more to Porsches of old than we might have first realised when the car was new back in the Nineties, and this projects a familiar and tangible ‘modern classic’ environment.

    With the weather doing its utmost to hamper progress and dampen the day during our photoshoot, the 964 presents a delightful safe haven – it feels old enough to be special, yet current enough to offer the touches of modernity a day like today may require. Heating to effectively and quickly clear the screen, door rubbers capable of keeping copious amounts of rain water at bay, plus a reliable and tractable drivetrain. It all feels wholly useable.

    Out on the road that persona remains as the driving experience is exceptionally friendly. This isn’t a Porsche that fights you at every step, rather one that wishes to make life as smooth as possible. In combination with the four-speed Tiptronic gearbox, the engine offers relatively sedate progress, belying the book figures of 250hp produced by the 3600cc flat-six. But when pushed a touch harder the C2 will pick up pace accordingly. For all intents and purposes this is a 911 you could happily use 365 days of the year.

    Steering is light yet offers progressive turn-in bite and a depth of feel often missing in more modern machinery, so perhaps the only real flaw here is that often-loathed Tiptronic gearbox, which certainly doesn’t deliver as urgent or progressive a driving experience as a contemporary #PDK system. However, despite how our first choice would undoubtedly be a manual ’box in this generation of 911, the Tiptronic cog-swapper is perhaps not the malevolent piece of devil engineering it is depicted as by some. Worse things happen at sea.

    In many regards, for me, the 964 is of a period just prior to the over-indulgence of technology in cars, when form followed function to just the right degree, cars were more lithe and simplistic offering the perfect balance of driveability, comfort and convenience, and straight-talking sex appeal not electronic dominance. For me, the 964’s legacy will be that it was the last truly classically-styled 911, offering a driving experience that looked ahead to the future, while taking a leaf from the book of the past. Personally I can’t think of another 911 I would rather use everyday, but perhaps the 964 has now become too precious for that kind of thing?

    911T

    As you’ll no doubt be all too aware, early 911s of all variants are incredibly sought after today, so it’s little wonder that even the more basic models which used to offer plausible entry-level 911 ownership not so many years ago, are now becoming pretty expensive investments. The 1970s 911T is one such model that is going through a rapid acceleration in asking prices, and as such it makes a very plausible case for purchase to anyone in the market for a £40,000 (and upwards) classic 911.

    The car you see here is an E-Series, available in #1971 - 1972 , with it came a new 2341cc engine which resulted in these cars being commonly referred to as the ‘2.4-litre’ 911. The E-Series boasted Bosch mechanical fuel injection over the carburettor alternative, and is noted for its oil tank (and subsequent filler flap) located between the right-hand door and rear-wheel arch – a feature dropped in the summer of #1972 to avoid owners filling their oil tanks with fuel.

    This Light yellow car, offered for sale by 4 Star Classics for £49,995, is a 1972 911T and has covered 81,000 miles from new. It might seem a world apart from the aforementioned 964, but with its five-speed manual gearbox, ventilated disc brakes and mechanical fuel injection system, it is effectively just as useable as its 1990s equivalent – if a touch more precious.

    Firing the 911T into action is a smile-inducing experience, as the sound of that traditional aircooled flat-six greets one’s ears. There’s just something so infectious about that tuneful clamour. Moving from the 964 into this 911, two decades its senior, you’d quite rightly expect a level of shock at your basic surroundings to befall you, but thanks to the 911’s gentle evolutionary nature this car doesn’t feel as ‘night and day’ compared with the 964 as you might first expect. Typically period pliant seating offers levels of comfort a few modern machines could learn a thing or two from, and the steering wheel and gear knob provide chunky tactile points of contact for the driver. Pure Seventies. Engaging drive is a characteristically air-cooled procedure, matching revs for take-off doesn’t take one too long to master and there’s a reassuringly consistent disposition to all the vital controls – unlike some classic cars of the era which can provide a temperamental driving experience to say the least. Once in motion, as with all classic 911s, the gearbox can take some getting used to, but once mastered and when handled with the correct level of aptitude and care, the change between gears is a satisfying process. Turn-in is a weightier affair than with the 964, but it is direct and confidence-inspiring, allowing the driver to get back on the throttle at his or her earliest convenience. It really is an enjoyable drive.

    In pursuit of the 964, the 911T provides perhaps its biggest shock – its level of performance. It feels brisk, in relative terms, fooling the brain into believing that the (over) 100hp deficit to the penultimate aircooled 911 ahead must be some kind of misprint. Unlike the cosseting more modern 964, this car encouragingly feels like a true classic sports car, one you could enjoy on the back routes or on your local track in equal measure. My only complaint is that I wish I was driving this car on a beautiful summer’s day – hardly the fault of the car! The 911T feels like just the right mix of classic Porsche, not too precious that you won’t want to push it from time-to-time, but not too quick that you’d feel the need to rinse it for every tenth of a second just to invoke a thrill through the controls. In many respects it seems to currently occupy a 911 sweet spot…

    CONCLUSION

    Of course it goes without saying that these two 911s are very different. The 19 years that separate them may visually represent a typically mild Porsche evolution, but psychically under the skin it’s more of a revolution. So you might be expecting me to tell you that the comparative result is that today they do entirely different jobs, but I’m not going to – because I’m not sure they do…

    Given the sought-after nature (and not forgetting their asking prices) of these two variants of 911, both the 911T and 964 have morphed, seemingly in parallel, into Porsche 911s which you probably wouldn’t want to use on a day-to-day basis, and in a way that defines this duo. Deciding which one to buy really does come back to that question we discussed earlier: ‘What am I going to use it for?’.

    If you’re looking for a financial investment opportunity that will only appreciate in value, then based on historical evidence either of these cars offer value for money and should be almost bulletproof in terms of depreciation. If you buy the right example you probably can’t go wrong there. If you want a Porsche for high days and holidays, a car to roll out of the garage a few times a year when the sun is shining or for the annual pilgrimage to something like the Goodwood Revival, again, the world’s your oyster with this pairing – just take your pick. Want to drive your 911 to work once a week or enjoy it strictly during your leisure at weekends? Guess what – a 911T or a 964 would make for the perfect partner too. And, if you’re a strictly dedicated enthusiast there’s certainly an argument that either could be used on a day-to-day level.

    Of course you might be thinking that there are other Porsches, other 911s perhaps which display this all-round ability, and you might be right. But as the star of both these cars rise up the classified listings in harmony, it’s clear that choosing a 911 in this price bracket has never presented a tougher decision.

    Firing the 911T into action is a smile-inducing experience, as the sound of that air-cooled flat-six greets one’s ears.

    Comparing 911s from different eras, which in essence offer completely different ownership concepts, is no easy task. In reality there’s nothing wrong with any of the prospects we have examined here; the #Porsche-911SC would make the perfect starter air-cooled 911, and those with a little more cash to splash might consider a 911T or a 964 – two already popular versions of Stuttgart’s icon, but cars which can still be acquired for a reasonable outlay… well, reasonable in Porsche terms anyway.

    Naturally there are many other variants of 911 which could sit alongside our selections here, most notably the 3.2 Carrera, and undoubtedly you’ll have your own ideas. But the message is clear; whichever path you choose you’re sure to end up with a 911 you can cherish and use in equal measure, and which, in theory, should not lose value. Of course, that’s not why the majority of enthusiasts purchase Porsche cars in the first instance, but it’s certainly a nice silver lining to owning one of the world’s most iconic sports cars, right?
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  •   Ben Barry reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    STARSHIP 911

    Stewe Corpley drives the #1986 #Porsche-911-Turbo-SE – Porsches 80s flagship #930 .

    Should you, during 1986, come across a right-hand-drive #930-series #Porsche-911-Turbo-Special-Equipment , take a good look at the owner. That’ll be the person behind the wheel; no one who recently paid £73.985.06 for this piece of four-wheeled transport will lose any opportunity to be the one behind the wheel.

    The person you’re looking at will be special indeed: someone with the outrageousness and means and sheer gall to pay a premium of £34.685 just to have a Porsche 911 Turbo 930 that has been improved someone who feels they need more power than the 300bhp of the standard model. At most there will be a dozen of these people out and about on the roads of Britain.

    Despite the Motorfair fanfare during October, the Turbo Special Equipment (Porsche people make certain they say it in full) isn't a new car, it has been built to special order by the repair and restoration staff in the Zuffenhausen factory for the past four years. Now, Porsche Great Britain reckon there’s a market for it that wasn’t around before (perhaps they’ve been surprised at the worldwide interest the four-wheel-drive #Porsche-959 has generated for ultra-expensive Porsches) and they’ve reserved the car a special place, and price, in their official price list.

    The #Porsche-930 Turbo SE (as we’ll call it) is hand-finished. The restoration shop people start with an ordinary, fully built Turbo, strip away the ordinary #Porsche-911-Turbo wings and fit the louvres in the top surface that allow you to look straight through to the top of the tyre. They lit the car with side skirts (we prefer that to the 'running boards’ which is how one impertinent pump jockey described them) and the rear wings got huge, slatted air scoops ahead of the rear wheels. Those admit great gobs of air to cool the brakes.

    There’s a lower chin spoiler, with a business-like mesh grille under the familiar bumper, but the car’s shape at the extreme rear is completely familiar. Same tea-tray wing, same low tail lights and ‘turbo’ in lower case script. The nine-inch wide rear wheels (forged alloy, with five spokes) have polished rims and they wear the new-size 245/45VR16 tyres which now also go on to ordinary, £39.303 Turbos. The front wheels are in the same style; standard seven-inches with the 205/ 55VR16S they’ve had for several years.

    It’s surprising how different the #930-Turbo-SE looks from an ordinary car. There’s a less brutish, more exotic quality to it. and from the front more than a hint of 935 sports/racer. And that is much of what the buyer is paying for - a classier image for a car which goes as hard as any other production car on this Earth up to 170mph.

    Are you getting the feeling that this, despite its huge cost, is a poseur’s chariot of the worst kind, the type whose serious purpose and abilities are subservient to its claim to making the occupants look good? I must say this is what struck-me. And I was then struck, as always in such cars, by the overwhelming foolishness of choosing a car solely because it suits your image - or because you'd like to suit its image. I mean, being seen in a car is so impersonal. Nobody knows who you are; nobody knows it’s you in there, enveloped in leather behind the expensive curves of coachwork. Posing in cars is nothing more than an exorcise in futility.

    With these dark thoughts in mind I opened the hefty door of the Turbo SE on a rainy night after a particularly disaster- ridden day in the office. Parked next to the SE was a classical, no-frills #911 , the one we used for this year’s Top 10 photo session. Gavin Green had that. It was £25,000-worth and we knew it was nice. Mine cost three times that amount, and it was an unknown quantity.

    If you want to establish a close and friendly relationship with a new 911 Turbo you should not drive it on a rainy night, after a spell in a Hyundai Pony. The ergonomics are hell. You will not be able to make the demisting work properly, because you will not have had time for the mandatory refresher course in rear-engined Porsche ventilation controls. You will also have trouble threading the car through those seven-foot wide barriers that are erected all over London suburbs to reduce the nocturnal rumbling of juggernauts; you will have trouble parking the car because you cannot see out of it and the wide wheels stick so far out of the body that you will fret about kerbing them. Better to wait for a fine day and head for the open road. As we eventually did...

    And the Porsche Turbo isn't all body modifications, of course. It has a leather- trimmed Interior - violent red and black in the test car - with all the equipment you could want. There's a powered sunroof, air conditioning, a pair of all-leather Recaro seats (with a console for powered adjustment, heating and lumbar support adjustment on the inside bolster of each). There are driving lights and the standard stereo is a Blaupunkt Toronto.

    Porsche 911 Turbo Special (930 SE)Equipment knocks off same of ordinary Turbo rough edges; comes with now front wings (below) fitted by Porsche's own restoration people In Zuffcnhauson, Germany.

    But the best bit of all is the engine, which is stronger even than the ordinary Porsche Turbo’s, so recently strengthened for the 1986 model year. The standard car has 300bhp at 5500rpm: this one bumps the output up to 330bhp at the same crank speed. The SE's torque peak is more or less unaltered: it stays around 318lb ft (at 4000rpm), the level to which it rose (from 303lb ft) a year ago. The SE's output makes it the strongest purely road going production Porsche ever built - and that has got to be a component in the makeup of the mammoth price.

    It’s surprising, in fact, that the output isn’t up more than 10 percent: Porsche’s people have given the engine high-lift cams, gone up a turbocharger size and fitted the SE with a bigger capacity charge intercooler, and a modified exhaust.
    The rest of the car is pure, well-developed #Porsche-Turbo . The flat six engine, fed from the turbo through #Bosch-L-Jetronic fuel injection ( #Bosch )and with an engine management system controlling its induction and breakerless ignition, is mounted behind the rear axle line and drives through a four-speed gearbox, specialty engineered to handle the massive torque of this car. #Porsche rightly feel that more gears than four are unnecessary. though so few ratios require some technique change from the driver, as we shall see.

    The 3000lb car has strut-type suspension at the front and tough semi-trailing arms at the rear, with anti-roll bars at both ends. There are torsion bars to absorb the road shocks at both ends, plus Bilstein gas filled dampers. The steering is by manual rack and pinion and it takes near enough to three turns to swing the fat three spoke wheel from lock to lock.

    930 Porsche SE cabin is overpoweringly red. Leather it of finest quality and equipment la plentiful, too. Wheel is lovely to use, gets in way of driver’s eye to dial, however.

    The morning dawns icy. Overnight some of the rain on the roads has frozen. Oversteer will be on the menu. My alarm clock has succumbed to the cold: I wake 45 minutes late. It is necessary to be at the service area outside Exeter at 6.30am. To make that, it will be necessary to average 200mph. What is more, the car does not have a handbook, and the intricacies of the ventilation controls still cannot be dredged from the frost-numbed mind.

    This may not sound like an ideal state of mental balance in which to make a first serious approach to the #Porsche-911 Turbo SE. yet it seems right for such a suspected poseur's car.

    I left my base with 120 miles to do (90 motorway, 30 poor back roads) and an hour to do them. I gave it about five miles of warm-up, running the engine easily in the gears around 3000rpm and feeling the way the warmth flowed quickly from the heater. That’s one point in favour of the air-cooled engine. When the oil temperature gauge started to move, I began to open up a bit. On the second corner taken with any power on, there was ice, the tail snapped out, and fortunately something inside me whipped on the right amount of correction and the Porsche did obey, and like lightning.

    And so we graduated to faster better engineered roads, trafficked all night so that they were drier. The Porsche began to lope along at 80, under 3000rpm in top. The wheel, different from any other Porsche type I've used, had a very thick rim, with a lot of little knobs on the windscreen side, where your fingers could fit exactly. That seemed, somehow, to make it a precision tool. In spite of myself, I began to enjoy all this.

    I pressed on rapidly to where I knew my friends were waiting near Exeter. It soon became clear that this was a car of prodigious performance. In top, you were well illegal if you were doing more than 3000rpm. I cruised at 4000. At 27.5mph/ 1000rpm it was fast, but the car felt completely stable In the still morning. There was some buffeting and some rear, but it wasn't loud. Or at least, you couldn't hear much of It for the tyre roar and bump-thump off the road. The Turbo is mechanically quiet, actually, but noise from underneath makes up for that.

    There was not too much anger from the others when I reached our meeting point. They’d used the time to have a service area fry-up, from which I wished them a speedy recovery. We headed west and were deep into Cornwall by Sam. And my familiarity with and respect for the SE was starting, insidiously, to mount.

    There is nothing like a very high geared car, which can still go extremely hard in top to give you an impression of supreme, limitless performance. The Turbo SE. stronger even than an ordinary Turbo, is just such a car. The engine will function smoothly in any gear from about 1400rpm. From about 2600rpm the boost gauge begins to show signs of puff. By 3000rpm there is a definite push in the back and by 3300rpm, if the throttle is opened wide, you cannot avoid going extremely hard.

    Turbo SE’s profile show resemblance to #Porsche-935 racer. There is a grille below front bumper that adds to impression when car is viewed from front, too. Scoops In rear guards have ugly slats, but they direct a lot of extra cooling air onto rear brake discs. Rear wheels have nine-inch rims.

    Beyond 4000rpm, if you are in a lower gear all hell breaks loose. It is as if you're being launched bodily. If first happens to be the gear you’re in, there is only time to concentrate on timing your change into second at 6800rpm, so that you will not over-rev the engine and come ignominiously up against the rev-limiter. Second is a remarkable gear. That one ratio encompasses the entire performance span of many lesser cars. It is possible (though why you should want to. I can't imagine) to get the Porsche rolling in second. You can still be in second nearly 90mph later. Into the red, the speedo shows 95mph, but about 4-5mph of that you have to allow as speedo error. The car’s sheer, thunderous performance has to be experienced to be believed. Forty to 60mph, 50 to 70, 60 to 80mph: they are all consumed in 2.5sec or loss. Suddenly you’re doing 90, right up against the red, and since there are plenty of places where 90mph is not a harmonious speed on British non-motorways, you had better think quickly.

    Third gear has a persona of its own. If it is 24 carat performance you want, third's really not much good to you below 3500 rpm or 70mph. You need to be in second. But between 70 and 130 the Porsche has effortless, soaring performance which lifts it beyond even the level of the Italian twelve’s, since it's so long-legged, so extraordinarily effortless in its self-energised power delivery - and so amazingly quiet. Oh, there is engine noise. The flat*six scream is there and welcome. But the silencing effect of the turbo, the lack of rasp or whine from the superbly strong gearbox, means that the engine is really very refined. On the over-run there might be a hint of vibration as the engine comes down through the 4000s, but only a paid critic would notice it. Anyone else would merely be impatient to slow, just to do it all again. The car’s performance is intoxicating. Think, if you can, of the surge from 100mph to 120 in just over five seconds. It’s so fast.

    Top does its best work over 90mph. Over the ton, really. That’s where the car has its seven-league boots on. Never has so much been achieved by one simple squeeze on a road car's accelerator. And if it’s cruising you want, this car will steam along showing 145mph and 5000rpm (it’s about 138mph true, actually) with nearly 2000rpm left to the redline.
    First is the gear that needs watching. Though the SE comes with a limited slip differential, you can light up both rear tyres if you engage the clutch abruptly with about 4000rpm on board. Actually dropping the clutch is something I just couldn’t bring myself to do. When the rears do spin, you have to be careful. Turbo cars like this - and competition cars - are prone to something called overspin. The tyres lose adhesion, the engine revs rise higher, the turbo spins faster and suddenly even more horsepower is being produced, to the detriment of your #Dunlop D40s. And with no benefit to forward motion. You're probably travelling sideways in smoke, by that time.

    The correct start technique seems to be to feed in the clutch briskly at 3500, enough just to break the tyres loose. Pause a moment as they grip, then give it everything. You’ll find the car is at its maximum, around the middle 50s, less than 4.0 sec later.

    There are not really any snap-changes in this car. The lever movement is long, though smooth. The engine tends to hang in the higher ranges, so there’s plenty of time (or rhythmic changes, not the slam- bam kind. And the need for gearlever violence is reduced by the knowledge that there is a great surge of thrust available the moment you've smoothly engaged the clutch again.

    But one thing is critical in this car, as a result of the four-speed box. You must cover yourself against falling into vast gulfs between the ratios. Thus, when you’re travelling fast it’s best to hold onto a lower gear if you can't see over the hill, rather than risk allowing the revs to fall below 3500rpm. This is actually quite brisk as long as the engine's turning at over 2000, yet so great is the rate of acceleration difference between that and when it’s at 4000, that you’re interested only in one thing. Thus in difficult going, if you’re decelerating, you should change down to third below 70-75mph, second below 50, and first below 30. It's a curious routine until you get used to it, but if you adhere to it. your ability to find power and put it down In every situation. Is awesome.

    As for acceleration, we could get serious only about running some standing quarter miles (13.3 seconds) and some zero to 100mph times (12 seconds dead). It was clear that the thing was so quick that a full set didn't seem worth the trouble. I just wanted to drive. They say zero to 60mph comes up in just over 5.0sec (though such statistics are always dependent on driver skill) and that the car will pull a bit over 6000rpm to give a 171 mph top speed. We’ll take their word for the last. I didn’t go over 150 more than three times, and at that stage, because there was a bit of a cross-wind blowing on our private course, the car felt decidedly lively. Mechanically, it could have sat there all today and tomorrow.

    All this power needs a chassis. The Turbo SE has one reputed to be the most difficult in the business. Realty it is not. There are only two things to remember. Always be hard on the power at the point of maximum cornering effort - and never. never get caught running into a corner on trailing throttle.

    With power to hold its tail down, the Turbo has the grip of a limpet. It has such rear grip, in fact, that unless you turn it into a bend property, its acceleration will propel your front wheels straight across your bend in hideous understeer. Indeed, the grip is such, that even with 330bhp and all these pounds-feet you will probably not unstick the tail in the dry, purely with power. The experts' trick for doing that is to throttle off momentarily to unstick it, then come down hard again on the horsepower to hold it out, while applying opposite lock. Any instinct you have to steer with the throttle, as you might in a more docile machine, needs to be curbed until you’ve felt the big beast out. And by the time that happens, you'll probably have discovered that steering with the wheel makes the best sense. Yet when driven rapidly by someone who truly understands it, the 911 Turbo (and SE) are extremely rapid cars, perhaps even quicker than their mid-engined competitors. They have a neat, rhythmical swinging motion into bends, their reaction to correction of any kind has been bred to be very sympathetic, and the short wheelbase helps there. All the old stuff about the 911’s layout being 'fundamentally wrong' can be made to look rather ill by a good pair of hands on a Turbo's wheel.

    The suspension's support systems are fine. The ride is flat, firm, sometimes jolting (over broken bitumen) but it always has that reassuring tightness which is another reason people buy Porsches. The steering is pin-sharp, especially with the SE's superb wheel. The brakes, huge discs that are cross-drilled and have twin-pot calipers, are superb. Push them hard and you stop hard. Their best attribute, apart from a sheer ability to retard, is that they can be eased off, perhaps to half your original stopping effort, with an ease and accuracy that still isn't normal even in expensive cars.

    But the heart and the guts of this car is the way'it goes. That is why I finished up liking it so much, while thinking it no more than a poseur's special to begin with. I suppose I can get to terms with the price, since the #Ferrari-Testarossa and #Lamborghini-Countach are well into the 60 grand sector and this car is at least as good as they are for sheer ability to go. With its decent bumpers, visibility, manoeuvrability. 12,000 mile service intervals, seven-year anti-rust guarantee and proven resale value, it might well be a lot better, if good sense comes into it.

    What is clearest of all, is that the ordinary 911 Turbo can be an even better choice for someone who puts the time into getting to know it and to handling it the way they do it at #Weissach . That car, 30bhp lighter than the SE, can save you more than £30,000 - £30.000! - yet it's only 0.2sec slower over 0-100mph. It comes to you, very well-equipped, for £39,300 and, in the mood I’m in right now, I think it’s a bargain.

    Luxurious buckets have power-adjust console on inside bolster, plus system of bolster adjustment. They're very comfortable, if loud-looking. 330bhp engine has bigger puffer, Intercooler, then standard, plus high-lift cam profiles, new exhaust.
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  •   Keith Adams reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    #Autofarm 3.2/3.5 #Porsche-911-Carrera - classic pre- #1974 #Porsche #911 body style
    WHEN IT WAS NEW
    Price £23,336 (1984)
    Max power 231bhp
    Max torque 209lb ft
    0-60mph 5.3 secs
    Top speed 153mph
    Mpg 15-20 (est)

    This is an early example of the now-common practice of giving later #911 s a retro makeover. It looks convincing, but it given away by the standardsize #Porsche-Carrera 3.2’s 16in rims rather than the RS 2.7’s narrower 15-inchers, yet wears correct bright window trims and small mirrors. Autofarm built it in 2006 for a customer who specified left-hand drive, air-con, no sunroof and G50 ’box, which meant an #1987 - #1989 car – one of which was found in Italy.

    It now has a 3506cc motor and puts out “around 250-260bhp”, but with a lot more torque than standard. The suspension has the early-type adjustable anti-roll bar, but with four-pot #Brembo calipers all round on vented discs, plus there’s a well-protected oil cooler under the chin.

    It looks like a new car, because it was all rebuilt including the gearbox. The shell – #Dinitrol cavity-injected and undersealed – is absolutely rotfree, with perfect paint protected at the front by clear film. The seats have been changed for something more in keeping, although the standard door trims and pockets remain, which makes it more practical than a doorcard #RS rep. The tyres are #Michelin Pilot Sports, about a third used on the front and hardly worn on the back, plus there’s a mint spacesaver spare.

    Off with the immobiliser and it starts on the first turn of the key, with a gruffer than standard note from the sports exhaust. The chassis is firm, thanks to stiff Bilsteins, and it hurtles almost like a turbo, with immediate throttle response flicking the needle around to 6000rpm and super brakes – although they squeal a little. There’s a slight hesitation just off tickover, which Autofarm is going to sort. When the engine’s warm, the oilpressure gauge shows the ideal just over 4bar at 4000rpm (with 3bar at anything above 1500rpm). The electric windows work and the air-con blows cold after a while. It even has (invisible) reversing sensors.

    There’s a full service history, the last Italian stamp being at 64,500km in #1999 and three more from Autofarm since the build. Lovely.

    SUMMARY
    EXTERIOR

    Rust-free; no stone chips.

    INTERIOR
    Unworn, with ’70s-style Recaros.

    MECHANICALS
    Only 11,000 miles from ‘new’.

    VALUE ★★★★★★★✩✩✩
    For Performance; fantastic build by the best in the business.
    Against Maybe the twin-outlet exhaust, but it’s easily changed.

    SHOULD I BUY IT?
    Amazingly drivable and pleasantly addictive, it could last you a lifetime – and the price has recently been reduced by £8500.

    Autofarm 3.2/3.5 911 Carrera
    Year of manufacture #1987 / #2006
    Recorded mileage 18,177km
    Asking price £89,000
    Vendor Autofarm, Weston-on-the-Green,
    Oxfordshire; tel: 01865 331234
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