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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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