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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


    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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  • TIME MACHINES

    When 911&PW launched in 1990, the lead story in the news pages was the impending arrival of the 964 Turbo, the pinnacle of the 911 range. In order to assess the passage of 25 years of 911 development, we pitched the 964 Turbo against the current 991 Turbo. You can’t stop the 911 and you can’t stop progress.

    Porsche 911 & PW 25th Anniversary Happy Birthday to us! 25-years ago the 964 Turbo was the top dog. We pitch it against the current 991. What better way to illustrate 25-years of #Porsche progress, and 25-years of 911&PW, than by pitching the two top dog 911s of their respective eras. Enter the 964 Turbo and the 991 Turbo for an evolutionary, time travelling showdown.

    “The past is a foreign country – they do things differently there.” An overused quote (the opening line of LP Hartley’s #1953 novel, The Go Between), but overused for a reason, that being its eloquence and descriptive power. Does any other line sum up the power of progress quite as well? I don’t think so.

    In these days of rapid and rampant progress, subtracting 25-years from 2015 to arrive at 1990 appears to be just a short hop back in time, but truly it was a different time. Imagine going back there now? When 911 & Porsche World launched in April 1990, as a finger in the air exercise of publishing, the only way to gauge whether there would be an audience for the title was by simply doing it and putting it on the shelves of WHSmith and a few specialist Porsche dealers.

    The brief was simple: To cover all things Porsche and to represent the interest and passion of all things Porsche for owners and enthusiasts. In a world devoid of any form of digital media and communication, that is how things worked. Paper, words and pictures. Copy was typed, pictures were committed to film, pages were stuck together with glue. Typesetters and compositers turned it into reality. What we can do now in seconds, used to take days. 1990 might have seemed all very modern and exciting, but if time travel were possible, anyone from the ’60s would have been able to adapt very quickly indeed. Hell, plenty of cars still had carburettors and points!

    Inevitably 25-years of 911&PW, for its eclecticism, also reads like a Porsche timeline from its launch to now. We’ve followed the fortunes of the marque from near bust to a sonic fiscal boom and back again. We’ve followed each new model and have chronicled five generations of 911 from the 964 to the 991, or exactly 25-years of the 911’s timeline. No, the 911 isn’t the be all and end all of the magazine, but its constant presence creates an essential point of reference, just as it does for Porsche the company. No other sports car has been developed to the same degree as the 911, with each generation exploiting the technology of the time. For the first 25-years progress was pretty sedate, but the following 25-years, the 25-years that this magazine has been around, like the rest of the technological world, it’s been rapid indeed, thanks largely to a digital revolution that has left no part of life untouched.

    So how best to illustrate this in our own little world? Well, if the 911 is the constant by which the magazine is measured, then why not gather the ultimate 911 of 1990 and wind up the KKK turbo for a bit of time travel and propel into its own future to meet its 2015 future self. Sure there’s a void in between, but all the better to accentuate the massive progress of the past 25-years. We’re going to make one giant leap, rather than a number of incremental steps. Hold on!


    Fittingly, the ultimate 911 of 1990 was announced in the news pages of the very first issue of 911&PW. “911 Turbo for the nineties,” was how we introduced the 964 Turbo. Following hot on the heels of the normally aspirated #Porsche-964-C2 and C4, the Turbo featured the same aero front and rear bumper treatment and side skirts, plus 959-style five spoke ‘Cup’ wheels, that temporarily seemed so modern compared with the Fuchs of old. And big too. At 17 inches, they seemed huge. Aero wing mirrors were another improvement, but ultimately there was a feeling that the 964 Turbo wasn’t much of a leap forward over the 930 Turbo and it stuck with the 2WD drive layout, despite the 964 range being launched with a flagship 4WD version. Put it this way, there wasn’t much sense of this containing a great deal in the way of trickle down technology from the 959, which was kind of surprising looking back now, or even then, but we’ll come to that.

    Whereas the normally aspirated 964 got what were essentially all new 3.6-litre engines, with twin plug heads, the Turbo rather made do with the 930 Turbo’s 3.3- litre engine and an extra 20bhp, bringing it up to a not inconsiderable 320bhp, thanks to its larger #KKK turbo, larger intercooler, #Bosch-K-Jetronic injection and revised air intake system. Like its 964 siblings, the Turbo also got coil spring suspension all round, with MacPherson struts at the front with aluminium transverse links and semitrailing arms at the rear.

    The modernising front and rear bumper treatment deserves more than just a throwaway reference. Without having to do much to the main body shell, Porsche used the front and rear aprons to dramatic aerodynamic effect, but unlike the normally aspirated C2 and C4, the Turbo didn’t get the retractable rear spoiler, but remained faithful to the Turbo defining ‘tea tray’ lid, which rather accentuated its connection with the 930, rather than the rest of the 964 range.

    There was, then, a feeling that the 964 Turbo was something of an afterthought compared with the base 964s, which were clearly a leap forward from the G-Series cars that they replaced in terms of sophistication and modernity. But that was then and this is now and 25-years into the future the 964 Turbo has rather come of age. After years in the doldrums it has been reinvented as the last of the old school, rear drive only 911 Turbos, and as such it commands a price above the 930 Turbo. And of course because it’s an air-cooled 911, that price is not inconsiderable.

    Above all the 964 Turbo is a product of its time and was constrained by the engineering solutions of the day. It is very much ‘mechanical.’ Much as computers had little to do with the day-to-day production of 911&PW, they had very little to do with the development of the 964, and nor did the 964 have much in the way of on board computing power. Take out the Bosch ECU and you’ll find a few RAM chips to control the fuelling and ignition, with about as much operating power as a 2015 cordless phone. There is also what Porsche optimistically describe as an ‘onboard computer,’ which features an LED screen in the bottom centre of the rev counter, which gives basic distance travelled info, outside temp and boost pressure. There is an equivalent in the 991 Turbo, which will even display Gforce and the engine’s torque curve.

    But let’s not sneer. Even if it were possible to convey such info to the driver in 1990, it probably wouldn’t have crossed the engineers’ minds. Why would it? Twenty-five years on it’s just a bit of tech froth, that would only appeal to teenagers and Nissan Skyline drivers. But that’s progress for you and the endless digital revolution, that makes all this stuff possible, some of empowering, essential usefulness, some, like an onboard torque curve readout just a gimic.

    On board the 964 is a familiar air-cooled place. The interior of this immaculate example is era defining light grey. The dash is essentially a modernised version of the 1963 original, while the prominent centre console is about the only 959 feature to have made it into the 964 Turbo, and sits on top of the redundant transmission tunnel. The deep bolstered Sports seats are fabulously comfy and offer a modicum of electric adjustability, while the four-spoke ‘lozenge’ centred steering wheel is fixed in all plains. The pedals, naturally, still pivot from the floor and are offset on this right-hooker. For 911 pilots of old, it’s all part of the package, here in the modern world you objectively wonder as to how some of the 911’s quirky features could have lasted for 25 years and beyond. Even in 1990 this essentially ‘modernised’ 911 must have felt rather oldfashioned compared to the competition like the #Honda-NSX , or the #Ferrari-348 (actually the 348 wasn’t a prancing horse, but more a lame donkey, with a gearbox full of rubble. The NSX, however, was a game-changer, held back only by its badge). But that, as we know, is all part of the 911 charm and mystique. If you have to ask, then clearly you don’t understand. Or is that just making a virtue out of a necessity?

    But it could, and should have been so much different. Of course the #Porsche-959 hadn’t been forgotten. The car we could have been driving today, if everything had gone to plan, and Porsche hadn’t gone though one of its many financial blips, was called the 969 and was clearly the son of the 959, with a 370bhp 3.5-litre twin turbo engine (other engines were considered, like the V8 Indy car engine – seriously), with water-cooled four-valve cylinder heads and a sophisticated four-wheel drive system hooked up to Porsche’s own PDK transmission, or a manual ’box if the buyer preferred. The 969 was due for a #1991 launch and would happily hold 185mph around the Nardo bowl. It featured the sloped back headlights of the 959 and hoop rear wing. Sixteen prototypes were built. It would have been the pinnacle of the #Porsche-911 range and in all likelihood another form of Turbo would have slotted in underneath.

    Internal machinations and costs killed the #Porsche-969 . Too expensive to build, technology not quite there yet, with a potential price tag that could have been beyond market forces and a financial crisis within Porsche, and on top of that the 969 would have launched straight into the early ’90s recession.

    So that’s what could have been. It’s what the #993 Turbo vaguely became (twin turbos, four-wheel drive and a lot of the 969’s styling cues) and certainly what the #996 Turbo achieved. But the 964 Turbo? Yes, it really was something of a rush job, stop-gap model, particularly in its first 930-engined based iteration.

    So, it would have been great to have been driving the stillborn #969 , and it would certainly have had rather more of a connection with the 991 Turbo, but we’re not, so let’s just get the 964 Turbo fired up. Who’s got the key?

    ‘Fired up’ is a bit of a misnomer. Typically it ‘churns’ into life and settles into a soft, muted idle, the turbo and the new fangled catalytic converter acting as effective silencers. The 964’s new power steering takes the heft out of steering and the relatively new G50 ’box is an ally in the soon to be forgotten and interactive art of changing gear. Those floor-mounted pedals might feel weird, but the clutch is light enough and the throttle pedal allows full foot coverage. Lifting your footing completely off the footwell to operate the brake is, well, just one of those 911 idiosyncrasies.


    Off boost, below 3000rpm, it feels soft and lethargic. Get the big old turbo spinning and the fuel pumping and it picks itself up with a hard-edged vigour. Unlike some old supercars of the era, the 964 Turbo isn’t going to get blown away by a modern turbo diesel. A modern hot hatch maybe (a Golf R would humiliate it), but on boost the 964 Turbo feels like it’s got every one of those 320 horses working, although typically tall gearing (80mph in second) will see it easily drop off boost. It’s a feeling that’s accentuated by the very stiff suspension, that has the Turbo leaping about these not entirely flat North Yorkshire moors. It’s not 964 RS stiff, but it’s not far off, a product of the new to the 964 coil spring suspension, which doesn’t have quite the sense of detachment from the road surface that the G-Series cars did, with their torsion bars. The big 17in wheels and 50 profile tyres don’t help either, but those big wheels do allow massive – for 1990 – 333mm front discs and hefty four-pot calipers, that even now haul the Turbo up with impressive retardation.

    In the corners and the 964 is a natural understeerer. It has to be bullied and worked to get to the apex, but then get the boost right and it launches itself out with that characteristic rear-end squat, and charges off with a turbine howl. If the corners are coming thick and fast, then be prepared to work very hard. There’s massive amounts of grip, but the Turbo doesn’t much like changing direction, so a lift at the right moment will activate the tail, but that’s a bit like juggling chainsaws. Get it wrong and it will hurt.

    In today’s context it feels old-fashioned, but in an endearing sort of way. It’s got old school Turbo twitches and tendencies. You absolutely know it’s there, influencing the whole demeanour of the car. It’s either on or off. Even in 1990 it was a bit of an animal and not exactly the car that was expected. Uncouth and unsophisticated, something of a thug. But then as we know now (and what wasn’t appreciated at the time), this wasn’t the Turbo that Porsche had intended to bring to the market.

    And so to the 991 Turbo. Are we travelling backward in time here or forward? Well forward obviously, but so mightily fast is the 991, and so comprehensively evolved and sophisticated, that an ability to time travel back to 1990 for a look at its predecessor, wouldn’t be a surprise. I’m sure if you were delve in to sat nav settings the time travel option would appear. Just tap in North Yorkshire Moors 1990, and in Terminator style the 991 would appear in a frisson of pulsing, arcing electricity to scare the sheep.

    The 991 Turbo is progress on a massive scale, made possible by the advances in digital and engineering technology, but mainly by the former. Its whole build and design was conceived electronically, from the design process to the build process where engineering tolerances are micro managed by computer-controlled machinery. The integration of computer and mechanical is almost cyborg in nature. The machines are taking over and in the shape of the 991 Turbo, and much more in modern life, it’s very much true. We live in a time when a tiny pocket device, originally conceived to simply make phone calls, puts every conceivable piece of information, book, piece of music and visual image within instant reach. Imagine predicting that in 1990?

    It’s only when you jump the void from #1990 to #2015 that you realise just how extraordinary the 991 Turbo is, and how we now take all this stuff for granted. Maybe we will refuse to be astonished until cars finally shed their wheels and we start to hover everywhere, or they simply drive themselves, but the only thing that connects the 991 Turbo with the 964 Turbo is the 911 designation, its evolutionary silhouette, its engine location and the fact that it’s got four wheels and a steering wheel and still runs entirely on petrol and, come the next generation of #Porsche-911 , we can certainly expect some form of electric assistance.


    There are many things that astound about the 991 Turbo, but the most beguiling and frankly mind blowing facet is just how ludicrously easy it is to make it go fast. Teleport the 964 Turbo owner of 1990 forward 25-years and stick them in the driver’s seat of the 991. They would be able to grasp the concept of putting the PDK-only transmission into drive, the rest is purely turning the wheel and pressing the go pedal. From that point on, the machine takes over. It will take a little while for 1990 911 Turbo man to actually keep up with what’s going on, such is the speed at which the modern Turbo responds to instruction, and that’s before you’ve employed any of the go faster functionality. Best save Sports Plus and Launch Control for another time.

    Compared with its 25-year-old ancestor, the 991 defies any semblance of physics. It shouldn’t be able to corner like it does, it shouldn’t be able to change direction like it does. It does so because it has a raft of electro mechanical components that look conventional, but are anything but. Dampers? Yes, they look like dampers, but they’re controlled by electro magnetic valves. The roll bars? They’re electronically controlled too, stiffening to support the side of the car that needs it. The centre diff? Electro magnetic again to deliver power and traction back and forth in a nano second. The rear end steers itself, and Torque Vectoring speeds up the inside rear wheel to facilitate turn in. Hell, even the engine mounts clamp the engine tight when the going gets twisty. And all that’s before you even start to consider the traction and stability management controls and the small matter of nearly 600bhp, not far off twice the power of the 964 Turbo.

    The 991 Turbo is fast, but it’s artificially fast. Like a modern fighter would fall out of the sky without its flight control systems, so modern 991 Turbo would fall off the road without all its electronic systems. They are what enables it to function and do the mind altering stuff that it’s so capable of, in the background, making modern 911 Turbo man look like a complete hero.

    But that’s progress for you and there’s no going back. The 964 Turbo is like a warning from the past as to how these things used to be. It’s a quaint reminder of the pre digital age. A Sunday toy for a bit of heavy-duty mechanical interaction. The 991 Turbo is a thrilling, flying on the ground, 21st Century marvel and a fitting pinnacle of where the 911 is right now, and I know which one I’d take.


    THANKS: Sincere thanks to all at Specialist Cars of Malton for the loan of the #964 Turbo, which is currently for sale. Tel: 01653 697722 specialistcarsltd.co.uk

    The 991 Turbo would fall off the road without all its electronic systems.

    Far left: The launch of the 964 Turbo as we covered it in the first issue of 911&PW in 1990. Left: What could have been. The sole surviving 969 Turbo prototype, a clear descendant of the 959, but canned for financial reasons.

    Direction changes and grip levels in the 991 Turbo border on extraordinary. It has a raft of technological solutions geared entirely to getting it round corners as fast as possible.

    Interior is similar to 911s of old, with the curve of the dashboard and placement of the air vents all following #911 tradition. #PDK sevenspeed gearbox is the command centre, with its three modes: Normal, Sport and Sport Plus.

    Right: The #Porsche-991 Turbo is bristling with detail. Wheels are massive 20in, diamond polished cross-spokes, with centre lock fixings. Equally huge six-pot brake calipers clamp on to Porsche PCCB discs. Braking is awesome in the true sense of the word.

    Unlike some old supercars of the era, the #Porsche-964 Turbo isn’t going get blown away by a modern turbodiesel.

    Car #Porsche-911-Turbo-S-991
    Model tested: #Porsche-991-Turbo-S
    Engine: 3800cc, flat-six DOHC, twin turbo
    Transmission: Four-wheel drive, seven-speed PDK
    Body style: Coupe
    Suspension: MacPherson struts (f), multi-link rear
    Top speed: 198mph
    0-62mph 2.9 secs
    Power: 552bhp at 6500rpm

    Pale grey interior is very early ’90s. Deep bolstered ‘Sports’ seats are among the best Porsche have ever made. Cockpit feels tight and compact, but visibility is excellent.

    Even in #1990 this essentially ‘modernised’ 911 must have felt rather old fashioned compared to the competiton.

    964 Turbo looks terrific in white, like a refugee racer on the road. New front and rear aprons, plus side skirts and aero mirrors were a styling success. Tea tray rear wing a 911 Turbo trademark.

    Car #Porsche-911-Turbo-964
    Model tested: #Porsche-964-Turbo
    Engine: 3300cc, flat-six DOHC, single turbo
    Transmission: Rear-wheel drive, five-speed manual
    Body style: Coupe
    Suspension: MacPherson struts front and rear
    Top speed: 167mph
    0-62mph 5.0 secs
    Power: 322bhp at 5750rpm

    Damp, cold North Yorkshire moors roads focus the mind in an old school 911 Turbo, with absolutely no driver aids whatsoever. Not that the 964 feels anything other than grippy and competent.

    Left: Distinctive and huge intercooler sits on top of the 964’s 3.3-litre, air-cooled flat-six. Power is 320bhp. Clocks are resolutely analogue, while four-pot alloy calipers were considered huge for 1990.
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  • ALL SHOW AND ALL GO

    2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 991. The new 991 911 GT3 RS stole the Geneva Motor Show, and with good reason. ‘Mr GT3’, Andreas Preuninger, talks us around his latest mind blowing RennSport creation…

    The new #911-GT3-RS stole the Geneva Motor Show, and with good reason. ‘Mr GT3’, Andreas Preuninger, talks us around his latest mindblowing RennSport creation… Story: Simon Jackson Photography: Porsche.

    If there’s one certainty in the constantly evolving automotive sphere it’s that any #Porsche wearing an RS badge will cause a riot at its unveiling. At this year’s Geneva Motor Show that’s exactly what the #991 GT3 RS did. And as I stood amongst row upon row of excited journos gathered from around the world prior to the covers being whipped off Andreas Preuninger’s latest road-going track car, that stir was tangible. In fact, I think the guy stood in front of me might have been in need of urgent medical attention. The car did not disappoint.

    By now you’ll have all seen the stats: a 4.0-litre version of Porsche’s latest #DFI engine producing 500hp; 460Nm of torque (around 339lb ft); 0-62 in 3.3 seconds; a top speed of 192mph; a body constructed from aluminium, carbon fibre and magnesium weighing ten kilograms less than the GT3 (at 1420kg); a staggeringly quick (borderline insane) Nordschleife lap time of 7mins, 20secs (faster than a Carrera GT); and a devastatingly aggressive aero-led aesthetic that will turn your mother-in-law to stone at ten paces. It’s all yours for £131,296, if there are any of the first UK allocation still available that is…

    But as with any RennSport model to emerge through the doors at Weissach, the facts and figures don’t tell the 991 GT3 RS’s full story. Someone who does summerise the passion and importance of this car, though, is its creator – Andreas Preuninger. Fortunately he was on hand in Switzerland to talk us around it…

    PREUNINGER ON ENGINES:

    Despite the speculation that the new GT3 RS might be a turbocharged affair, the car is actually powered by an all-new NA engine based upon the DFI found in the GT3, just as we had predicted in the run-up to its full reveal. As you might expect this retuned direct fuel injection 4.0-litre mill boasts the biggest displacement found in any naturally-aspirated 991.

    Preuninger is passionate about the powerplant: “We knew the GT3 engine could be hopped-up by displacement from 3.8-litres to 4.0 and we had already introduced this capacity with the [997] RS 4.0 so we couldn’t really go back on that. This was not a limited model, this car is the successor to the 3.8 RS, but still we wanted a 4.0-litre engine or one as great as the 4.0-litre engine.”

    But if you’re thinking that a simple rebore is the extent of the changes made here, think again, as Preuninger is only too happy to explain: “There are a lot of differences to the GT3, it’s not like the [old] Metzger engine. We have a different crankshaft made out of a material that is only used on the 919 LMP car called V361. It’s a highly, highly clean steel that is melted and solidified several times. It’s a very pure, durable and special metal, a Star Trek-era material that should belong on the Starship Enterprise. It’s a horrendously expensive part, I cannot believe how much it costs, but it works!”

    Porsche is typically modest about power outputs. Preuninger is modest, too, when discussing the power of the GT3 RS: “We’ve got different con rods, pistons, camshafts, cam springs and oil system – we touched a lot of parts in the engine internals. We wanted extra power. We wanted the RS to give more track performance. On paper it’s 500hp but in real life it’s a good deal more than that. We have to homologate GT cars way before the start of production and we always find something else during the development process. I like to be humble about these things.”


    When pushed a little Preuninger explains that the engine is producing around 5% more than the 500hp headline figure, making it somewhere closer to around 510hp. This increase should be comparable with the reality of engine power outputs of the past versus the numbers stated by Porsche, given Porsche’s track record of underselling itself with things like this. The compression ratio of the 4.0-litre engine is identical to the GT3 at 12:9.1 but the increased stroke (taking the engine capacity from 3.8 to 4.0) means top-end revs are down by 200rpm over the GT3 to 8800rpm – final drive in a subtlety tweaked PDK gearbox increases from 3.97 (GT3) to 4.19 in this new RS car.

    “It’s not that it cannot do the 9000rpms of the GT3,” Preuninger explains. “It just makes no sense. With a longer stroke the power curve drops off, then it feels like a diesel. It should explode up to the redline, then you have to shift. If you closed your eyes you’d have a hard time telling the difference between 8800 and 9000rpm. It’s still exciting at the top end.”

    Using the larger 911 Turbo body in many ways created issues to work around for Preuninger and his team but it also had its benefits, too. Was there ever any chance this car might have been force-induced? “We just use the rear ducts [of the Turbo body] to cool the intercooler, and to fool everybody looking at spy shots into thinking it was going to have a turbo engine!” Preuninger chuckles. “We made use of the superwide Turbo body: it was a slick, cool solution for us otherwise we would’ve had to make new sides without intakes which would have been expensive [to homologate]. An effect of this is that the car has a specific sound; you hear the induction noise quite a lot more than on a GT3. I like that. It adds to the special nature of the driving sensation.”

    PREUNINGER ON AERO:

    One of the most striking features on the new GT3 RS is its aerodynamic package. Vents and wings seemingly protrude from every angle but perhaps the biggest talking point has been the beautiful slats on the front wings. “The slats in the front wings don’t just help downforce, they absolutely double downforce,” Preuninger claims with passion. “This is such a unique and important feature on the car. By opening up the front wheel fenders and allowing air to get vented we have massively contributed to the overall downforce of the car.”


    Naturally, all of these new aero additions are functional rather than just cosmetic but it would be easier to dismiss their significance without understanding the reason for their existence. Preuninger is more than happy to explain:

    “The problem with 911s is that if you want to create overall downforce you still have to carry balance. Making downforce at the back is easy, you just need a big wing in the air but you need a countermeasure at the front to have a stable car. If you have too much at the back the car pivots around the rear axle and you get loose steering.”

    Preuninger’s logic is flawless but it isn’t until he draws a numeric comparison with the GT3 RS’ forebears that these latest additions are highlighted: “To give you a comparison, the 997 RS 4.0-litre was the number one for downforce. It recorded 107 kilos of downforce at 300kph. We used winglets and vanes to achieve that. This car [GT3 RS] has more than double that downforce: 350 kilos at 300kph. This is the same, if not a tad more, than the 918 Spyder! But, and this is a big point, the GT3 RS maintains the same drag coefficient as the GT3. The GT3 has 170 kilos, so less than a third. This is unheard of. You feel it, it kicks in early because downforce is a linear function – a curve.”

    What that means is this dramatic increase in downforce is felt throughout the driving experience, even at speeds far lower than 300kph (186mph). As Preuninger points out, the linear nature of downforce means that even at half the speed the car will create half the downforce, so it’s a noticeable aid even when you’re not flat out on the race track. When combined with the mechanical grip the car is already creating, its wide 9.5-inch front wheels with huge contact patches, joined by Pilot Sport Cup 2s from the 918 Spyder (of which Preuninger is gushingly complimentary), is what combines to create this “quantum leap” in downforce between the GT3 and GT3 RS.

    “Aero is a huge step over the GT3,” Preuninger says. “If I had to put a number on it I’d say 300% [better]. Then the tyres are the next factor. They’re 20% more sticky than on the GT3. I don’t want to bash the GT3, it’s a different animal but the GT3 RS was developed for the race track. The mission criteria for this car was different – it’s more track-focused, less day-today driveable – it’s built for a purpose, it’s a sporting tool. This is what the RS has always been about. We simply went a step further with that interpretation this time.”

    The GT3 RS is arguably the most technically advanced 911 ever built, but could it be the last naturally aspirated 911 RennSport car? Preuninger seems open minded…

    PREUNINGER ON CHASSIS:

    “The suspension components are roughly the same as the GT3, they share nothing with the Turbos,” Preuninger explains. “We have a 50- millimetre wider rear track which calls for different parts, and it’s the same for the front axle. Everything is forged aluminium – all race bred. They’re a little bit more beefy than they would need to be solely for street use with upside down aluminium tubing dampers [Bilstein shocks] with increased spring rates [up ten percent over the GT3] and ball bearings are used all-round, like usual.”

    This increased track means the GT3 RS has a greater stability and is generally more visually aggressive. But adding parts has not added to weight. In fact, Preuninger is obsessed with weight loss, as you might expect. “The front fenders we used are a lot wider [than the Turbo] to maximise the track from the front to the back,” he explains. “The fenders are carbon fibre rather than aluminium, which weighs just half that of the GT3’s fenders. We did a lot of bodywork on the car, too. The front lid is carbon fibre. It’s 1.5-kilos lighter. A real highlight of the car, though, is the roof. It’s made of magnesium sheet metal.”

    The magnesium roof is a real masterstroke, and it’s an innovation that isn’t available on your average street machine. It’s not even something you’ll find on a high-end race car. Preuninger describes this all-new process with passion: “Three layers of sheet metal are welded together, shaped to form the curves of the 991’s roofline, then bonded in situ. The magnesium roof is one-kilo lighter than a carbon equivalent would be.”

    Naturally this reduces overall weight but it also lowers the car’s centre of gravity. Innovative and highly advanced engineering – everything you’ve come to expect of the RennSport department. The process of lightening didn’t end there, either. “The rear end is made with a new pure material, too, which is 1.5 kilos lighter,” Preuninger says. “This was a new approach, we lost a lot of sound insulation material, too. There were a lot of places we could save weight on the car. The big 21-inch wheels with huge tyres weigh more, so we had to compensate.”

    Increased wheel width and circumference and the 991’s sizeable body (in comparison with its forebears) are the reason this #Porsche-911-GT3-RS-991 has the smallest weight difference to its GT3 equivalent to date. Preuninger assures us that this doesn’t affect the driving experience and that the #Porsche-991 GT3 RS feels incredibly light and agile to drive. The 9.5x20-inch front wheels are shod with 265/30 tyres, the 12.5x21-inch rears are wrapped with 325/30 Michelins. The brake discs are 380mm with six-piston caliper items up front and four-pistons versions out back. PCCB carbon ceramics are available as an option.

    “With this car we want to be in pole position. We want to be the best on the track – that’s what RS has always stood for,” he says. “That’s why it has PDK, that’s why it has the rear axle steering function – it’s well worth having these systems. There are endless discussions about PDK versus manual, there is no right or wrong, there are only differences. Differences in mission criteria. We put a manual in the Cayman GT4 to show we listened to the debate. For the future we don’t want to discuss this, we just want to offer both to our customers – if you don’t like PDK then fine.”


    Of course, the PDK system fitted as mandatory in the GT3 RS has been tweaked but not as extensively as with other areas of the car. “We didn’t really touch the PDK system. The internals were beefed-up and the software is one generation ahead. That’s all we did to it.”

    For circuit use there is a ‘paddle neutral’ facility and a ‘pit speed’ button which acts as a pit lane speed limiter such as that found on fullblown race cars. Rear axle steering features on GT3 RS alongside Porsche’s arsenal of modern electronic driving aids. It won’t surprise you to learn that PTV with rear limited-slip differential, PASM active dampers and PSM appear. The direct democratisation of parts from the #Porsche-918 down to #Porsche-911 is epitomised in the GT3 RS’s interior. The interior follow trends established in the GT3, but the carbon fibre bucket seats are based upon those found in the 918 Spyder. The Club Sport Package comes complete with the obligatory colour-coded bolt-in roll-cage, with the option of a six-point harness for the driver, battery master switch preparation and a fire extinguisher setup supplied separately. Sport Chrono is optional.

    A 30cm strip runs the length of the front luggage compartment and roof, featuring a unique contoured surface reminiscent of classic air-cooled 911s.

    At 1420kg the #991 GT3 RS is just 10kg lighter than the GT3 and 60kg heavier than the #997 RS 4.0 but the new car generates more downforce at around 100mph than the 997 did at top speed.

    PREUNINGER ON THE FUTURE OF RS:

    What might the future hold for Porsche’s RS models and how do they compete with rival offerings from the likes of AMG or Nismo? “I’m not a believer in this horsepower race, I don’t think that’s a clever thing to do. In my personal opinion 500hp makes sense at the moment. We’ve reached a certain point where 500 horses is enough,” Preuninger rationalises. “Because 700-800hp calls for bigger brakes, more sturdy suspension – it [the car] gets heavier and heavier. It’s not my overall engineering target to get 50hp more for each new generation of GT car. I’d rather turn it around and make the car lighter, working on the specific horsepower per kilo. I think that makes more sense.”

    At the same time, he’s realistic about future power figures, which couldn’t arguably return to lower digits: “We wouldn’t turn back [on power outputs] but we have to concentrate on the overall package. This is not a dragster, it’s a track car – there’s a big difference. I hate to say it but this car is more comfortable than the GT3 on some roads because of the tyres; they’re big tyres with wide shoulders, so the residual comfort is high,”

    And Preuninger is pragmatic about whether or not we will see an RS model with drastically more than 500hp in future: “When we introduced the #996 GT3 Mk1 in #1998 / #1999 it barely had 350hp; if someone had told us that in ten years there would be a 4.0-litre version of this with 500hp we’d have said ‘yeah, come on’. The same thing goes for today, technology moves on. We have some clever ideas about what to do with this engine in the future so it has got a lot of potential.

    “It’s the same as this Nordschleife ‘rat race’ – we are at 7 mins, 20 secs with this car [GT3 RS] – come on guys, everybody is talking about this with a pint of beer in his hand, mostly without being able to personally drive faster than 8 mins, 30 secs,” Preuninger says. “Anyone who has riden in a car with a professional driver doing 7 mins, 20 secs at the ’Ring knows what I’m talking about – this is really, really fast. For me it’s more important that everybody has fun with the car and can drive very fast to their own abilities. They can grow with it because more often than not the tool, the car, is more capable than they are. We are looking to make the car more confidence inspiring when we tune the systems. Maybe we could make a 7 min, 15 sec car but then it would be a dog to drive on the street – I don’t want that, everything is about compromise.”

    Whichever Porsche this man touches next, you can be sure it’ll cause a riot. The new #991 GT3 RS hits UK roads in May priced at £131,296. It may be £30,000 more expensive than the 991 GT3 but judging by what Andreas Preuninger has to say, it’s worth every penny.

    Car #2015 #Porsche-911-GT3-RS
    ENGINE: 3996cc flat-six direct injection
    TRANSMISSION: Seven-speed #PDK
    BRAKES: 380mm ventilated discs with six-piston (front) and four-piston (rear) callipers, #PSM
    CHASSIS: MacPherson struts (front), multi-link rear suspension. Electromechanical power steering, #PASM
    WEIGHT: 1420kg
    PERFORMANCE:
    Top Speed: 193mph (claimed)
    0-62mph: 3.3 seconds (claimed)
    Fuel Consumption: 22.2mpg (combined, claimed)
    CO²: 296g/km
    ON THE ROAD PRICE: £131,296

    21-inch rear wheels are wrapped in the biggest tyres ever fitted to a 911. They forced modifications to the production line!
    • GT3 RS IN NUMBERS:

      22.2
      7MIN 20SECS – ’RING LAP
      21-inch
      rear wheels
      3.30-62mph
      mph
      £131,296
      192
      mpg
      -secs
      4.0-litre
      6-cylinder engine
      TOP SPEED
      GT3GT3 RS IN NUMBERS:

      22.2
      7MIN 20SECS – ’RING LAP
      21-inch
      rear wheels
      3.30-62mph
      mph
      £131,296
      192
      mpg
      -secs
      4.0-litre
      6-cylinder engine
      TOP SPEED
      GT3 RS IN NUMBERS:
      HP
      10kg
      339
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  • long-term fleet #2004 #Porsche #911 #996 #GT3 . It’s MoT and annual service time for some of the fleet while one intrepid contributor decided to go for a walk this month…

    It’s big bill time. That time of year when everything needs replacing or paying for in the same month.

    Insurance. Renewed with Mannings Insurance who are, still the best possible policy you can get if you want to track your car on a regular basis. Although this year there have been a few key changes to the policy. Namely that European track days are no longer covered as part of the premium, which means each Euro track day now attracts a £250 premium, which while sounding a lot, is still considerably cheaper than any of the other alternatives. Unlimited UK track days are still included in the policy, which still makes it a bit of a bargain considering most other policies available carry very similar premiums with a limited number of days. In order to offset a small increase in my premium due to last year’s claim I’ve significantly reduced my policy requirements, dropping from unlimited annual mileage down to 3000 miles per year and removing both business and commuting usage. I could have reduced it even further by removing my wife from the policy, and given that she has only ever driven the car twice that would be no hardship. But there is always the possibility she may need to use it in an emergency, so she’s stayed on it. In total the changes have shaved several hundred quid off the premium bringing it in significantly under what I was paying last year. Small mercies.

    Road Fund Licence. This one has been a bit of a tough choice. In reality, I could probably get away with SORN’ing the car for the next few months, letting it sit snug under its duvet in the lock-up during the worst of the weather, but the thought of that is quite depressing. So I’ve dumped another 12 months of tax on FAB so at the very least I have the option of taking it for a spin if time and weather permits. In the scheme of things it’s an insignificant sum, the car’s age ensuring the bill doesn’t sting quite as much as it would on a more modern high performance car. In fact, I’ve been invited to a Mission Motorsports charity supercar day at Anglesey later this month, so the insurance and road tax may come in very useful.

    Servicing. I’ve always over-serviced and maintained this car, so it makes perfect sense (to me at least) to keep this up regardless of the fact that my mileage has dwindled to virtually zero over the last few months. So off it went to Sports and Classics in Knutsford who has looked after the car since the day I got it, for a check over, big service and an MoT. The service included air filters, oil, pollen filters and the usual other ancillary checks. The belts have all been changed in the last 12 months, as have all the cooling components and the spark plugs were done a couple of months before I bought the car in 2012. So a lot of the big-cost items were already covered making the bill slightly less painful than it could have been. Unfortunately that wasn’t all the work that was required on this visit.

    MoT. I think this is the first Ministry of Transport annual inspection that any of my Porsches has failed. Sport and Classics use an MoT station next to its unit so the news came in quickly that all was not well. Failures on the front brakes were to blame, cracking in both the discs and the pads were the issue. To be honest, I was a bit taken aback. I had always assumed that as long as the car stopped with a certain amount of pedal pressure and didn’t pull one way or the other, that a car would pass. I knew the front discs were cracked around the venting holes (a common issue on any tracked drilled discs) but never realised it would result in an MoT failure. I had no idea they even checked the condition of the pads. It was my plan to replace all the discs and pads in the spring before I started using the car in earnest again anyway, so the fact it needed doing wasn’t the end of the world. They were going to get done regardless so now or next year makes little difference. It would just have been nice to spread the cost out over a few months rather than get hit with it all in one go. Oh well.

    So as I write a new set of discs (I’ve done the front and rear even though it was just the fronts that were the issue) has just arrived from fvd. de in Germany and a set of Performance Friction PF08 pads have been dispatched so we can get the car back through the MoT before the end of the week. The reason for the hurry being that Sports and Classic are moving to a new location down the road (and even closer to my house) in a 3000sq ft unit with five ramps. Let’s hope it passes this time so I can get it back in my unit before the clocks change and the weather turns for the worse up here in the currently gloomy north west of England.
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  • #2002 #Porsche #911 996 Turbo
    The nights are drawing in and the weather is turning autumnal, and with them the opportunities to drive the Turbo in the dry and the daylight are reducing. I’ve been taking every opportunity to take the 996 out for the last few weeks, so my local Shell garage is fast becoming a second home.

    The Turbo is a weekend car so fuel consumption isn’t normally something I worry about but the 67-litre fuel tank does seem small for a car that returns as little as 8mpg when you use its full performance. I’ve also discovered that you need to fill the tank completely if it’s nearly empty or the fuel gauge won’t register that you’ve put any more fuel in. One hurried ‘splash-and-dash’ fuel stop had me worried that I’d just paid £30 and received no fuel in return, but fortunately it turns out that it’s a common issue with four-wheel drive 911s. The fuel tank is shaped around the front differential, and as a result the fuel gauge can only measure the top twothirds of the tank, with the last third being calculated rather than measured.

    The recent cooler weather has highlighted a common issue as winter approaches: a dying battery. I’d noticed that the car was reluctant to turn over after a week sat stationary, and though it did still eventually start I felt that it probably wouldn’t continue to do so for much longer. On opening the bonnet and checking under the plastic battery cover, I found a genuine Porsche battery, which might have been the original item.

    I didn’t fancy paying the Porsche tax on a new battery, so a trawl through the #Porsche-911 forums online found that the recommended non-Porsche item was a heavy duty Bosch Silver S5, which I found at Euro Car Parts for £115. I picked one up before the existing battery lost all of its charge, and fitting it turned out to be simple enough even for someone of my limited skills. If you’re doing this yourself, I do have one tip gleaned from the forums – remember to have the key in the ignition and switched to position 1 so the alarm doesn’t go off. The new battery hasn’t been the only addition to the car lately. After the recent GT Porsche track evening at Brands Hatch, I discovered that I’d absentmindedly left all of my valve caps behind in the pitlane after checking my tyre pressures, so I splurged a whole £9 on a set of genuine Porsche-crested aluminium valve caps from Design #911 . They look lovely, but unfortunately at the time of writing a couple of them have gone missing, presumed stolen by neighbourhood kids who seem attracted to the Turbo sat on my driveway. It’s a minor thing and not something that bothers me much but it does make me wish I had a garage. For the time being, I think I’ll take the other two off and put some cheap plastic ones on instead.

    I’ve also been removing some things from the car, namely the rear seats. This isn’t in the name of weight-saving, I hasten to add, since they don’t weigh much, but more so I can get the child seat further back in the car. With the rear seats in place, my rapidly-growing son’s feet were starting to press up against the driver’s seat, so after more research online (particularly in the RennSport forums), I found a useful guide on removing the rear seat backs. This is something that many #996 owners do in order to fit a rollcage, and it’s a relatively easy job which involves prising off a couple of plastic covers to get at the bolts which hold the seat backs in place. Once you’ve removed a couple of Torx and allen bolts, you can remove the seat backs and their mountings altogether, which gives more space to fit the child seat into so I don’t feel my son kicking me in the back every time I take him out in the car!

    Finally, last month I mentioned I was planning on taking the car to Nine Excellence for some braking upgrades, but the pressing need to replace the cambelt and tyres on our family car has meant that my budget has taken a bit of a dent. In lieu of a full-blown upgrade, I’m going to book the car into my nearest Porsche specialist, RPM Technik, for a brake fluid flush and to seek its advice on cost-effective ways to improve the braking performance. Pagid pads seem to be a popular upgrade, so perhaps a set of those combined with fresh race-spec brake fluid will make a difference to the power and feel.
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