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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Any brand new 911
2015 // From around £75,000
Admit it, they are absolutely brilliant. If you don’t want one, you should. Buy it, keep it, service it properly. One day, it will be a classic but, meanwhile, enjoy a few happy decades driving it. The best of all worlds.
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  •   Ben Koflach reacted to this post about 3 years ago


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

    Living In the shadow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    OPEN AND SHUT CASES

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

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

    A GOOD SPORT

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

    The SC retains that wonderful lightness of feel which is such a classic 911 trademark.
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Widebody backdated 911s Retro Spex. Backdating with style - retro 911s take on ST and RSR styling cues, but with a modern twist. Going back in time with your 911 necessitates a target model or an era to pitch it at. We sample two different takes on Porsche’s halcyon racing days of the early ’70s, but are they fit for the heroes who drove them back then? Words: Johnny Tipler. Photography: Antony Fraser.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    CONTACT:
    John Hawkins Specialist Cars of Malton
    York Road Business Park
    Malton
    North Yorkshire
    YO17 6YB
    Tel: 01653 697722
     http://www.specialistcarsltd.co.uk
    Email: Sales and Underwrites - [email protected]
    Sales – [email protected]

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

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

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

    Modern and retro mix together for a different take on the backdate look. Below: On the move and it all comes together.
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  • SMILE FACTOR

    Our man reckons the #Porsche-911-Carrera-3.2 is the best classic #911 to have as a daily driver. Well he would do, he’s owned one for nine years. Words & photos: Paul Davies and KPB photography.

    My first #Porsche was a #Porsche-912 . You know, the 911 with the #356 engine that outsold the six-cylinder version in its first two years. Real classic, nicely balanced, performed a lot better than it did on paper, and – when I bought it back in #1989 – pretty cheap. But daily driver? No.

    On back roads it was fine, but motorway work had Fiestas roaring past, the drivers grinning mockingly, and getting it started was a matter of tickling the Solex carbs until the engine ran steady – although that might have been my particular car.

    So, I needed something a bit more, as they say, userfriendly; I reckon if I’m trolling around the country on Classic Porsche magazine business the least I can do is turn up in the right make of car. Also, wouldn’t it be nice to take the Porsche on the annual holiday run to northern Spain, without holding up 2CVs on the back roads of France?

    The question was how to replace the 912. An early 911, even way back in 2006, looked pricey and a bit too precious. I looked at a nice #1976 Carrera 3.0 but it was expensive, and the later SC at that time was a no-no in the credibility stakes – although it’s getting up there now with the best. The Carrera 3.2, manufactured from 1984 to 1989, seemed a no-brainer.

    I always like to bring my long-time co-driver (Mrs D, that is) into car buying decisions. Then, if it all goes horribly wrong, it can’t all be my fault. Driving early cars – like the Carrera 3.0 and the #Porsche-911SC – revealed a couple of basic problems in the daily driving department, namely the agricultural feel encountered with cog-swapping through the 915 gearbox, plus the amount of leg muscle required to depress the cable-operated clutch.

    The revised #Carrera 3.2, built from #1987 model year with hydraulic clutch and easy-shifting G50 gearbox made by #Borg-Warner , was the answer. Eventually I found one, a two-owner Targa that passed muster, for sale with Coventry specialists PCT, or at least Autobahn as the sales outlet then was. A deal was done, which even included a six-month warranty, and I drove off. On the M5 motorway, the fresh air blower running at full blast to counter a stinking hot summer day expired in a cloud of smoke and the acrid smell of a burnt-out electric motor!

    To be fair, PCT replaced the unit straight away – and also re-fitted the rear anti-roll bar which had been knocking on the transmission casing because, at some stage in its life, it had been fitted upside down. From then forward I can report the Carrera 3.2 has proved a worthy buy. Yes, I’ve had a few problems – in general just what you would expect with an ageing Porsche – and consequently have spent money to keep it up to scratch through the 48,000 miles it’s covered so far.

    But it’s been worthwhile. The family #BMW 3-series is a very good car, which is what you would expect, but get in the Porsche and you only have to go a couple of miles down the road before the smile factor sets in.

    Driving the Carrera 3.2 is like driving a modern car without the bad bits. The non-assisted steering is heavy on parking because of the 205-profile front tyres, but once you’re on the move it has a precise feel that’s hard to match with a modern – especially those with electric PAS. The suspension – still torsion bars, of course – is firm, but you truly feel connected with what’s happening. Yes, the brakes are borderline if you’re cracking on, and they do need to be kept in top condition.

    The engine, that’s the gem. This, you need to understand, is to my mind the ultimate expression of the original #Porsche-911 air-cooled flat-six. It’s not the final configuration but it retains the attribute of the original Porsche concept of ‘less is more’, with just about the right amount of modern technology. The #964 and the #993 that followed were also air-cooled, but much revised and not necessarily better.

    In 1984, when the 3.2 first appeared, Porsche was seriously getting to grips with clean air legislation, especially in the USA, and that’s one of the good things about the 3.2 motor. The company’s first stab at electronic management, via the Bosch Motronic system, for the first time accurately controlled fuel flow relative to such things as throttle position, engine and ambient temperature, and ignition. The end result is a superflexible engine that delivers fuel economy which owners of carburetted or MFI-equipped cars will die for. On those long trips to Spain and back I’ve taken the trouble to do long-term fuel checks, and 27mpg overall is the result. Not bad, I reckon.

    I can’t fault the way my Carrera 3.2 drives, although I’m conscious of the fact it’s still on its original dampers. I’ve fitted Super Pro synthetic bushes to the front suspension (back end coming soon) but I think a set of new Bilsteins, or similar, would be the icing on the cake. Even so, it’s a good top-gear motorway cruiser (bit of wind rush from the Targa top over 80mph) and on back roads third gear seems to be the place to be, the super torque of the engine taking you from almost nothing to well over the legal limit. Smile factor again.

    Inevitably we get the big question. No-one, well not me anyway, said Porsche ownership was cheap (in fact if you think that way, don’t buy one), but although there is most definitely a constant cost factor involved, you’ll come out smiling just as long as you keep on top of things. Francis Tuthill (who’s built more rally Porsche than most) once told me – talking about the 912 actually, but the same implies – that the best way to deal with Porsche ownership was to drive it, enjoy it, and fix it when it breaks.

    That’s not to say you don’t indulge in regular maintenance, I think Francis was referring to not being dragged down the full restoration route. I’ve had it fixed if it broke, changed the oil, spark plugs and things like that and had the bodywork attended to when rust threatened.

    Before I bought the car, at 55,000 miles, it had had an engine rebuild after the oil pump failed (don’t know why) but during my ownership, from 62k and nine years, I’ve spent just over £10,000, excluding tax, insurance and fuel. Biggest expenses? A year into ownership, Gantspeed took a good look and replaced the clutch, updated the clutch-release mechanism, rebuilt the rear brakes and suspension, and gave the engine the ‘works’ (£3,500). PCT fitted a new dry-sump tank (new one from Autofarm £500) when the original leaked, and also fitted a stainless-steel pre-silencer (both jobs £1400).

    Jaz (I spread my favours) did a mega-service and fettle before one of my Spanish trips that totalled £1200 and included new handbrake cables, a wheel bearing, driveshaft seal, and electric motor for the driver’s seat height adjustment. Recent work at Specialist Vehicle Preparations has included replacing a broken suspension arm, those Super Pro bushes, and new front brake calipers, all for around £1,800.

    Attention to rusty bits has so far totalled £1500, but I know there’s another (bigger) job on the way before long: tyres, I’ve replaced six (excellent) Avons during the time at a cost of around £550 but I’m due for a new set before I do much mileage this year.

    That’s it really. It may sound a lot but add the costs to what I paid for the car back in 2006 (£12,000) and then take a look at the current sale prices for late-model Carrera 3.2s. I reckon I’m breaking even – and I’ve had a lot of smiles on the way.

    Finally, that Targa top. I know everybody thinks they’re for sissies and not the true 911 look, but it’s highly practical for a car that doesn’t have air-con (of course not!) and anyway the co-driver likes it. I drove a Cayman recently – you know, the Boxster with a roof for grown-ups – and I have to admit it was mind-blowing, especially in the handling department. But, hey, it’s already on the downward spiral of depreciation that modern, mass produced Porsches suffer. I couldn’t be that daft could I?
    • Porsche bb 911 Turbo Targa - I must say I found Retro #Porsche : Part II to be an absolutely brilliant bookazine – it provides a lot of history. IPorsche bb 911 Turbo Targa - I must say I found Retro #Porsche : Part II to be an absolutely brilliant bookazine – it provides a lot of history. I own a 1976 Slant Nose 911, so I’m curious about them, particularly the period modified versions from German tuning houses like Rinspeed and bb, so I particularly enjoyed the bb 911 Turbo Targa feature.

      I wondered where the initial idea for the bb-style 911, adapting a #Porsche-911 to look like a #Porsche-928 and #Porsche-959 , came from, as you don’t see a great deal of them around anymore. God only knows who modified these cars in the Eighties – like the article’s author I ran into brick walls everywhere during my own research on the cars, and I eventually gave up looking.

      Not a lot of people have time for Rainer Buchmann’s creations, but it was good to see this car. It certainly wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but cars like this are still a part of Porsche history, even in a small way.
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