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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 Barry reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    STARSHIP 911

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Luxurious buckets have power-adjust console on inside bolster, plus system of bolster adjustment. They're very comfortable, if loud-looking. 330bhp engine has bigger puffer, Intercooler, then standard, plus high-lift cam profiles, new exhaust.
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  • 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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  • Carbon fibre. Wonderful site, keep up the great work! I wanted to send a brief note regarding the very interesting article on carbon fibre (CF) in the December 2014 issue. On page, there is a photo and small caption regarding the 2004 996 GT3 RS stating it was the first production Porsche to feature CF parts, noting the wing mirrors and rear wing. Please note the car also had a CF front deck lid. Prior to this car, it is worth noting three other times the factory used the material. For the 1993 model year, the factory made 86 of the wonderful #Porsche-911-Turbo-S-Leichtbau-964 , which also featured a full CF front deck lid. Understandably with only 86 made, it was not really a production car when compared to the 682 examples of the 2004 996 GT3 RS produced.

    Also, while the factory was ‘experimenting’ with early CF for the #Porsche-959 / #Porsche project in the early ’80s, prior to producing the 959, the factory made 21 of the rarest 911 RS model ever, the Group B rally car, the type 954 or ‘SCRS’. To the best of my knowledge, the SCRS was the first car to leave the Porsche factory with any form of carbon fibre… the rear bumper was made from a very early version of CF. While the front bumper was a nice quality fiberglass, not that different from the panels used on many R, RS and RSR cars preceding the SCRS, the rear bumper was a different material that they called ‘carbon reinforced fiberglass’. If you compare the front and rear bumpers of the SCRS the differences are clear, and of course, the goal of the SCRS was to be as light a car as possible, so every gram mattered. And at a price in 1983 of USA $79,000, double the cost of a period 930, they could afford to give the lucky racers whatever they wanted!

    The SCRS cars were all made in the fall of 1983 for the 1984 model year, and then the 959 was made in 1985 for the 1986 model year fully using the new material. Again, with under 300 of the type 959 made, I’m not sure if you can call it a production run or not… I think it would be considered a production run given the overall quantity produced. I thought your readers may want to know all of the above.
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