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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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  •   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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