1983 Porsche 911 SC Road Trip Featured

   
1983 Porsche 911 SC Road Trip 2018 Rich RP Pearce and Drive-My EN/US

Super Carrera For years the SC has lived in the shadow of its successor – the 3.2 Carrera. Can a road trip through Europe change that perception? Story & photography: Rich Pearce.


SC Road Trip


To say the 911 SC has an interesting history would be something of an understatement. Stigmatised as the car which, for a time, looked like being the generation responsible for closing the 911’s story full stop, it was then overshadowed by the more powerful, more refined 3.2 Carrera which did eventually succeed it.


1983 Porsche 911 SC Road Trip
1983 Porsche 911 SC Road Trip

Even its release in 1978 sparked controversy. With less power than the Carrera 3.0 before it (197hp versus the SC’s 180hp), enthusiasts weren’t happy with what they viewed as stifled performance from Porsche’s new 911, which aesthetically hadn’t evolved much either. Many took their cars to RUF, its power kit offered a sprightly increase to 230hp. Porsche did of course bolster the SC throughout its six-year production cycle, boosting power to 188hp and then 204hp, but it’s always remained the most affordable air-cooled Porsche 911s for a reason. As recently as 2012, an SC could be had for as little as £10,000 and, though prices have climbed in line with all air-cooled 911 values since, an SC still isn’t viewed in the same light as that ubiquitous 3.2 Carrera.


1983 Porsche 911 SC Road Trip
1983 Porsche 911 SC Road Trip

A European jaunt in Chuck Richards’ stunning blue example aims to change all that, however. At the top end of the vast spectrum of SC values, its MY 1983 specification means it has flushed headlight washers, side repeaters in the front wings and, crucially, the more powerful 204hp flat-six. It’s a Sport model too, garnishing this SC with a Turbo-style tea tray wing, a front lip spoiler, and Bilstein sport suspension with slightly lowered ride height.

The car is fastidiously factory-spec, save for a retrim of the three-spoke steering wheel which Chuck wanted to do to better colour-code it to the rest of this SC’s glorious two-tone blue pasha interior. Those Turbo-spec Fuchs wheels, measuring seven inches wide at the front and eight at the back, give the car real stance, their polished lips glistening neatly in the sun as the 911 rolls gently off the Eurotunnel’s car train and onto mainland European soil.


1983 Porsche 911 SC interior RHD
1983 Porsche 911 SC interior

A project car of many years, only now is Chuck reaping the rewards of a purchase made exactly 20 years ago this month. “I lived in Jersey in 1998 when an opportunity to buy a 911 arose,” the Leicester man recalls as we join one of France’s many toll roads and cruise up to 130kph. “Jersey actually had more 911s per head of any population than anywhere at the time, so it was a good place to dig around for a suitable car! I had £15k to spend which put me in the bracket of either a Carrera 3.0, SC or later 3.2 Carrera. The Carrera 3.0 and 3.2 didn’t work for me for a number of reasons: spec, condition, one was great but left hand drive. I knew this was going to be a difficult search to find the right car but then, on a journey back from football training one night, it was like a biblical light shone on to this showroom I was passing. In the window was this stunning blue SC: I stopped the car, got out and was glued to the window for ages just admiring it.”

Chuck went back the next day before work and, after a thorough inspection at a main Porsche dealer, bought the SC. “It passed the inspection with a few observations made, which I quickly rectified. I took the car to Joe Santos, king of pre-owned 911s on Jersey, who revealed he’d known the car for ten years –­he’d stamped the service book for the previous decade, right back to 1988!”


1983 Porsche 911 SC Road Trip
1983 Porsche 911 SC Road Trip

Chuck drove the car around Jersey for two years before moving back to the UK at the turn of the millennium, using the car to commute 400 miles per day between Leicester and Dorset for those first eight weeks. “Its performance was faultless,” Chuck says with a smile, revealing he gave the car to specialist Jazz Porsche to upgrade the cam chain and remove the SC’s air recycling pump. Thereafter, the car was used mainly for sunny days, before being garaged in 2007 for six long years of total and utter hibernation.

By the turn of 2013 though, Chuck’s SC was ready to have another day in the sun. Sent to Canford Classics for recommission, the Dorset outfit’s work to the car involved renewing its braking system and giving it a major service. Snapped head bolts were found, which paved the way for the next phase of this SC’s life, Canford Classics undertaking a complete engine and gearbox rebuild. That work has clearly paid off for our European trip: slipping through France and into Germany overnight, the SC’s 3.0-litre flat-six has plenty of torque, matched to the 911’s famously long gearing, that makes it ideal for hitting the autobahn, which is where we find ourselves by midmorning. Picking up speed in the SC is effortless, the car squatting onto its rear wheels as Chuck squeezes the throttle pedal firmly to the floor. The flat-six behind us produces a thunderous mechanical roar as we whizz past bigger, more modern machinery, surpassing the 200kph mark with little fuss. That sort of speed feels so much faster in a small car like this, but Chuck is unperturbed, snicking the long, floor-mounted shifter through the gears as the SC builds its speed on these derestricted roads.


1983 Porsche 911 SC Road Trip
1983 Porsche 911 SC Road Trip

This SC hasn’t just been treated to a mechanical overhaul. The 911’s aluminium bumpers had began to show signs of reacting with its steel wings – a result of its prolonged storage. So, at the time of recommissioning, the front and sides of the car were totally resprayed due to the difficulty in colourmatching smaller areas. “I got to strip the car myself as part of the process, which was good fun. It’s very enjoyable to take your classic apart to find no rust present,” Chuck says.

Painting completed what turned out to be a substantial overhaul of this pretty little SC. To our eyes it’s one of the best examples we’ve seen, but Chuck is fastidious and has a small ‘to do’ list on the car before he can say he’s totally happy with it. In the meantime though, he’s doing what any 911 owner should do –­having fun driving it. He’s had so much fun, in fact, that after its 1,000 mile running in period was completed, Chuck had no hesitation in choosing the SC over his first generation 997 Carrera 4S for this trip to Europe, even inviting us along for the ride. And by ride, we mean drive...

“I had £15k to spend which put me in the bracket of either a Carrera 3.0, SC or later 3.2 Carrera”

A day later we find ourselves in Switzerland, the twisty, mountainous Susten pass ahead of us. Chuck pulls the SC over and offers us a go. “You bend it, you mend it,” he says, hopping out of the driver’s Sport seat and beckoning us inside. Considering all the work undertaken on the car, those words well and truly resonate as we park ourselves on the soft pasha driver’s seat and adjust the 911’s mirrors to suit.

Surprisingly though, the SC is relatively easy to drive. Its rebuilt 915 gearbox is a delight: it displays none of the sloppiness a tired ‘box will show you, though most enjoyment is extracted when not rushing through the gears.

The engine is delightfully torquey, particularly low down the rev range, and so this SC is no slouch: it’s quick to get going, with a real ability to build speed fast. It certainly doesn’t feel like it is lacking in power, the 204hp on tap proving plentiful on these twisty roads.

Indeed, tackling these snaking Swiss mountain roads is glorious in this SC: there’s so much feel from the car, it’s totally devoid of the digital wizardry appointed to modern 911 machinery. With the SC, it’s just you and your clearly paid off for our European trip: slipping through France and into Germany overnight, the SC’s 3.0-litre flat-six has plenty of torque, matched to the 911’s famously long gearing, that makes it ideal for hitting the autobahn, which is where we find ourselves by midmorning.


1983 Porsche 911 SC Road Trip
1983 Porsche 911 SC Road Trip

Picking up speed in the SC is effortless, the car squatting onto its rear wheels as Chuck squeezes the throttle pedal firmly to the floor. The flat-six behind us produces a thunderous mechanical roar as we whizz past bigger, more modern machinery, surpassing the 200kph mark with little fuss. That sort of speed feels so much faster in a small car like this, but Chuck is unperturbed, snicking the long, floor-mounted shifter through the gears as the SC builds its speed on these derestricted roads.

“Tackling these snaking Swiss mountain roads is glorious in this SC...”

This SC hasn’t just been treated to a mechanical overhaul. The 911’s aluminium bumpers had began to show signs of reacting with its steel wings – a result of its prolonged storage. So, at the time of recommissioning, the front and sides of the car were totally resprayed due to the difficulty in colour-matching smaller areas. “I got to strip the car myself as part of the process, which was good fun. It’s very enjoyable to take your classic apart to find no rust present,” Chuck says.

Painting completed what turned out to be a substantial overhaul of this pretty little SC. To our eyes it’s one of the best examples we’ve seen, but Chuck is fastidious and has a small ‘to do’ list on the car before he can say he’s totally happy with it. In the meantime though, he’s doing what any 911 owner should do –­having fun driving it. He’s had so much fun, in fact, that after its 1,000 mile running in period was completed, Chuck had no hesitation in choosing the SC over his first generation 997 Carrera 4S for this trip to Europe, even inviting us along for the ride. And by ride, we mean drive...

A day later we find ourselves in Switzerland, the twisty, mountainous Susten pass ahead of us. Chuck pulls the SC over and offers us a go. “You bend it, you mend it,” he says, hopping out of the driver’s Sport seat and beckoning us inside. Considering all the work undertaken on the car, those words well and truly resonate as we park ourselves on the soft pasha driver’s seat and adjust the 911’s mirrors to suit.

Surprisingly though, the SC is relatively easy to drive. Its rebuilt 915 gearbox is a delight: it displays none of the sloppiness a tired ‘box will show you, though most enjoyment is extracted when not rushing through the gears. The engine is delightfully torquey, particularly low down the rev range, and so this SC is no slouch: it’s quick to get going, with a real ability to build speed fast. It certainly doesn’t feel like it is lacking in power, the 204hp on tap proving plentiful on these twisty roads. Indeed, tackling these snaking Swiss mountain roads is glorious in this SC: there’s so much feel from the car, it’s totally devoid of the digital wizardry appointed to modern 911 machinery. With the SC, it’s just you and your.

“The SC is rewarding enough to be considered a proper, classic 911”

Read 249 times Last modified on Monday, 27 August 2018 18:21

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