Is there any other super car that’s as practical or pragmatic as this Porsche?
The 911 may have changed out of all recognition since its launch almost 55 years ago, but thankfully has always remained a 911 in spirit and character enabling it to appeal to those who love the older classic models as well as the more contemporary alternatives. Like those pair of timeless legends – Caterham and Morgan – it’s a classic that you can still buy brand new.
A shed load of changes and revisions over the decades, of course, the most fundamental being a longer wheelbase for 1968 along with better distribution and revised suspension a year later, bigger engine for 1971, the mighty Turbo range three years later, fully galvanized bodies and a lighter clutch for 1975, the like 3.0SC (1977), and a rooﬂess cabriolet for 1982, replacing the earlier Targa.
Mechanically, apart from fuel injection and increasing engine sizes, the advent of the G50 gearbox during the mid 1980’s is a signifcant landmark and one which sways many buyers, as is the fundamental switch to coil spring suspension before 1990 – by which time four-wheel drive and Porsche’s famed Tiptronic semi-auto option made the 911 amazingly easy to drive. The 1994 993 was in fact the last of the air-cooled 911’s and when it bowed out in 1998, by then, a 3.6-litre engine was developing 285 hp in normally aspirated guise and 402 hp once turbocharged – a far cry from the 130 hp the 911 started off with!
This model is identified by a major restyle while a much revised suspension finally cured the tail happy handling that you either love or loath.Ignoring the super but super pricey original RSl Carreras, other prize Porkers include the 160 hp 911’s, the 3.0 SC (not the best 911 but a pragmatic choice) any Turbos for their raw appeal and the late 3.2 Carreras for their rounded nature.
The convertibles are a personal choice (most folk prefer Targas) while the once shunned, poverty pick 912 with its 1600 cc (356) engine has almost become a cult fgure.Another 911 with a four-speed gearbox is the 911T, designed as entry level 911 and sported just 110 hp, but, like any chrome bumper 911, sell for big money now and this even includes the quirky if forward thinking Sportomatic semi-auto, that many racing drivers actually preferred on the track!
Charting a car that’s been in production for over half a century would fll an entire magazine so we can only summarise here and it boils down to how you like your 911’s, classic or contemporary and by the latter we’re talking of 993 and 996 models. As a rule, the earlier the car, the more purist it is although most ‘typical’ 911 enthusiasts lean most towards post 1960’s models because they became more powerful and became friendlier to drive.