The man responsible for shaping the last three generations of Porsche 911 is retiring. But the future looks bright
The new Porsche 911, codenamed 992, continues the evolution of the world’s most famous sports car. Faster and more advanced than ever, it’s on sale now, priced from £93,110
The new ‘992’ Porsche 911 is – as expected – hardly a visual revolution. We compare it with the car that came before
An early Porsche Boxster is the most affordable way to step onto the ladder of Porsche ownership. Use it to climb the rungs and, who knows, one day that dream Porsche 911 Turbo could be yours.
But what about if there was a way to get on the ladder and jump straight to the top in one move? Thanks to an enterprising company, dreamers now don’t only have to dream. Meet the A Nu Dimension Boxster GTB.
‘A Nu Dimension’ (AND) claims to provide what it calls “the only GT Boxster conversion kit”. The finished product obviously resembles a 911 but AND insists it’s not a replica. The objective is to “improve the look of older Porsche models, creating an up-to-date looking model”.
The best part is that this near-complete transformation of a Boxster into a 991 911 can take place on your driveway. This is, in a sense, a kit car, with AND priding itself on the ease of application.
“The GTB kit is designed for the home builder with [a] simple straightforward process to enable the individual to build the car at home with a basic set of tools.”
Kits range from £5,300 (minus the donor car: prices start on Auto Trader from around £3,500) and they’ll fit 2.5, 2.7 and 3.2-litre first- and second-generation Boxsters.
You can also buy a fully built car for £20,000. Although at that price, we’d recommend your first Porsche ought to be a 997 911 instead.
Jeremy Clarkson once declared that “you can’t be a true petrolhead until you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo”. Not for the first time, though, Jezza was wrong. With a few recent exceptions, modern Alfas are just gussied-up Fiats. And the classics, while bursting with brio, are less dependable than a Southern train..
No, if there’s one car every enthusiast should aspire to own, it’s a Porsche 911. This quirky, rear-engined coupe has evolved – and occasionally revolved – over more than five decades. Fast, fun and engineered with typically Teutonic thoroughness, it has inspired an automotive cult all its own: witness the number of dedicated 911 magazines in newsagents. And it’s still going strong: the millionth example recently left Stuttgart, and special editions, such as the 911R, sell out before they even reach showrooms.
Video: Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2
Convinced? Now for the bad news. We’re not alone in this view, and used Porsche prices have risen sharply over the past decade – outpacing even the already-buoyant classic car market as a whole. Still, even if Brexit bites and the stock market takes a nosedive, good 911s – particularly earlier, air-cooled cars – are likely to remain highly sought-after
If you want the full, 100% proof 911 experience, you need one the original pre-1989 cars; and they don’t come much better than the last-hurrah Carrera 3.2, now available from around £30,000. The lovely 1989 example tested here was kindly supplied by Canford Classics.
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How does it drive?
The classic Carrera isn’t an easy car to drive, but that’s key to its appeal. You need to engage your brain, exploit its strengths and work around its weaknesses. And learning those takes time.
Despite being shorter and narrower than a new Porsche Cayman, the original 911’s cabin doesn’t feel short on space. Well, not unless you’re squeezed into the toddler-sized rear seats. It’s comically sparse by 2017 standards, though, with controls scattered seemingly at random and floor-hinged pedals skewed towards the centre of the car.
Ergonomic eccentricities are soon forgotten when you fire up that trademark air-cooled flat-six, however. It whirrs, rumbles and churns: not musical, but deliciously mechanical. And the howl it makes at high revs will reverberate inside your skull for hours.
The 911’s unassisted steering and spindly gearlever demand measured, deliberate inputs, yet positively fizz with feedback. It feels lively and light-footed, effervescent even. Those characteristic front wings bob up and down, following the contours of the road, while the all-round disc brakes offer confidence-inspiring bite.
You never forget this is a rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive car – one with no electronic safety aids, no less – but the Porsche is hardly the ‘widowmaker’ of urban legend. It simply requires respect and a certain degree of restraint, especially when it rains. A new hot hatch will be quicker whatever the weather, but you’ll be having more fun.
Tell me about buying one
Chris Lowe, lead technician at Canford Classics, is a big fan of the Carrera 3.2: “It has better brakes and a more powerful engine than the 911 SC it replaced, and larger wheels make it more drivable day-to-day”, he explains. “Plus, it’s still air-cooled, so it doesn’t stray too far from the original formula. Overall, they’re just super-cool cars.”
The 3.2 was sold in three body styles: coupe, convertible and Targa. Coupes are generally considered most desirable, although the removable-roof Targa is now firmly back in fashion. A ‘tea tray’ rear wing was optional as part of the Sport pack, along with stiffer dampers and shapelier seats. Alternatively, buyers could go the whole nine yards with the 911 Supersport: a 3.2 with the stretched wheelarches and beefed-up brakes of the 930 Turbo.
Rust is the fatal foe of any classic 911, so Chris advises checking bodywork carefully: the roof pillars and sills are the main trouble spots. Take a fine-tooth comb to the paperwork, too. “Originality is key to value,” says Chris, “so ask for the Certificate of Authenticity from Porsche, which details the original specification – including any options fitted.” Also, be prepared to budget for mechanical maintenance: “Many 3.2s are due engine or gearbox rebuilds, and the same goes for suspension. Bushes will usually need to be replaced.”
It’s also worth noting that the post-1987 G50 gearbox – as fitted here – is slicker and more user-friendly than the original 915 unit. As such, G50-equipped cars tend to be worth more.
Is the Carrera 3.2 the ultimate retro daily-driver? Perhaps, even if the aforementioned rise in values means most owners now reserve their cars for sunny Sundays and special occasions.
In truth, the G-Series 911 felt a little dated by the mid-1980s, yet it has aged remarkably well. To drive, it feels raw, vital and life-affirming, while its essential robustness stands in marked contrast to the flimsy over-complication of many modern cars.
Three decades hence, when scores of present-day ‘991’ 911s are festering on scrapheaps with undiagnosed software gremlins, one suspects the classic Carrera will still be going strong. It’s a sports car icon, both of its time and timeless. Buy one now before prices get even crazier.
Many thanks to Canford Classics (01929 472221) for the loan of this immaculate 1989 911. The car is currently for sale, priced at £55,000.
See more from Canford Classics
Porsche has revealed the new 911 GT2 RS at the Goodwood Festival of Speed – a 700hp 3.8-litre twin-turbo beast that’s the most powerful Porsche road car ever made. It can do 211mph, 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds, weighs less than 1500kg and, simply, is the most ferocious iteration yet of the world’s most famous sports car.
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Porsche already pushed the turbo motor from 580hp to 607hp in the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series. The GT2 RS adds a ludicrous amount of extra power, so much so that it needs a custom-built seven-speed PDK gearbox that’s strong enough to cope. Porsche is promising a mesmerising sound, even for a turbo engine, thanks to a lightweight titanium exhaust that weighs a hefty 7kg less than the standard system and delivers a noise that’s “without precedent”.
It puts all this power to the ground through steamroller-like 325/30 ZR21 rear tyres (the widest ever fitted to a 911), with 265/35 ZR 20s at the front. Stopping is courtesy of standard Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes and, through the corners, rear axle steering and specially calibrated stability control give it the dynamics to match its crazy power output.
Of course, there’s lots of lightweight stuff: carbon fibre reinforced plastic is used for the front wings (and their vents), door mirrors, air intakes, bonnet and some of the rear end. Meanwhile, Porsche has actually made the roof from magnesium.
You can go further, too. Remember how you could have an optional Weissach package with the 918 Spyder hypercar? You now can with the new GT2 RS. Saving 30kg, it includes yet more carbon fibre reinforced plastic and titanium bits: we’re talking carbon fibre anti-roll bars here, magnesium wheels, a carbon fibre roof – with a body-coloured central stripe on the luggage compartment lid and roof to differentiate the Weissach cars.
Surprisingly, Porsche leaves the Chrono Package on the options list, so you’ll have to pay extra if you want to monitor your lap times. As you undoubtedly will, particularly as the system now includes a lap trigger – with the Porsche Track Precision app and some external timing markers on a course, you can ‘cross the beam’ just like they do in F1. That’s surely a must-have, no?
This is the second special Porsche to have its own watch. Porsche Design has worked with Porsche Motorsport to create the 911 GT2 RS Chronograph – using Porsche Design’s very first clock movement, which took it three years to develop. It includes a motorsport-inspired ‘flyback’ function, that automatically does all the choreography used when timing laps. Again, priorities.
The watch costs €9,450 in Germany. The car? It’s from €285,220, which equates to roughly £251,000 in the UK (and £8,300 for the watch). We’re at Goodwood this weekend to hear more from Porsche bosses about the new 911 GT2 RS.
Mark Webber: “She’s a beast”
Porsche racer Mark Webber helped reveal the new 911 GT2 RS at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. “This is probably the 911 I’ve driven most pre-launch,” he said. “Andreas (Preuninger, Porsche GT boss) got me on board… I’ve already driven it plenty, including at the Nürburgring. Believe me, it’s a beast…”
Apparently, some of Webber’s ex-F1 buddies are already on the phone to him, seeing if he can get them ahead in the waiting list. But it sounds like it’s on Webber’s hit list, too – because of it’s all-round usability. It’s comfortable and usable on public roads,” says Porsche. “Compared to the last GT2 RS, we have civilised it, a little bit.”
Webber picked up on this. “A lot of the GT cars I have in the family… I always take navi and air con.” Not that this has at all softened it, he added. “In general, she’s a thoroughbred, an absolute beast, but you can take it on the road no problem.”
In pictures: New Porsche 911 GT2 RS
This year marked the 41st anniversary of the Stanford Hall Volkswagen show, set in the grounds of Stanford Hall itself, near Lutterworth in Leicestershire.
The show is organised by the Leicestershire and Warwickshire VW Owner’s Club, and a historic Volkswagen display has been a staple part of the event.
Stanford Hall brings out some of the best air-cooled Volkswagens, and some of the most unusual. ‘Bertie’ is a 1958 historic rally Beetle and driver Bob Beales drove ‘him’ in events as recent as the 2016 Wales Rally GB.
Beetles have long been a key ingredient at Stanford Hall. Amanda Clampin’s 1972 ‘Marathon’ Beetle is well known in VW circles and on the show circuit. She has owned the car for almost two years.
A total of 1,500 ‘Marathon’ Beetles were built for the UK and celebrated the small VW overtaking the Ford Model T as the most-produced car in the world on 17 February 1972. Special features such as 10-spoke alloy wheels and the metallic blue body colour set the Marathon apart.
Of course, it’s not all about Beetles, though. Volkswagen’s other classic air-cooled models such as the Type 2 campervan and Karmann Ghia also have a starring role at Stanford Hall.
While the show prides itself on standard models, this Type 2 is anything but original, and packs a fearsome V8 punch. Your cutlery and plates would fly out of the cupboards…
Shaken, not stirred
Similarly, this Martini-liveried Karmann Ghia has been inspired by Porsche. A lurid black and red 996/Boxster snakeskin interior features inside, while the running gear is taken from a 2004 Boxster.
Metal Ghia solid
In contrast, this Type 3-based Karman Ghia is as it rolled off the production line at Osnabrück. Introduced in September 1961, the VW 1500 Karmann Ghia is also known as the ‘Razor Edge’.
As Volkswagen intended
The Concours d’Elegance at Stanford Hall is considered to be the best in the country, specialising in cars of original specification. Sixteen classes cover all VW, Audi and Porsche models and feature gems such as this very early 1975 Volkswagen Golf.
The concours judging is very strict and every car has to be as clean as when it left the factory, with points taken off for dirtiness and non-original accessories. A simpler design means air-cooled engines may be easier to clean than their later water-cooled counterparts. Here, a Mk2 Golf GTI 16V engine is so clean, the proverbial dinner could be eaten off it.
Mars Red Mk1 magic
Stanford Hall used to be a predominantly air-cooled Volkswagen show, but in recent years there has been a surge in water-cooled cars’ presence. Golf GTIs are popular concours entrants.
Super Class winner
The concours ‘Super Class’ features only the previous year’s winners. 2017 Super Class and Best of Show winner was Chris Burt’s Mk 2 1989 Golf GTI 8V.
Even Volkswagen’s sometimes ‘forgotten’ models get a look in at the Leicestershire gathering. Older Polos are regularly on display, and Vic Kaye’s booted Derby is one of the best Mk1 models.
The 1980s called…
David Cross’ super-rare Mk2 Jetta GT Special is a limited edition from 1986. An officially-marketed GTI Engineering conversion, special equipment included 15-inch alloy wheels, a 1.8-litre engine, a bodykit and two-tone paintwork.
There’s a Storm coming
Volkswagen’s coupés were well represented at the 2017 Stanford Hall event. The later Corrado (background) contrasts nicely with this early Mk1 Scirocco Storm limited edition from 1979.
Audis on show
Audis of all shapes and sizes are welcomed into the Stanford Hall concours fold, and there’s probably not a more disparate pairing than this 1980s 200 Avant and late 80-based Cabriolet.
Club stands are an important part of Stanford Hall, and the biggest gathering of Porsche 912s in the UK was aimed for at the 2017 show. We don’t know if that was achieved, but there were certainly more than we’ve ever seen in one place.
Germany’s favourite sports car
And while the number of four-cylinder 912s may have outnumbered the number of 911s, the 912’s ‘big brother’ was still very much in evidence.
The Mazda MX-5 may be the world’s best-selling sports car, but the Porsche 911 is the most iconic. And today, after 54 years in production, the company built its one-millionth 911.
Dr Wolfgang Porsche unveiled the milestone car in Zuffenhausen, where it begins a promotional world tour that includes the Scottish Highlands, Nurburgring, USA and China – ending up as part of the collection at the Porsche Museum.
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The 991 Carrera S has a distinctly retro theme, with many details that evoke the 1963 original. Spot the Irish Green paint (a special order colour since 1965) chrome window-surrounds, old-style Porsche bonnet crest and – oh yes – gold badges.
Inside, there’s liberal use of mahogany on the steering wheel and dashboard (no, us neither), plus ‘Pepita’ houndstooth trim on the trad-911 ‘tombstone’ seats. A plaque marks this car out as number 1,000,000 off the production line.A visibly proud Dr Porsche said: “Fifty-four years ago, I was able to take my first trips over the Grossglockner High Alpine Road with my father. The feeling of being in a 911 is just as enjoyable now as it was then. That’s because the 911 has ensured that the core values of our brand are as visionary today as they were in the first Porsche 356/1 from 1948”.
Although the 911 is easily outsold by Porsche’s Macan and Cayenne SUVs today, it remains core to the German brand: a halo car that shines brighter than perhaps any other.
Amazingly, more than 70 per cent of all 911s ever built are still on the road, and over half of Porsche’s 30,000 race wins can be credited to the car, too.
We don’t expect this very special 911 will be racking up the miles – it’s already too valuable for that – but devotees can buy an Irish Green Porsche Design watch, with a strap using the same leather as the 911’s interior.
Autofarm in Oxfordshire is a mecca for disciples of the air-cooled and the rear-engined. The company has been fixing and restoring Porsches since 1973, and its huge wooden barns are stuffed with classic 911s. Where better, then, to hold our second MR Retro Live event – this time catering for Porsche enthusiasts.
And so it was that, one brisk Sunday morning, a group of Porsche fans gathered at Autofarm, chatting cars and supping coffee to a flat-six soundtrack. The Motoring Research team was there, too: Peter in his 964 Carrera 4 and Andrew in a Cayman GT4 nabbed from Porsche’s press fleet. Here are some of the highlights.
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Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS
Yes, before you ask, it’s a real one. The Carrera 2.7 RS is the most iconic 911 of all, with the best examples today costing seven figures. Designed for motorsport homologation, it boasted a fuel-injected 210hp engine, stiffer suspension and bigger brakes – not forgetting that trademark ‘ducktail’ rear spoiler.
This ’73 RS belongs to one of Autofarm’s customers and was in for a service. It was restored about 10 years ago and remains in flawless original condition.
Speaking of originality, Chris Knowles’ stunning 2.4 S looks exactly as it left the factory in 1972. The Signal Yellow bodywork has been resprayed by Autofarm, but the interior has never been retrimmed.
Interestingly, 1972 was the only model-year where 911s had an oil tank access flap on the side of the car. However, some owners filled it with petrol, so Porsche wisely chose to relocate it under the engine lid.
Ruf 964 special
Remember the Ruf CTR – star of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show? The German company has been modifying Porsches for decades, including this unique 964. Based on a 3.6 RS, it packs a twin-turbo engine from the later 993 Turbo.
Ruf also fitted its ‘electronic foot’ clutchless manual gearbox. And the eagle-eyed will spot the wide-arched Turbo bodywork has been de-seamed – just like an old Mini.
Porsche Cayman GT4
Not a 911, but equally as cool, the Cayman GT4 is a modern Porsche destined for classic status. MR’s Andrew had this Guards Red example for the weekend and kept finding tenuous excuses to run errands in it.
With added aero, a stiffer chassis and brakes from the 911 GT3, the 385hp GT4 is a serious driving machine. It also comes with a six-speed manual gearbox – something that wasn’t available on the GT3 at the time.
Porsche 911 Carrera RS
Regular readers will recognise this car – also Guards Red – from our Retro Road Test last year. The hardcore 964 was the first 911 to wear the RS badge since the 1970s. Thankfully, Porsche did it justice, with more power, less weight and a close-ratio gearbox.
This car was recently for sale at Autofarm and has been expertly restored in-house. MD Mikey Wastie reckons it’s one of the best 964s he’s driven. We were equally effusive, saying: “It’s a car you’ll ache to spend time with, to learn its quirks and exploit its talents. The buzz of driving it stayed with us many hours after we reluctantly handed back the keys.”
Porsche 911 GTS
Paul Woods brought along his immaculate 991 GTS, complete with appropriately speedy number plate. We love the primer-grey paint, too.
This first-generation GTS is one of the last with a naturally-aspirated engine. It also came with the Powerkit engine upgrade, sports exhaust and adjustable PASM suspension. GT3 aside, could this be peak modern 911?
How pretty is this 1968 911L? Another customer car, it was already at Autofarm for some engine work. Note the oh-so-classic Fuchs alloys, as worn by many 911s of the era – including the Carrera RS.
The 130hp 911L was the mid-point in Porsche’s late-1960s range, sitting between the 110hp 911T and 160hp 911S. It also had front disc brakes.
Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Supersport
The Supersport was essentially a Carrera 3.2 with the wider wheelarches and ‘tea tray’ spoiler from the 930 Turbo. Suspension and brakes were also sourced from the flagship car, but engine output remained a standard 234hp.
Porsche also sold the Supersport in Cabriolet and Targa body styles. Today, such cars are rare, as many were cannibalised for race-look RSR conversions.
Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS replica
This one is a replica, but a fantastic car nonetheless. It started life as a 1988 Carrera 3.2, then was ‘backdated’ by Autofarm to resemble a ’73 RS.
The paintwork is ‘Aubergine’, an original Porsche colour. And the dashboard was recently backdated, too, giving an authentic look inside and out. Classic style and modern(ish) mechanicals? Yes please.
There are no shortage of amazing supercar showrooms in London. But we don’t all live in London. And for those of us who do, the idea of picking up a lottery-win purchase before hitting traffic on the North Circular kind of ruins the dream.
But there’s a place in the north that caters for the discerning supercar buyer who’s willing to travel further afield than the capital. As its name suggests, Specialist Cars of Malton is based in North Yorkshire’s market town of Malton. A short drive from the brilliant North York Moors, buying a car from here could have all the makings of an epic road trip.
We head to Malton for a spot of window shopping.
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Porsche 993 RS Clubsport homage
Although there’s a variety of exotic metal in the showroom, Specialist Cars is primarily a Porsche specialist. Just 227 Porsche 993 RS Clubsports were ever sold, meaning finding a genuine one is tricky and, if you do, expensive. Hexagon Classics in London has one in stock for an eye-watering £399,995. This one is a replica – but you’d be hard-pushed to spot the difference. How much? If you have to ask…
Porsche 993 RS
This might look like the same car, but we assure you it isn’t. If you look through the window, you’ll see it’s less extreme inside, lacking the racing harnesses and roll bars of the Clubsport replica. Yes, this is a common-or-garden RS.
Porsche 911 Carrera Targa
Want to stand out, but yellow doesn’t float your boat? This magenta-coloured 911 is certainly a little different. Built in 1973, it was ordered off the back of Porsche’s 1973 London Motor Show car, which was finished in the same shade. Malton says it’s one of only two right-hand-drive magenta 911s in the UK, and one of 42 RHD 2.7 Carrera Targas.
Bentley Mulsanne Speed
Shall we move away from Porsches, briefly? This brand new Bentley Mulsanne Speed takes pride of place in the Malton showroom, right next to the desk of managing director John Hawkins. Not necessarily because he wants to spend all day looking at it, but probably because it’s huge. Powered by a 6.75-litre V8 engine, the 5.5-metre-long Mulsanne Speed hits 62mph in 4.9 seconds.
Citroen DS 19
“The best Citroen DS 19 Pallas in the UK,” Malton proudly boasts in its advert for this DS. Subject to a €60,000 restoration before it was imported from Portugal in 2011, it certainly looks eye-catching alongside pricier exotica. It’s yours for a shade under £40,000.
Looking for a sensible VW Golf for popping to the shops? Malton has just the… oh, maybe not. This Golf has been modified for racing, with a 320hp engine, two bucket seats and a rollcage. Oh, not to mention no fewer than 18 spare tyres. The ultimate track-day weapon.
Porsche 911 Supersport Targa
Ready to go back to Porsches? Well, they are what Malton does best. This Supersport is well known to Specialist Cars, having been through the showroom a number of times in its history. With a 3.2-litre engine producing 234hp, it’ll hit 62mph in 5.6 seconds. Finished in Guards Red, it certainly looks the part.
Porsche 964 Carrera RS
The market for the 964 Carrera RS is buoyant, with examples advertised elsewhere for more than £150,000. With lots of history and a fresh MOT, this Lightweight looks to be a particularly good example.
Porsche 996 GT3 RS
Moving outside, where Malton’s stock overflows into the car park. With a short production run between 2003 and 2005, just 113 GT3 RS 996s were sold in the UK. The track-focused model was based on the GT3, with weight reduced to make it one of the most capable track cars ever sold. While it wouldn’t be our first choice for a trek down the M1, a blast across the moors and a lap of nearby Croft in a GT3 RS does appeal.
Porsches for everyone
There’s a Porsche for everyone at Malton. While the modified Techart Cayenne in the centre isn’t quite to our taste, the 968 and 993 flanking it certainly appeal.
Porsche 997 Carrera 2
The racing stripes on this Porsche 997 Carrera 2 won’t be to everyone’s taste, but Malton says they can be easily removed. At £28,995 it’s one of the cheaper cars, here – despite having more than £16,000-worth of upgrades over the last four years.
Ordinarily, that’s as much as most customers get to see, but Malton invited us behind the scenes to see what goes into preparing its stunning Porsches and other classic cars for the showroom. First, we saw the workshop, where a 997 GT2 was being readied for sale. Matt LeBlanc’s runaround of choice, it’ll set you back a cool £124,995.
In the paintshop
We then headed to the paintshop, where the finishing touches are made to cars to make sure they’re absolutely perfect before being put on sale. Customers’ cars are also worked on – with Malton able to carry out any work from touching-up stone chips to a full respray.
Super storage unit
Finally, we took at a sneak peek inside the secret storage unit, where cars are stored until it’s time to offer them for sale. With highlights including a mint Series I Land Rover and a Lotus Cortina, the value of the cars stored here is probably increasing by the day.
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