Matt Farah Porsche 911

Rally-ready Porsche 911 is the perfect commuter car

Matt Farah Porsche 911

Many think the answer to speed humps and potholed roads is a crossover. They’re wrong. The correct answer is a ‘Safari’ Porsche 911, as auto journalist Matt Farah has discovered in Los Angeles.

Glamorous it may be, but Los Angeles has one thing in common with Britain: how damaged its road network is. Farah sought to find a solution.

”Although we are blessed with places like the Angeles Forest and Malibu Canyons, two of the finest places on Earth to drive a sports car, the city itself is a nightmare,” Farah explains.

“The infrastructure is crumbling, repairs are rarely thorough, the freeway expansion joints are a sports car owner’s worst nightmare, and for a city as ‘spread out’ as LA is, it’s awfully crowded all the time. It can be a real challenge in low, modern sports cars.”

A baja-bashing Ford Raptor might have been a more obvious choice than a 911. However, such a truck would be more difficult to thread through LA than the compact, classic Porsche.

Matt Farah Porsche 911

“I wanted something like the Raptor, but smaller, so the obvious answer was a rally car. Once I drove Leh Keen’s personal Safari 911, it was like a light bulb moment.”

Keen is a builder of go-anywhere Porsche 911s, aping the classic ‘Safari’ rally cars. Farah had a taste of the first build a few years ago. He then described it as “totally different to what most people think you should be doing with a 911”. Contrarian though the idea is, he was sold on the project: “I sent him a deposit check (sic) almost immediately afterwards”.

Going for an 87-onwards car, Farah wanted to ensure a better gearshift feel, and be able to pick the colour. Keen can handle the job from start to finish, including sourcing a car, if the buyer wants. Matt’s is a 1987 Carrera 3.2 in Cassis Red, a desirable colour preserved underneath a wrap.

Building a ‘Safari’ Porsche 911Matt Farah Porsche 911

Turning a sports car into a diet dune buggy is no small job: the parts list is extensive. Front to back, it features bash bars, skid plates, rally light pods, shaved side door mirrors, tucked bumpers, Braid Motorsport Fuchs-style wheels, Elephant Racing Safari suspension, a Quaife limited-slip differential and BF Goodrich K02 tyres. It’s jacked-up, jump-ready and looks the absolute business.

On the inside, Matt made a bold but practical choice for the trim. Replacing the burgundy leather is commercial-grade LA city bus fabric, designed for 20 years of constant wear. “It’ll probably outlast the rest of the car,” he says.

There were worries it wouldn’t match the rest of the burgundy leather that was retained (headliner, door uppers, dashboard upper and base carpet), but it turned out well. Even the new Momo Prototipo steering wheel was trimmed to match the burgundy, and apparently took 20 attempts to get right.

From the Baja to the boulevardMatt Farah Porsche 911

You can keep your Audi A1 Citycarver, or your Vauxhall Adam Rocks. Matt Farah has helped create the perfect city car. “It is literally my daily driver,” he concludes.

“I recently loaded three bushels of firewood behind the rear seats. I mean – it’s not meant for attacking the canyons or going to the racetrack, it’s meant for going to the shops, driving to my office, running errands and then taking to the dirt for some fun. It really is the best parts of a Baja truck and the best parts of an air-cooled 911.”

This patchwork Porsche 911 is a one-off prototype

Porsche 911 prototype 1974

When is a mongrel actually a pedigree? When a patchwork quilt of classic Porsche 911 parts is revealed to be an early prototype, a taproot model for future iconic versions, and the former company car of the man in charge.

Far from being a bodge job, this 1974 911 ‘2.7’ is genesis, a one-off, a factory-built hot-rod.

Ordinarily, pre-1975 Porsche 911s came with neither the enormous (and now iconic) ‘Turbo’ ducktail wing, nor a 3.0-litre flat-six engine. But this is no ordinary 1974 911, even beyond its slightly garish Lemon leather interior.

It’s far from being a cut and shut, as Porsche connoisseur and dealer Walter Hoffmann feared in 2008 when he was scouting for projects. He was even prepared to swap in what he believed to be a more authentic 2.7-litre engine once he got the car home.

Porsche 911 prototype 1974

But no. Any other older 911 with this mish-mash of parts from later cars could rightly be dismissed as such. Hoffmann’s instincts said otherwise of this 74 car.

A little more digging revealed it to be a prototype wearing to-be-productionised parts. The 190hp 3.0-litre engine was a precursor to both the naturally-aspirated 200hp variant that would go into production a year later, as well as the legendary 911 Turbo due at the same time.

It even came fitted with a then- state-of-the-art Bosch K-tronic fuel injection system. This was designed to improve efficiency in the face of the oil crisis. Likewise, as above, that wing must have looked out of place in 1974. A year before anyone had seen a Turbo badge on the rump of a 911.

Porsche 911 prototype 1974

A Porsche prototype is quite a cool thing on its own, even if it’s a mule the research and development department accidentally sold. This car, however, had a bit more time at the top of the tree.

See, it was the company car of the first person without Porsche in their name to take charge of the sports car manufacturer. From July 1974 to January 1976, it was in regular use by Dr Ernst Fuhrmann, the first chairman of the executive board of Porsche. Yes, the same Fuhrmann of the famous ‘Fuhrmann’ 356 engines. The man behind the powerplant of Porsche’s breakout racer and sports car.

Once in charge at Porsche in 1976, he would go on to press for the development of the 924 and 928 transaxle models, and as a result was even accused of wanting to ‘bury’ the 911. Are these ideas the product of time Fuhrmann spent escaping in his 911? The pedigree mongrel of a patchwork 911? To by a fly on the headliner. We’ll never know just how significant this car really is.


Give it some stick: Porsche 911 now offered with manual gearbox

Porsche 911 manual 2020

When the new ‘992’ version of the 911 was revealed, Porsche promised a manual gearbox to complement the PDK paddle-shift automatic.

Now, although referring to US-market cars at present, details of the new stick-shift are starting to trickle out.

Manual 911 could be more exclusive

Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

A seven-speed manual transmission will be a no-cost option in the 992. However, in the US at least, it will only be available on Carrera S, 4S and related soft-top variants. Standard Carreras won’t be available with a stick. Furthermore, choosing the manual box will necessitate having the optional Sport Chrono Package.

That means no manual 911 will come without dynamic engine mounts, PSM sport mode or a wheel-mounted drive mode selector. 

Lighter, but slower to accelerate

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

As you might expect, the seven-speed manual ‘box does come with a weight benefit. Manual cars will be down around 40kg compared with PDK-equipped models. A standard Carrera S with a manual will be the lightest 911 on sale, at 1,945kg.

Also unsurprising are the slightly stunted acceleration figures in comparison with PDK-equipped cars. While 60mph comes in under 3.5 seconds in a Carrera S PDK, it’ll be closer to four seconds in the manual.

Room for a ‘back to basics’ 911

Porsche 911 T

Given you need to have a ‘specced-up’ 911 in order to have a stick and clutch pedal, there is room for a ‘back to basics’ variant. We expect something along the lines of the 991 Carrera T (pictured above) will fill that gap. Until the GT3 arrives, that is.

Expect UK specifications to be revealed imminently, with manual cars expected in dealers by next summer.

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet review: no longer the soft option

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Forget Nordschleife lap-times or willy-waving top speeds. Sports cars are all about sensation: how they look, the noises they make and – above all – how they feel to drive. And nothing heightens those sensations like removing the roof.

Try telling that to Porsche purists, though. They have traditionally seen the 911 Cabriolet as a soft option: a car for boulevards, not B-roads. Granted, the drop-top 911 can’t boast a motorsport pedigree, or indeed a back-catalogue of RS- and GT-badged greatness. But its credentials as a driver’s car have never been in doubt.

So, let’s put snobbery to one side and judge the new Cabriolet simply as a sports car. Here’s hoping it’s, well, sensational.

It starts from six figures

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

First, the bad news: you can’t buy a 911 Cabriolet for less than six figures. At least not yet. The two-wheel-drive Carrera S starts at £102,455, with the 4WD Carrera 4S from £108,063. That’s around £10,000 more than the coupe.

Only 450hp ‘S’ versions are available at launch, although an entry-level Carrera will follow later (and likely dip below £100k). Likewise, you must have the paddleshift PDK auto ’box for now: a seven-speed manual comes in 2020.

As you’d expect, the list of options is also longer than an orangutan’s arm. I’ll come to those later.

It does ‘schnell’ very well

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

The 911 Cabriolet weighs 70kg more than the coupe (1,585kg total), but 450 German Pferdestärke – the same as a 2005 996 Turbo S – means it’s savagely quick. Nigh-on supercar quick.

Zero to 60mph takes 3.7sec in the S – or 3.5sec with the optional Sport Chrono pack, which includes launch control. In both instances, the 4S is 0.1sec swifter. Find an empty Autobahn and you’ll hit 190mph.

This latest 3.0-litre flat-six also serves up a monstrous slab of turbocharged torque: 391lb ft from 2,300rpm. Full power isn’t achieved until 6,500rpm, though, at which point you still have another 1,000 frenzied revolutions per minute left.

Not a case of copy and paste

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Designing a new 911 is, one might assume, the easiest job in motordom. A straightforward case of copy and paste. However, it’s also something of a poisoned chalice. Get it wrong and the faithful will never forgive you.

To the untrained eye, the 992 does look near-as-dammit identical to its predecessor. In fact, just 15 percent of parts are carried over and the bodyshell is all-new: now 70 percent aluminium, versus 31 percent in the 991.

The most obvious difference is the full-width rear light bar. Once the preserve of the Carrera 4, it’s now applied across the entire Porsche range. All 911s now have fulsome, Turbo-style hips, too – there’s no longer a ‘narrow body’ option. They’re needed to accommodate larger alloys, now 20 inches at the front and 21 inches at the rear.

One pleasing nod to the past is the bonnet recess in front of the windscreen. It was inspired by the original A- to G-series 911s, built from 1963 to 1989.

It’s a bit of a looker (even with the roof up)

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Unlike some 911 Cabriolets of yore, this one also looks good with the roof up. Its hood retains the iconic teardrop shape of the coupe, arcing smoothly into the 992’s bulbous backside.

Electrically lowering or raising the roof takes 12 seconds, at speeds up to 32mph. Once retracted, it lies hidden beneath the rear deck. And going al fresco doesn’t impact on luggage space because, well, the boot is in the front.

Rather than being strictly a ‘soft-top’, the Cabriolet roof consists of four magnesium panels covered in cloth. These allow for that sleeker profile, reduce interior noice and make the hood effectively slash-proof.

At last, the cabin doesn’t let the side down

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Ergonomics have never been a 911 forte. The outgoing 991, with its bewildering array of buttons, lagged at least a generation behind the rival Audi R8.

Thankfully, the 992’s cabin is a genuine step-on. Sure, there are a few age-old 911 quirks – such as the five-dial binnacle, with its outer gauges obscured by the steering wheel – but the new 12.3-inch touchscreen media system (shared with the Cayenne and Panemera) is intuitive to use and looks gorgeous. One notable black mark: there’s Apple Carplay connectivity, but no Android Auto.

Quality has taken a leap, as the 911 treads the blurred boundary between cosseting GT and serious sports car. I particularly like the kurled toggle switches on the centre console, which offer swift access to the drive modes and chassis settings.

Lest we forget, the 911 Cabriolet also has rear seats. The backrests are bolt-upright and it feels horribly claustrophobic with the roof up, but they’re still a useful advantage over many competitors.

It’s a 911 turbo that sounds like a 911 Turbo

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Among the many things to rile 911 superfans over the years (“You changed WHAT?”), the switch from naturally-aspirated to turbocharged Carreras was a notable line in the sand. Throttle response will never be as electric, they fretted, and the engine won’t sound the same.

Fire up the 992, though, and the rumble from behind your back is unmistakeably a flat-six. The difference here – particularly when you select Sport mode – is that Porsche is no longer being coy about forced induction. The new 911 whooshes and whoops, its wastegate chattering like a WRC car. It sounds overtly and gloriously turbocharged.

At higher revs, that noise swells to a full-bodied roar, the tailpipes snarling and spitting in unbridled fury. And it’s all amplified by having the roof down.

It’s good at playing Gran Turismo

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

My drive starts on the outskirts of Athens, on roads peppered with potholes and forlorn 1980s hatchbacks. Time to ease myself in gently and test the 911’s grand touring credentials.

Its driving position is infinitely adjustable and very comfortable. The view ahead is framed by those voluptuous front wings and the curvaceous flanks fill the door mirrors. I select Normal mode and leave the gearbox, now with eight speeds, in automatic mode. So far, so good.

On the move, the 911 feels supple without being floaty or imprecise. The PDK shifts seamlessly and the engine remains muted. If you’ve just eased yourself out of a Mercedes-Benz SL or BMW 8 Series, you’ll feel right at home.

With the roof down, the cabin stays impressively calm, particularly if you deploy the pop-up wind deflector. You can chat to passengers at motorway speeds without straining your voice.

But scratch the surface and it’s still a 911

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Still, I didn’t come to Greece to pose topless (ahem). So I head inland for the mountains beyond Athens, and the sort of roads that resemble a hand-drawn scribble on the nav screen.

My Carrera S has Sport Chrono, so there’s a manettino-style dial on the wheel for engaging Sport and Sport Plus modes. I start off in the former and switch to manual mode, sensing the 911 stiffen and tense its fibres for action. The whole car suddenly feels emancipated.

On steeply climbing switchbacks, the combination of an engine beyond the back axle and steamroller 305-section rear rubber means incredible traction. The 911 hunkers down, then slingshots out of bends like a scalded cheetah. It makes you question the need for the four-wheel-drive 4S.

All that grip is complemented by an almighty wallop of torque, catapulting the car between bends with sustained, elastic speed. Those on-paper numbers don’t deceive: the 911 is awesomely and addictively rapid.

A car with Sports Purpose

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Nonetheless, a 911 isn’t defined by its point-to-point pace. How it goes around corners is what matters most.

You can breathe easy. The 911’s electric steering (another former bugbear of the fanboys) has evolved to the point where it feels as alert and engaging as a hydraulic system – while adeptly filtering out unnecessary white noise.

Equally, the 992 is a car you steer with the throttle, trimming its line with minute flexes of your right ankle. You feel the car pivot, sensing the available grip through the seat of your pants. It’s approachable and benign, yet aggressive and all-consuming. Having blasted to the summit, I turn around and do it again.

Our car had the optional PDCC chassis control, which all but elimates roll by actively stiffening the suspension. Even with it disengaged, however, body control feels iron-fisted. Any concerns about the 911 Cabriolet being a soft option have evaporated.

Half-way through my second ‘lap’ of the mountain, it starts to rain and the acoustic sensors in the front wheelarches suggest I switch to Wet mode. This ramps up the stability control and calms the car’s responses. I cruise back to Athens with wipers on and the roof firmly in place.

The joy of specs

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Like any upmarket German car, you can ‘personalise’ your 911 to the point of financial meltdown. The good news, as ever, is that most of it is window dressing. The basic package – including LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive suspension and navigation – is all you really need.

Since I’m spending made-up money, I’d go for Sport Chrono (£1,646) and the gorgeous RS Spyder Design wheels seen here (£1,650). I’d also be tempted by the Sport Design Pack (£2,853), which improves the rear-end styling by relocating the number plate higher up. Oh, and perhaps by one of the eye-poppingly bright paint colours, such as Lizard Green (pictured).

My test car was fitted with rear-wheel steering (£1,592), boosting agilty at low speeds and stability as you go faster. However, without trying a 911 not thus-equipped, I can’t fully comment on its effectiveness.

Porsche 911 Cabriolet verdict: five stars

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

The 911 Cabriolet is indeed a feast for the senses. Its brutally quick and deliciously tactile to drive. Against the odds, it’s aurally awesome too.

What impresses most is the 992’s sheer breadth of ability. How it can switch from calm to combative without pausing for breath. And how it’s still relatively practical for a sports car. As a daily driver, it would surely tick most boxes.

If I’m honest, I’d still err towards the coupe. But that’s more due to irrational prejudice than any discernable shortfall on the Cabriolet’s part. Perhaps I’ll just save up and wait a couple of years for the Targa.

Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet: specification

Price: £102,455

Engine: Flat-six cylinder twin-turbo 2,981cc petrol

Drivetrain: Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive

Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic

Wheels: 20 inches front, 21 inches rear

Power: 450hp@6,500 rpm

Torque: 391lb ft@2,300rpm

0-60mph: 3.7sec (3.5sec with Sport Chrono)

Top speed: 190mph

Fuel economy: 31mpg

CO2 emissions: 208g/km

Length/width/height: 4,519/1,852/1,299mm

Kerb weight: 1,585kg

Porsche 911 Cabriolet review: in pictures

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The story of the classic 911

A brief history of the classic Porsche 911

Launched in 1963 as the Porsche 901, the 911 was the subject of continuous development before making way for the 964 in 1989

Porsche 911S Sofia Helen

Porsche 911 from The Bridge to be auctioned for charity

Porsche 911S Sofia Helen

It’s one of the most famous cars on television and it’s driven by one of the most popular characters, and it could be yours. The Porsche 911S, that is, not Saga Norén.

The Jäger Grun Porsche has played a starring role in the cult Scand-noir series The Bridge, in which Saga Norén (played by Sofia Helin) solves a series of grisly murders on or near the iconic Oresund Bridge, which connects Copenhagen with Malmo.

But with the fourth and final series approaching its climax, the Porsche 911 has been deemed surplus to requirements by the production company, so it will go under the hammer at the Bonhams Festival of Speed sale at Goodwood. Saga’s 911 – a Californian import – is expected to fetch between £20,000 and £30,000, with all proceeds going to WaterAid.

Sofia Helen, an ambassador for WaterAid, said: “Saga’s Porsche is not only a big part of my own acting life but has also become part of Swedish TV history. I’m so pleased the sale of this car will go to such a good cause.

“Through my work with WaterAid, I’ve seen first-hand the difference clean water can make to people’s health, education and livelihoods. Just £15 can provide one person with water so the money raised from the auction will have a huge impact.”

The Bridge Porsche 911

Meanwhile, Lars Blomgren, Anders Landström and Bo Ehrhardt, creators of The Bridge said: “We are very happy that The Bridge will finish its successful UK journey with the sale of Saga Norén’s Porsche and that we are able to donate the money to a cause as important as WaterAid.”

News of the sale will be bittersweet for fans of The Bridge, as it signals the death of the popular TV series. You won’t need Saga’s detective skills to find out who will be the lucky owner of her prized wheels. Simply turn up at the Bonhams sale at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on 13 July. 

Saga Norén’s Porsche 911

In pictures: Saga Norén’s Porsche 911 is an auction star

Saga Norén’s Porsche 911

The Bridge isn’t exactly what you’d call a feel-good television show. Set in Malmö and Copenhagen, the Scandi-noir crime drama sees Sofia Helin playing the socially challenged but brilliant detective Saga Norén as she attempts to solve a series of gruesome murders.

Saga is the star, but her choice of wheels has been the talk of forums and blogs since the first episode aired in 2011. It’s a Porsche 911S and it is being auctioned for charity at the forthcoming Bonhams sale at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. We did a little detective work of our own to discover more about the car.

Saga Norén’s Porsche 911

Following much speculation and guesswork about Saga’s Porsche, the case closed on a definitive verdict. It’s a 1977 Porsche 911S, imported from San Francisco in 2010. More information was revealed in an article on the old Origin Porsche website.

Hans Hedberg, test manager of Swedish car magazine Teknikens Varld, imported the Porsche to Sweden in 2010. He said: “I bought the car from a Porsche workshop outside San Francisco in autumn 2009. From out of the blue, I suddenly spotted the car when just passing by: a sudden stop, 180-degrees turnaround and in for a quick check of the cars and the workshop. I gave them a price and the next day it was all mine.”

Hans continued: “[I liked the fact that the car was] original and non-fixed. The 1977 911S has the big 180hp engine but in the small body. In 1978 the wider 911SC came, but the 911S-77 is, in my eyes, the cool cat. And fast! The colour, Jäger Grün (Hunter Green as I call it) was an option, and yes; the paint has been fixed, but not by me.”

Saga Norén’s Porsche 911

From a city famous for its Golden Gate bridge, the 911 was sold to The Bridge production company in 2010. According to Hans, the colour was key to the deal: “The film/production company behind Bron (The Bridge) called me up and the car was sold as quickly as it had been over in the States. Just like with me, it was the colour and appearance that made the deal.”

Hans concluded: “I think The Bridge is one of the best TV crime series ever… and every time I see Ms Saga and her Jäger Grün Porsche, I’d like to have it again. Of course it’s even more fun that people around in the world by this way can enjoy the car as much as I did!”

Not that Sofia Helin enjoyed the driving the car. Speaking to the Independent in 2015, Sofia said: “All I can say is that it’s very hard to drive. It’s so old.”

Saga Norén’s Porsche 911

Little chance, then, that the Swedish actress will be making a bid on the famous 911. In 2015, the Telegraph revealed that Sofia Helin doesn’t have a car. “I live in the city,” she said, “I don’t need a car.”

The 911 was introduced around 49 minutes into the first episode of series one. “Nice car,” says Saga Norén’s Danish crime fighting partner, Martin Rohde (played by Kim Bodnia) as he sees the Porsche for the first time. “Is the Swedish police paid well?” he asks.

“Don’t jump to conclusions about by wages based on my car,” says Saga. Later, in episode four of series four, the Swedish detective reveals to her current Danish partner that she won it in a bet with her tutor at the Police College.

Saga Norén’s Porsche 911

The Bridge will close at the end of the current series, leaving fans wondering what will come of Saga Norén. Of more interest here is the fate of the Porsche 911. It must be due a dramatic send-off. But, as Saga drives over the Oresund Bridge for one final time, this could be your chance to take the wheel of the famous 911.

The Porsche 911S is owned by the production company and has been on display at the Malmö museum. But with the series reaching its conclusion, the producers have donated it to charity, with the proceeds going to WaterAid.

Sofia Helin, who is an ambassador for WaterAid, said: “Saga’s Porsche is not only a big part of my own acting life but has also become part of Swedish TV history. I’m so pleased the sale of this car will go to such a good cause. Through my work with WaterAid, I’ve seen first-hand the difference clean water can make to people’s health, education and livelihoods.”

Saga Norén’s Porsche 911

Meanwhile, Lars Blomgren, Anders Landström and Bo Ehrhardt, creators of The Bridge said, “We are very happy that The Bridge will finish its successful UK journey with the sale of Saga Norén’s Porsche and that we are able to donate the money to a cause as important as WaterAid.”

Its appearance at Goodwood won’t be the first time the 911S has paid a visit to the UK. In February 2014, the Porsche was on show at Nordicana, the festival of Nordic fiction and film in Shoreditch, London.

The 911 is being auctioned without a reserve, with Bonhams slapping a £20,000 to £30,000 pre-auction estimate on the TV star. Too cheap? According to the Hagerty Classic Car Price Guide, the average value of a 1977 Porsche 911 2.7-litre is £34,000.

Saga Norén’s Porsche 911

But the Hagerty value tells only half the story. Writing on the PetrolBlog Facebook page, Adrian Crawford of Porsche specialists Williams Crawford, said: “It’s the last of narrow bodied 911s with a light motor and great sound. This one [offers] no knowledge of true condition or tech status but it is in a great colour and bit of fame, too. Typically they are £35,000 to £60,000. I think it will do well.”

The Porsche 911S will go under the hammer at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale on 13 July 2018. Buy it and treat yourself to a Scandinavian holiday this summer. Just don’t linger too long when you reach the middle of the Oresund Bridge. Tack!

In pictures:

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For sale: the Porsche that inspired a rock album


The Porsche 911 Turbo SE: a car so good you could name a heavy metal album after it. Well, you could if you happen to be Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest fame.

The guitarist and songwriter purchased the Porsche new in 1985 and arranged to collect it from the factory while touring Europe with the band. As one of the greatest heavy metal groups of all-time, the members of Judas Priest weren’t exactly strapped for cash.

“Living through the decade, it was incredibly decadent,” Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford told Classic Rock magazine. “There was a lot of money flying around [and] it was a real pig-out in many ways, everything was larger than life.”

Tipton and fellow bandmember KK Downing each bought a Porsche 911 Turbo, which formed the inspiration for the platinum-selling album, Turbo. The original plan was to release a double album, tentatively named Twin Turbo, but this idea was shelved.

The album opens with the appropriately named Turbo Lover, a thinly veiled reference to a sexual encounter, though not, we suspect, on the back seat of Tipton’s beloved 911 Turbo SE.

Instead, Tipton kept the Porsche in, er, tip-top condition. According to Silverstone Auctions, who will offer the car at the Porsche Sale in October, the car became his pride and joy.

The West Midlands guitarist, who turns 70 less than a week after the auction, has owned the car since 1985, keeping the mileage down to a mere 14,100.

“We had a tour of the factory at Stuttgart and I was so impressed with the engineering and how meticulous they were when building cars, I just had to have one,” recalls Tipton of his 1985 tour.

“But I live out in the sticks, and it has to be nice weather to take the Porsche out, so I hardly ever use it. It’s time for it to go to someone who will get some use of it, but it’s going to be very hard to let it go.”

Unsurprisingly, given the car’s condition and musical connection, the Porsche is expected to fetch between £180,000 and £220,000 when it goes under the hammer. If you’re a turbo lover, and there can be no other, the Porsche Sale takes place at Silverstone on 21st October 2017.

Inside the multi-million-pound Porsche showroom

Last month, Porsche built its millionth 911. Then, just a fortnight later, a 1993 911 sold at auction for £1.7million. Think about that for a moment. One-point-seven million pounds. For a 911. Has the world gone mad?

Before you spill your PG Tips or take to Twitter, I should point out that, yes, the car in question was a rare 964 3.8 RSR. And yes, it was essentially new, with six miles on the clock. Nonetheless, we’re still talking about a 911: a car for which around 700,000 of that one-million production run remain on the road.

Thankfully, you won’t need £1.7million to buy a Porsche at JZM – one of the UK’s leading marque specialists, based at Kings Langley in Hertfordshire. But if you’re looking for an investment-grade Porsche it’s a good place to start; the showroom is packed wall-to-wall with classic 911s, including plenty of RS models. I went along to see what all the fuss is about.

More Porsche on Motoring Research

Inside the JZM Porsche showroomJZM Porsche

Since we’re talking telephone numbers, it seems fitting to start with the most expensive car on sale. The 997 GT3 RS 4.0 was a limited-run special that Autocar declared: “The finest Porsche ever to wear a number plate”. And, with 4,285 miles under its centre-lock wheels, this hardcore road-racer is advertised at £535,900. Quite incredible for a car that cost ‘just’ £128,466 in 2011.

Next-up in price order is an immaculate Midnight Blue 964 Turbo 3.6: a relative snip at £199,000. The 360hp 3.6 was only produced between 1993 and 1994 (most blown 964s used the 320hp 3.3-litre motor), making it a rare beast today. With wheelarches stretched over polished split-rims and that iconic ‘tea tray’ wing (take note, Porsche geeks: it’s not a ‘whale tail’), this is the brawniest-looking 911 of all.JZM Porsche

If anything can wrench my eyes from the visual sucker-punch of a 964 Turbo, it’s a Viper Green Carrera 2.7 RS. Except this isn’t a genuine RS, but a meticulously-built ‘tribute’ based on a 1972 911T. With a 2.7-litre MFI engine, period Recaro seats and chromed Fuchs alloys, it looks fabulous – and a price tag of £129,900 is less than a quarter what you’d pay for the real deal.

The evolution of an icon

Wandering around the JZM showroom, it’s fascinating to see how the 911 has evolved. Over five decades, it has swelled in size, sprouted spoilers and become hugely more luxurious, but that iconic silhouette has stayed the same. Perhaps this is key to the car’s long-lasting appeal; it’s constantly evolving yet curiously timeless. Present-day Porsche’s profits may come from SUVs, but the 911 remains the core of its range.JZM Porsche

Even so, it’s one of the oldest 911s here – a 1970 2.2E finished in Light Ivory – that really wins my heart. A ‘California car’ that has never been welded, it still wears all its original body panels, and the delicate chrome trim looks flawless. JZM says the car has ‘been fully prepared for the British climate’, but I’d still be loath to take this £104,900 classic on wet winter roads. One for sunny Sunday mornings (and evenings spent lovingly polishing in the garage), I suspect.

If in doubt, Flat clout

I’ve added the 2.2E to my lottery-win garage and am heading for the door when… whoah! Poking its sharkish snout out of the next-door workshop, I spy a 930 Flachbau. This special-order ‘flatnose’ version of the original 930 Turbo is fast, fearsome and – to a kid who grew up in the excess-all-areas 80s – probably the coolest 911 you can buy. Sadly, it isn’t for sale, or it would have bumped the 2.2E from the top spot on my personal (and, sadly, entirely theoretical) shopping list.JZM Porsche

So, if my numbers came up, would I buy a Porsche 911? As a daily-driver, probably not. A Cayman S is all the sports car you really need, especially on congested UK roads. But if I wanted somewhere to put my money, an appreciating asset that I could drive and enjoy, then absolutely yes. The 911 is a car that, like its rear-engined layout, defies logic. Yet if you can afford one, it’s probably the most sensible sports car you can buy.

Porsche 996 to 911 GT3 RS

A Porsche 991 GT3 RS for £27,950, but there is a catch

Porsche 996 to 911 GT3 RS

You could spend upwards of £200,000 on a nearly new Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Or you could save yourself the best part of £170,000 by opting for a Porsche Carrera 4+Custom 996 to 911 991 GT3 RS Replica+Race Spec+997+F1+4×4.

Admittedly, the name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and you’re unlikely to find this particular model in a Big Book of Porsche History, but it might save you a tidy sum. Not to mention countless calls to Porsche dealers as you search for a new 911 GT3 RS for the recommended retail price.

The ad claims – in uppercase text, for maximum impact: “HERE WE HAVE A VERY UNIQUE VEHICLE FOR SALE.”

We’re not entirely sure that something can be very unique, but we’ll run it with.


Actually, Halloween has been and gone. Besides, is this “complete monster” designed to be a trick or a treat?

Porsche 996 to 911 GT3 RS advert


No expense has been spared in creating this ‘copy’ of a new 991 GT3 RS, making it unrecognisable from its 996 Carrera 4 former self. Indeed, Porsche aficionados might find it unrecognisable from a 991 GT3 RS. But we digress.

There are many reasons why this is not a ‘copy’ of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, not least the absence of a 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine developing 500hp. But hey, a GT3 RS owner doesn’t get to play with a manual gearbox.

Besides, as the ad claims: “THERE IS NOT ANOTHER LIKE THIS ON THE MARKET.” This is the truth. We checked on Auto Trader.

According to the DVLA, this “metallic white” Porsche 911 is actually listed as ‘grey’ and was registered in October 2001. It comes with a fresh MOT, having failed the test the first time for the nearside front headlamp not working on dipped beam. That’ll be those costly aftermarket LED headlights playing up.

If this GT3 RS doesn’t float your boat, Xclusive Customz will offer you a ‘Porsche 996 to 997 body kit’ for £1,995. Alternatively, for something a little more mainstream, how about a ‘Vauxhall Corsa D to VXR body kit’ for £550?

We’re not entirely sure what these replicas are trying to achieve. Those that don’t know, probably don’t care, while those that do know will probably mutter some obscenities under their breath.

On the one hand, this is better than slapping a few Ferrari badges on a Toyota MR2, as at least the base car rolled out of a factory in Stuttgart. But we’d rather rustle up a further £10,000 and drive home in a brand new Porsche 718 Cayman.

As for a brand new 911 GT3 RS: the Porsche website is listing the car at a recommended retail price of £131,296, but the ‘limited availability’ tag tells you all you need to know about your chances of finding one. Best get on the blower to AK Prestige Cars of Sheffield.

View the ad here.