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911 Turbo S Sonauto 3.3 (930) – 330 ch [1989]

930 v 964 v 993: air-cooled Turbos

This is the story of an action hero: one who starts as a trigger-happy maverick, becomes all-powerful, then ends up going straight. Well, that’s the Hollywood version at least.

The truth about the air-cooled 911 Turbo – from 930 to 964 and 993 – is harder to sum up in a sound bite. So dim the lights, grab some popcorn and settle in for a saga of sequels without equal.

Posing outside the Paul Stephens showroom in Essex, our Turbo trilogy makes for a great movie poster. They’re The Expendables in four-wheeled form: brimful of testosterone and bulging in all the right places.

The 964 Turbo 3.6 has the most visual clout, crouched like a coiled spring on dished Speedline split-rims. It’s one of the most aesthetically aggressive 911s, on par with the 993 GT2 and 991.2 GT2 RS.

The 930 isn’t far behind, its fulsome hips and signature spoiler immortalised on a million bedroom walls. And the 993 Turbo is equally iconic, albeit smoother and more urbane.

The 964, built in 3.6-litre guise for the final year of production only, is also our A-lister in terms of price. At the time of writing it was offered at £224,995 – enough to buy both the 930 and 993.

Is it the big-budget blockbuster those looks suggest, or does the sweet-spot of this air-cooled 911 line-up lie elsewhere? I’m childishly excited to find out.

I start with the 930. ‘The Widowmaker’ shares its epithet with a movie about a nuclear submarine, and its presence feels equally forbidding. However, it could have been much wilder.

Inspired by the on-track success of the turbocharged 917/30, the prototype 930 was a back-to-basics road racer – effectively a Carrera 3.0 RS with forced induction – and just 200 cars were planned. Porsche’s sales and marketing department had other ideas, though, envisioning the 911 Turbo as a luxurious super-GT.

In the end profit triumphed over purity, and the Turbo debuted in 1975 with air conditioning, electric windows, a rear wiper and a four-speaker stereo. Climbing aboard, this flagship 1987 911 still feels well-appointed today.

There’s supple leather, deep-pile carpet and even heated seats. Only the boost gauge, nestled within the rev counter, offers a clue to its added oomph. Well, that and the four ratios etched atop the gear lever – the SC had switched to five-speed back in 1978.

The original 3.0-litre 930 served up 260hp: a modest 63hp more than a contemporary Carrera 3.0, and Golf GTI power today. Even so, edgy handling and all-or-nothing power delivery made it a challenging steer.

Le Mans-winning Porsche racer Tony Dron said: “Frankly, it demanded too much skill, even from an experienced driver, and that made serious driving hard work… I was far from convinced that selling them to the public was a good idea.” An upgrade to 3.3-litres and 300hp in 1978 also included beefier 917 brakes and a more stable chassis. This had “better handling, but was still something of a monster when driven really fast”, noted Dron.

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Rare 1 of 10 Porsche 930 Turbo S Stolen – €30,000 Reward

A very rare Porsche 930 Turbo S was stolen in Hamburg Pöseldorf, Germany yesterday. The car was one of only 10 units produced for French car importer “Sonauto” in 1989, it was the very last unit of this limited production run. The owners of the car, Neidfaktor GmbH, have put a reward of €30,000 to…

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Rare 1 of 10 Porsche 930 Turbo S Stolen – €30,000 Reward

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Sales debate: Which 911 Turbo has the most investment potential?

The 911’s 50th anniversary last year coincided with astronomical price rises for Zuffenhausen’s iconic sports car. With the Turbo variant celebrating its 40th birthday this year, now may be the last chance to jump on the forced-induction train before it’s too late. But what model should you invest your money in?

“It’s difficult, because there’s so many of them,” Jamie Tyler, Paragon’s head of sales explains. While the 996 Turbo may be one of the market’s entry-level cars, Tyler believes it is worth looking at more exotic fare.

“3.6 Turbos (964), 993 Turbos, and obviously Turbo Ss [are all good choices]. Any of the air-cooled ones really, as they’re all on the way up at the moment,” Tyler continues.

Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6

The problem is, despite starting prices of £150,000 for a 964 Turbo 3.6 (more desirable than the 3.3 due to their rarity according to Tyler), and £85,000 for 993 versions, examples of the above sell very quickly.

Talking of a 993 Turbo during the summer by Paragon, Tyler mentions that it “was only on the website for about three hours, and it sold over the phone straight away.”

Porsche Bournemouth’s Karl Meyer, an expert in Porsche’s heritage line-up, agrees that 964 and 993 Turbos are proving attractive. However, he does have a preference.

Porsche 930 3.0 3.3

“I think a 930. It is just bonkers not to buy them,” he explains. “They’re still the most iconic, but they haven’t stretched their legs. Give it two years, and I think a £40,000 930 could be double its money.”

That’s a serious return, but to maximise your chances, Meyer points out that it is the earliest or the latest 930s that make the best prospects. The former “embodies the whole Seventies era,” while the latter gained the excellent G50 gearbox. Either way, your Turbo should be pumping into an air-cooled flat six.

For market advice on any generation or style of Porsche 911, check out our full selection of sales debates, where we ask the 911 experts the pertinent market questions so you don’t have to.

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40 years of Turbo special edition bookazine launched

2014 sees the simply iconic Porsche 911 Turbo turn 40 and, to celebrate, the makers of Total 911 magazine have released a special collector’s edition bookazine for your enjoyment.

Lavished across 162 pages of stunning photography and world-renowned Porsche journalism, you can revel in all aspects of Turbo culture, reliving drives of famous models including the 930 LE and SE, learn about each model in-depth with our ultimate guides, and find out which Turbo comes out on top in our series of head-to-head road tests. This is all complemented by a huge group test of each and every generation of the revered 911 Turbo.

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Priced at just £9.99, the ’40 years of Turbo’ bookazine is endorsed by Magnus Walker, who provides an apt foreword reminiscing his own dose of ‘Turbo Fever’. To order your copy of the collector’s special bookazine, simply follow this link or download it via a wide variety of digital platforms.

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40 years of the Porsche 911 Turbo

Porsche wasn’t the first manufacturer to release a turbocharged, petrol-engined road car. That accolade falls to the Chevrolet Monza, released in 1963. In fact, Porsche wasn’t even the first German manufacturer to achieve that feat, with BMW’s 2002 Turbo beating the 911 Turbo to market by a single year.

However, while other car makers rushed to implement a technology used in the aeronautical and maritime industries since the start of the 20th Century in their production vehicles, the board at Porsche AG turned to Weissach’s racing department to prove the forced-induction philosophy in the most unrelenting of arenas: the race track.

After the 917 was ruled out of international competition for 1972, Porsche turned its attention to a turbocharged version of the prototype designed to rule the US-based CanAm series – and rule it did.

Porsche 930 3.0 3.3

The 917/10 and its Penske-developed successor, the 917/30, were untouchable in 1972-73. Porsche was convinced of the concept, producing the 911 RSR Turbo 2.1 before, in 1974, an icon was born with the release of the Porsche 911 Turbo road car, popularly known as the 930 3.0.

This was a definite case of motorsport improving the breed, as the lessons learnt in the 1,000bhp+ CanAm monsters translated into the 930 3.0, earning its place as the fastest-accelerating road car ever produced upon its release to the public in 1975.

Only six years before, man had set foot on the Moon for the first time, and now here was a sports car truly worthy of the space age.

Porsche 964 993 Turbo

Thanks to its 2,994cc capacity and a single Kühnle, Kopp & Kausch turbocharger, the first 911 Turbo was capable of sprinting from standstill to 100kph (62mph) in 5.5 seconds.

Its 260bhp output may sound meagre today, but this was a car that enjoyed nearly 25 per cent more power than the previous range-topping 911 Carrera 2.7 (its engine taken from the fabled 1973 RS).

To read more about every generation of the legendary Porsche 911 Turbo, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 116 in store now. Alternatively, you can order a copy online or download it to your digital device.

Porsche 911 Turbo
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