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911 Turbo SE 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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Porsche 930 SE: The First Exclusive

Porsche 911s are all special, but some are more so than others. Porsche is a company that by definition makes special cars, though the nature of the business it’s in inevitably attracts a type of customer who is always keen to explore, to do something unique, and to own and drive something individual and different.

Ever since the first 356s rolled out of Porsche’s doors, it’s been open to providing solutions for its most exacting clientele, the tradition for personalisation always possible, your imagination and your budget the only limitations.

The Sonderwunsch-program, or ‘Special Wishes’ department has always existed, but it would only be formalised in 1986 when Zuffenhausen introduced the Porsche Exclusive department, with which Porsche aimed to fulfil every customer’s wish and desire.


Of course, any requests had to be within feasible, technical, legal and quality-related constraints, Porsche otherwise leaving the sometimes-difficult element of taste solely down to its customers.

Porsche Exclusive has been, and remains, an integral part of Porsche’s business, though part of its remit has been to occasionally build special cars in limited series. They are infrequent, though always highly desirable. The most famous and prevalent to be built is the 911 Turbo ‘Flachbau’.

Often, incorrectly, translated to ‘flatnose’, which it visibly presents, it more literally translates to ‘flat construction’, which is pleasingly Germanic in its description. Just like the standard 930 Turbo helped to homologate Porsche’s race cars for weekend winning, the 930 SE Flachbau Turbo can trace its roots back to Porsche’s racing activities.


Beautiful and iconic as the 911’s silhouette is, its derivation pre-dated the competition it would find itself in during the late 1960s and 1970s.

Sports car racing was a rapidly evolving and explosively competitive environment, and the upright headlights on Porsche’s production-based race cars were at an aerodynamic disadvantage over rivals.

The rules back then were fairly open to interpretation though, and as a result, Porsche’s competition department removed the aerodynamic disadvantage the familiar nose of the 911 presented, and flattened its profile to improve airflow at the high speeds its turbocharged engine produced out back.

To read our test drive of the Porsche 930 SE in full, pick up Total 911 issue 146 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.



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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…


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


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Porsche 930 Turbo SE Flat Nose: crème anglaise.

Temps de lecture estimé: 2’30 L’année 1979 fut indéniablement une année de grâce pour la 911. Ce fut en effet l’année pendant laquelle la 935 K3 engagée par l’écurie Kremer s’arrogea la victoire absolue aux 24 heures du Mans, ayant même l’outrecuidance d’écraser les Porsche 936 dans la catégorie supérieure. Il n’en fallut pas davantage … Lire la suite Porsche 930 Turbo SE Flat Nose: crème anglaise.



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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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