911 Série G [1974]

Porsche 911 RS IROC Replica… Level Master !

Là les amis, il va y avoir du lourd et du très rare ! Et va falloir aborder pas mal de sujets… L’IROC, Denny Hulme, JK Racing et Gérard, qui s’est retrouvé à la base de toute cette histoire avec, une Porsche 911 3.0 SC de 1982 strictement d’origine? Mais en en tant que pilote, […]

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1974 2.7 911: the new standard

The year 1974 represented great change for Porsche. After a decade of constant fettling of its 911, where it witnessed increases in wheelbase, model designations, engine capacity and specification options, Zuffenhausen decided to ring the changes in what was the first major refresh of the car’s now famous history.

Most notably from the outset, those slender lines associated with Butzi’s initial 911 design were altered by Tony Lapine and his team, the addition of impact bumpers at both the front and rear of the car a regulatory necessity rather than a creative endeavour. The 911 needed to adopt impact bumpers to satisfy US crash-safety regulations, and though their presence unquestionably disrupted the flow of the 911’s appearance, it truly was a case of adapt or die. The latter was out the question, as it had by now gained an envious reputation as a robust sports car capable of outgunning its bigger motorsporting rivals.

The engine too was updated, the entire line-up ditching the 2.4-litre engine capacity of the F-series cars in favour of the 2.7-litre capacity used by the 1973 Carrera RS. Black window trim was retained from that first 911 Rennsport for the top-spec cars, with door handles and mirrors also now finished in black instead of chrome. There were minor upgrades to the interior too, including the incorporation of headrests into a one-piece seat for the first time.

Aside from changing the body and engine, Porsche also took the opportunity to revamp its entire 911 model line-up. Three cars would remain – until, of course, the Turbo arrived a year later in 1975 – but the top-spec 911S of the F-series replaced the doomed 911E as the middle offering, while the 911 Carrera became the new jewel of Porsche’s showroom. At the other end the T was scrapped entirely, the entry-level car now simply referred to as the base 911 for this new chapter of Neunelfer.

However, while the pre-impact bumper 911T is a fairly sought-after classic today for the purity of its lines, its successor in the 2.7 911 isn’t generally looked at with a similar fondness. At face value this is understandable. The base 2.7 car may be more powerful than the 911T by 25bhp in US-spec, but it’s heavier by around 50kg too, largely cancelling out any straight-line performance advantage, and the G-series cars just don’t possess the purity in appearance of the early, pre-impact bumper models. However, there are fewer 2.7 911s on the planet than 911Ts, with a quoted 9,320 2.7s built in both Coupe and Targa body styles over the 1974 and 1975 model years, while the 911T was produced 16,933 times between 1972 and 1973.

Despite this, the base 2.7 has largely been forgotten in the classic marketplace, it considered less desirable than the T before it or indeed the cars succeeding it, such as the heavier SC or 3.2 Carrera. It’s not like 1974 is an unpopular year of production either: the top-of-the-range 2.7 Carrera is revered as a genuine collector’s car for its credentials as a ‘secret RS’, the 3.0-litre RSs of the same model year generally considered to be a superior car to the halo 2.7 RS. It’s fair to say though the mid-spec 911S has suffered a similar fate to the base 911 in being largely forgotten. Has an injustice been served?

 

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the ‘other’ 2.7 Carrera

Nobody likes a killjoy, especially an automotive one. If you were a Porsche 911 driver in the mid-1970s, it must have felt as if everyone was wanting to take all of your toys away and spoil all of your fun. A combination of a global fuel crisis, soaring pump prices for petrol and oil embargoes all combined with a sudden attack of conscience as the world woke up to environmental damage and vehicle accident safety. This ended up having a significant impact on the Porsche 911 that everyone loved.

Gone were the beautiful chromed bumpers, replaced with what many saw as ugly ‘Federal spec’ Impact Bumpers. Even the traditional Porsche whaletail wasn’t spared, the German TÜV authorities deciding that the trailing edge was potentially dangerous, leading Porsche to introduce the soft-rubber edging that we know so well today.

In Europe, drivers were spared many of the engine modifications needed for Porsche to continue to sell the 911 in the US. We remained safely enjoying our mechanical fuel injection throttle response and looked smugly across the Atlantic at the Americans and their California law makers, their poor 911 seemingly shackled.

History has not been kind to the US-spec Carrera 2.7. If online forums and hearsay were to be believed, a California-specification Carrera 2.7 would probably have the uphill performance of a Citroën 2CV. Everywhere you could possibly look gives reinforcement of the jaundiced view that the 2.7 Carrera with CIS is to be avoided. Nothing to see here… head over to Europe and seek out a 2.7 MFI.

However, for one man, the chance to own a US-specification 911 proved to be irresistible. “When a friend told me about a 2.7 US Carrera he’d seen for sale, I wasn’t inspired. Like everyone else it was some way down my list of Porsche I’d like to own. However, my friend then said, ‘It’s a non-sunroof Coupe’,” Robin Titterington says.

“That got me interested. After all, I could always swap out the engine, hot rod it, remove the emissions gear. So I bought it with the expectation to change it, tune it, improve it.” “But as I began to put some miles on the car, the entire validity of their tainted reputation came into question. This was a stock engine and I was having fun. Something doesn’t add up here! I’ve driven 1973 Carrera RSs, nearly every year of early 911 T, E, and S models and have owned a hot rod 2.5-litre 1971 911 for years – I’m not easily swayed.”

Robin was actually enjoying driving the US 2.7 just as it was. The performance was certainly different, but a long way from being unacceptable. And compared with other 911s he had owned, it was actually quite comparable. Why should this stock US-spec 2.7 Carrera with all of its alleged shackles and compromises be such fun to drive? Robin tried to
find out more.

“I began doing some quick research, but rather than answer my questions it seemed to turn up lots of conflicting performance data and information. Reviews of the 1974 US Carrera from ‘back in the day’ were overwhelmingly positive, although the performance numbers were all over the map. More recent information and opinion seems predominantly negative. I soon had magazines and books scattered all over my desktop and had to start writing things down to keep it all straight.”

So it appears that all is not as it would seem with the 1974 US 2.7. Robin’s investigations actually posed more questions than answers. “It seems that there were so many different ways to record performance stats in the 1970s. Plus, many automotive magazines didn’t test with the same desire for accuracy that they do today.” Swapping between power outputs measured at the flywheel and then also at the wheels seems to throw many figures hopelessly out of context. Robin’s study of the period data proves to
be very interesting.

He continues, “For instance, Car & Driver’s February 1972 test of the new 2.4-litre Porsche used SAE gross horsepower numbers, giving the 911 S 210bhp, but in its 1974 test of the Carrera they switched to the opposite extreme with SAE net horsepower, giving it only 167hp! No wonder many have come to believe these cars are underpowered. In SAE gross units, the 1974 Carrera US has 195bhp.”

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The narrow G comes under the spotlight

“It has guts like Jupp Heynckes on the firing range and the rough charm of Jean-Paul Belmondo. Its appearance is characterized by the new fenders (bumpers), considerable inner values are still reliability, temperament, safety and solid workmanship. ” This is how Rudolf Urban from the Munich magazine “tz” introduced the new G-model for 1974. But the fan base was shocked. Purists refused to understand what had just happened. The American 911 friends, however, were happy that the Porsche 911 was still alive.

“It has guts like Jupp Heynckes on the firing range and the rough charm of Jean-Paul Belmondo.” – Rudolf Urban

After having been built for about ten years, the 911 was thus extensively revised. Porsche summarized it as follows in the sales prospectus of 1976:

“There already was a 911 in 1964 – and it looked hardly different than today. Not only was it almost as beautiful – it was almost as fast too: 210 km/h. So what have we done since then? Eleven years of model constancy, that is eleven years of fine work on detail: barely visible, but immediately felt. A comparison drive of only a few minutes would make the crucial difference clear to you. In today’s Porsche, the same pace seems only half as fast – and half as exhausting. The same power is available at speeds that are one third lower. The higher torque allows longer gear ratios and makes the engine elastic. You do not have to change gears as often. And – it has become much quieter inside the Porsche.”

Three versions were available

The program for the 1974 model included three engine and two construction variants. All vehicles had the 2.7-liter engine. In the 911 and 911 S models with 150 and 175 hp, a Bosch K-Jetronic provided the fuel-air mixture preparation, while in the Carrera the mechanical injection taken over from the predecessor Carrera RS provided for 210 HP. The 911 was available as as coupe and Targa, and for the first time the Carrera could also be ordered with an open roof. While the base prices (from today’s point of view) were quite attractive (26,980 DM for the 911, 30,980 DM for the 911 S), the extras could push up the price considerably. So a fully equipped 911 could cost a whopping 40,000 DM.

With the new G model, Porsche served a whole range of smaller optimizations. The most important were:

  • the plastic fuel tank, enlarged to 80 liters
  • the extended foot pedals
  • the auxiliary spring of the clutch pedal, which reduced the force needed by one third
  • the omission of the hydro-pneumatic struts from the M equipment list
  • new rear axle suspension struts made of light cast metal.
  • Defroster nozzles for the side windows
  • stronger torque generators for the 911 and 911S (not for the Carrera)
  • a 66 amp hour battery in the trunk
  • a headlight cleaning system at an extra charge
  • the water filler neck for the windscreen washer in the front fender

 

A real Porsche, even at 150 hp  

In 1974, 150 hp was big news, because the normal car could usually achieve only about 50 – 75 hp. Thanks to their low weight, very sporty performance was possible. The Porsche could sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.2 seconds, the maximum speed was measured at a stately 210.4 km/h. Please do not forget, we are talking about the 70s. The response to the gas pedal is direct, and typical of a 6-cylinder boxer, the car only develops its full sound and performance potential at more than 4,000 revs. At this point it should be mentioned that the 150 hp 911 is in no way inferior to the 911S in terms of torque. Both the 911 and 911S achieve 235 nm of torque, but the “small” 911 reaches this maximum even 200 revs earlier than its big brother, namely at 3,800 rpm.

Tester Fritz Reuter found that the the 911, has a a slight understeering driving behavior, but we all love this about the 911. The summer 1974 issue of auto motor und sport magazine compared to the 911 S with its main competitors: Mercedes 280 SLC, BMW 3.0 CSi and Alfa Romeo Montreal (8 cylinders). Incidentally, the Porsche was the weakest of the rivals with 175 hp at the time. Despite its shortage of horsepower, the 911 was the winner in the categories acceleration and top speed.

Despite its shortage of horsepower, the 911 was the winner in the categories acceleration and top speed.

The brakes were highly praised and the ride comfort was attested to be a great improvement on its predecessor. No wonder then that the conclusion of the endurance test published in the following year was that the 911 was one of the best all-round sports cars in the world. From model year 1976, the supporting parts of the body were hot-dip galvanized and this solved the major problem of the first series released.

Just a few years ago, many G-models were rebuilt to mimic a car of the predecessor series, but today demand for well-preserved and original, narrow G-models is increasing. Many collectors have recognized that the numbers were still low and the technology quite exquisite. Good vehicles are no longer easy to find, because even back in the 1970s, narrow G models were frequently rebuilt. An example was the new, very wide and powerful 911 Turbo, which entered the market in 1975. In addition, the cars of those years specifically are considered quite durable and at the same time largely unadulterated, after all, with the exception of fuel injection hardly anything in the traditional technology orientation was changed in those years.

Conclusion:

The narrow G-model finally came into the spotlight and stepped out of the shadows of other models. Considering the already very high prices for F-models, the early G-model presents a real alternative. Significantly better performance combined with classic optics make the narrow G-model to a very exciting 911.

Significantly better performance combined with classic optics make the narrow G-model to a very exciting 911.

Vehicle in the article: Porsche 911S Targa 2.7 from 1977 (fully galvanized)
Pictures by: Roman Rätzke Fotografie (www.roman-raetzke.de)

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Video: A history of the Porsche 911 Targa

 

In 2017, the Porsche 911 Targa – the original open top Neunelfer – will reach its 50th birthday, a remarkable milestone for a model that was originally devised to meet safety regulations that were, ultimately, never implemented.

To celebrate the upcoming anniversary, we’ve decided to look back over the Targa’s half a century of history in our latest video, taking you through the evolution of the model from 1967 right through to the latest 991.2 Targa 4S.

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Our five-minute flick also stars a 1974 Porsche 911 Targa from esteemed specialist, Canford Classics, the original impact bumper iteration showing how the latest open-top Neunelfers has both changed and been inspired by Zuffenhausen’s iconic roll hoop design.

We’ve put the two idiosyncratic roof systems to the test too and, if you missed our road trip with the 991.2 version in Total 911 issue 142, Features Editor, Josh gives you his opinion from behind the wheel of the new 911 Targa to see if turbocharging has improved the alfresco driving experience.

For more of the latest and best Porsche 911 videos, check out our dedicated film section now.

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