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911 Turbo 3.6 – 360 ch [1993 à 1994]

’93 Porsche 965 Turbo Wagenbauanstalt… custom !

Ouais… vous ne rêvez pas ! Le gars, pour se taper son délire, il est parti d’une Porsche 965 Turbo 3.6l… Enfin, il l’a confiée à Wagenbauanstalt, un “préparatueur” allemand basé à Hambourg qui ne refuse aucun des délires mécaniques de ses clients, à partir du moment où ils alignent le cash demandé ! Même […]

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The Flying Corkman

Irishman Mel Nolan was a legend on two wheels but after hanging up his helmet the call of the Porsche came loud and clear.

Mel Nolan is smiling. Dressed in a neatly ironed shirt with the outline of a Porsche embroidered on the chest, he rises from his seat and extends his hand, the smile turning to a laugh.

“Another drink over here,” he calls to a barman, before gesturing to the stool opposite him. Even beside the window the light in this southern Irish pub is low, but the spotlight is about to shine on white-haired Mel, as he heaves a heavy box up beside him, layers of newspaper cuttings, old photographs and programmes inside.

Memories spill onto the table, scattering like a dropped pack of cards, and his eyes dance as his fingers reach for a black and white photo of a man sitting astride a motorbike. Clad in leathers, his face partly hidden by a helmet, is a much younger Mel. A Mel who was better known at the time as The Flying Corkman.

In the early Eighties, Mel Nolan was one of the quickest men on earth. Aboard his “crazy, home-built motorcycle”, the industrial chemist set two world records and, after registering 207mph on the speedometer, has kept a tight hold of the Irish Land Speed Record for nearly 40 years since.

“For the past seven years I’ve been a total Porsche fanatic but before it wasn’t like that,” says the 73-year-old. “Before that, I was a biker – and not an ordinary biker but one who loved to race, build new engines, do new things and develop new engineering and new products.”

Having entered – and won – his first motorbike race at the age of 25, Mel filled his home with dozens of hillclimbing and sprint trophies before a powerful mix of mechanical curiosity and ambition propelled him into the record books.

“The bike started off as a road bike – a Honda 750 with a top speed of 118mph – but my friend, Dennis Collins, and I started to work on it. Bit-by-bit the speeds built up to 207mph an hour.

For the past seven years I’ve been a total Porsche fanatic but before it wasn’t like that.

“The bike started off as a road bike – a Honda 750 with a top speed of 118mph – but my friend, Dennis Collins, and I started to work on it. Bit-by-bit the speeds built up to 207mph an hour.

“It took some getting there – it felt like a lifetime’s work – but we had fantastic fun and by the end of 1981 we’d set the world land speed records for a 1,000cc bike over distances of a mile, and a kilometre. We had to pull out all the stops. I believe it was the first turbo and nitrous motorcycle ever run in Europe.”

With three records under his belt, Mel took a back seat from riding and moved into an organisational role. Having developed a love of drag racing, he put his infectious enthusiasm to work, drawing crowds of 10,000 onto the streets of Ireland for the country’s first ever drag race. After a brief stint back in the saddle – “It was killing me to see our Irish riders being beaten by the English, who’d been drag racing for years, so I developed a bike with nitrous oxide and rediscovered my competitive streak” – Mel hung up his leathers at the end of the Nineties. Seven years ago, he pointed his passion in the direction of Porsche.

“I’d wanted a Porsche from a young age and when I bought a Boxster S a few years ago I just felt totally at home. It was like sitting on my sofa, but a sofa with astounding handling,” he laughs. “On the twisty roads of Ireland I could keep up with anything, even cars with a lot more horsepower.”

It was like sitting on my sofa, but a sofa with astounding handling.

The Boxster was followed by a 996 Turbo X50, a 3.2 turbo-bodied Carrera, and eventually a 997 Turbo. All three sit side-by-side in his garage. All three present the perfect excuse to be an active member of the Porsche Club of Ireland.

As organiser of the southern region, Mel’s never been busier. “Some clubs have five or six events a year; by the end of 2018, we’ll have held 58. The camaraderie is fantastic: there’s always something to do and somewhere to go in your Porsche. We’re a very proud club,” he says, pointing at his shirt where the club logo is stitched.

“Motorcycles are a part of me – I’m still heavily involved in drag racing – but there’s a lot of love in my heart for my Porsches. It wasn’t until I’d driven one that I realised a car could feel like being back on a motorcycle. They’re raw, they’re fantastic, they’re happy machines.”

They’re raw, they’re fantastic, they’re happy machines.

As he sips his pint and wipes the froth from his top lip, Mel’s eye falls on a recent photo of his 1984 Carrera on the table in front of him. Mel Nolan is smiling again.

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30 yearsof 964: C2 v RS and Turbo v Turbo-look

Modernity is what the 964 brought to the 911, it arriving on the cusp of a new decade and would, in the then-CEO Heinz Branitzki’s words, “be the 911 for the next 25 years.” It never was, nor, admittedly, was it intended to be, but in the six years it was produced the increase in technology, as well as the proliferation of models, set the template for how the 911 would evolve into the model line we recognise today.

Its massively revised structure and chassis was able to incorporate necessities like power steering, driver and passenger airbags, an automatic transmission and also four-wheel drive. It was tested more rigorously on automated test beds, was built using more modern, cost-effective production techniques and brought the 911’s look up to date, without taking away from its iconic lines.

Such was Porsche’s focus on four-wheel drive it was launched as a Carrera 4, the Carrera 2 following it into production in 1989. Over the six, short years that followed the 964 would proliferate into a model line-up including Targa, Cabriolet, Turbo and RS in the regular series models, with specials like the Turbo S, RS 3.8, 30 Jahre and Speedster models all adding to the mix. It came at the right time, too, replacing the outdated 3.2 Carrera and boosting sales for Porsche when it needed them, the Carrera 2 and 4 selling 63,570 examples, those specials and the Turbos and RSs adding around 10,000 sales on top of that.

It was a successful, important car for Porsche, but just how does it stack up today, and which one to go for? The 964 is the car that introduced the 911 conundrum, one which, in part at least, we’re going to try and settle here today. We’ve four 964s here: a Carrera 2, an RS, a Carrera 4 widebody with its Turbo-aping hips, and a later 3.6 example of the 964 Turbo. The Carrera 2, naturally, is the most available, with some 19,484 sales globally, the RS selling some 2,405, the widebody being very limited (numbers are hard to come by) and the Turbo 3.6 finding 1,427 buyers for the year it was produced.

For many the Carrera 2 is the obvious choice, but take all the numbers out of the equation and things get a little bit different. To digest it there’s a natural split, the narrow and widebody cars, which is why I’m jumping first into the slim-hipped Carreras, and specifically that big-selling Carrera 2.

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White giants

Since the launch of the 930 3.0 Turbo in 1974, the “Turbos” have been the most powerful 911s of any generation. Porsche Classic pitted the two latest air-cooled turbo 911s – the 964 Turbo 3.6 and the 993 Turbo S – against the latest 991 Turbo 150 to compare three of the best sports cars of all time.

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One Take: 600 Horsepower Andial-Powered 964 Turbo

GT2s excepted, the 964 was the last widowmaker 911 Turbo. Lots of power, lots of boost, and trailing arm rear suspension made for a much trickier Porsche than the 993 Turbo which followed. Even stock, this is a car that wants you dead. As they say; the closer you are to death, the more alive you feel. Of course, the best approach to modifying such a car is to nearly double the horsepower. The video does not specify which 964 Turbo variant this started life as, but this build brought the already-intimidating base Porsche from somewhere between 316-380 horsepower to a full 600.

The engine was originally built by Andial for Jeff Zwart’s 1994 Pikes Peak car (which can be found about halfway down this page). While Andial is now defunct, though Porsche did purchase the name, the company left no small mark on motorsports. Victories include a 1994 class win at Pikes Peak with this motor, plus class wins in 1996, ’97 and ’98. Andial cars have also won the 24 Hours of Daytona (including powering all of the top 5 finishers in 1987), the IMSA Supercar series, SCCA World challenge, and more.

That level of development and provenance propels a 964 which is seriously impressive on its own merits. The builders shaved the roof rails, which is no small job on an air-cooled 911, deleted the heat and A/C, and replaced some of the glass with Lexan. All-told, the 600 horsepower, CIS flat-six has just 2,800lbs to motivate.

Of course, because  of the old-school CIS injection, the redline is limited to just 5,800RPMs. With the amount of power this Porsche produces, I’d guess few will miss the extra revs.

The post One Take: 600 Horsepower Andial-Powered 964 Turbo appeared first on FLATSIXES.

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