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3.2 Carrera

Inside the world’s best Porsche collection

It’s just after midday and we find ourselves waiting outside a plain, nondescript building, its featureless, external monotony a brilliant contrast to the magic of what resides inside. That’s because within these walls you’ll find what is very likely the most astonishing, most unbelievable Porsche collection on the planet which, until very recently, has been kept a complete secret to everybody. You should prepare to be amazed.

It’s a complicated process to get inside the building but, after sharing introductions with the rather secretive owner, we’re lead inside. Greeted by a maze of stairways and corridors at first, our eyes take a little time to adjust to the bleached-out haze of white floors, walls and ceilings, illuminated by brilliantly white lights. The connotations here are almost surgical – for a minute you’d forgive us for thinking we’re about to take a look around a top-secret new hospital that’s soon to open.

Eventually we reach a wide set of windowless double doors, bright light from the other side visible through a minute gap where they meet. Pulling on each handle, the owner swings the doors open and steps back, imploring the three of us in our party to venture inside.

Staggering into the room, three sets of jaws hit the floor as our brains attempt to compute the information we think our eyes are relaying. There are no less than 54 Porsche sports cars impeccably laid out in this huge room which, like the corridors leading to it, is a complete whitewash from floor to ceiling. The cars within this hall, rather predictably, are all finished in varying shades of factory ‘weiß’. Welcome to The White Collection.

What started with a single Matchbox 911 Turbo has grown into what is the most awe-inspiring stockpiling of Porsche on the planet. It’s not just because of the unique colour either. The cars in this room are, almost exclusively, extremely rare and collectible models, and all boast low mileages. Don’t let the colourless hues fool you: each Porsche is extensively, bountifully specced, with most of the modern cars simply dripping in bespoke CXX options – but we’ll come to that later.

The collection is vast and immaculately presented. Walking towards the middle of the room, a row of 911 GT2s from 993 right up to 997 RS sit to our left – the 991 is in transit – all organised in chronological order. To our right there’s a row of air-cooled Porsche Rennsports ordered from first to last, including both M471 Lightweight and M472 Touring versions of the original 2.7 Carrera RS. The water-cooled Rennsports line up opposite, with the holy trinity of Porsche supercars in the 959, Carrera GT and 918 presented, in white, in the middle.

Flanking each end of the Rennsport displays you’ll find an extensive Turbo and Turbo S line-up, plus a long line of rare flatbacks which culminates in a 991 R. There’s a row of Cabriolets in the distance, plus every Porsche Speedster, and some choice Targas. All are meticulously placed in stringently straight lines.

Back to that white Matchbox Turbo. “I was given the car when I was a child and was mesmerised by its flowing lines, and so I cherished it. More than a car, I found art in its design. It continued to inspire me as I grew up,” says the Collection’s bashful owner, who wishes to remain anonymous. His first Porsche was a 993, though not in white. They came later, amassed over a period of years, though there’s an admission that “the collecting only became quite aggressive in the last six years or so. The aim, as you can see, was to have one of everything, in white, in the lowest mileage possible.”

Boasting what is likely the best independent Porsche collection in the world, the owner of The White Collection might also be one of the Exclusive Department’s best contemporary customers. The 918 has north of $100,000 in CXX options, and the R, GT3 RS and GTS Targa aren’t far behind. The total amount of CXX options in the room could be near to $1 million. Even cars such as the 991 Turbo S Exclusive Edition, which came with bespoke Gold metallic paint, was optioned in Carrera White Metallic and, popping the front bonnet, the entire boot is lined in luxury leather with contrast gold stitching, courtesy of the Exclusive Department.

Most 991 interiors are resplendent in CXX Yachting blue leather with white contrast stitching and seat piping, this specification a clear favourite of the meticulous owner. The inspiration for this lies on the far side of the room, among the flank of flatbacks, where a 3.2 Carrera resides with a factory Yachting Blue interior. “I just fell in love with the colour combination when I bought that particular car,” the owner says. “It works so well and complements the white exterior, so from that moment on I decided all the new cars should be finished this way.” That 3.2 Carrera’s legacy now includes a 991 R, 991 GT3 RS and 918, all with Yachting Blue interiors.

For the full exposé on The White Collection, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 175 in shops now, or get it delivered to your door. Can can also enjoy a special bonus gallery of the Collection via our digital editions for both Apple and Android

 

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Rare Porsche 911 Cabriolets

Porsche isn’t one to miss a good marketing opportunity. Throughout the 54 years of 911 production, in which over a million examples of this iconic sports car have rolled out of Zuffenhausen, the company has bestowed worldwide customers with a whole host of special editions to celebrate anniversaries, milestones and notable racing achievements.

The latest addition is Motorsport’s new 935, a track-only car based mechanically on the 991 GT2 RS but styled on the revered Moby Dick of 1978. More interestingly though, there’s also a new Speedster. However, the fact it’s being built to commemorate 70 years of Porsche isn’t particularly significant, and neither is the numbered production run of just 1,948 examples. No, it’s a special-edition, open-topped Porsche.

Think about it, most special-edition Porsche 911s are Coupes. From the 930 S to the 991 Turbo S Exclusive Edition, via the 993 GT2, 996 Anniversary and 997 Sport Classic, these limited cars, often built on a numbered production run, are tin-top. There appears no specific reason for this: all body styles hail from the same production line at Werk II, and it’s not like an open-topped 911 is unpopular – in fact, widespread endearment to both the Cabriolet and Targa is such that Porsche has kept both models running concurrently since 1983. And while it’s true 911 Coupes will always enjoy a certain cache over their open-topped stablemates, what’s not to like about a special-edition Cabriolet?

To find out we’ve come to Long Beach in southern California to sample two stellar open-topped examples of rare Porsche in the 3.2 Commemorative Cabriolet and 964 America Roadster. Owned by serial Porsche owner and Total 911 subscriber Bruce Brown, these cars are used as they were intended, cruising the boulevards and carving through the inland canyons, roof down, revelling under the year-round Californian sunshine.

The cars arrive at the beach just after us, pulling off the highway and driving onto a slipway down to the Pacific Ocean, the 964’s almost V8-like thrum a striking note against the 3.2 Carrera’s more agricultural resonance. Bruce, in the 3.2, and his friend Simon Birch, piloting the 964, kill the cars and jump out, which gives us a chance to absorb both 911s as they cool off in the brisk sea wind.

First, the Commemorative 3.2. Built to honour 250,000 911s having been built, it’s sometimes referred to as the 25th Anniversary – this at a time before Porsche thought of the 30, 40 and 50 Jahre Anniversary models in the ensuing years. The 3.2 Commemorative Edition was available in either Coupe, Cabriolet or Targa body styles.

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Porsche 911 Cabriolets: G-series v 964 v 993

Yorkshire dry-stone walls have a very useful application that was never intended by the original builders several centuries ago. In addition to providing the unique signature style that is the Yorkshire landscape while also containing livestock over the centuries, they also make a superb surface to echo back the bark of an air-cooled 911 engine. Combine that with the final days of a long, hot summer and a trio of Cabriolet 911s – all with the hoods folded as they truly should be – and we have the perfect recipe for a great day’s driving and a chance to investigate the appeal of the open-top 911 experience. Will we enjoy a day in the sunshine, or will the bumpy Yorkshire lanes highlight the compromise of 911 body stiffness?

Heading out of the market town of Malton, I’m at the rear of the convoy in the 993 Cabriolet. The air is filled with the bass burble of air-cooled exhaust tones at low RPM, the whiff of that unique 911 aroma of hot oil and burned hydrocarbons from the two cars ahead spilling over into the interior, the sun providing a warmth on my face that is still pleasant so late in the summer. Good times.

Turning left down some of our favourite B-roads, the sunshine dapples the tree-lined road ahead… it’s time to increase the pace. We’re staying away from the vast, open moorland of the North Yorkshire Moors today, instead staying on the lower ground of the Vale of York and the twisting, turning B-roads that keep hands and feet busy as the road snakes between those ancient dry-stone walls. The three cars span an eight-year period of 911 evolution, from the torsion bars and impact bumpers of 1989, through the transformation of 1990 with power assistance and coil springs, to the final development of the air-cooled Porsche 911 in the 993.

Without a doubt everyone will have a personal favourite. Indeed, as we gather the cars together for photographs, the debate commences even before photographer Alistair has rigged his first flash head. The most visually arresting is the 1989 Super Sport in Guards red. For me this car is the epitome of that period of Porsche sales. The hedonistic period when excess was encouraged and every businessman and city trader in the City of London had to have a giant Motorola brick phone, expensive Italian shoes and matching briefcase, plus a Guards red Porsche 911. For the full-on effect it had to be the Turbo body, Fuchs alloys and the whaletail spoiler. And if you really wished to be publicly on display through the city streets, then the Cabriolet ensured that you shared your cellphone conversation with everyone around you as you discussed the day’s share trading at the traffic lights.

So how does the drive compare almost 30 years later? We hand over the keys to the 993 that we arrived in and swap to the cream seats of the Super Sport. Instantly I’m missing the powered steering as we shuffle back and forth to leave the photo location, the non-standard steering wheel not helping with its smaller diameter, though once rolling along the country lanes it’s much less of an issue. The road is initially bumpy, and several things become apparent. Firstly there is indeed that flex and shake from around the windscreen area that I recall from previous drives. Secondly, despite there only being a few years between the registration dates, the 1989 car does feel as though it’s from a much older generation of Porsche.

That’s not to say it’s a bad car – far from it. And as the road smooths out and widens we’re able to enjoy the bark of the 3.2 engine and use the echo board of Yorkshire’s dry-stone walls to enjoy some rather delightful pops and crackles on the downshifts. Through the avenue of trees we return to our location, and I swap into the black 964.

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forward-dated 911 SC: back to the future

The road ahead is deserted, its twisting Tarmac totally bereft of traffic. A thick wall of trees lines the roadside, their density willing us to keep moving our 991 towards the setting sun.

A look in the rear-view mirror reveals much the same story behind us. The highway is empty, save for two hazy yellow lights in the far distance. However, as the minutes tick by, those lights become more prominent. Glancing briefly at the road ahead, my eyes return to the 991’s rear-view mirror, fixated on those yellow lights coming quickly towards us. There’s a red hue visible between them now. A bonnet. A roof. A windscreen. It’s a car.

The rate at which this car is closing in on us is astonishing. It surges up the stretch of road behind us, revealing more detail with each passing second as its features become ever larger in our mirrors. A 964, I think to myself, catching its chunky front PU with integrated side lights. Then, roaring up behind us, the 964 pulls out and shoots past, gliding back in line and charging up the road ahead. Now the confusion sets in: replete with one-piece bumper, full-width rear reflector with clear ‘Porsche’ script, a distinctive tea tray spoiler and wheels with the lip and profile of Cup-spec alloys, the visual cues give this car away as a 964 3.3 Turbo. However, the mechanical howl of that flat six as it shot past certainly wasn’t akin to the noise of a 911 with an exhaust turbocharger bolted on. So, what on earth has just overtaken us on this rural stretch of Swedish asphalt?

Luckily, we don’t have to wait too long to find out. Not 20 minutes later we pull into a gas station and there, sitting by the pumps in front, is our mystery Porsche 911, being fuelled by its joint owner, Andreas. Originally a 1982 SC, the car was converted to a 964-look of sorts before Andreas and co-owner Lennart bought the car, though closer inspection of that one-piece Strosek front PU shows it to be more 944 than 911. We’re also told the rear bumper mimics that of a 3.0 RS. A peek inside reveals the car’s true age, its Pasha interior an obvious giveaway. Not that this car is trying to hide anything: Andreas and Lennart have even left the ‘SC’ lettering on the car’s decklid.

In our contemporary world where backdating a 911 is all the rage, the idea of a forward-dated 911 makes for an odd concept, but one which, in a bygone era, was a popular conversion. Due to the large spectrum of interchangeable parts on air-cooled 911s, many found favour with the idea of swapping a few panels to make an older model look just like one which had only just rolled off the production line at Zuffenhausen. Much like backdating, how convincing the car looked depended largely on how far you were willing to go, or how much you were willing to spend. So what of the car we’ve caught up with?

Andreas tells me he and Lennart bought the car in its current guise, complete with ‘teardrop’ wing mirrors commonly found on later 964s. “We found favour with how different it was compared to other SCs, and especially liked how it drove,” Andreas tells me as he replaces the fuel hose and tightens the 911’s filler cap. So did Andreas and Lennart ever consider converting the car back to standard, or backdating it – as is currently in vogue – to a longhood, pre-impact bumper 911? “No, because a lot of work had gone into converting it to 964 spec. For example, the rear reflector on a 964 sits at a slightly different angle to the G-series cars, so getting this to fit required the previous owner to make some modifications to the rear wings. We believe this is part of the history of the car and shouldn’t be changed,” comes Andreas’ reply.

For the full feature on forward-dated 911s, including a how-to guide from specialists, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 171 in shops now. You can also order your copy here for delivery to your door anywhere in the world, or download to an Apple or Android device of your choice. 

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the first speedster

Porsche rarely misses an opportunity to produce an anniversary model, but it is significant that the 991 Speedster Concept celebrates 70 years of the sports car rather than 30 years since the best known 911 Speedster, the impact-bumper 3.2. In fact, there was a 356 Speedster built from 1954 for the US; a specific cut-down and denuded barchetta sold for owners who wanted a competitive weekend racer. Not offered in Europe, the Speedster was the choice of the thinking American club racer who might otherwise have bought a Corvette, an Austin Healey or a Triumph TR2. The Speedster’s replacement was effectively the 1955 550/1500 RS Spyder as Porsche’s competition-build models switched to mid-engine.

When the 911 was launched, its subsequent race-oriented versions – the S with its various Sportpaketed upgrades or the race-engined R – were all based on the Coupe, as there was no open version of the 911. A somewhat half-hearted attempt to make a 911 convertible to replace the 356 Cabrio had been abandoned, with problems of structural rigidity gone unresolved. After the ruckus stirred up by Ralph Nader, future US legislation seemed likely to outlaw open cars. In the circumstances Porsche’s Targa model, conceived quickly in 1965, appeared to fill the gap in the market for an open sports car.

Ten years later Porsche knew how to make an open 911 sufficiently rigid: work on a possible Cabrio 924 had shown that a combination of the transmission tunnel and stronger passenger bulkhead largely overcame structural concerns. However, this was at a time when under CEO Ernst Fuhrmann, development of the 911 had been halted in favour of the transaxle 924 and 928. Board member for engineering Helmuth Bott, an open car devotee, was frustrated at this, as there was now no technical reason not to reintroduce a convertible, and as far as Porsche sales personnel were concerned there was plenty of demand to justify the model.

Fuhrmann however was increasingly determined to make his legacy at Porsche the 928, and would not hear of it. Worse, feeling more and more isolated by his universally disliked stance on the 911, he is said to have threatened Bott with dismissal if the chief engineer persisted in a pet project of a simplified convertible 911, a latter day Speedster. Always loyal, Bott dutifully rolled the partially completed prototype out of his workshop in Weissach and into a discreet lock-up at the back. Then Porsche underwent one of those sea changes, which seem to occur at ten-year intervals during its history.

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