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Porsche Reviews Its Five Greatest American Icons

Just five years after the war ended, Porsche started importing small batches of cars into New York City to plant its feet for the first time on American soil. News traveled quickly on a westward wind and the Californians, free from harsh weather, soon after demanded their own style of Porsche.

Now, ostensibly this video was created as a way for Porsche to celebrate American Independence Day, but there’s never a bad time to check out these totally radical race and road cars with Porsche’s incredibly quick factory racer, Patrick Long. Give it a watch!

356A 1600 S Speedster

We associate the 356A Speedster with those gruff, squinty-eyed men from yesteryear who embodied independence and individuality. Steve McQueen and James Dean, two actors who actually raced Porsches, are forever linked to this gorgeous piece of rolling artistry from half a century ago. Even though it only had ~75 horsepower, its pared-down frame made it quick and relatively cheap. Considering the prices they fetch now, it’s hard to believe that this was once one of the more affordable Porsches around.

964 America Roadster

Fast forward thirty years, and the wide haunches of a Turbo model made its way onto an open-top Carrera for those balmy Los Angeles evenings. With serious performance and a relaxed character, what better car to suit a blitz along Mulholland Drive?

A shape any red-blooded Porschephile would be happy to see.

964 RS America

For those who wanted more for their trips to Willow Springs, Porsche built the 964 RS America. Since us yanks couldn’t get the 964 RS, Porsche answered our track junkies’ calls with the RS America. Stripped and spartan, this 2,975-lb machine offered no frills but plenty of thrills.

917-30 Can-Am

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this gem. A conservative estimate of 800 horsepower, a ferocious power delivery, and less than one ton of weight made this one of the most successful cars ever, and the only car to win Can-Am that wasn’t powered by a Chevrolet engine. Even the driver’s feet were positioned ahead of the front wheels! They were certainly brave back then.

To set a quick lap in of these monsters, one needed a double-dose of courage and a dash of recklessness.

934.5

Rounding out this list of greats is the 934.5—the car which ushered turbocharging into American GT racing. Though the 600-hp 934.5 was designed to run in IMSA Group 4, it was banned and instead used in SCCA Trans-Am, where it won 6 of 8 races it competed in. Following in the 917’s footsteps, this beauty changed the direction of American road racing in the 1970s and 1980s. What a wonderful path these cars paved.

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Our Favorite Porsches For Sale This Week: Volume 139

We’ve been compiling some amazing Porsche models on the internet for over five years now, and we’ve seen some pretty astonishing examples pop up now and again. This week we’re looking to soak up the sun. For that reason, we’re featuring convertibles! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed our « curated » look at the Porsche market. Keep in mind, some of these Porsches could be great collection investments, while others might prove to do more financial harm than good.

INTERESTED IN HAVING YOUR PORSCHE FEATURED HERE?

Every other week, we feature 5 of our favorite Porsches for sale. That post is sent out to our mailing list of more than 17,000 Porsche owners and fans and is seen by tens of thousands of other readers who visit our site directly. If you’re selling a Porsche on eBay and would like to see it featured here, just shoot us an email with the details and we’ll be back in touch. Otherwise, feel free to check out all the other eBay listings we have on our Porsches for sale pages.

1. Porsche 550 Spyder Replica For Sale

A poorly built 550 Spyder replica can be hell on wheels, but a properly assembled example can be among the most rewarding experiences ever. This particular 550 Spyder built by Seduction Motorsports in Arizona is one of the good ones. With a proper tube frame chassis, rather than a Beetle pan kit, this is nice and stiff, and responds well to your driving inputs. With a well-built Subaru 2.5-liter, this little monster rips way faster than an original 1950s Spyder would. I’m not particularly partial to the Martini stripes, but they are applied in vinyl and can easily be removed. With red quilted leather inside and a nice white exterior, this would look quite nice on the street. Give me a leather helmet and some aviator goggles. It’s time to rip.

For more pictures, pricing, and information, check out the full listing on eBay

2. 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder For Sale

With the announcement of a new Boxster Spyder, I’m reminded of my personal favorite open-top Porsche, the 987 Boxster Spyder. While it’s not as powerful or as fast as the new 4-liter powered monster, this thing is nimble and light and fun as all hell. This one has PCM and air conditioning and power seats, so it’s not quite the spec I would personally want, but the red wheels and gauges look really good. If you want one of the last pure Porsche driving experiences, grab this one while you can.

For more pictures, pricing, and information, check out the full listing on eBay.

3. 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet For Sale

Speaking of wheels in bold colors, if you’re going to be a bear you may as well be a grizzly. This bright yellow Carrera cab has bright yellow color-matched wheels (though the center caps should be color matched as well) and a chocolate brown convertible top. It’s not the color way I would have chosen from the factory in 1987, but I’m damn glad someone did. This is a wild selection of colors, and I am absolutely ecstatic that it exists. There is no beauty without some strangeness.

For more pictures, pricing, and information, check out the full listing on eBay.

4. 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder For Sale

When it comes to open top Porsches, it’s hard to argue that the 918 Spyder isn’t the ultimate. With incredible speed, power for days, excellent hybrid fuel economy (if you don’t wail on it), and striking good looks, the 918 Spyder is the pinnacle of Porsche engineering in 2015. It’s hard to believe that this car has already been out of production for a few years, but time flies when you’re having fun. The seller of this car didn’t treat it right. With only 3000 miles on the odometer, it clearly deserves to be bought by someone who is actually going to drive it. Given the opportunity, I’d double the mileage in a week. Is it worth a mil and a half? I’m not sure it is, but if you agree with the asking price, go for it!

For more pictures, pricing, and information, check out the full listing on eBay.

5. 1990 Porsche 911 Convertible For Sale

This is an interesting project, as it has been fitted with turbo flares for that big widebody look. The owner wanted to build an America Roadster replica, so this car was pulled and widened. It’s a good look, if slightly unorthodox. Personally, I love the little rock chips dotting the wider fenders, it’s proof of life. Proof that this car was driven. According to the listing, this car has already had everything done to it that it needs for proper reliable motoring in comfort. If you’re looking for the kind of 964 that nobody else has, with a unique look, check out this America Roadster tribute.

For more pictures, pricing, and information, check out the full listing on eBay.

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Speedster generations

“I took a 911 Cabriolet off the line and drove it to my hot-rod shop,” admits Preuninger. That car became a mix-up of Gen1 GT3 and that Cabriolet.

The result of the GT boss’ work was first shown to a select group of customers as far back as 2014 alongside the 911 R concept, which the Speedster shares a lot of DNA with. This new Speedster is a GT department model, a car which, if you take Speedsters at their most elemental, it always should have been. 

Even so, Preuninger admits: “We didn’t focus on every last gram and we’re not concerned about lap times.” While that might be true, a kerbweight of 1,465kg is just 52kg more than a manual GT3.

The Speedster, like the R, is exclusively manual, with no PDK being offered, saving 17kg in weight and pleasing the driving purists among us. There are the same 911 R carbon-fibre front wings, the underbody at the rear being R-derived, while PCCB is standard too.

Those early customers who saw it liked the idea of a properly raw Speedster, doing without any roof, but Preuninger and his team denied them that, fitting a hood, in part to ensure that owners actually use them rather than park them away with delivery miles in collections. And the 1,948 Porsche will build? That’s the year when the first Speedster was built. 

Opening the low, neat roof is simple enough – a button unlatches the hood at the top of the lower windscreen and unclips the buttresses which then spring up from the large clamshell. The clamshell lock is released too, and the huge carbon-fibre panel – the largest Porsche has ever made, and weighing just 10kg – lifts out and back on struts, the hood simply pushed into its stowage area underneath.

Pop down the cover and the Speedster is open, as it should be, the slightly steeper rake and lowering of the screen, as well as that rear, fundamentally changing the look of the 911. It’s very reminiscent of original 356 Speedsters, losing the sometimes-uncomfortable, heavy-looking rear of later 911 Speedster models. There’s also a hint of Carrera GT in its proportions, particularly that rear three-quarter view.

The black stone guards on the flanks fore of the rear wheels were a late – and necessary – addition, admits Preuninger, breaking the visual length while harking back to the G-series models.

You don’t have to have them, and if you’re after an even more retro style then there’s the Heritage Pack plus a numbered, customised Porsche Design timepiece, as is the norm these days.

Forget those, though. Preuninger leans in, says to press Auto Blip and the exhaust button and go and drive it. I argue I’ll do the footwork myself and leave the Auto Blip off, Preuninger laughing and saying: “It’s better than you,” before adding, “and me…”

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What Was It Like To Drive A 964 RS America When It Was New?

The 964 RS America is an enigmatic part of Porsche’s history. Americans weren’t exactly suffering from an over abundance of money in the early 1990s, and Porsche Cars North America was suffering as a result. Prices of Porsche cars increased dramatically as the US Dollar weakened, and Porsche needed a way to get lower-priced cars into dealer showrooms to draw folks back in. The bargain basement Porsche of the day was the 964 RS America, which stripped a bunch of expensive standard features from the Carrera 2, and dropped the price nearly $10,000.

These days RS America models regularly trade hands for around twice what a standard Carrera 2 can fetch. What is it about this car, what was once the least expensive 911 on the market, that calls out the big buyers? Well, for starters, only 701 examples were sold. The car came from the factory without leather seating, power steering, rear seats, or a speed-activated rear wing. It was a little bit lighter than a Carrera 2, but less than 100 pounds differentiated the two. The manual steering rack provided slightly more feedback to the driver, but I’ve never known a Carrera 2 to be a particularly numb experience to begin with. But it doesn’t have any more power or higher revving engine or any of that. So it pretty much boils down to rarity.

This video below gives us a look at what the contemporary Motorweek program thought of the RS America in-period. They stuck Brian Redman behind the wheel and let him loose at Roebling Road in Savannah, Georgia, which is always good for a few laughs. Brian seemed to have liked the experience, and the review team decided that the loss of standard equipment was a fair trade for the low down price. Back in 1993 the less-than-Carrera-2 price made a lot of sense. Today, the double-a-Carrera-2 price seems absurd.

What do you think? Does the RS name on this car inspire envy in your heart, or are you fine with a bog standard Carrera 2?

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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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