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Petrolicious.com’s Latest Video on a Modified Porsche 964 C2, “You’ll Hear The Growler From A Mile Away”

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Porsche Speedsters: 356 to 997 driven

Speedster: undoubtedly the nine coolest letters in the Porsche lexicon. One mention of this legendary Zuffenhausen moniker brings to mind images of the glamour of the Hollywood scene in the Fifties.

First appearing in pre-A 356 form in 1954, the Speedster became intrinsically linked with American car culture and Porsche’s formative years. However, the iconic status garnered by the original car meant that the Porsche Speedster sub-brand soon transcended its early US-based roots.

Over three decades after the last production 356A Speedster shell rolled out of Stuttgart’s Karosseriewerk Reutter, the alternative open-top Porsche was reborn on the 911 Carrera 3.2 platform.

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Zuffenhausen’s board had recognised that the company’s heritage needed to be celebrated and ever since, the Speedster has become a limited edition addition to the 911 range.

While it may have been intended for the American market, the decision to reimagine the Speedster aesthetic on certain generations of 911 has seen Stuttgart create some of the most sought after cars in the company’s history.

Now, for the first time, we’ve gathered all four generations back together to chart the Speedster’s storied history and get behind the wheel of the coolest quartet of Porsches ever created.

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We start in 1950 when Porsche’s sole US importer, Max Hoffmann, requested a special model of the 356 to appeal to the burgeoning postwar US market. A year later, Porsche presented the aluminium-bodied Type 540 to Hoffmann.

Known as the America Roadster, the car was a commercial failure with only 17 sold when it was released in 1952. It’s $4,600 list price was simply too high to compete with the influx of British and American sports cars that were flooding the market.

With America still accounting for 33 per cent of all 356 sales, though, Hoffmann persisted. The result was the pre-A 356 Speedster, a cut-price, low spec sports car designed with sporting pretensions.

To read our full history and test drive of every production Porsche Speedster, pick up Total 911 issue 129 in store. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.

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Harry’s Garage Video- A Buying Guide on a 964 RS and a 911S 2.4, Both Headed to this Month’s Silverstone Auction

Evo’s Harry Metcalfe of the Harry’s Garage video series takes an upclose look at these two Porsche 911s, both set to sell at the upcoming Silverstone Auction this month. In the end, he’d go for the 911S 2.4 and we’d have chosen the 964RS, so we’re good here, yeah…

 

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Total 911’s top five Porsche 964s

Billed at its release as “the 911 for the next 25 years,” the 964 generation of Porsche 911 has enjoyed a particularly potted history. Unloved for years, only since 2012 has the 964 truly won universal acclaim among enthusiasts as a classic 911 to have. Values have rocketed immeasurably in that amount of time and interest remains very high among collectors even for Carrera Cabriolet and Targa examples – unthinkable as recently as 2011. However, which of the fourteen 964 models can claim to be the greatest? Here’s our top five:

 

5) Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6

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The 3.3-litre 964 Turbo may have brought forced induction into the new new generation of 911, but under that revised body shell was essentially the same unit as found in the venerable 930. It wasn’t until near the end of 964 production in 1993 that Porsche finally updated the Turbo engine with an increased capacity, helping to raise power by 40bhp over the 3.3-litre Turbo. The new Turbo package was resplendent in a wide body, which was lowered by 20 millimetres and sitting over 18-inch Speedline wheels.

 

4) Porsche 964 C2 Speedster

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As we’ve discovered in the latest issue of Total 911, a Speedster makes for a delightful twist to the 911 driver experience, enlightening the senses with the purest from of al-fresco driving. Though performance isn’t central to the 964 Speedster it’s still lavished with an RS-spec interior, while the chopped windscreen and double-bubble glass fibre panel are perhaps the only acceptable deviation from the 911’s conventional silhouette. If you can unearth a rare wide-bodied example then you’ve a very sought-after 911 on your hands.

 

3) Porsche 964 Turbo S

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Built by Porsche’s Exclusive department, the 964 Turbo S is the fastest single-turbo production 911 ever made. Colloquially labelled as a “Turbocharged Rennsport”, the car mated a 381bhp turbocharged flat six engine (the extra 61bhp came as a result of a new turbo and more boost) to a chassis that enjoyed substantial weight saving for a final kerb weight of 1,290kg. A mere 81 examples were built, making this a very rare classic Porsche.

 

2) Porsche 964 3.8 RS

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Our drive of the Carrera RS in issue 128 highlighted just how much we adore this exquisite driver’s car in 3.6-litre form (though we wouldn’t pay £200,000 for one). In 3.8-litre guise you’re guaranteed extra power (up 40 to 300bhp over the 3.6) and infinitely more exclusivity: only 55 were made. If you can get your hands on one of these lightweight Turbo-bodied Rennsports you’ll have one of the most exhilarating Porsche 911s in your stable.

 

1) Porsche 964 Carrera 4 Lightweight

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No 964 is as hardcore as the 964 Carrera 4 Leichtbau. Created by 911 competition supremo Jurgen Barth, the car is stripped back to the bones and features the manually adjustable all-wheel-drive from the Paris-Dakar 953 no less, plus a short-ratio five-speed gearbox also derived from the 953. Its lightweight name was secured after managing to shed 350 kilograms over a 964 C4, weighing in at just 1,100kg. The ultimate 964 is also one of the rarest: just 22 were made.

Do you agree with our choices? Which model of Porsche 964 is your favourite? Join the debate in the comments below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

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Why you really need to try one of Porsche’s Speedsters

As you may have guessed from the cover, the latest issue of Total 911 (released yesterday) is dedicated to Porsche’s four generations of Speedster, the iconic open-top sports car that helped cement the company’s legend in the United States of America.

I will admit however, that before our four-way mega test was arranged, the Speedster concept left me completely nonplussed. Sure the original 356 was as cool as an Eskimo’s icebox but I thought the 911’s the followed were mere pastiches of the initial concept.

What’s more, on paper, the 3.2, 964 and 997 iterations of the Speedster looked, to my eye, ungainly, with the double-hump cover lending too much visual weight to the 911’s already plump rear end. If you wanted an open-top Porsche, you’d just buy a Cabriolet or Targa, wouldn’t you?

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Yet, it didn’t take long to change my mind. First off, from Max Hoffmann badgering Porsche for a cut-price 356, to Exclusive’s anniversary celebrations with the 997 version, researching the Speedster’s history threw up many intriguing tales and titbits.

Of course, incredible backstories are almost par for the course with many of Porsche’s sports cars (especially their more limited edition examples) so the quartet of Speedsters still had to prove themselves on the road, something I was adamant they would struggle to do.

From first stepping foot inside the 3.2 Speedster though – my first ever taste of this iconic model – I knew I was onto something special. Seeing it the metal, the 3.2’s curves are truly done justice, while peering out of that lowered windscreen is a surreal experience.

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From my first mile behind the wheel, I simply couldn’t contain the smile on my face. I don’t think any 911 has given me more immediate joy than the 3.2 Speedster. I certainly didn’t think I’d be writing that sentence when the plan to get all four generations together was first formulated.

Undeniably, the 356 is the crème de la crème of the Speedster world, but the 911s that have followed are remarkably entertaining, not just as pieces of history but as actual automotive engineering.

Driving them unlocks a cavernous wealth of character; despite appearing to wear their hearts on their sleeves, the Speedster quartet need to be experienced first-hand to be truly understood. So if you get the chance, jump behind the wheel. You won’t regret it.

If you want to read more about the Speedster’s lineage and find out what all four generations are like to drive, pick up Total 911 issue 129 in store now. Alternatively, order your copy online, or download it straight to your digital device. 

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