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Weight-saving: A Porsche 911 history

The idea of a lightweight Porsche 911 is almost as old as the iconic flat-six sports car itself. In 1967, as the era of short-wheelbase 911s drew to a close, Zuffenhuasen created the 911R.

Initially intended for production GT racing homologation, only 24 (including prototypes) were built however, the necessary 500 examples were never made and the car was discontinued after the 1967 season.

Featuring just three of the famous five dials on the dashboard, a liberal amount of fibreglass bodywork and Perspex windows, the 911R weighed just 800kg, making the standard 911L look positively obese at 1,080kg.

Porsche 911 Carrera RS M471

The next lightweight 911 came some six years later with the introduction of the M471-specification 1973 911 Carrera 2.7 RS, again intended for motorsport. The lack of equipment in the ‘Sport’ variant reduced the car’s weight to 975kg, a 100kg saving over the 1075kg ‘Touring’.

While no car would ever match the 911R’s featherweight physique, the 1974 911 Carrera RS with its 3.0-litre engine would come close, hitting the scales at 900kg thanks to thin glass, fibreglass panels and a magnesium engine casing.

This was the last production 911 to leave the factory at under a ton, with the 911 SC RS and 3.2 Clubsport growing to 1,050kg and 1,160kg respectively, the latter featuring a relatively small saving of just 50kg over the standard 911 3.2 Carrera.

964 C4 Lightweight

Into the Nineties, the standard 964 grew to a hefty 1,450kg thanks to the introduction of a four-wheel drive system. However, under the guidance of Jürgen Barth, Weissach was able to strip that back to just 1,100kg in the super rare 964 Carrera 4 Leichtbau (‘Light build’).

The original 964 RS was a further 130kg heavier upon its introduction in 1991, though 20kg was saved as the 3.8-litre version slimmed down to 1,210kg in 1993, continuing the tradition of lightweight Rennsport 911s bred for the race track.

Even the 911 Turbo wasn’t averse to some weight loss during the 964 generation as the 3.3-litre Turbo S featured 180kg of shaved mass compared to its relatively heavy, 1,470kg 964 Turbo 3.3.

Porsche 964 Turbo S

The 993 generation pushed further skywards in terms of weights, before the 996 GT3 pushed through the 1,300kg barrier while signalling a new age of weight saving. No longer was it solely the remit of 911 RSs as Porsche expanded its racing-inspired road range.

From the 996 GT3 RS to the first generation 997 GT3 RS 3.6, the lightest 911 in the range grew from 1,360kg to 1,375kg, though the last two generations of Rennsport have seen the scales dip backwards, culminating in the 1,360kg Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0.

While the 991’s extensive use of aluminium has seen the Carreras loose weight compared to their 997.2 predecessors, the 991 GT3 has reached a hefty 1,430kg thanks to the PDK gearbox and increased platform size. Where does this leave us? We should find out next year with the release of the 991 GT3 RS.

For more historical online features, check out our full selection of ‘Porsche 911 history’ articles now.

Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0

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Total 911’s weekly wallpaper giveaway – 1 November

There have been plenty of stories that have engaged your attention this week, from our Porsche 964 vs. 3.2 Carrera battle, to our rundown of the eight rarest factory-built 911s ever. Now, we’ve assembled four stunning wallpapers for you to download. Simply enlarge your favourite (or favourites) and save to your chosen device.

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The week started with these captivating Porsche 991 GT3 cutaways. We can’t take our eyes away…

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The current issue of Total 911 features this evocative, late Eighties head-to-head. Which would you choose?

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Here is Magnus Walker’s 930 collection in all its glory. After selling one, he’s now down to just four classic 911 Turbos.

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Porsche’s featherweight 911R is fourth on the list of rarest factory-produced 911. But what is number one?

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Porsche 911 anniversary editions: a celebration of Porsche

The Porsche 911 has been on some journey. A monumental half-century of production has seen more than 820,000 models leave through the front doors at Zuffenhausen and Weissach and delivered all over the globe.

What’s more, the race cars leave the latter accounting for over 20,000 race victories – and counting, as our new columnists and Porsche racing drivers Nick Tandy, Ben Barker and Josh Webster will tell you.

Among the plethora of racing disciplines that the 911 has conquered – as documented in our feature back in issue 107 – Ferry Porsche’s darling sports car has enjoyed a throng of special variations coming to market along the way, with a host of models propelled into the halcyon realms of popularity soon after.

Porsche 964 30 Jahre

Just cast your mind back over stellar flat-six sports cars like the 911S, Carrera RS and the early 911 Turbo, to name but a few. On top of that, there have been myriad special editions to whet the appetites of even the most eloquent Porsche connoisseurs.

Think the 911 Speedster, 930 LE, 930 SE, 997 GT3 RS 4.0, 997 Sport Classic – the list is endless.

And yet, with such a decorated tapestry lavishing this sports car’s history, Porsche has kept to task in marking this peerless 50th anniversary of production in the best way possible: with a new 911.

Porsche 996 40 Jahre

Much like the 30th anniversary in 1993 and the 40th in 2003, Zuffenhausen has produced a special edition of the current 911 to celebrate another decade of existence.

And so to our photoshoot with the three anniversary 911s, 2,000 feet above sea level in the heart of the Lake District. The temperature has dipped below freezing and the relentless Northern gales are hammering at the otherwise picturesque landscape.

To read more of our evocative anniversary road trip, pick up a copy of Total 911 issue 112, now available for digital download only thanks to its popularity. For more digital-only titles, check out our special generation editions, available now through our iTunes and Android newsstand apps.

Porsche 911 anniversary editions
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40 years of the Porsche 911 Turbo

Porsche wasn’t the first manufacturer to release a turbocharged, petrol-engined road car. That accolade falls to the Chevrolet Monza, released in 1963. In fact, Porsche wasn’t even the first German manufacturer to achieve that feat, with BMW’s 2002 Turbo beating the 911 Turbo to market by a single year.

However, while other car makers rushed to implement a technology used in the aeronautical and maritime industries since the start of the 20th Century in their production vehicles, the board at Porsche AG turned to Weissach’s racing department to prove the forced-induction philosophy in the most unrelenting of arenas: the race track.

After the 917 was ruled out of international competition for 1972, Porsche turned its attention to a turbocharged version of the prototype designed to rule the US-based CanAm series – and rule it did.

Porsche 930 3.0 3.3

The 917/10 and its Penske-developed successor, the 917/30, were untouchable in 1972-73. Porsche was convinced of the concept, producing the 911 RSR Turbo 2.1 before, in 1974, an icon was born with the release of the Porsche 911 Turbo road car, popularly known as the 930 3.0.

This was a definite case of motorsport improving the breed, as the lessons learnt in the 1,000bhp+ CanAm monsters translated into the 930 3.0, earning its place as the fastest-accelerating road car ever produced upon its release to the public in 1975.

Only six years before, man had set foot on the Moon for the first time, and now here was a sports car truly worthy of the space age.

Porsche 964 993 Turbo

Thanks to its 2,994cc capacity and a single Kühnle, Kopp & Kausch turbocharger, the first 911 Turbo was capable of sprinting from standstill to 100kph (62mph) in 5.5 seconds.

Its 260bhp output may sound meagre today, but this was a car that enjoyed nearly 25 per cent more power than the previous range-topping 911 Carrera 2.7 (its engine taken from the fabled 1973 RS).

To read more about every generation of the legendary Porsche 911 Turbo, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 116 in store now. Alternatively, you can order a copy online or download it to your digital device.

Porsche 911 Turbo
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