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New Porsche 992 Cabriolet revealed

Less than six weeks after the launch of the 992 generation 911, Porsche has unveiled the open-topped version of its eighth generation sports car icon. As with its Coupe brothers, the Cabriolet has been released in Carrera S and Carrera 4S guise with PDK-only for now, the Carrera and Carrera 4 version with manual gearbox arriving later this year.

The Porsche 992 Cabriolet uses a similar kinetic system to the 991 before it, again operable at speeds of up to 30mph, though opening and closing time of the roof is now slightly quicker at 12 seconds. The roof system, which successfully maintains the form of the Coupe variant when covering the interior, again features an integrated (and heated) glass rear screen, now relying on lightweight yet sturdy magnesium bows to stop the roof from ballooning at high speeds.

This is necessary because the Porsche 992 Cabriolet has a top speed of 190mph in Carrera S form (188mph for the 4S), making it a very, very fast open-topped Porsche. It is the all-wheel-drive 992 which has the upper hand in the sprint stakes though, managing a 0-62mph time of just 3.6-seconds with optional Sport Chrono Package (the 2S’s time is 3.7-seconds).

The 2019 992 Cabriolet’s engine is exactly the same as that found in the 992 Coupes, its 3.0-litre ‘9A2 evo’ flat six producing 450hp and 530Nm torque. Both Cabriolets also withhold the widebody treatment rolled out for every 992-generation 911, its full-width light bar and staggered 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels also finding their way onto the Cabriolet which, for the first time, features an optional Sports PASM chassis, lowering the car by 10mm.

Prices for the rear-driven Carrera S Cabriolet start from £102,000 in the UK, its all-wheel-drive Carrera 4S stablemate available from £108,000. We prefer Coupe 911s here at Total 911, though with seamless lines, stunning performance and breathtaking aesthetical appeal, the 992 Cabriolet looks set to be the most convincing of its kind to date.

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997 GT3 v GT3 RS: Sharkwerks 4.1s

Engine displacement is everything in the US. The home of the Hemi is also the land where big V8s are shoehorned into just about everything, whether it’s for the school run or the race track. Bigger is supposedly better when it comes to cars, this a heavily enriched ideology ingrained into many aspects of general US society.

However, in the world of Porsche, superior engine size has never formed part of the agenda. While Lamborghini’s first car in 1963 was the 3.5-litre, V12 350GT, for example, Porsche’s original 911 had a measly 2.0-litre flat six. Lamborghini still uses the V12 in its Aventador today, while Audi’s R8 is powered by a 5.0-litre V10, and Ferrari’s V8 and V12 powerplants are considered legendary among the wider car enthusiast population. Despite this the plucky 911 sports car has continued to battle successfully against its bigger-engined rivals on circuit, sticking fiercely to its winning recipe of a robust flat six and an exquisite chassis.

It is this approach which Alex Ross, owner of Californian Porsche tuners SharkWerks, has always found favour with. British born, his extracurricular indulgence in Lotus is therefore forgiveable, but the overachieving 911 has always been the primary source of his motoring aspirations. This, fused with a hint of that ‘bigger is better’ American way, is what has given us the SharkWerks 4.1.

Long-time readers of Total 911 will already know of the prowess of the one-of-four Gulf-inspired Rennsport in our pictures, which we first featured
in early 2015. Acquired in 2011 before being ‘run in’ with a 2,600-mile jaunt across the USA, Alex 
and the SharkWerks team found tuning potential in its 3.8-litre Mezger engine, this becoming the trailblazer for its pioneering 4.1-litre programme. It all started before Porsche had even released its own 997 GT3 RS 4.0 – we told you the States does it bigger and better.

The fruits of more than five years of development includes a partnership with EVOMS to produce a race-spec, lightweight billet 80.44mm crank, CNC machined from billet 4340 high-alloy steel and tested to more than 9,500rpm, as well as a 104.5mm bore piston and cylinder set. The cylinders use steel liners and the pistons are Teflon-coated with anti-wear skirts and titanium wrist pins, saving 20 grams per piston and wrist pin combo against factory. In terms of top end, SharkWerks’ engine has ‘Hammerhead’ Shark-spec headwork along with race-style valve guides for longevity and cam adjuster strengthening, with everything balanced and blueprinted. A custom multi-indexed rotary-style oil pump is used, and the camshafts are SharkWerks/EVOMS spec.

The engine case has been race-prepped with, among other things, improved oiling techniques according to SharkWerks’ own wizardry. This is all partnered to EVOMSit ECU tuning; an RS 4.0-litre clutch pack, though Alex says the original factory set-up does work; a choice of SharkWerks lightweight street or track exhaust, and a host of chassis upgrades including Brembo GT brakes, Bilstein Clubsport double adjustable coilovers, RSS rear adjustable links, bump steer kit, thrust arm bushings and lower control arms, plus some aerodynamic adjustments.

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1974 2.7 911: the new standard

The year 1974 represented great change for Porsche. After a decade of constant fettling of its 911, where it witnessed increases in wheelbase, model designations, engine capacity and specification options, Zuffenhausen decided to ring the changes in what was the first major refresh of the car’s now famous history.

Most notably from the outset, those slender lines associated with Butzi’s initial 911 design were altered by Tony Lapine and his team, the addition of impact bumpers at both the front and rear of the car a regulatory necessity rather than a creative endeavour. The 911 needed to adopt impact bumpers to satisfy US crash-safety regulations, and though their presence unquestionably disrupted the flow of the 911’s appearance, it truly was a case of adapt or die. The latter was out the question, as it had by now gained an envious reputation as a robust sports car capable of outgunning its bigger motorsporting rivals.

The engine too was updated, the entire line-up ditching the 2.4-litre engine capacity of the F-series cars in favour of the 2.7-litre capacity used by the 1973 Carrera RS. Black window trim was retained from that first 911 Rennsport for the top-spec cars, with door handles and mirrors also now finished in black instead of chrome. There were minor upgrades to the interior too, including the incorporation of headrests into a one-piece seat for the first time.

Aside from changing the body and engine, Porsche also took the opportunity to revamp its entire 911 model line-up. Three cars would remain – until, of course, the Turbo arrived a year later in 1975 – but the top-spec 911S of the F-series replaced the doomed 911E as the middle offering, while the 911 Carrera became the new jewel of Porsche’s showroom. At the other end the T was scrapped entirely, the entry-level car now simply referred to as the base 911 for this new chapter of Neunelfer.

However, while the pre-impact bumper 911T is a fairly sought-after classic today for the purity of its lines, its successor in the 2.7 911 isn’t generally looked at with a similar fondness. At face value this is understandable. The base 2.7 car may be more powerful than the 911T by 25bhp in US-spec, but it’s heavier by around 50kg too, largely cancelling out any straight-line performance advantage, and the G-series cars just don’t possess the purity in appearance of the early, pre-impact bumper models. However, there are fewer 2.7 911s on the planet than 911Ts, with a quoted 9,320 2.7s built in both Coupe and Targa body styles over the 1974 and 1975 model years, while the 911T was produced 16,933 times between 1972 and 1973.

Despite this, the base 2.7 has largely been forgotten in the classic marketplace, it considered less desirable than the T before it or indeed the cars succeeding it, such as the heavier SC or 3.2 Carrera. It’s not like 1974 is an unpopular year of production either: the top-of-the-range 2.7 Carrera is revered as a genuine collector’s car for its credentials as a ‘secret RS’, the 3.0-litre RSs of the same model year generally considered to be a superior car to the halo 2.7 RS. It’s fair to say though the mid-spec 911S has suffered a similar fate to the base 911 in being largely forgotten. Has an injustice been served?

 

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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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991.2 G2 RS Clubsport unveiled

Porsche might have chosen LA to reveal its new 992 series Carrera, but the 991 isn’t going down quietly, having one last hurrah in the form of the GT2 RS Clubsport. A track-only 200 limited-run special, the GT2 RS Clubsport takes the already mighty GT2 RS and strips it for the track, with a single Recaro bucket seat with a six-point harness, instrumentation from the GT3 R racer, an air jack system with three lifts and plumbed in fire extinguisher system. The fuel tank has been enlarged, the Clubsport coming with a 115 litre FT3 safety fuel cell which is filled through the bonnet.

That bonnet, like the engine cover is made of carbon fibre, these fitted in place on the Clubsport with quick release hatches for easy access at track. Above the driver’s seat there’s an escape hatch in the carbon fibre roof, in accordance with FIA regulations. Under that removable engine cover is the same 3.8-litre turbocharged flat-six as the road car, situated on rigid mounts.

Porsche is quoting the power at 700hp, though that’s likely to be conservative, it easier to simply quote the road car’s figure than re-homologate the numbers for the Clubsport. The 100 cell cat and new centre-exiting exhaust is certain to have liberated more power from the already ludicrous output of the GT2 RS.

Visually the Clubsport gains an even more aggressive look, with larger air intakes at the front a larger rear wing situated higher than its road relative and rides on Clubsport specific adjustable suspension with 3-way racing dampers, reinforced tie-rods ball joints throughout. The one-piece lightweight alloy wheels of 10.5J x 18 front and 12.5J x 18 rear wheels feature a single centre-lock nut.

The interior is pure race car, with the single Recaro bucket seat, welded-in cage, a Cosworth ICD with integrated data logger, a lap trigger and Porsche Track Precision Race App and a Sport Chrono Clock. The boost gauge is given a ‘vintage’ finish, while the carbon fibre steering wheel is removable, the centre console featuring an emergency cut off and map switches to adjust the ABS, ESC, TC and switch between different tyre circumferences. Air conditioning is retained in the otherwise stripped interior.

Braking is taken care of by six-piston monobloc racing callipers on the front axle grabbing 390mm diameter steel brake discs, the rear having a four-piston monobloc racing calliper and 380mm discs. Two separate brake circuits feature for the front and rear axles allowing the driver to adjust the brake balance as required.

The 7-speed PDK transmission is retained, it featuring a dual mass flywheel with internal pressurised oil lubrication and a limited-slip differential optimised for racing. Despite the fitment of a cage the Clubsport drops in weight, Porsche quoting a kerbweight of 1,390kg.

Eligible to run at selected race meetings or club motor sport, Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars said: “For the upcoming years, our customers will not only race the GT2 RS Clubsport on track days but also at international motor racing events. We are currently holding very productive talks with the race organiser SRO”.

Just 200 will be built, it likely that if you’ve not already secured an allocation then you’ll not be able to have one, even if you have the €405,000 (before local VAT) Porsche is asking for it. Deliveries start from May 2019, so if you want to win any club races in your current machinery then you’d better get busy before the GT2 RS Clubsport arrives….

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