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Porsche 993: the 911 that had to succeed

In retrospect, it’s easy to say Porsche’s mistake was its decision to keep the G-series 911 in production for 15 years, but from the company’s point of view, through the early 1980s the 911 was selling ever more strongly.

Regular updates and revisions ensured it remained at the top of the performance stakes. The robustness which made it a car you could count on day after day meant that despite its archaisms, it was still the ultimate road and track sports car.

However, within Porsche it was also a source of frustration to many of its engineers and designers keen to modernise it, dispensing, for example, with the torsion bar suspension and introducing assisted steering and a less idiosyncratic ventilation system. Journalists in other respects always well disposed towards the 911 observed it was becoming increasingly an enthusiast’s car, lacking broader appeal and depriving Porsche of a wider market.

The 928 launched in 1977 was supposed to address the GT segment of the market, but by the time the Vorstand had approved the next 911, Typ 964 in April 1984, sales of the 928 were already in decline. The 964 itself was a radical step in engineering terms – a completely new chassis and suspension which allowed fitment of ABS and assisted steering, a larger and more potent flat six, and four-wheel drive.

A conservative board, however, would not permit the designers to change anything above the axle line, which meant the 964, despite its revised front and rear bumpers, looked remarkably similar to its predecessor. Moreover its four-wheel-drive, such an innovation when Audi introduced the Quattro in 1981, was no longer a sensation, and early 964 buyers were able to confirm what the magazine testers had found, that Porsche’s fixed 2:1 rear/front torque split made the latest 911 an uninspiring understeerer.

The rear-drive C2 911 appeared a year later, but by then the damage had been done: in a generally morose market, and one which had halved in the US, clearly the 964 would not be the model to rescue an increasingly beleaguered Porsche.

A rolling of management heads saw new blood brought into the company. A former Weissach R&D engineer named Ulrich Bez was enticed from BMW Tech to become engineering boss, and he appointed his chief designer at BMW, Harm Lagaaij, another ex-Weissach man, to reinvigorate Porsche styling. These two were the impetus behind the next 911: the 993.

Bez was particularly critical of the 964’s crude ride and the C4’s handling, and Lagaaij’s remark when he arrived at Porsche’s design studios in October 1989 that there was “nothing going on” has gone into the history books. Work on 911 Typ 993 would start within weeks of the 964 C2 reaching the showrooms.

This time, a chastened Vorstand, which had pensioned off its managing, engineering and styling directors in short order, was prepared to offer Bez and Lagaaij more licence, and the pair took as much advantage as their still-constrained development budget permitted. 

Nevertheless, the new 911 represented a challenge: how could the new 993 retain its defining ‘Neunelfer-ness’ yet be endowed with a more modern appearance and wider appeal? 

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Porsche 911 RWB Backdated… Le rouge et le noir !

Backdating, restomod, custom, outlaw… On finit un peu par s’y perdre. Surtout que parfois, les styles se mélangent, chacun y voyant sa propre vision. Mais finalement, au delà du nom, de l’appellation ou je n’sais qu’elle étiquette à la con, l’essentiel c’est le résultat non ? La gueule, le poutrage de rétine… Et justement, la […]

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Slammed Porsche 964 Carrera 4 – Les russes en ont marre !

Quand je suis tombé sur cette Porsche 964 Carrera 4 simplement posée et chaussée, j’ai compris que les russes avaient eux aussi des problèmes avec ceux qui modifient leurs caisses. Non, ils ne se doivent pas se coltiner nos talibans de l’origine, au contraire, chez eux, ils modifient quasiment toutes les bagnoles, mais apparemment, ils […]

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New 2019 Porsche 911 revealed

We’re in San Francisco, California, in an underground parking garage of a hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s busy outside, the countless tourists distracted by the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and all the other amusements the City By The Bay offers. In the garage is a fleet of Porsche’s new 992, along with the odd Cayman and Boxster; Porsche’s engineers are in town, but they’re seeking a different kind of amusement. I’ll be with them for a day of testing, joining a convoy of four Carrera Ss undergoing some final checks prior to the board coming out for a final sign-off drive.

Porsche will launch the new 992 with the Carrera S and 4S Coupe in PDK form, with the Carrera and Carrera 4 following in 2019, its introduction also adding manual transmission to the entire line-up. The Cabriolet will join in 2019, while Porsche is also apace with its development of the GT and Turbo models. They’re not discussing those today, the team doing its best to distract attention from the prototype Turbo that’s lurking elsewhere here underground. As-yet-unconfirmed rumours suggest the Turbo S will deliver in excess of 650hp. The world’s gone mad.

Back to reality, though, the 992 Carrera S I’ll be jumping in the passenger seat of will be heading out of the city to the mountain roads around San Francisco. This part of the US is used due to the sizeable elevation changes it offers, the predictable climate and, in Alex Ernst’s words: “The aggressive local driving.” That relates specifically to the abrupt stop-start traffic, the on-off-on the throttle nature of freeway driving and the terrible, combed concrete surfaces on those freeways. That Porsche sells a considerable number of its annual production in California is no bad thing, either.

Ernst is very familiar with all of it; being the team leader of testing he’s been involved in every 911 since the 996. Joining his usual team of engineers today will be Matthias Hofstetter, director, powertrain product lines 911/718; Andreas Pröbstle, project manager, complete vehicle model lines 718/911, and ‘Mr 911’ himself, August Achleitner, vice president, product lines 911/718. And Total 911, of course.

It’s no surprise that the 992 is instantly familiar, the disguise fooling nobody. Porsche isn’t about to mess with the winning formula. The detailing is different, the camouflage doing little to mask the cool recessed structure of the rear lights, a red strip spanning the entire rear of the Carrera. That’ll be a feature on all, and it’ll be the same width, Achleitner saying that all Carreras will feature a wide body. Dimensionally the new Carrera and Carrera S will
be the same width as the outgoing 991 GTS. They’ll be some 5mm higher, and 20mm longer at the front – the latter for styling purposes. The rear track will match the GTS, though Porsche has upped the front track by 40mm.

That change, says Achleitner, “allows us to transmit more loading forces without a stiffer stabiliser. It enables us to lower the stiffness of the roll bar on the rear axle to transmit higher forces for accelerating out of a curve.” Filling the rear wheel arches in the Carrera S will be a 21-inch wheel with 305/30/ZR21 tyres, the front axle getting 20-inch alloys wearing 245/30 section rubber, the 992 being the first series Carrera to wear staggered wheel sizes. The body is lighter, too, Porsche using aluminium for the panel that begins at the A-pillar and runs over to the rear, it previously being steel, the doors and front wing being made of aluminium, too.

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Our Favorite Porsches On Ebay This Week: Volume 123

We’ve been compiling some amazing Porsche models on eBay for three years now, and we’ve seen some pretty astonishing examples pop up now and again. This week we’re distinctly aware that winter is right around the corner, so we’re going to focus on a string of all-wheel drive Porsches. Obviously it’s important to install winter tires if you live somewhere with inclement weather, but that all-wheel traction sure doesn’t hurt. 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 on eBay. That post is sent out to our mailing list of more than 17,000 Porsche owners and fans and is seen by 10s 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. 2010 Porsche Panamera Turbo For Sale

It wasn’t all that long ago that these were brand new six-figure cars. Depreciation in the luxury car segment means that you can now get one for just a smidge over half the original MSRP. Given that this car was likely to have been well cared for in its time on earth, so long as the service history is up to snuff, you can rest assured that it’ll function pretty well in your ownership as well. This example only has 50,000 miles on the odometer, and that 500-horsepower turbo V8 is known to be pretty stout through that mileage. It’s unlikely to ever appreciate, but boy it’ll be a fun ride while someone else has already taken the depreciation hit for you.

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

2. 2008 Porsche Cayenne Manual For Sale

This Cayenne has crossed a lot of miles at this point, over 100,000 miles in fact, but that it is equipped with the base model’s Volkswagen-sourced VR6 engine means the parts aren’t too expensive, and DIY service isn’t impossible. Normally it wouldn’t be worth it to expend effort on a base Cayenne, but this one is equipped with the rare manual-transmission. This would be an ideal winter Porsche mobile, if you were so inclined. Ground clearance is important in some places with lots of snowfall.

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

3. 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo For Sale

The 996 Turbo remains my favorite forced-induction car of the watercooled era. It’s simple and elegant and has aged quite well. It’s AWD system is a bit rudimentary compared to newer models, but that clunkiness is something of its charm. It’s far more advanced than earlier AWD 911s, and comfortable enough to be a daily driver. This model has been trending upward in recent years, and it’s time to climb on board before they explode out of the price range of mere mortals.

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

4. 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

There is nothing that looks quite like a 993 Widebody, and enthusiasm for the C4S is the backbone of the early beginnings of this very website. The C4S has a lot of the goodies from the 993 Turbo, including the widened suspension, brakes, and wheels, but with a gem of a naturally aspirated powertrain. When you’re driving around in the cold and snow, you want a linear powerband for predictable wheel slip in the messy stuff. Most would gasp at the prospect of driving a 993 C4S in the snow, but if you wash the undercarriage and use proper rust preventative sprays, you might be able to get away with it.

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

5. 1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet For Sale

As Porsche’s 964-generation 911 explodes in value, the Carrera 4 and Cabriolet have seemingly withstood that giant explosion for now. Even better, get the Carrera 4 with a drop-top, and it’s seen as undesirable to the level you’d think it had leprosy. Thinking about it this way, however, you can have an all-weather appropriate 911 in this car. There is almost nothing better than driving with the top down on a chilly day with the heat blowing hard. Imagine a mid-winter sunny day when the roads are cleared and the temperatures are higher than they’ve been for over a month. While everyone else is still trapped inside their tin-top cars, this Porsche can handle the occasional snow drift, and still give you that wind-in-the-hair experience.

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

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