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Porsche 911 2.4S v 2.7 Carrera: changing of the guard

The end of the oil crisis, the Watergate scandal and The Rumble in the Jungle. What do they have in common? All three took place in 1974, the halfway point of the Seventies. While this trio of events may have defined the year for many, Porsche fanatics will remember 1974 as the year that redefined what a 911 looked like.

Two years earlier, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (the section of the US Department of Transportation responsible for writing safety standards) introduced new bumper regulations.

However, the legislation wasn’t intended to improve safety. Instead, highlighted by the arrival of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act in October 1972, the changes were designed to reduce repair costs for consumers in the event of a low-speed accident.

White Porsche 911 2.4S

By the time of the 1974 model year, both the front and rear bumpers of new cars in the United States had to be capable of withstanding a 5mph collision without causing damage to lights or the engine.

Like most European manufacturers, Porsche was faced with the prospect of having its cars outlawed stateside if it didn’t make the necessary changes. As with the 356 before it, the 911 had been a perennially successful seller in the US; Zuffenhausen couldn’t afford to not make the changes. The G-Series was born.

Blocky protrusions suddenly sprouted at either end of the smooth silhouette that sports car fans had adored since first setting eyes on it at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Orange Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera

Porsche’s designers, led by Wolfgang Möbius, managed to integrate the new bumpers better than many manufacturers, but the changes still rankled some for spoiling the aesthetic purity of the previous generation of 911s. Yet the updated fenders weren’t the only changes made to Porsche’s flagship car for 1974.

From its introduction in 1967, the 911S was king of the Porsche hill, providing Zuffenhausen enthusiasts with a heady mix of power and comfort.

As we found in issue 120, the 2.0-litre S was an accomplished tourer (though was lacking in big bore thrills), while the 2.2 S of 1970-71 exponentially upped the performance stakes, but could have benefitted from some extra refinement.

To read our 2.4S v 2.7 Carrera head-to-head in full, pick up Total 911 issue 132 in store now. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery or download it straight to your digital device.

Porsche 911 2.4S

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Sales debate: Do classic open-top 911s make sensible investments?

For years, when it came to investing in a classic Porsche 911, the ideal specification was simple: it had to be a manual, and it had to be a Coupe. Recently though, prices for open-top 911s have strengthened, especially at the prestige automotive auctions. Does this now make them sensible investments?

“It depends if you’re referring to Targas or Cabriolets,” explains Alan Drayson, proprietor of Canford Classics and a man better qualified to talk about the classic Porsche market than most.

Right-hand drive Targas are “now quite sought after,” Drayson says, partially thanks to their rarity. “The resurgence of the 991 Targa seems to have really opened the possibilities of what can be achieved, specifically the values.”

By comparison, he points out that “Cabriolet values – the later SCs and the 3.2s – are still a little bit less as people are still swaying toward the Coupe.” Price-wise, the earlier cars – the soft-window Targas – are doing especially well, “but then you’ve entered into left-hand drive territory,” Drayson explains.

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“It’s a slightly different market and, if you look in Europe (especially Germany) it’s a stronger market there than it is here for Targas. It was definitely the UK that had a stronger sense of swaying away from the Targa.”

While it goes without saying that interest in Targas – and all 911s, for that matter – picks up heading into summer, Canford Classics has experienced a noticeable rise in customers searching specifically for open-top cars:

“It was also seen as the weaker younger brother – ‘I’ll have one if that’s all that’s going’ – but we’re certainly seeing people approaching us, looking particularly for a Targa,” says Drayson.

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A potentially more significant marker that the open-top market is strengthening though is that Canford is restoring more Targas than before: “We’ve got a ’76 Targa S that’s in for a full restoration. That’s never been known of before.

It’s a sign of what values are doing and what people think are the values of the cars. If he’s willing to invest £50,000 in his car, by no means does it mean it’s worth £50,000 plus the value of the car, but he still sees it fit to invest that money.”

As Drayson points out, most classic Coupes aren’t used all year round so, with the added sensory experiences of the 911 Targa, now is definitely the time to start exploring your alfresco options.

For market advice on any generation or style of Porsche 911, check out our full selection of sales debates, where we ask the 911 experts the pertinent market questions so you don’t have to.

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Porsche 911 SC: ultimate guide

You don’t need to spend long browsing the internet or flicking through the classic car publications to find commentators extolling the virtues of air-cooled 911s, and more specifically the early cars and the iconic 3.2 Carrera.

They’re not wrong, of course – both are sought after today – but there’s one model that tends to get forgotten, and that’s the car you see here. Between 1978 and 1983 the SC was the only normally aspirated 911 you could buy, its only company in the range being the legendary 3.3 Turbo.

Therefore, if you wanted something less ballistic and less hardcore than the Turbo for use on a daily basis then it had to be the SC – and that’s not a bad thing at all.

Porsche 911 SC interior

Not everyone was thrilled with the new arrival, though, and the main bone of contention was the power output. The outgoing 3.0-litre model had managed a useful 200 horsepower or so, while the SC arrived on the market with a 180-horsepower version of the flat six, and frankly that wasn’t the sort of progress most 911 buyers were looking for.

However, it would benefit from power boosts in the following years, so for now let’s concentrate on that original powerplant. The 930/03 unit that could trace its lineage back to the awesome 930 Turbo was constructed around a light alloy crankcase and Nikasil bored cylinders that were fashioned from aluminium rather than magnesium, and was fitted with a forged-steel crankshaft with eight main bearings.

Porsche 911 SC engine

The 2,994cc capacity came courtesy of a 95-millimetre bore and 70.4-millimetre stroke and there was a single overhead camshaft per bank that operated two valves per cylinder.

Also new for the SC was a duplex chain for the camshaft drive with spring-loaded tensioners, although in an effort to improve reliability Porsche introduced a revised tensioner idler arm for 1980 – the hydraulic system adopted for the 3.2 Carrera would fi nally banish the problems for good.

To read our complete Porsche 911 SC compendium, pick up issue 127 in store now. Hurry though, we’ve already sold out online. If you prefer your magazines digitally, download your copy here.

Porsche 911 SC impact bumper

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Pop art Porsche 911S to go under the hammer

The 2.4-litre Porsche 911S owned for more than 30 years by Richard Hamilton – the ‘father of pop art’ – is to go under the hammer at Bonhams’ Goodwood Festival of Speed sale at the end of the month.

Hamilton – designer of The Beatles’ eponymous ninth studio album (known as ‘The White Album’) – grew up around luxury cars thanks to his father’s job as a demonstration driver for a London showroom.

According to Tim Schofield, Bonhams UK’s Head of Motor Cars, Hamilton was taken by the 911’s aesthetical purity. “He [Hamilton] reportedly said that his Porsche 911 was such a perfect design, unadorned by spoilers or unsightly accessories.”

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Purchased new by Hamilton in 1973, the Porsche 911 2.4S passed into the care of his son after three decades of use before it was subject to a complete restoration to Concours standard in the spring of 2013.

Now, with the two-year work finished, the right-hand drive car has been renovated to better-than-showroom condition and will be offered at the sale (held on 26 June at Goodwood) with its original ‘RGO 6L’ registration.

Bonhams have placed an estimate on this particular Porsche 911 2.4S of £250,000-£300,000, almost double the estimate of another (left-hand drive) 1973 911S that will also go under than hammer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed sale.

For all the latest Porsche 911 auction news, make sure to bookmark Total911.com now.

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Sales debate: Are there any classic Porsche 911s to avoid?

For the last few years, air-cooled 911 prices have been rising across the board, from the 2.0-litre short-wheelbase Porsches that started the legend to the swansong era cars of the 993.

With the market driven particularly vigorously by the 50th anniversary two years ago, all ilk of classic 911s seem to be providing sure-fire returns. But, is such a sweeping statement actually true? Or are there classic 911s to avoid at the moment?

“No, I don’t think there is an early 911 to avoid,” Lee Maxted-Page, proprietor of Maxted-Page & Prill confirms. “It’s all moving up (at slightly different rates). I think buying anything is a wise investment on both a personal and a financial level.” Maxted-Page points out that certain cars may have already started to level out price-wise however, he “certainly can’t see any going down [in value]”.

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Another seasoned Porsche expert, Mark Sumpter – head of independent specialist, Paragon – confirms “there is not one to avoid.” However, he explains how “we’re starting to see gaps between certain models”. With air-cooled Porsche prices seeing huge premiums, buyers are less willing to compromise on specification, something Sumpter feels will cause a divide in the market.

“Look at 964s, for instance. All [Carreras] were always about the same price. If you draw a line in the sand at some point in the past, when they were £15,000, it didn’t matter if the car was a Targa Tiptronic or a manual Coupe.”

“Now you’re starting to see bigger differences between things like Tiptronics and manuals. Whereas this is currently 25 per cent, I reckon that it will be 100 per cent dearer [in a few years],” Sumpter continues. “I think that a 964 Carrera 2 Coupe manual will soon be a £60,000 car, and a Tiptronic will be £30,000.”

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Another big differentiator is the quality of the cars. Both Maxted-Page and Sumpter agree that condition and history will have an effect on your investment in the long term.

“Buyers are becoming more selective again, meaning that the best examples are still selling for top prices but that lesser cars are being valued, quite rightly, for less,” Maxted-Page explains.

With many people deciding to hang onto their air-cooled 911s at the moment, the problem therefore isn’t choosing which classic model to invest in. Instead, it is sorting the wheat from the chaff and ensuring that you buy the best possible example.

For market advice on any generation or style of Porsche 911, check out our full selection of sales debates, where we ask the 911 experts the pertinent market questions so you don’t have to.

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