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Sales Spotlight: Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Supersport

While it’s hard to beat the purity of the early Neunelfer’s silhouette, we’ve always had a soft spot for Turbo-look Porsche 911s. Helping to accentuate the 911’s business end, those flared rear arches just look right in our eyes.

But, while a widebody appeals to many, not everyone wants a 911 Turbo (and all the inflated running costs associated with Porsche’s top-of-the-range sports car). That’s why, for over 30 years, Weissach has offered Turbo-look variants of certain Carrera models.

The craze started in 1984, when Porsche unveiled the ‘M491’ option code. Ticking this particular check box when ordering a new 3.2 Carrera resulted in the car you see before you: the 911 Carrera 3.2 SSE.

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Currently for sale at esteemed independent specialist, Paragon, this particular Carrera Supersport (SSE is short for ‘Supersport Equipment’) is one of the rare right-hand drive examples sold into the UK market.

While buyers in the US (where the Turbo had been removed from sale) were won over by the SSE’s purposeful looks, ‘tea tray’ spoiler and 930 brakes and suspension, sales on Total 911’s shores were more modest with just 226 cars coming to the UK.

Finished in Jet Black (with a matching black leather interior), Paragon’s Carrera 3.2 SSE is more unassuming than many wide-hipped 911s however, the stealthy aesthetic – completed with body-coloured centres on the 16-inch Fuchs alloys – is part of this particular example’s charm.

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Built in 1988, this Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Supersport benefits from the later G50 five-speed gearbox, bringing with it a much improved shifting experience over the 915 ‘box found on early SSEs.

Paragon’s car also comes with a host of period options, including sports seats, headlamp washers, central locking and an electric sunroof. As you would expect of classic 911 that has completed just 68,604 miles, the black SSE looks immaculately presented.

For more information on this Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 SSE, or to see more of their Porsche 911 stock, check out independent specialist, Paragon’s website now.

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Driving an icon: Porsche 959 30th anniversary gallery

By now, you’ll no doubt have seen our Porsche 959 test drive and our look at the legacy left behind by Porsche’s original supercar. However, we didn’t need an excuse to share a few more shots from our 30th anniversary celebration of the 959.

On the day of our test drive, the elements threw everything at our Porsche 959 and, true to its remarkable technology, the hyper 911 proved more than a match. And, we think you’ll agree, it looked great while doing so:

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To read Lee’s Porsche 959 test drive in full, pick up Total 911 issue 142 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.

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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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Opinion: Is the Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera over-hyped?

Even to people with scant interest in cars, the 3.2 Carrera is instantly recognisable as a Porsche 911. For enthusiasts of a certain generation, the Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera is the 911, an icon among icons.

It holds a special place in the hearts of many Porsche fans, as shown by the rapidly appreciating values. Yet I cannot for the life of me understand why so mainly people hold the 3.2 Carrera in such high esteem.

With 70,044 examples sold between 1984 and 1989, the 3.2 Carrera is easily the most successful 911 ever in terms of sales but this came at a time when it was the only 911 in Porsche’s range.

The model’s success coincided with a large period of worldwide economic growth: the Eighties was boom time in many of Porsche’s biggest market. It was the era of the Yuppie and the 3.2 Carrera quickly became their symbol.

Does the 3.2 Carrera deserve its overwhelmingly positive reputation?

In my mind, the 3.2 Carrera’s sales figures are not a result of the car’s excellence though. Porsche could have put a bigger engine in the 911 SC and it would have sold just as well thanks to the growing affluence of the decade.

But, by being in the right place at the right time, the 3.2 Carrera sold in the tens of thousands, putting plenty of brand new Porsche 911s out onto the roads and forcing the car and its silhouette into the public’s consciousness. 26 years later, this is undoubtedly one of the reason’s behind its popularity.

On top of this, the Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera was the car that signalled the continuation of the neinelfer legacy after Peter Schutz famously overturned his predecessor’s plans to stop 911 production in 1981.

Everything 911 that has subsequently rolled out of Werks II has the 3.2 Carrera’s success to thank for its very existence meaning that, within Porsche circles especially, the 3.2 Carrera has carved a very special place for itself within Zuffenhausen history.

The numbers say one thing but the shove from the 3.2-litre flat six doesn't back it up, says Josh.

Yet the proof of any Porsche 911 is truly in the driving and I feel that the 3.2 Carrera just doesn’t stack up against its illustrious forebears and excellent successors enough to justify its overwhelmingly positive reputation.

The 3.2-litre engine was, at the time, the most powerful naturally aspirated 911 fitted to a production version however, thanks to the car’s 1,210kg base weight, it actually feels pretty gutless. ‘Slow’ is always a matter of degrees in Porsche 911s but the 3.2 Carrera often feels glacial, even if the figures suggest otherwise.

At the bottom of the rev range you would struggle to believe that the engine produced more torque than any production 911 that preceded it such is the lack of low-down shove.

Similarly, the power delivery is extremely linear compared to the previously peaky flat sixes, which removes the sudden kick-up-the-backside at high revs. Combined with the motor’s bassy rumble, it lacks the vicious, trebly character that makes earlier cars so enchanting.

The 3.2 Carrera is not dynamically outstanding enough to make it a Porsche 911 icon.

Early cars featured the notoriously recalcitrant 915 gearbox however, while the five-speed G50 replacement was a huge improvement, it still suffers from a long throw that all helps to make the 911 3.2 Carrera feel quite sedate and mundane.

The extra mass (some 150kg more than many of the pre-impact generation 911s) also makes itself felt in the 3.2 Carrera’s dynamics. The steering – while feelsome – is much heavier than early cars while the chassis feels exponentially less nimble.

Inside, the interior saw little revision over the G-Series cars that preceded it and must have felt a little dated, especially by the time the 3.2 Carrera was being readied for replacement in the late Eighties.

The controls and various buttons continue to be scattered around the cockpit supposedly haphazardly while the steering wheel, with its off-centre rectangular hub certainly isn’t going to win any design awards.

Not a bad place to sit but there are plenty of better 911 cockpits both before and since.

I know that there was very little development time dedicated to the 3.2 Carrera but it doesn’t feel like much of an improvement over the 911 SC, especially given the former is held in much higher esteem.

Maybe the 3.2 Carrera’s dynamic deficiencies are outweighed by its historical significance and that is why some many people love this particular Porsche 911 but, for me, it is actually one of the most disappointing 911s. A true case of ‘don’t believe the hype’.

Do you agree with Josh? Is the 3.2 Carrera over-hyped? Join the debate in the comments section or head to our Faceboook or Twitter pages now.

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Sales debate: What does the future hold for the 3.2 Carrera?

The 911 3.2 Carrera was one of the Eighties’ defining car. Its popularity was unbridled 30 years ago with a similar strength of feeling exhibited today.

However, the classic car market doesn’t always reward cars that were sold in large numbers in period. Jonathan Franklin, General Manager of Hexagon Modern Classics, explains what the future holds for this Eighties icon.

“At the moment, the 3.2 is an affordable way into the modern classic world,” Franklin explains. However, he doesn’t believe it will stay that way for long. “The air-cooled values, as everyone knows, are on fire.

“As the rarer models get out of the man off the street’s reach, it’s going to come down the food chain and the old Carrera Sports [will benefit].” Despite his bias as a 3.2 owner, this leads Franklin to assert the 3.2 Carrera as “possibly the best investment anyone could buy at the moment.”

Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera Clubsport

As well as a naturally progression towards the ‘cheaper’ models, Franklin believes that 3.2 Carrera values are benefiting from a decline in the number of well-maintained examples.

“A lot of the good cars have gone anyway. The old G50 gearboxed cars are quite rare nowadays, and they’re gradually disappearing.” This trend is exacerbated by a growing export interest in the cars, Franklin remarks. All of this has already caused 3.2 Carrera values to “double in value in the last three years”.

With Franklin believing that this rise in values will be felt more keenly on the rarer variants, such as the Supersport and Clubsport, now is definitely the time to consider a 3.2 Carrera.

If the 3.2 Carrera doesn’t appeal, check out our 911 SC sales debate where we talk to two experts about the appeals of this often-forgotten Porsche.

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