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Is the 911 Carrera Club Sport The Best Driving Air-Cooled 911?

The 911 Carrera Club Sport is an exercise in minimalism not equaled by any other impact-bumper 911. With the broad torque curve of a 3.2 and the elemental simplicity of a 2.7RS, this is a very special car. In typical Porsche fashion this car wasn’t constructed with a Chapman-era-Lotus-like approach to weightloss, however. Chapman was happy to shave grams off every component and only add some back when the part broke. Porsche took a much more pragmatic approach, and left the driver with only the bare essentials.

While many hardcore 911s have come without air conditioning, the CS is on another level. To my knowledge no other roadgoing 911 took the sun visor from the passenger in the name of weight savings. They’re not driving, so their idle hands can block the sun if necessary. Hopefully the passenger also completed their ablutions before climbing aboard- carrying extra weight is really not in the spirit of things.

The car also used lightweight manually-adjusted cloth seats rather than leather, had carpet where the rear seat should be, ditched the model’s distinctive foglights, and added some of the absolutely-necessary door graphics. The engine wasn’t exactly unique, though it was blueprinted for max effect. As a result it was known to make slightly more power than Porsche admitted to officially. The redline was also 500 revs higher than the standard car.

This litany of minor changes resulted in a car that may have carried fewer components, but was a startling amount more than the sum of its parts from behind the wheel. Is the Carrera Club Sport the best driving classic 911? Maybe. Even if it isn’t, it is deservedly in the company of the all-time greats, from the 2.7RS to the 993 Carrera RS. Though it never officially crossed the Atlantic, the Carrera Club Sport is certainly on our air-cooled Porsche shortlist.

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Porsche 911 Cabriolets: G-series v 964 v 993

Yorkshire dry-stone walls have a very useful application that was never intended by the original builders several centuries ago. In addition to providing the unique signature style that is the Yorkshire landscape while also containing livestock over the centuries, they also make a superb surface to echo back the bark of an air-cooled 911 engine. Combine that with the final days of a long, hot summer and a trio of Cabriolet 911s – all with the hoods folded as they truly should be – and we have the perfect recipe for a great day’s driving and a chance to investigate the appeal of the open-top 911 experience. Will we enjoy a day in the sunshine, or will the bumpy Yorkshire lanes highlight the compromise of 911 body stiffness?

Heading out of the market town of Malton, I’m at the rear of the convoy in the 993 Cabriolet. The air is filled with the bass burble of air-cooled exhaust tones at low RPM, the whiff of that unique 911 aroma of hot oil and burned hydrocarbons from the two cars ahead spilling over into the interior, the sun providing a warmth on my face that is still pleasant so late in the summer. Good times.

Turning left down some of our favourite B-roads, the sunshine dapples the tree-lined road ahead… it’s time to increase the pace. We’re staying away from the vast, open moorland of the North Yorkshire Moors today, instead staying on the lower ground of the Vale of York and the twisting, turning B-roads that keep hands and feet busy as the road snakes between those ancient dry-stone walls. The three cars span an eight-year period of 911 evolution, from the torsion bars and impact bumpers of 1989, through the transformation of 1990 with power assistance and coil springs, to the final development of the air-cooled Porsche 911 in the 993.

Without a doubt everyone will have a personal favourite. Indeed, as we gather the cars together for photographs, the debate commences even before photographer Alistair has rigged his first flash head. The most visually arresting is the 1989 Super Sport in Guards red. For me this car is the epitome of that period of Porsche sales. The hedonistic period when excess was encouraged and every businessman and city trader in the City of London had to have a giant Motorola brick phone, expensive Italian shoes and matching briefcase, plus a Guards red Porsche 911. For the full-on effect it had to be the Turbo body, Fuchs alloys and the whaletail spoiler. And if you really wished to be publicly on display through the city streets, then the Cabriolet ensured that you shared your cellphone conversation with everyone around you as you discussed the day’s share trading at the traffic lights.

So how does the drive compare almost 30 years later? We hand over the keys to the 993 that we arrived in and swap to the cream seats of the Super Sport. Instantly I’m missing the powered steering as we shuffle back and forth to leave the photo location, the non-standard steering wheel not helping with its smaller diameter, though once rolling along the country lanes it’s much less of an issue. The road is initially bumpy, and several things become apparent. Firstly there is indeed that flex and shake from around the windscreen area that I recall from previous drives. Secondly, despite there only being a few years between the registration dates, the 1989 car does feel as though it’s from a much older generation of Porsche.

That’s not to say it’s a bad car – far from it. And as the road smooths out and widens we’re able to enjoy the bark of the 3.2 engine and use the echo board of Yorkshire’s dry-stone walls to enjoy some rather delightful pops and crackles on the downshifts. Through the avenue of trees we return to our location, and I swap into the black 964.

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Video: A history of the Porsche 911 Targa

 

In 2017, the Porsche 911 Targa – the original open top Neunelfer – will reach its 50th birthday, a remarkable milestone for a model that was originally devised to meet safety regulations that were, ultimately, never implemented.

To celebrate the upcoming anniversary, we’ve decided to look back over the Targa’s half a century of history in our latest video, taking you through the evolution of the model from 1967 right through to the latest 991.2 Targa 4S.

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Our five-minute flick also stars a 1974 Porsche 911 Targa from esteemed specialist, Canford Classics, the original impact bumper iteration showing how the latest open-top Neunelfers has both changed and been inspired by Zuffenhausen’s iconic roll hoop design.

We’ve put the two idiosyncratic roof systems to the test too and, if you missed our road trip with the 991.2 version in Total 911 issue 142, Features Editor, Josh gives you his opinion from behind the wheel of the new 911 Targa to see if turbocharging has improved the alfresco driving experience.

For more of the latest and best Porsche 911 videos, check out our dedicated film section now.

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Sales Spotlight: Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI Targa

As we explored in the last issue of Total 911, classic Porsche 911 Targas are no longer an unloved afterthought; Neunelfer enthusiasts are now specifically hunting for these idiosyncratic open top sports cars.

Of these classic Targas, not many are more desirable than the variant based on the Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI, the iconically engined 911 that shares much with the legendary 2.7 Carrera RS.

Built at the start of the impact-bumper era, the 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI Targa didn’t sell in huge numbers in the UK. In fact, in 1975 (the middle year of production) just six right-hand drive examples were built. This gorgeous 1975 Guards Red car, for sale at UK specialist, Tech9, is one of them.

Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI Targa front

While 1974 Carreras came with the option of the iconic ducktail wing, for the following year the Turbo’s new whale tail design was standard equipment, providing a more modern aesthetic.

Interestingly, as an early 1975 car, Tech9’s 2.7 Carrera Targa features a number of more classic features, including ’74 style Fuchs (finished in the correct satin silver and black) and window trim with a stainless steel Targa hoop, rather than the more popular black finish.

The aesthetic touches are all confirmed by the Porsche Certificate of Authenticity though, as is the matching numbers nature of the famous 911/83 engine and Type 915 five-speed gearbox.

Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI Targa engine

Having covered 125,000 miles during its life, you may expect the Guards Red 911 Carrera 2.7 to be rather worn out. However, contrary to expectations, Tech9’s example is presented immaculately, having been well looked after by a number of Porsche Club GB owners.

Considering the quality of the car, as well as the host of original parts still fitted (including the rare throttle bodies and even the driver’s manual), the £175,000 asking price looks pretty justified to us.

For more information on this 1975 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI Targa, or any of the other Porsche 911s available at Tech9, visit the UK specialist’s website now.

Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI Targa interior

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Porsche 911 2.7 ultimate buyer’s guide

This isn’t the first time a 2.7-litre 911 has appeared on the pages of Total911.com but it thoroughly deserves another airing in issue 140. Why? Because it marks a rather significant chapter in the development of the Neunelfer – the introduction of the G-Series models.

The preceding F-Series had been successful cars for Porsche, not only selling in useful numbers, but also being revered for their delicate styling and impressive performance.

It was time for a change though, and the most obvious of those – even to the casual observer – was the adoption of impact bumpers. A legislative requirement, they were well integrated into the 911 shape and defined the model right up to the launch of the 964 some 15 years later.

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Down to business then, and it’s worth acknowledging that a 911 that’s more than 40 years old is going to involve some corrosion. The metalwork was galvanised from 1976 using a hot-dip protection process, but the threat of rampant tin-worm is ever present, bringing with it the potential for terrifying restoration costs.

Filler-laden bodges are a risk, so scrutiny from a specialist is vital before parting with any money. But if you want to undertake a preliminary check there are numerous places where rust can lurk.

The front wings will rust around the wheel arches so have a good prod around the lip of the arch, and examine the headlamp bowls and around the fuel filler. It’s also worth checking the security of those impact bumpers as the mountings can succumb to rot.

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And, while on the subject, they are made of aluminium, which can become badly pitted – if they are rescuable, then costly stripping, media blasting, and repainting is the only answer. Replacing them is also not cheap as a new rear item is around £1,000 before fitting.

The front luggage compartment will also need careful scrutiny, focusing on the floor, inner wings, and panel seams, while the areas around the fuel tank and battery could also have been compromised with expensive consequences.

Indeed, it’s an area that marks some of the key changes for the 2.7, among them a change to a single battery rather than the previous twin items. There was also the addition of a deflated space-saver spare tyre with an electric pump should the worst happen, which in turn allowed the fitment of a larger fuel tank to take advantage of the car’s new-found efficiency.

To read our Porsche 911 2.7 ultimate guide in fill, pick up Total 911 issue 140 in store today. Alternatively, download it straight to your digital device now. 

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