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issue 116

Turbocharging: A Porsche 911 history

41 years ago, the original Porsche 911 Turbo was officially released to the public after its headline-making reveal at the IAA in Frankfurt a year previous. However, the story of the 911 Turbo actually begins in 1972 when Louise Piëch was presented with a 2.7-litre narrow-bodied Turbo prototype.

Given as a 70th birthday present, Piëch used the car extensively, proving the forced induction concept that would be made available to customers in 3.0-litre form come 1974.

Internally known as the 930, the original 911 Turbo’s 3.0-litre flat six (hidden underneath the iconic whale tail rear spoiler) developed 260bhp and was mated to a four-speed version of the 915 gearbox.

964 Turbo 3.3

For 1978, the 930 3.3 was introduced. The larger capacity and addition of an intercooler brought a boost in power – up to 300bhp – and the brakes were upgraded however, the unpopular four-speed shifter was retained until a final-year update in 1989 brought the five-speed G50 ‘box into play.

During the latter years of the Eighties, Porsche introduced the 930 SE, a limited edition 911 Turbo with a flat nose, mimicking the 935s that had dominated international sports car racing. The 330bhp version of the 3.3-litre flat six also found its way into the 930 LE in 1989, marking the end of the 930 lineage.

1990 was the first year since 1974 when customers couldn’t buy a brand new 911 Turbo so, for the following year, the 964 Turbo 3.3 was rushed to market utilising the 930’s engine, boosted to 320bhp.

993 Turbo

The 964 generation also saw the introduction of the first 911 Turbo S with worldwide availability (the 930 SE was known as the ‘S’ in the USA). With RS-spec suspension, 381bhp engine and a lightweight ethos, the 964 Turbo S was a true monster.

However, the 964 Turbo 3.6 that followed it in 1993 was equally as potent. Featuring an all-new engine, the last 964 Turbo also introduced ‘Big Red’ brake callipers to world, shrouded beneath split-rim Speedline allows from the 964 3.8 RS.

In 1995, Porsche’s forced induction ethos became even more hardcore with the introduction of the 993 GT2, a car built to homologate Weissach’s racers for international competition.

993 GT2

The GT2 was a world apart from the new 911 Turbo released a year later. Borrowing a lot of technology from the 959 supercar, the 993 Turbo was the first 911 Turbo to feature twin turbochargers and four-wheel drive.

The 993 generation also saw another Turbo S model, this time with a host of lavish and luxurious options (as well as the obligatory boost in power). Only 345 were ever built.

Like the Carrera line-up, the 911 Turbo went water-cooled in 2001, switching to the fabled Mezger engine architecture developed for the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning 911 GT1-98, the climax of the GT1 programme (which saw a limited number of mid-engined, twin-turbocharged Straßenversions).

996 997 991 Turbo

A GT2 version once again joined the 996 Turbo, the former developing 462bhp (42bhp more than the Turbo) before the 996 Turbo S closed the power gap to just 12bhp in 2004, the year that saw the end of the 996 generation.

The first generation 997 Turbo saw another innovation: variable turbine geometry allowed the parallel KKK turbochargers to optimise their operation at both low and high engine speeds, giving the 997.1 Turbo a monumental 620Nm of torque spread between 1,950-5,000rpm.

After the relatively ‘soft’ 996 version, the 997 GT2 returned to ‘Widowmaker’ to a more track-focussed setup, including an interior more akin to the GT3 than the standard 996 Turbo. It was the first road-going production 911 to break the 500bhp mark upon its release in 2007.

997 GT2 RS

The 997 Turbo Gen2, unveiled in 2009, saw the introduction of the PDK gearbox and the 9A1-based DFI engine before the 997 GT2 RS provided Porsche fans with the fastest 911 road car ever. Its 7m18s lap around the ‘Ring still hasn’t been beaten by another neunelfer, including the latest 991 GT3 RS.

A Turbo S version of the 997 followed to see out the generation before the 991 Turbo and Turbo S were introduced concurrently in 2013. With 520hp and 560hp respectively, the duo were, for the first time, even wider than the relative Carrera 4 models and came with Porsche’s innovative rear-wheel steering.

Now though, as we know, the standard Carrera models have also made the switch to forced induction. The spec sheet for the 991.2 C2s and C4s reads like a pseudo 911 Turbo meaning that Porsche’s future will be filled with forced induction developments even more than its past.

For more historical online features, check out our full selection of ‘Porsche 911 history’ articles now.

991.2 Carrera

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Sales debate: Which 911 Turbo has the most investment potential?

The 911’s 50th anniversary last year coincided with astronomical price rises for Zuffenhausen’s iconic sports car. With the Turbo variant celebrating its 40th birthday this year, now may be the last chance to jump on the forced-induction train before it’s too late. But what model should you invest your money in?

“It’s difficult, because there’s so many of them,” Jamie Tyler, Paragon’s head of sales explains. While the 996 Turbo may be one of the market’s entry-level cars, Tyler believes it is worth looking at more exotic fare.

“3.6 Turbos (964), 993 Turbos, and obviously Turbo Ss [are all good choices]. Any of the air-cooled ones really, as they’re all on the way up at the moment,” Tyler continues.

Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6

The problem is, despite starting prices of £150,000 for a 964 Turbo 3.6 (more desirable than the 3.3 due to their rarity according to Tyler), and £85,000 for 993 versions, examples of the above sell very quickly.

Talking of a 993 Turbo during the summer by Paragon, Tyler mentions that it “was only on the website for about three hours, and it sold over the phone straight away.”

Porsche Bournemouth’s Karl Meyer, an expert in Porsche’s heritage line-up, agrees that 964 and 993 Turbos are proving attractive. However, he does have a preference.

Porsche 930 3.0 3.3

“I think a 930. It is just bonkers not to buy them,” he explains. “They’re still the most iconic, but they haven’t stretched their legs. Give it two years, and I think a £40,000 930 could be double its money.”

That’s a serious return, but to maximise your chances, Meyer points out that it is the earliest or the latest 930s that make the best prospects. The former “embodies the whole Seventies era,” while the latter gained the excellent G50 gearbox. Either way, your Turbo should be pumping into an air-cooled flat six.

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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The perfect slot car selection from Total 911

With Christmas quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about your annual living room grand prix (after all, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a slot car race around your sofa). These five 1:32 Porsche 911s would make ideal additions to your miniature grid. Make sure you pick yours up in time for the festive season:

Carrera 911 GT3 RSR ‘Team Falken’
Falken slot

Behind Scalextric, German manufactuer Carrera are one of the best slot car builders around, and this Team Falken RSR is no exception.
Price: £31.99
www.hobbyco.net

Ninco Porsche 934 Martini
Martini slot

Who can fail to love the Martini livery, especially when it’s on the first turbocharged 911 racer, the Porsche 934. Perfect.
Price: £44.95
www.scalextric-shop.com

Carrera 911 GT3 RSR ‘Manthey Racing’
Manthey slot

The last time Porsche won the 24 Hours of Nürburgring was in 2011 with this Manthey Racing GT3 RSR. Now you can replicate that victory in 1:32 scale.
Price: £29.99
www.hobbyco.net

Flyslot Porsche 934 1977
934 slot

This Spanish 934 may not have tasted Le Mans success, but Flyslots’ reproduction is to be commended, with all the details present and correct.
Price: £34.95
www.scalextric-shop.com

Ninco Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
DHL slot

Pretend to be multiple Carrera Cup and Supercup champion René Rast with this excellent model of his Deutsche Post 997 GT3 Cup from Spanish firm, Ninco.
Price: £44.95
www.scalextric-shop.com

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Parr

There aren’t many places in the world where you can get your Porsche serviced by a team with a podium finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans under their belt. In the UK, one such outfit is Parr, the West Sussex-based Porsche specialists who, in 1996, ran a Porsche 993 GT2 to second in the GT2 class at the world-famous French endurance race.

Founded in May 1984, Parr’s Le Mans podium is just one in a number of racing achievements for the company that includes an appearance at the 24 Hours of Daytona (also in 1996) and a significant amount of success in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB.

Of the latter, Parr enjoys a very close relationship with the championship, having been selected in 2003 by Porsche’s German arm to help with the formation of the UK-based, one-make 911 series. To this day, Porsche’s UK VIP car (revived for the 2014 season) has been run out of Parr’s workshop.

“My relationship with Porsche in Germany grew out of the fact that we bought GT2s back in the Nineties,” explained owner Paul Robe. “We bought our first direct from the factory in 1994, so we had an account with Weissach (which we’ve still got).

“So my relationship with the factory was very strong, and it still exists. I know the likes of Hartmut Kristen [Head of Porsche Motorsport] enough to say ‘hello’ and have a beer.”

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Despite their extensive motorsport experience, Robe is quick to point out that Parr was not a racing team that went into the car trade. “No, it’s a father-and-son business that started out on the road,” he explains, “but it was my ambition to go into motorsport.”

That ambition was initially superseded by Robe’s wish to see Porsche become a mainstay of the business. Before Parr’s formation in mid- 1984 (which leaves it celebrating its 30th anniversary this year), Robe’s father Ray had also been in the car trade. “He was into Jaguars,” Robe says with a smile. “His business at the time didn’t really specialise in them. However, they did quite a lot.”

Jaguar, though, was second in Paul’s mind to the offerings from Zuffenhausen. “Seeing the rallying in the Seventies, and looking at the technical specifications of these little 2.0-litre engines, I thought, ‘These are fantastic little German pieces of engineering. I like that.’” The smile on Robe’s face widens as the stark contrast between the Porsches and Jaguars of the time comes to the forefront of his mind.

When the company folded, Paul stepped in alongside his father and “directed the business at Porsche as much as I could.” Parr had been born, and very quickly Paul’s other ambition – to go motor racing – was borne out.

Yet the decision to enter the racing paddock was not one purely of passion; Paul is an astute businessman, and saw an opportunity to use motorsport as a marketing tool for the newly set-up endeavour.

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Even 30 years later, motorsport is still a key means of advertising the business, as Paul divulges: “We do motorsport because it is the best way to market the company. We are partaking in what Porsche’s existence is all about. It is a requirement of a Porsche business to race as well. That is how I feel about it.”

Yet, while motorsport has helped Parr achieve a formidable reputation – their place as a GT3 specialist is potentially unrivalled, such is their expertise in this strain of the 911 breed – racing has sometimes acted as a double-edged sword when it comes to attracting customers to the company’s bread and butter: servicing.

“I think people see us running around in our £150,000 racing cars and think, ‘Oh, they’re not going to be interested in the water leak on my Boxster. They’re far too busy,’” Laurence Stockwell, Parr’s head of PR points out. But they are far from this perceived one-trick pony.

“It’s really for people to understand that we are not just motorsport. We’re happy with any problems,” Robe adds. “We’ll do door cards, window motors, anything. That’s how we started.” It’s true. Parr has never shied away from investing in technology in order to allow them to keep up with their competitors. This has left them geared up to offer Porsche owners (not just 911 drivers) a wealth of quality services.

Traditional servicing and maintenance is a large part of their business, and with a gargantuan workshop with ample space for nearly 20 cars, road and race machinery can easily be catered forunder the same roof – something that wasn’t thecase at Parr’s previous home ten years ago.

Steinhardt_A7_140506_4993

Thisallows the race mechanics and road techniciansto work on both types of car, something that Robefeels strongly about. “It is my opinion that a verygood race mechanic comes from a very good roadmechanic. We try to make sure that our guyswork on both, in most cases.

Therefore, they getthe proper range of expertise and they see bothsides.” Similarly, no distinction is drawn betweenair-cooled and water-cooled cars. With decades ofexperience in the workshop, Parr is happy – andextremely capable – working on both.

Engine rebuilding is done in-house, with Robe himself passing on his wisdom to the company’s technicians. Once completed, each unit can be tested on one of Parr’s two in-house dynamometers. Race motors can be put on a rig while other engines can be kept in the chassis and tested on a hub dyno if necessary. In a similar vein, gearbox work can also be carried out at Parr’s Crawley base.

Parr’s restoration skills have been tested with various 2.7 Carrera RSs, with only the metalwork and painting carried out by third parties. “I’ve got a metalwork guy who I’ve used for about 20 years.

He does all my special projects,” Robe explains. Sometimes it is better to admit where others are better after all. These types of project are kept at a sensible level to ensure the quality of the output is befitting the Parr name. “I won’t be one of those companies that does seven all in one go, because I’ve only got two guys who specialise in this area,” Paul says.

Steinhardt_A7_140506_4725
Company Profile Owner: Paul Robe Founded: 1984 Location: Crawley, West Sussex, UK Paul’s first 911: A five-year-old 2.2 911E bought in 1974 Rarest car worked on: “A genuine 911 Carrera 2.8 RSR. We did a lot of work on that one: we built the engine, and we did a lot of remedial chassis work to make it look beautiful. It sold and went to Monaco. That one was a cracking car.” Currently racing in: Carrera Cup GB with Kieran Gallagher (Pro-Am1) and Peter Kyle-Henney (Pro- Am2). Parr are also responsible for the Porsche UK VIP car.Contact Website: www.parr-uk.co.uk Telephone: +44(0)1293 537911

While these areas are familiar to Robe, one sector that Parr has only recently emerged into is sales. Thanks to the capital invested in the successful racing arm, being “cash rich is quite difficult.” Without much in the way of stock money, the majority of Parr’s sales are through ‘Sale or Return’ at the moment.

However, this is something that is expected to change over the course of the next three to five years. “When we can we try and buy one or two,” elucidates Robe. “If you look at it as part of a five-year plan, it will aid quite a strong growth in the business.”

Yet, with a wealth of RSs outside the HQ, including a 964 RS 3.8 Clubsport and 997 GT3 RS 4.0, the current ‘toe in the water’ is certainly proving popular. It’s testament to a reputation founded on three decades of excellent service and, if all goes to plan, the only way is up for Robe and his incredibly three-dimensional specialist.

Parr are recognised as one of the leading Porsche 911 GT3 specialists in the UK. If you want to read more about Zuffenhausen’s venerable race-car-for-the-road, pick up a copy of Total 911 issue 117 now, available in store, online, and to download.

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Great Roads: B4521, Ross on Wye to Abergavenny, UK

UK-based readers can be forgiven for imagining that most of the best driving roads in the world are in the western US or the Alps. But while Britain can’t boast a route Napoléon or a West Coast Highway, you can build a worthwhile and challenging road into many itineraries. All that is required is the short study of a document that many people now erroneously believe is obsolete: a map.

Essential info

Location: Julian, Between Herefordshire and Monmouthshire, United Kingdom

Latitude: 51.877ºN 2.788ºW

Length of drive: 22 miles

Points of interest:

Skenfrith Castle, St Bridget’s Church

Food and accommodation:

Bell Inn, Skenfrith, tel 01600 750235 www.skenfrith.co.uk

Take a journey from London to mid Wales: the M4 is boring at the best of times, so take the M40 to Oxford and the A40 across the Cotswolds to Gloucester and Ross on Wye, but then be a bit different. Forsake this relatively pleasant and usually reliable stretch of A40 dual carriageway and take the B4521 running slightly to the north. Ahead are 22 virtually uninterrupted miles of varying twists, turns, short straights and elevations.

Though perhaps a little under-specified for the latest GT3s, the B4521 is an outstanding piece of blacktop for the older 911. It has a surface that puts main roads in the home counties to shame, few other vehicles, and serves up sustained involvement for the driver so inclined.

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The route traverses the pretty, rolling hills of the Welsh Marches. Fought over so fiercely in medieval times, the only reminder of those tensions today is a string of ruined castles. The hamlet of Skenfrith (Yynsgynwraidd in Welsh), notable for its castle and the welcoming Bell Inn ( Michelin pub of the year in 2007), marks the half-way point: pause here to savour the intense quiet of this unspoiled settlement, described as “the village time forgot” in a recent episode of Doctor Who, parts of which were filmed here. Continue west for the final dozen miles to the bustling market town of Abergavenny, the gateway to mid Wales.

A low-key route, the B4521 is too remote for cyclists and of little interest to bikers, who prefer the wider, open moorland (and busier) roads beyond Abergavenny. For Porsche enthusiasts, however, it’s a minor gem: half an hour of driving pleasure and a satisfying reminder of why you bought the 911 in the first place.

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