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issue 127

A4069, Black Mountains, Wales

Like a number of superb roads we’ve previously examined, the A4069 has all the high scorers in the Total 911 ‘I Spy’ book of great drives. The entire route is blessed with a good surface, plenty of bends, Armco-style barriers, good sightlines, oodles of open scenery, a hairpin, and even a range of changes in altitude.

Besides this, I’ll bet you recognise it when you get there. This is because it’s been the staple destination for many factions in the motoring media for road tests or group shoots for years.

The long uphill to the small car park by the quarry has been used again and again, but latterly the more performance-based media also love the hairpin, which is pretty much always branded with long black tyre marks from the apex thanks to its perfect angle and flattering uphill, low-speed character.

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We’re a little more cerebral on Total 911, so let’s forgo the bravado and break down the drive itself. It can be done either way, but to enjoy the hairpin uphill, we suggest going north to south.

Starting at Llangdadog, regular rural Wales blends into the Brecon Beacon National Park, and instantly the road alters. We weave hard along a narrow valley to our right, swing around a right-hander and steadily gain in altitude, still weaving up to the left-hand hairpin.

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Wide vistas on our right suddenly swap to the left as we rise further, up past the two photo location car parks en route to the summit. The glorious Carmarthenshire scenery opens up and the road levels off for a brief section, gracefully threading off into the distance.

We weave and bob down, then arc steadily through the moorland. Passing the large car park on the right, we then take a sharp right on the side of the valley and roll down into the end of our 12-mile drive into our destination of Brynamman.

This is a cracking drive, where the constant weaving and wiggling of the road is superb fodder for 911 driving. There’s always inputs to make and feedback coming from the car, all at totally legal, safe and responsible speeds. Set the alarm and get there for sunrise, to really appreciate the road and the landscape.

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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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Tandy, Barker and Webster: issue 127 driver columns

Nick Tandy – the factory driver:
Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Earl Bamber, Nico Huelkenberg, Nick Tandy

When we first started this year’s test programme with the 919 Hybrid, the racing seemed a mile away. Now it has really crept up on us – in fact, by the time you read this, I will have already raced the LMP1 car for the first time at Spa.

It’s incredible to think how quickly I have gone from just getting used to driving the car to preparing in earnest to go racing at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

By going to the highest energy recovery class, by the rules’ very design, we should have the fastest car, if you can make the hybrid system work. By being the only car in that top 8MJ class, we theoretically have a lap time advantage that bore out at Silverstone where the Porsche was easily the fastest car.

How it runs over a double, triple or even quadruple stint at Le Mans will be a different test, but we are very pleased with the car’s base speed.

Last time Porsche won with the 911 GT1, the two cars qualified fourth and fifth. They weren’t the fastest cars but they were reliable. Even last year’s race proved Le Mans is still a reliability race; you still have to race twice around the clock.

Ben Barker – the Supercup superstar:
Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Barcelona 2015

After two issues of effectively stalling, I can now officially confirm I will be racing in the 2015 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup with MOMO-Megatron. I was originally going to contest the championship with a new team – as you read in issue 125.

However, that deal fell through at the 11th hour for several reasons. Welcome to motorsport! Thankfully, I know Andreas – the team boss of MOMO-Megatron – quite well and he opened his arms to get me into the team at such a late stage.

A lot of other teams wouldn’t have been able to do the same for me as they had already locked in their driver line-ups.

For 2015 I’ve got my own engineer coming to the team with me. Frank Funke was part of my original plans as he’s a really good engineer, so I’m glad he’s on board this season.

911 Cup racing is all about the driver-engineer relationship, as well as having a good mechanic to put a set-up on the car. While it’s not strictly a team within a team – you don’t withhold information from the other cars – you act as a little unit of three within a larger outfit.

Josh Webster – the Carrera Cup champion:
Josh Webster Spa

After signing off last issue full of optimism, the final day of my preseason testing at Spa-Francorchamps brought me back to earth with a rather large bump.

Things were going really well until I had a huge accident in the final few laps of the day after I ran slightly wide at Pouhon, the fast, double left-hander. Running on the Astroturf, I hit a bump at 120 miles per hour, launching the car into the barrier at 98 miles per hour.

I definitely felt the after-effects of the massive 44-g impact. My right arm was flung around inside the cockpit, tearing some muscles in my shoulder

Still, it was nothing reams of sports tape couldn’t take care of. Of more concern was that the accident had written off my GT3 Cup car’s shell. Team Parker Racing had to strip the car back to the bare shell, take it to Germany and pick up a brand-new one, all before arriving back on Wednesday at 1pm.

From there, the guys had to build a completely new Cup car from scratch, wrap it in the usual full livery by Thursday afternoon, and then travel straight to the first race meeting ready to get going again.

To read all three of our racers’ columns in full, make sure you pick issue 127 in store now. Alternatively order your copy online or download to your digital device here.

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Porsche 911T 2.0 v 2.4: the people’s 911

When three generations of Porsche 911S cars assembled for our issue 120 cover, their combined worth totalled, at that time, just over the £500,000 mark. Such is the value of those esteemed ‘Super’ 911s that for the price of just one, you could feasibly buy a 2.0, 2.2 and a 2.4-litre Porsche 911T.

However, while the 911S was always destined to become an icon, the humble 911T is no less important to the legacy of Butzi Porsche’s legendary flat-six sports car.

Between 1967 and 1973, Zuffenhausen – along with independent plant partner Karmann – produced 38,333 Porsche 911Ts, over double the number of any other 911 model during the same period.

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In fact, over those six years, the 911T outsold every other 911 variant combined. The proliferation of 911Ts is no doubt the biggest factor in their current values. However, while the ‘Touring’ may not be destined to set any outright auction records any time soon, its sales success in the 1960s and ’70s guarantees its place as one of the most popular classic 911s.

The T’s journey starts in 1967 with the introduction of the ‘A’ Series of 911. Up until this point, the 911 range had been remarkably simple: one model developing 130 horsepower, later joined by the 160-horsepower 911S at the tail end of 1966.

For the 1967 model year though, Porsche would expand the line-up to three cars. The ‘911’ was replaced with the 911L, a car bookended by the S and the new 911T, a 110-horsepower foundation to the neunelfer range.

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Based on the famous short-wheelbase platform, the ‘A’ Series 911T featured a down-tuned version of the 91L’s 2.0-litre engine. To keep costs down, this 901/03 flat six utilised cast iron cylinders, lower compression pistons (yielding an 8.6:1 compression ratio) and a different crank design.

The weight-bearing camshafts were revised to give less lift to the 42-millimetre intake and 38-millimetre exhaust valves while the twin Weber 40IDT3C carburettors featured a simpler design than the 40IDA and 40IDS units found on the 911L and 911S respectively.

To read our full history of the Porsche 911T, including a head-to-head test drive of the first and last iterations, get Total 911 issue 127 in store now. Alternatively, order your copy online or download it straight to your digital device.

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