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15 years of the Porsche 997.1

A new model of 911 is always controversial. Porsche enthusiasts tend to get so used to the current version that they can be almost resentful when it is replaced.

Indeed, the arrival of any new 911 is usually at least slightly controversial, and with over half a century of history, examples abound: the 964 disappointed for resembling its aging predecessor so closely; the 991 shocked some with its considerably larger dimensions and, for more conservative types, the 992 was not only wider still, but a daunting tech-fest.

Then, of course, there was the 996, Porsche’s imaginative and brave attempt to translate the 911 into the 21st century idiom. Such was the outcry that it was hard to distinguish whether it was the styling or the water-cooled engine which upset diehards more.

The original 901 attracted more curiosity than outright admiration, but in 1963 nobody knew what the future 911 would be capable of. 30 years later and the 993 was mostly favourably received, if still seen as quaintly old fashioned outside Porschedom

By contrast there was one 911 for which praise was unanimous when it appeared, and that was the 997. Here, Porsche managed to combine tradition and progress as never before or, for many people, since. Allow us to take you through the 997’s history, tech, and current standing.

Planning dictated that the 996 would run out six years after its launch, and preparations for that successor began within a year of the 996 appearing in the showrooms. In response to market and press reaction, ideas for its successor were already taking shape.

Two things became clear: if aesthetically modern, the 996 was a little too radical. The Carrera was seen as a shade too refined-looking, lacking a certain aggressive element.

If the Aerokitted versions partly addressed this, in reality they still looked too much like aftermarket modifications. The cabin, too, was not quite right: certainly it was more spacious, and ergonomically it addressed the classic faults of the old 911 cockpit, with its scattered and not always logical switchgear.

But the 996 interior’s curves were, for many observers, overstylised. There was also the matter that the 996 shared not just its cabin, but the entire body from the doors and A-pillar forward with the much cheaper Boxster. 

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UK Porsche 993 road trip across the USA

Sometimes in life you need to jump and have faith things will work out. Having covered many thousands of miles in the States, I’d long wondered what it would be like to drive across this great country in one of my own cars.

One winter’s day last December I booked a couple of flights to Nashville without clearing my six-week travel plans with my colleagues at work. It would also mean my partner, Renée, who I planned to take with me, would face a similar predicament. We decided to take the plunge.

I found very little information to help take my own British-registered, C16 993 Carrera S to the States. Others had asked the question on forums before, only to be ridiculed, the perplexed wondering ‘why?’ It’s not for everyone, and certainly not without risk.

Think about things that could happen: an accident, theft, breakdown. With a rental, you simply call a number and someone else sorts your problem. At worst, you’ll be inconvenienced a day – that was my experience when I wrecked a BMW in Death Valley a few years back. Taking my own car would expose these risks and more, so my appetite for adventure had to match my love of Porsche. 

You can rent a Porsche 911 at LAX, but even booking months in advance you’ll be lucky to get availability, and are limited to collection and drop off at the same location. If you can get one, you’ll pay $1,800 a week for the privilege, and when you return with 8,000 miles added to the odometer there will be an extra $4,000 to pay. This was never my plan, exploring the options a way to justify the end.

Old 911s are great cars for covering distances in. They’re reliable, small, usable and intoxicating to drive. The world has long woken up to how good they are, and they’re in demand, many of us becoming cautious of piling on miles or even getting them wet.

Yet driving them is where the real value will always be. There was something distinctly appealing about shipping the 993, that familiarity of taking a faithful companion along for the trip of a lifetime and the sense of occasion an air-cooled 911 always delivers

The process has taught me it takes organisation, patience and a lot of form filling. There are two main shipping options: a roll-on-roll-off service, or a container, either with just one car or shared with other cars. I did a mixture, RORO outbound and a container inbound.

Costs were £4,000 including collection from Tennessee and transportation by road to Charleston on our return. You need to allow extra time for shipping delays; my car was over a week late arriving, luckily factored into the dates.

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Porsche 2.4S, 964 C2, 997.1 GT3 RS, 991 GT2 RS: Driver’s 911s

By definition any 911 is a driver’s car, but the proliferation of Porsche’s sports car, through both time and model variation, means some 911s are that little bit more engaging and interesting to drive than its contemporary models.

As cars become ever more complex, weightier and increasingly remote, we’ve picked some 911 highlights which celebrate what’s arguably been taken away from more modern machinery: the unfiltered joy of pure driving.

Our quartet spans key eras of the 911 in the form of an early car, modern classic, recent Rennsport and the outrageous present, each example putting the driver at the very core of their existence.

A not-inconsiderable tract of time and huge technological advances differentiate the first and last 911s that we’re driving here, but each represents one of the defining elements of the 911, that being driver appeal.

Any of these cars will thrill and engage, each exhibiting character and engagement that’s commensurate with their era, but what is undeniable is that each and every 911 retains a signature that’s unique to it, which is why it’s such a celebrated sports car. Some though are worth celebrating that little bit more…

For the full road test of our driver’s 911s, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 184 in shops now or get it delivered to your door via here. You can also download a digital copy with high definition bonus galleries to any Apple or Android device.

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Porsche 2.4S, 964 C2, 997.1 GT3 RS, 991 GT2 RS: Driver’s 911s

By definition any 911 is a driver’s car, but the proliferation of Porsche’s sports car, through both time and model variation, means some 911s are that little bit more engaging and interesting to drive than its contemporary models.

As cars become ever more complex, weightier and increasingly remote, we’ve picked some 911 highlights which celebrate what’s arguably been taken away from more modern machinery: the unfiltered joy of pure driving.

Our quartet spans key eras of the 911 in the form of an early car, modern classic, recent Rennsport and the outrageous present, each example putting the driver at the very core of their existence.

A not-inconsiderable tract of time and huge technological advances differentiate the first and last 911s that we’re driving here, but each represents one of the defining elements of the 911, that being driver appeal.

Any of these cars will thrill and engage, each exhibiting character and engagement that’s commensurate with their era, but what is undeniable is that each and every 911 retains a signature that’s unique to it, which is why it’s such a celebrated sports car. Some though are worth celebrating that little bit more…

For the full road test of our driver’s 911s, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 184 in shops now or get it delivered to your door via here. You can also download a digital copy with high definition bonus galleries to any Apple or Android device.

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Pour consulter l'article original et complet, cliquez ici.

Porsche 993 Carrera RS road test

“You must push it,” says this 993 Carrera RS Clubsport’s owner, Omar. That’s fine for him to say, but the paradox of driving cars like this is exactly that – driving them.

Just 227 993 Carrera RS Clubsports were ever built. I’m sat in one now, a genuine 993 Carrera RS with the under-bonnet sticker containing the essential 003 code. That signifies Group N GT1 Carrera RS, simply ‘Clubsport’ or, in some markets, ‘RSR’.

My surroundings confirm that: the interior is devoid of anything other than the bare necessities, which means three pedals, a gearstick and a steering wheel. It feels pure race car, because that’s what it is.

A little bit more deciphering of those codes reveals that when ordered it came with a 197 88Ah battery, 459 strut brace, 471 Carrera RS Sports spoilers, 564 no airbag, 567 graduated tint windscreen, 573 air conditioning, 657 power steering and 990 cloth seats.

All came with most of these, the air conditioning optionally (and sensibly) added, as has a powered passenger window, the switch for it located in front of the gear lever in the middle, usually a blanked-off switch position in these. As a C11 model it was originally supplied to Austria, is left-hand-drive and finished in L39E Riviera blue, that bold colour covering every bit of the RS’s beautifully exposed bodywork. 

There’s plenty of it: the rear-view mirror, sat beside a sole sun visor, is filled with the stunning hue, the criss-crossing cage that fills the rear and braces down the door apertures as well as the entire rear area being covered in the bright finish.

There’s no carpet anywhere, save for a couple of mats in the front footwells. The lightweight, fixed seatbacks weren’t a stranger to the spray gun either, the lack of anything even as ‘luxurious’ as headlining means the colour is on the roof above, too.

You’d have to have been intent on really using the Clubsport as intended to pay the additional £5,250 it added to the regular RS’s £62,250 sticker price and, really, like the colour you picked, because there’s no escaping it when you get inside. 

For that additional outlay you lost equipment, the Clubsport binning the RS’s luxuries, such as they were, for an even more purposeful specification. It existed as a means to homologate the Carrera for the BPR GT3 and GT4 categories and is based on the Carrera Cup car, as well as giving more track-focused customers an even more focused machine.

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