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Porsche 901 Cabriolet: the rarest Porsche

These are the moments that, as a profound Porsche enthusiast, you live for. It’s 9:30am on what will be a scorching hot summer’s day in central London, yet far below the pavement lining the busy streets of the City we find ourselves in a tactfully nondescript garage devoid of windows to let in the bright sunshine.

Nevertheless our location is immensely gratifying: we’re kept cool by the ambient temperature of the ventilated bunker yet encapsulated by its primary occupant, a 901 Cabriolet.

When I say ‘a’ 901 Cabriolet, of course, I mean ‘the’ 901 Cabriolet. Such a rarity that it is a true one-off car from the factory, its extraordinary prominence lies with the fact it is the car that has shaped generations of the open-topped Porsche 911 as we know it.

901 Cabriolet prototype

Of course, many Porsche aficionados will suspect an anomaly is present when reading ‘901’ and ‘Cabriolet’ in the same sentence. In terms of production cars, this is correct: the first 911 Cabriolet didn’t arrive until 1983 under the last year of SC assembly.

However, the concept of a Cabriolet 911 was born some two decades previously, when F.A. Porsche and his Zuffenhausen engineers investigated the possibility for an open-topped version of their new sports car to sit alongside its Coupe variant.

The year was 1963 and Porsche had just revealed the revolutionary 901 sports car to the world at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Due for release the following year, this new car won admirers for its sleek design and powerful flat six engine. The 901 held much promise.

Prototype Fuchs wheel

Behind closed doors, testing of the all-new Porsche continued, and it is claimed that thirteen mules were assembled as prototypes – seven in 1963 and six in 1964. These prototypes were made for a variety of specific purposes, be it to test suspensions, engines, even body styles.

These prototypes were denoted by having the prefix ‘13’ in their chassis number as opposed to the ‘300’ attained to fully-fledged production vehicles and, to all intents and purposes, Porsche usually destroyed the cars once all relevant information had been garnered from them.

To continue reading our history of the Porsche 901 Cabriolet prototype, pick up a copy of Total 911 issue 130 in store. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery or download it straight to your digital device now.

Porsche 901 Cabriolet prototype

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Total 911 awards 2015: win a place on our judging panel!

Earlier this week we revealed 2015 will see the inaugural Total 911 Awards launched, designed to officially reward excellence in the Porsche industry. The platform for the Awards is based on a two-stage voting process, with the winners revealed at a lavish London ceremony on Thursday 22nd October (if you’d like to attend, let us know by registering your interest here).

The first stage is a public vote: voting for each of the ten awards categories is now open and will close at midnight on 22nd September, precisely one month before the awards ceremony. The top five nominees from each category will then be passed to a specially-appointed judging panel, who will decide the winners – and you can be a part of the process.

That’s because Total 911 is delighted to offer a coveted place on our judging panel for one lucky 911 owner. All you have to do is email us and let us know, in no more than 50 words, why you think you should be on our judging panel. The best candidate will be chosen according to their passion for the Porsche 911 and exposure to the 911-oriented industry, and will be expected to attend our awards ceremony in London on Thursday 22nd October.

Applications for the post are welcomed with immediate effect. Simply send your 50 words to lee.sible[email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Official: Total 911 Awards 2015 announced

 Total 911 magazine is delighted to confirm 2015 will see the launch of the Total 911 Awards as part of a new initiative that will reward excellence and outstanding work in the Porsche industry. The highlight of the 2015 Awards will be a lavish ceremony on Thursday 22nd October at the home of Hexagon Modern Classics, 90 Fortis Green, London, N2 9EY. Admission to the event is by guest list only, however you can register your interest in attending here.

The awards will be split across ten prestigious categories, with an open public vote creating a shortlist of five nominees for each category (the public vote will close exactly one month prior to the Awards evening). A specialist panel of judges will then select the category winners from each shortlist. The ten awards on offer are:

The public vote is now open and you can cast your votes here. You may only submit your votes once, so choose wisely!

Each award will be presented to the category winners at our Awards ceremony on 22nd October, with doors opening at 19:30. The Awards night will also feature a mouthwatering array of Porsche exotica showcasing the 911’s entire 52-years of existence, plus there will be a live Q&A session with our special guests including Total 911 magazine’s columnist Magnus Walker. Complimentary food and drink will also be served for the duration of the event.

Lee Sibley, editor of Total 911 magazine, is delighted to unveil this all-new Awards platform to celebrate the very best of the Porsche industry. He says: “As the world’s only publication dedicated to the Porsche 911 and the lynchpin between readers and relevant businesses, the magazine is perfectly placed to offer its readers insight into all aspects of the Porsche industry and, where it is deserved, offer reward for excellence. The Awards evening itself will be a truly fantastic occasion for those in attendance and I place on record my thanks to our partners Hexagon, Porsche Cars GB, Porsche Design, the Porsche Club GB, JZM and Poole Accident Repair for supporting this exciting new launch. Public voting is now open and I expect ferocious campaigning as businesses seek to win one or more of our prestigious awards.”

Further surprises are planned for the Awards evening, which are to be revealed on Total911.com/awards shortly. Total 911 welcomes your votes now – don’t forget to register your interest if you’d like to attend the Awards evening itself.

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Porsche 991 GT3 RS first drive

As confidence leaps go it’s a huge one, the uphill, unsighted right-hander climbing out of a bomb-hole that’s similar to the ‘Seca Corkscrew in gradient, and no less challenging.

We remember it well, the 911 Turbo feeling flighty at the peak, requiring every bit of nerve to keep it lit and ride out the slight transition to oversteer at comical speeds – just as the suspension lifted and gravity’s hold was relinquished by the force of a turbocharged flat six and the crest of a right-hander.

In the new GT3 RS the corner is no less senior, but very different. The homologation hooligan’s aero makes all the difference and keeps it tidier, even at the same speeds that the 991 Turbo managed.

2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS carbon bonnet

We’re at Bilster Berg, Germany, which is a challenging track for any car and driver. We’ve been here once before in that Turbo (and Turbo S), and now there’s a Porsche reprise, as it’s where we get our world first drive in the 991 GT3 RS.

There are some worried-looking faces from the Porsche hierarchy that the rather tight, heavily cambered track might not be the best place to demonstrate the GT3 RS’s entire repertoire.

And for the first time ever in a Porsche event, there’s an edict that the stability and traction control systems are to remain on. Is this a tacit admission that the GT3 RS is a handful? The discussion prior to our test is that the GT3 RS is, and has to be, more distinct than the GT3.

New Porsche 911 GT3 RS first drive

In the metal, it’s most certainly true: that much is obvious from the looks alone. There’s no badging and no fancy contrasting livery to denote this limited-run RS model. It doesn’t need it.

Twice we’ve seen the 991 GT3 RS on motorshow stands, but nothing prepares you for the visual assault the modified, lighter, magnesium-roofed, bewinged and vented Turbo-bodied RS represents. More than ever before, the RS looks like it’s been de-numbered after an endurance race.

To read our pulse-racing first drive of the awesome new Porsche 991 GT3 RS in full, pick up Total 911 issue 128 in store now. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device.

Porsche 991 GT3 RS in car

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Porsche 991 Carrera Cabriolet: the best everyday 911?

Think of the Porsche 911 and two unique selling points immediately spring to mind. First is the sportscar’s unrivalled (and ongoing) 52-year production life that’s the envy of the entire automotive industry, and the second is the marque’s sheer availability through a variety of different iterations and body styles. Particularly with the latter in mind, there really is a 911 out there for anybody who’s willing to part with the necessary funds.

I’d previously decided that a 991 Anniversary would be my perfect everyday new 911 purchase, where ‘everyday’ is defined as not being a track-focused GT or fuel-slurping Turbo. You can’t order a 991 Anniversary now, of course, and though the majority of my prerequisites for a new 911 remain the same (wide body, 3.8-litre ‘S’ powerplant, Big Red brakes) I have now decided that any 991 purchase would have to start with a change in body style to a Cabriolet.

front three quarter

That statement may well grate with a few, but after a weekend at the wheel of this exquisitely-specced Guards red 991 C4S from Porsche Centre Bournemouth, I’m certain the Cabriolet takes my vote as the best everyday Porsche 911. Here’s four reasons why:

1. As we’ve discovered in Total 911 magazine, the roof on a 991 Cabriolet is has been heavily revised to ensure that, for the first time, the Porsche 911’s iconic Coupe silhouette has been upheld – a crucial development in boosting the Cabriolet’s appeal to purists. The timeless, uninterrupted silhouette is achieved thanks to the new, highly sophisticated roof system featuring four solid panels (one of which houses the heated rear screen) that electro-hydraulically lifts out at the push of the button – be it from inside the car or remotely via the key. As well as being aesthetically pleasing, the better build quality of the roof also means there’s a reduction in rolling tyre noise filtering through into the cabin when on the move with the roof up, so much so that the Cabriolet is now no worse than a Coupe in the real world.

rear 3-quarter 2 copy

2. Let’s face it, there’s no better way to savour the aural delights of Zuffenhausen’s ubiquitous flat six being worked hard than when it’s sitting in the back of a 911 Cabriolet with the roof down. The soundtrack is gloriously loud and unfiltered, something a sound symposer in a 991 Coupe just can’t touch.

side 1

3. The 991 Cabriolet is a better open-topped experience than the 991 Targa. After piloting examples of both on numerous road trips, I am unequivocal that the Cabriolet deals with airflow into the cabin much better than the over-engineered Targa. Thanks to the standard-specification wind deflector available in the Cabriolet, a sedate conversation can be had with your passenger even at motorway speeds with the roof down, whereas reasonably civilised conversation in the Targa is soon drowned out by buffeting wind past 40mph.

4. The roof of the Porsche 991 Cabriolet can be deployed while you’re on the move (up to 30mph), which proves immeasurably useful when residing in a country such as the UK, where the weather is temperamental at best. This is a luxury not extended to the Targa, as its entire rear panel extends over the rear lights when removing or replacing the canvas roof top.

driving copy

Sure, there are one or two gripes to be had with the Cabriolet, not least that when pushing on you’ll soon realise its chassis is slightly compromised in terms of performance over a Coupe, and those who regularly like to pedal quickly will undoubtedly prefer the litheness of the tin-topped 991. The Coupe also boasts much better rear vision for the driver than a Cabriolet with the roof up, but these are only small blotches on the 991 Carrera Cabriolet’s copy paper in what is an otherwise supremely capable 911 as both an ideal boulevard cruiser and an assertive sportscar. Porsche Bournemouth, I need that 991 C4S Cabriolet in my stable.

Do you agree? Comment below or tweet us @Total911 with your thoughts.

 

 

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