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Elan Valley, Powys, Wales

The Elan Valley has long been a favourite road for Total 911 staff. Thanks to its fast straights and technical bends, the route is often used for road tests in the magazine, the latest of which was our C2S v C4S test in issue 144.

But we’re here to talk about the road itself. Set among an idyllic landscape in the centre of Wales, the route largely avoids the tourist traffic found at Snowdonia in the north, while the variety of major trunk roads nearby ensures quicker routes are available for any parties wishing to get there from the south.

The road is enjoyable to drive from both directions but we prefer to travel from west to east, starting at Devil’s Bridge and finishing in Rhayader, the town with the greatest number of pubs per capita in the UK (an ideal stop-off then!).

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Begin by joining the B4574 from Devil’s Bridge – the road was resurfaced in 2014, so it’s as smooth as a snooker tabletop to drive on. The corners come thick and fast, switching from left to right as you negotiate the steep hill.

A new steel barrier runs along the route here, preventing the possibility of a dramatic tumble if you get it wrong as the road narrows. Once you roll over a cattle grid you’re on an unnamed road, as the B4574 officially stops here according to the road maps.

The road surface is older but it’s of high quality and serves as the ultimate chassis test as the road weaves along the valley. Eventually, you’ll cross the valley and continue up and along the southern face, where the road is at its narrowest.

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A short stop at the Cwmystwyth lead mine is recommended, before climbing back into your 911 for the second – and faster – half of the route.

Now you can really pick up the pace: the road is wider, corners are well sighted and there are huge straights to open up the throttle, your 911’s flat-six bark bouncing off the hills all around.

At Rhayader a T-junction marks the end of a dramatic route that’s brimming with character. We recommend driving it a few times to really get the best of the various challenges it offers.

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EXCLUSIVE: New 911 Sport Classic and Speedster “in the pipeline”

As revealed in the latest issue of Total 911, Porsche could be set to unveil 991.2 versions of the Sport Classic and the Speedster next year, according to a source close to Zuffenhausen.

Rumours of the cars, which are said to be “in the pipeline” at this stage, could set the scene for an incredible year of 911 launches, with the Exclusive-built 911s potentially joining the expected 991.2 Carrera GTS and GT3 in showrooms during 2017.

Our sources have also learned that Porsche will reveal both a GT2 and a GT2 RS version of the current 911 platform next year, further corroborating the rumours that Weissach’s next GTE class race car will feature a new turbocharged flat six.

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There has been no official word from Porsche on the new additions and, as such, numbers are yet to be confirmed however, as with the 997, the two models are expected to be among the rarest 911s on offer (just 356 997 Speedsters and 250 997 Sport Classics were built by Porsche in 2010).

Like the last generation Sport Classic and Speedster, any 991 variants would likely use the wider-than-standard Carrera 4 bodyshell with the Gen2 Carrera S’s rear-wheel drive running gear, as can be seen in our artist’s impression commissioned by Total 911.

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Unlike recent offerings from the Exclusive Department – such as the Targa 4S Design Edition – both cars would likely feature fairly extensive reworking, with the Sport Classic predicted to get the GT3 RS’s sculpted roof.

We anticipate both cars will feature a number of retro touches too, including Anniversary-style alloy wheels and, on the Sport Classic, chromed trim around the decklid. With Porsche’s current penchant for classic fabrics, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the ‘Pepita’ fabric make a return to the interior either.


To keep up to date with all the breaking Porsche 911 news, bookmark Total911.com in your web browser.

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Sales Debate: Have modern classics slowed the pre-impact bumper market?

“Modern classics”: in the car collecting community it seems to be the hot new phrase, as buyers look to get behind something a bit more contemporary.

In 911 circles, the resurgence of the 964, 993 and even the 996 seems to have crossed paths with the slowing of the previously inexorable pre-impact bumper market. Is it more than pure coincidence? We put it to two of the UK’s leading experts.

For Alan Drayson, it’s an issue of perspective. The plateauing of the pre-impact bumper market is less to do with the success of modern classics, according to the Canford Classics founder, and more as a result of the market’s previous growth.

“The average pre-impact bumper is £80,000-£100,000,” he explains. “You would spend about half that for a pretty nice 964.” In Drayson’s opinion, people have become “a bit more aware” too.

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The success of the early 911 market has opened people’s eyes to other Neunelfers, with more customers “orientated to what they are looking for.”

The appeal of modern classics has had an effect on the market for older 911s, in Mark Sumpter’s opinion though. “A lot of people have gone in and bought classics and we’re finding they’re not necessarily the people that understand classics,” explains the head of independent specialist, Paragon.

“After living with it for a while, we have people say, ‘I like it, but I just don’t use it enough’, which has definitely affected the classic market slightly.”

The knock-on effect of this has, in Sumpter’s mind, drawn people towards the likes of the 964 and 993 (a generation that is actually considered classic thanks to an influx of younger buyers) because “you can actually use that car pretty much as you’d use a modern car.”

Later 911s also have greater investment potential he points out, and this has proved an important incentive to many buyers.

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However, Sumpter admits that it’s not simply down to the appeal of modern cars. “When the market was going well, there were some lovely classics,” the Paragon boss explains. “But then there were so many rushed restorations.” This meant that underwhelming auction results were entirely understandable.

Drayson agrees, pointing out that “people have just become really cautious because the market got flooded” at the end of last year.

The Canford boss doesn’t feel it’s all doom and gloom for the classic 911 though: “If I’m honest, the signs are that in the last month or two, it’s actually picked up again”, with Canford recently selling three cars via their sales arm.

Sumpter agrees, stating that, “good quality classics still seem to be selling okay.” There’s possibly life in the old dog yet then, and space in the market for a burgeoning modern scene too.

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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Listen to the new Porsche 911 R howl at the 2016 Soundnacht

 

Another year passes where we haven’t been able to make it out to the Porsche Museum for Soundnacht, the annual extravaganza that sees some of Zuffenhausen’s finest cars old and new fired up for the aural delight of the expectant crowd.

For the 2016 event, Porsche 911 fans didn’t leave disappointed as a tantalising collection of flat sixes roared into life, led by the 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR’s ferocious bark.

Following the 3.0-litre RSR came the Porsche 911 SC that Walter Röhrl used in the 1981 San Remo Rally (challenging for victory) before ‘Moby Dick’, the famous longtail Porsche 935 campaigned in 1978 took to the stage for its starring moment.

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Alongside a number of other iconic Stuttgart racing cars (including the Porsche 804 Formula One car used to win the 1962 French Grand Prix), the crowd also got to listen to the new Porsche 911 R – resplendent in the unusual British Racing Green – play its sonorous tune.

The real star of the 2016 Porsche Soundnacht however was this year’s Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid, the first time Weissach’s latest LMP1 contender has barked into life at the Museum’s celebration of engine sound.

Thankfully for those of us who missed out on joining the audience for this incredible evening, Porsche’s latest video lets us enjoy the sounds of the above Neunelfers (and a number of other Zuffenhausen sports cars). And, once you’ve finished

For more of the latest and best Porsche films, check out our dedicated video section now.

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Eight alternative Great Roads you have to drive before you die

There are some roads that every discerning petrolhead has heard of: Route 66, the Grossglockner Pass, the Isle of Man’s Mountain Road. Cutting through some of the most iconic scenery, these hallowed stretches of tarmac will be top of many ‘must drive’ lists.

However, if you look a little off the beaten track, there are a plethora of alternative routes waiting to be discovered at the wheel of your Porsche 911. Here are eight lesser-known Great Roads you need to experience before you kick the bucket:

Douro Drive, Portugal
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Roughly following the route carved by one of Portugal’s largest rivers, the Douro Drive has it all: stunning scenery, great weather and, on top of it all, some fantastic tarmac that almost continuously twists its way through the valleys of the country’s wine-making region.

Wild Atlantic Way
Wild Atlantic Way 1

Comprising more than 1,500 miles down Ireland’s west coast, the Wild Atlantic Way has more than enough tarmac to satisfy every driver. The coastline the route traverses is, more often than not, breath-taking while the tarmac itself is pristine, allowing you to enjoy your Porsche 911 just as Ferry intended.

Marrakesh to Merzouga, Morocco
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One of the world’s greatest ancient trade routes, this road through Morocco’s hugely varied countryside will take you right up the edge of the Sahara Desert via the cosmopolitan capital city, dramatic cliff-side bends and mountainous forests.

B4391, North Wales
B4391 Ffestiniog

A particular favourite of the Total 911 team, this small road, tucked away in the middle of Snowdonia, provides a stern test for all Porsche 911s (and their drivers). The views are often beautiful and the challenge is unrelenting all the way back to the English border.

Route 1, Iceland
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Route 1 may well be the best ring road in the world. Circumnavigating the entire perimeter of Iceland, the greatest challenge the road prevents are the wildly changing conditions you’ll encounter. It’s worth it though, providing some gorgeous vistas of this enchanting country.

Jebel Hafeet Mountain, UAE
Jebel Hafeet Mountain

Possibly the world’s greatest driveway, the road up Jebel Hafeet Mountain was built as an access route for Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s unused palace. It’s only seven miles long but the road doesn’t relent, providing plentiful switchbacks and well-sighted curves.

Route 130, USA
Route 130

While many of our American Great Roads are centred around California, most of those are local to Los Angeles. Route 130 however is a rare piece of automotive nirvana in the state’s northern half, twisting its way up and down through the aptly named Diablo Mountains just outside of San Jose.

Mulsanne Straight, France
Mulsanne Straight

A 3.7-mile long piece of French ‘Route Nationale’, punctuated by two roundabouts, just outside of a major town may not sound particularly inspiring but this is where many of Porsche’s Le Mans legends have been born. You can almost feel the heady days of 917s blasting down the Hunaudières.

Which is your favourite lesser-known driving route? Share your Great Roads in the comments below or join the debate on our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

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