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Classic icons: Porsche 911T v 911E v 911S

In issue 159 of Total 911 we compared the 991.2 Carrera, GTS and Turbo S, declaring them the “modern-day interpretations of the 911 T, E and S”. Now, we’re rewinding the clock 45 years to the classic originals. Meet the mainstream F-series range as it was in 1973, the final year of the ‘long bonnet’ before the impact-bumpered G-series arrived, a move which changed the 911’s look forever.

Why ‘mainstream’? Well, as Porsche enthusiasts, we all have ‘1973’ branded on our collective consciousness as the year of the first road-going Rennsport. The Carrera 2.7 RS is a fully paid-up icon and arguably the greatest 911 ever made, yet, then as now, it was exclusive and expensive. So, just as we excluded GT models from our 991.2 triple test, the RS fails to fit the brief here.

The three-tier 911 hierarchy was established in 1968, when the entry-level T (Touring) and mid-range L (Luxury) joined the flagship S (Super) – the latter introduced in 1967. At this stage, all had 2.0-litre engines and a 2,210mm wheelbase. The carburettor-fed L gave way to the fuel-injected E (Einspritzung) in 1969, when wheelbase was lengthened to 2,271mm. A year later, the flat six grew to 2.2-litres, then 2.4-litres in 1972. The 2.4 F-series models were thus in production for just two years, compared with 15 for the G-series.

The three cars gathered today – kindly sourced by Paul Stephens in Essex – all hail from 1973, and look near identical at first glance. Get closer, though, and it’s apparent there are detail differences, most obviously the colour of the engine shroud: black on the 130hp T, green on the 165hp E and red on the 190hp S. However, as those power outputs suggest, by far the biggest difference is felt on the road.

I start in the middle with the 911E: a model Paul describes as “undervalued”. This particular example is resplendent in Light ivory (colour code: 131) on polished 6×15-inch Fuchs. It’s the only UK car here, which explains the round door mirrors – both the T and S are US imports and sport rectangular mirrors – while the absence of optional bumper over-riders or chrome wheel arch trims results in a cleaner look.

The E being a right-hooker helps me acclimatise more quickly, yet there’s still much that feels alien about a 911 of this era. The hand throttle, a hinged choke lever nestled between the seats, is one notable quirk, as are floor-hinged pedals that force you to skew your legs towards the centre of the car. Unassisted steering and a five-speed 915 gearbox that’s obstructive when cold are further features that would confound drivers of modern machines – not least anyone accustomed to water-cooled 911s.

To read the full article on our Porsche 911T vs E vs S mega test, pick up a copy of Total 911 issue 161, in shops now and available to buy here or download.

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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.

nd3_4799

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.

nd3_4892

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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Sales Spotlight: 1968 Porsche 912/6

The years of booming Porsche 911 prices have hit the pre-impact bumper market especially hard. Three years ago, Porsche 911Ts (of any engine capacity) could be found for around £35,000 whereas, now, the same cars are changing hands for upwards of £70,000.

That’s a lot of money for what was an entry-level Porsche 911 built in reasonably high numbers, putting it out of reach of many who want the experience of a pre-impact bumper Neunelfer.

However, there are still some more affordable ways to get behind the wheel of a long hood Porsche 911, you just have to think outside the box, as this short-wheelbase car from classic Porsche experts, Canford Classics proves.

911T 2.2 engine

Starting life as a four-cylinder Porsche 912, this left-hand drive car was built in 1968, the last year of the original short wheelbase chassis and imported into the UK from California in 1998.

Between 2000 and 2005, its owner obviously realised the 912 is very much a sheep in wolf’s clothes though, choosing to convert it to Porsche 911 specification at some point in the car’s life.

Now fitted with a 2.2-litre Porsche 911T flat six, the owner spent £18,000 on the engine upgrade as well as improvements to the brakes and suspension (all of which are well documented in the car’s extensive history file).

Canford 912/6 interior

The car – resprayed in Stone Grey by Aston Martin Car Care – looks immaculately presented (we wouldn’t expect anything less of Canford Classics) and, inside, the only reminder of its previous life as a 912 is the metal dashboard trim.

To the purists, it may be neither fish nor fowl but, for anyone looking for a way into the classic Porsche 911 experience with the performance and beautiful styling of an early Neunelfer, this 912/6 looks simply perfect priced at £50,000.

For more information on this Porsche 912/6 or the any of the other classic Porsche 911s in stock at Canford Classics, check out the independent specialist’s website now.

Canford Classics Porsche 912/6 SWB

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Total 911’s greatest Porsche 911 rear ends of all time

The back end of the Porsche 911 has always been the iconic sports car’s real centre of attention, housing each successive generation of flat six engine since the Neunelfer’s launch in 1963.

The Total 911 team has picked their seven favourite Porsche 911 rear ends of all time so, in no particular order, here they are. What do you think?

Porsche 993 Carrera RS Clubsport
993 RS

How can you not love the sheer bravado of the Porsche 993 Carrera RS’s rear end, especially in Clubsport guise. The full-width reflector provides the inflated haunches with even more impact while that rear wing is pure Nineties aesthetical extravagance.

Porsche 911S 2.4
911S 2.4

This list wouldn’t be complete without a traditional, flat-back, pre-impact bumper Neunelfer. The 2.4-litre Porsche 911S gained subtle rear arch flares and marked the debut of the engine capacity decklid badge that would go on to become even more famous on the 911 Carrera 2.7 RS.

Porsche 997 GT2 RS
997 GT2 RS

Of all the Porsche 911s on our countdown, the 997 GT2 RS’s rear end is undoubtedly the least beautiful. However, it is certainly one of the most aggressive with those large air intakes on the rear wing struts and exit vents on the bumper giving the turbocharged Rennsport real purpose.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 RSR
911 3.0 RSR

Large wing? Check. Massively flared arches? Check. Giant slick tyres? Check. The 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 RSR must have given its competitors a fantastic sight as it raced off into the distance to take another victory. We especially love those exit vents. Subtle this Neunelfer is not.

Porsche 996 Carrera 4S
996 C4S

Sometimes simplicity and a nod to the past are best. That is certainly the case with the 996 Carrera 4S, taking the Turbo’s wider bodyshell but removing the aerodynamic addenda for a cleaner rear end. The return of the rear reflector panel was well-received by enthusiasts around the world.

Porsche 930 3.0
930 3.0

Forget the 911 Carrera 2.7 RS from the previous year, the original Porsche 911 Turbo must have wowed the crowds at its motor show unveiling in 1974. A widened stance and that whaletail wing ensured that the 930 3.0 would be one of the Seventies iconic poster cars.

Porsche 991 Carrera GTS
991 GTS

We cant’ put our finger on what makes flat-back, widebody Porsche 911s work but they just do. The Porsche 991 Carrera GTS is a case in point, helped by the addition of the black trim strip between the brake lights and the revised, retro-look decklid grill.

What is your favourite Porsche 911 backside? Join the debate in the comments below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

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Porsche 911 2.4S v 2.7 Carrera: changing of the guard

The end of the oil crisis, the Watergate scandal and The Rumble in the Jungle. What do they have in common? All three took place in 1974, the halfway point of the Seventies. While this trio of events may have defined the year for many, Porsche fanatics will remember 1974 as the year that redefined what a 911 looked like.

Two years earlier, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (the section of the US Department of Transportation responsible for writing safety standards) introduced new bumper regulations.

However, the legislation wasn’t intended to improve safety. Instead, highlighted by the arrival of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act in October 1972, the changes were designed to reduce repair costs for consumers in the event of a low-speed accident.

White Porsche 911 2.4S

By the time of the 1974 model year, both the front and rear bumpers of new cars in the United States had to be capable of withstanding a 5mph collision without causing damage to lights or the engine.

Like most European manufacturers, Porsche was faced with the prospect of having its cars outlawed stateside if it didn’t make the necessary changes. As with the 356 before it, the 911 had been a perennially successful seller in the US; Zuffenhausen couldn’t afford to not make the changes. The G-Series was born.

Blocky protrusions suddenly sprouted at either end of the smooth silhouette that sports car fans had adored since first setting eyes on it at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Orange Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera

Porsche’s designers, led by Wolfgang Möbius, managed to integrate the new bumpers better than many manufacturers, but the changes still rankled some for spoiling the aesthetic purity of the previous generation of 911s. Yet the updated fenders weren’t the only changes made to Porsche’s flagship car for 1974.

From its introduction in 1967, the 911S was king of the Porsche hill, providing Zuffenhausen enthusiasts with a heady mix of power and comfort.

As we found in issue 120, the 2.0-litre S was an accomplished tourer (though was lacking in big bore thrills), while the 2.2 S of 1970-71 exponentially upped the performance stakes, but could have benefitted from some extra refinement.

To read our 2.4S v 2.7 Carrera head-to-head in full, pick up Total 911 issue 132 in store now. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery or download it straight to your digital device.

Porsche 911 2.4S

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