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RPM Technik

Cars to buy in 2019

The winter road salt is beginning to recede, and the days are getting longer and warmer. Summer is on its way, and with it, the promise of another season of driving excellence at the wheel of your favourite Porsche 911. But which 911? If you’re thinking of a change to your stable or have your eye on something new for 2019, then look no further than Total 911’s annual and ever-popular ‘cars to buy’ guide to help steer you in the right direction.

There remain bargains to be had when comparing 911s with other models in the same price point, while many other models still represent guaranteed investment-grade quality, providing you’re prepared to play the long game. There’s also a host of 911s ready and willing to provide you with oodles of fun – more fun than any amount of cash in the bank can offer. So wether you’re looking for road or track-based frolics, a great value 911 or a decent investment proposition, we’ve got the answers readily compiled for you over the next 12 pages.

And don’t just take our word for it. Once again we’ve sought the opinions of experts from around the industry, those who work within the Porsche marketplace on a daily basis, and whom in the ensuing years have seen values of cars peak and dive, and trends come and go, building a healthy resistance against market naivety as a result – and their knowledge and insight is hereby being passed exclusively to you. We’ve asked more specialists than ever, our panel this year offering wisdom from a combined 101-years of experience selling fine Porsche. As a result, no other resource will offer such a compelling insight as to what 911 models you should be focussing on for 2019.

This year, to reflect the breadth of 911s on offer, we’ve split the experts’ choices into three categories: best value, long term investment, and outright fun, all of which provide compelling options for a variety of budgets. It makes for a tantalising read: have your wallets at the ready as we present the 911s to buy for 2019…

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Richard Attwood drives a 964 3.8 R restomod

road car. A race car. An engineer’s car. The 911, more than any other car, is a product of continual automotive evolution. Porsche’s enhancements have kept it relevant for the road, competitive on the track and have cemented its reputation as the enthusiast’s car of choice. That evolution isn’t just limited to Porsche itself; an entire industry out there takes 911s backwards and forwards in time, improving, re-imagining, personalising. The 911 is an eminently adaptable basis upon which owners can build the car they want from it.

With this 964, that’s exactly what RPM Technik has done for its owner Ian Humphris. The idea was for a fast road car that could be track driven, adding contemporary performance while being respectful to the classic feel and engagement a 964 brings. Using a Carrera 2 as its basis, the build process has been meticulous, seeking improvements in every area, this now a 964 that can run with its more recent GT department relations, yet offers a driving bandwidth that enables it to be enjoyed on the road, too.

Of all the many branches of 911 evolution and sub-species, this visceral, exciting 964 arguably represents the most appealing opportunity for perfecting and personalising, taking a tired Carrera and reviving it as a car that can be enjoyed. Its performance absolutely eclipses a 964 RS that you’d be too scared to drive. What RPM and Humphris have created is the perfect riposte to a zeitgeist where vehicular value takes president over the value of driving itself.

PART ONE: ON TRACK

It’s a sunny day at Bedford Autodrome, our track time exclusively reserved for RPM Technik’s 964 3.8. Owner Humphris likes his cars too: there’s a 997 GT3 RS in his garage, alongside some other special machinery, but it’s the 964 he’s animated about.

It’s obviously not standard, but to the uninformed could just be a neat, small, red Porsche 911. Its lowered stance could be missed, its split-rim BBS alloys less so. Humphris admits that they’re his road wheels, having a set of Cup 17-inch wheels with some cut slicks for serious track work. There are subtle hints to its revisions visually then, the black-rimmed headlight surrounds an RSR nod, the small lip splitter a neat addition under the front bumper.

There’s no surprises seeing the brake intakes on the front bumper, though they’re framed by darker indicator lenses. These, like those headlight surrounds, contrast perfectly with the red bodywork. Around the back the build follows the same understated enhancement route, this 964 retaining a single exhaust pipe, though the engine cover suggests that single pipe is attached to something a little bit different from the norm. The sticker, not badge, says 3.8 R, a model that’s entirely of its owner’s making, and justifiably so. Specification or naming purists be damned, this is a car that defines purity, a car built for an individual, with their – and only their – ambition and goals for it driving the entire project.

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996 CSR EVO: Evolving the Carrera

There’s a very nice 996.2 GT3 sitting in the RPM Technik showroom when I arrive early on a Wednesday morning. There’s a track booked, but the GT3 will be staying here. Instead RPM Technik’s commercial director Darren Anderson hands me the keys to the company’s CSR EVO. The CSR name has been around since 2010, RPM offering the CSR as a package of upgrades on 996 and 997s which can be done at once or over a period of time, depending on budget and expectations.

With the EVO the focus is more on track driving, it obviously a more hardcore, adjustable car that offers the serial track day enthusiast something they can drive as a daily, yet track mercilessly. As Anderson himself says, the EVO “has the broadest remit of any CSR”.

RPM Technik admits that to qualify as a CSR there has to be a minimum of work done to give the name its due. Obviously the Merlin purple demonstrator, build number 22, has the full EVO package on it, but if elements don’t chime with your desires or needs then you don’t have to have them. Add all the EVO changes up and you’re looking at around £55,000, which is a not-insignificant amount, especially as you need a 996.2 Carrera base car in the first instance. Indeed, that pushes the CSR EVO into the league of that aforementioned 996.2 GT3.

That’s perhaps a moot argument as, regrettably, the likelihood of buyers walking into RPM’s showroom, buying a GT3, chucking a lid and some Nomex clothing under the bonnet and heading to a track day are past. Blame the speculative nature of the Porsche marketplace for that, and in particular the ‘value’ of the GT cars.

The CSR EVO represents an opportunity: this is a car that a genuine enthusiast can buy and use as they like, that indeed being a significant part of its appeal. That it’s based on the 996 only makes it more interesting, a car that the market’s traditionally described as unloved. I’ve never subscribed to that – a good 996 delivers a wonderful drive, yet as with any car there’s scope for improvement, which is where RPM comes in.

The list of changes on this CSR EVO is lengthy. It’s very obviously purple, which is deliberate given its demonstrator status, Anderson wanting it to stand out among other cars. The likelihood is CSR EVO customers will leave their cars in the standard hue, though RPM will be only too happy to take on a colour change. Overt colour aside, the bodywork changes are relatively subtle. There’s a vented CSR EVO front bumper with ducting behind it feeding an additional third radiator, a carbon ducktail and sideskirts and rear bumper with vented inserts, and a central exit for the twin exhaust pipes. There’s a carbon bonnet, upon which there’s a stickered Porsche badge, in keeping with the lightweight ethos.

That carries over to the inside: there’s a lower dash delete, RPM moving the window switches up from between the seats to the centre dash, the ashtray also being removed. Out of that neater tunnel between the Recaro Pole Position bucket seats is a longer gearstick attached to a modified linkage for an improved shift, while ahead of you is a deep-dished, leather-rimmed MOMO wheel with a yellow strip…

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Our 24-hour 997.2 Carrera S roadtrip

It is ironic that in the same weekend Porsche Motorsport’s 991 RSRs are to spend 24 hours charging around a 13-kilometre track in northern France, Total 911 would be taking part in a European dash of its own.

The call came a couple of days previously; RPM Technik’s commercial director Darren Anderson enquiring as to our whereabouts over the upcoming weekend. Le Mans was of course on the agenda, but rather than travelling to Circuit de la Sarthe, the action was to be watched from the comfort of home via Eurosport. Cue the curve ball: “How would you like to collect a 911 for me?” Darren asked.

The 911 in question was to be a 997.2 C2S, it being no ordinary beast though. Serving purpose as a mule for the company’s critically acclaimed CSR programme, which modifies 996 and 997s in line with its ‘engineering exhilaration’ slogan, the latest phase of development has seen RPM Technik partner with KW suspension. The latter’s trademark yellow springs are a permanent feature under the arches of cars dominating competition on the Nordschleife.

Via Richard Good, director at KW UK, a close working relationship has been formed with the KW factory in Fichtenberg, Germany, to develop a set-up which RPM Technik believes ideally suits its burgeoning line-up of CSR 911s. “We’ve previously used other brands of high-end suspension without issue, but we felt KW offered the greatest diversity of products and those products provide more opportunity for adjustability to cover a wide variety of driving situations. A great set-up for the track doesn’t necessarily correlate to the ideal configuration for fast road driving, for example,” Darren explains. “With KW we can ensure our cars have precise focus and adjustability without compromising ride quality, and that’s across a range of driving scenarios our customers can find themselves in.”

There’s clear intelligence behind RPM Technik’s thesis here. As we’ve seen ourselves, the rush to deliver better and better performance in the aftermarket sector often brings huge caveats in regards to comfort, particularly for examples used everyday, as the 911 is intended. Our interest suitably piqued, we accept the offer to repatriate RPM’s mule, fitted with a freshly developed set of CSR-tuned DDC Plug and Play coilovers.

Arriving at KW’s sprawling Fichtenberg factory, situated an hour east of Porsche’s own Zuffenhausen base, we meet Oliver Scherbaum, who offers to show us around this impressive facility.

Essentially a complete walk-through of how each individual coilover is made, KW’s Ollie is extensive with his divulgence of information, yet engaging in his delivery. We learn the precise methods for building each damper, the exhaustive quality control present at every step of the process, plus the science and technology which goes into making a KW coilover – not to mention the sheer number of components involved (it is quite literally hundreds). All this helps paint a very vivid picture of the technology newly installed under the arches of RPM Technik’s GB-plated car out front. Time is ticking, so we’d better get on with the drive.

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RPM CSR Evo takes Porsche’s 911 996 Carrera to a track-focused extreme

Porsche specialist RPM Technik has built a faster, leaner, 996 Carrera, the most extreme model yet in its CSR series…

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