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The Smoking Tire

Here’s What It’s Like To Drive The 2020 Porsche 992 Carrera 4S On The Tail Of The Dragon

Porsche really wanted to make a splash with the new 992-generation of its iconic 911. The company invited several automotive journalists, including friend of the site Matt Farah, to Germany to drive the new 911 around for a couple of days. So far, that’s pretty standard for how this industry works. Then came the unorthodox bit. Porsche instructed Matt to point his GPS to the airport where the car was loaded onto a pallet and into a cargo plane. He then boarded the plane with the car, and transited across the globe to Ohio of all places (it’s a DHL hub). Then Porsche sent these folks with some of the first 992s in America down the spine of the Appalachians to the wonderful Tail of the Dragon, US 129 in Deals Gap, North Carolina. Sounds like an epic road trip, right?

After spending more time with the 992 than anyone else outside of Porsche employees, Farah got a pretty good sense for what the car was capable of. Check out his impressions in this most recent one take video below. It’s definitely worth your time to watch. And surprisingly the 992 sounds better than I remember the 3-liter Turbo sounding when I drove that engine in the 991.2 a couple of years ago.


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How Can Porsche Improve On The 991.2 GT3 RS?

« This is the most track-focused, surgically precise, lightest, most downforcey 911 that you can buy, » Farah begins. The stance and aerodynamic additions leave nobody guessing what this monster is meant to do—as will the exhaust note. At 9,000 rpm, the scream the 4.0-liter makes sounds like Armageddon—the good kind. We’re all familiar with the car, which is admittedly meant for smooth, fast circuits—so how does it handle Los Angeles canyons?

Anyone who’s owned a vintage car can attest to the difference the mildest increases in girth make. As these latest 991 Carreras are bigger around the midsection, they are noticeably larger. Every additional inch of width and length make any car feel harder to place, but the 991’s (GT3 RS, especially) incisive front, rear wheel-steering, and relatively short overhangs compensate for its greater size. Looking at the direction change as Farah descends through the switchbacks (4:25), we see that the car is as easy to place as anything.

Fortunately, a communicative front end is only part of this beauty’s appeal. The less confident, less skilled driver could still get all their jollies pulling a few gears through a tunnel and bask in that end-of-days shriek (5:29). Few road-going cars make a sound like the GT3 RS, and in many ways, this is a road-going car that lives up to the moniker « racing car for the road. »

A sight every GT3 RS owner relishes.

For that reason, it is more a weekend car than a grocery getter. It’s a lot of car for a public road, and it lacks the softness that’s reassuring over fast, bumpy, read-world roads. Not to say it isn’t compliant or stable, but it is firm. Also, the 265-section tires in front make the slightly darty; tramlining is just part of driving this car over crowned, pockmarked streets.

These mild criticism can’t dissuade a real petrolhead from loving all of the raw pace and involvement this car offers, and that’s no surprise. With a wide road to stretch its legs, the GT3 RS is totally electric. There’s no question about its rightful place in the pantheon of great road-going track cars, but it’s not something that is at home from stoplight to stoplight. Like putting a leash on a cougar, it’s just wrong; this machine needs to roam.


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This Gulf RSR Replica Is What California Dreams Are Made Of

This is one of just three similar cars Gunderson has painted in classic paint schemes.

John Gunderson has a knack for bringing the right people into the picture. When he wanted to blend the urgency and colorful exterior of the legendary 917 with a usable road car, he came up with this. A ’73 911 Blending the classic Gulf livery, a 2,200-pound frame, and a 350-horsepower motor from Rothsport, is bound to convert even the most cynical Porsche haters.

Gunderson started with a real-deal long-hood 911, which was then stripped and fitted with hand-hammered steel fenders. Inside, a set of recline-equipped Recaro seats made the cut, providing a supportive enough seat for the odd blitz through the backroads, but plush enough to not require a chiropractor’s services after using. Additionally, they don’t disrupt the classic spartan theme inside—this is an RSR replica, after all.

The simplistic cabin provides the driver with all the pertinent information and nothing more.

Their support is dearly needed if the driver wants to exploit the power of the the 3.5-liter motor behind them. Fortunately, the Rothsport engine produces its power in a linear fashion and screams to a 7,000-rpm redline. That grunt is fortified by the closely stacked gears and short throw. Though the shifter throw is a little on the vague side, and the pedals are oddly positioned, that’s the only real criticism that Zack Klapman can find. High praise from someone who has driven a little bit of everything.

Zack got up to speed quickly. Its direct steering, which is slightly vague in the center but quickly loads up, helps him position the car in quick canyon switchbacks. It’s that detailed level of information through the pedals, the seat, and the steering which eventually brought the reluctant host over to the pro-Porsche side.

It’s true—few cars are as persuasive as a purpose-built Porsche.


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The 1986 Porsche 928S With A Manual Is The German Muscle Car To Get

This gorgeous blue-skinned shark belongs to Muscle aficionado and personality behind House of Muscle on YouTube, Mr. Mike Musto. Both the car and its owner are about as nice as they come, and it’s quite clear that Zack Klapman and Mike have quite the rapport, being that they worked together for a number of years. When Mike was in Los Angeles with the car, he and Zack went for a drive on video. Their conversation flows like old friends, and the car enjoys being thrashed through the canyon roads. Watch and listen, and you might learn a thing or two about what is perhaps Porsche’s most maligned car.

I have personally driven this 928 with Mike before, and it is as cherry as it looks on camera. Mike bought the car as a clean candidate and had every inch of the mechanicals to make it exactly the car he dreamed of when he was younger in the 1980s. Being the last of the sharp-nosed 928s, it has the old look that he craved. Being a 1986 928S, it has the larger 32-valve 5-liter engine that makes the power Musto wanted.

These are quite rare with a manual transmission, and it completely transforms the 928 driving experience from a lackadaisical lope along to a high speed handshake deal between driver and car. If you can find one in good shape, I highly recommend it.

Mike, as a good Porsche owner should, uses is 928 regularly for high-speed highway runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles. He says it will cruise all day long at speeds exceeding the limit, and that’s just how he likes it.


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Matt Farah Takes His Safari 911 For An Urban Adventure

When you think about the perfect Los Angeles city car, you don’t necessarily jump to a 1980s Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2, but once Leh Keen has fiddled with the suspension and interior, it just might be. With a softer suspension, more tire sidewall, and taller ride height, a Safari 911 is an excellent machine for running around in the mean streets of LA. You can hit bumps, curbs, pot holes, and speed humps at speed without so much as a worry about it hurting your car, and certainly without worrying about it compacting your spine as a stiffly sprung motorsport-inspired suspension might.

Matt Farah, of Smoking Tire fame, recently sent his Casis Red Porsche off for a complete overhaul by BBi Autosport and The Keen Project. He drove Leh’s personal car a few years ago, and fell madly in love with the concept. It’s been just over a year since he bought the car, and it’s turned out exactly how he wanted it. With huge knobby tires, a wild interior, some bash bars, and bright as day fog lamps, Safari Project #14 makes for a great city runabout. It’s comfortable, easy to drive, and works exactly as planned. This is the first of three drive reviews of the car, running around in the city. In the near future, Matt promises to bring us reviews of the car on a twisty canyon road and again on an off-road route. I look forward to seeing if his positive opinion continues to hold when he drives the car in those differing environments.

This kind of does go to show that Leh Keen was a genius for kicking off this trend in the Porsche world. They’re apparently brilliant to drive, still retain the character Porsche is known for, and carry an added value that can’t be reproduced anywhere else. That Leh has a waiting list years long is testament to the car, as well. Well done to Leh and well done to Matt for getting the car he wanted. I’m personally so glad he decided to keep it in Casis Red, it’s such a gorgeous color.


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