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Drag Battle: Lamborghini Huracan Performante Vs. 991.2 Porsche Turbo S

While these two supercars don’t exactly cater to same demographics, they do possess similar straightline strengths. The soft, silent, bubble-bodied Porsche Turbo S looks almost modest when stood against the angular, wing-clad Lamborghini Huracan Performante doused in a coat of metallic lilac. More powerful and much lighter, the 640-horsepower Performante looks like the car that would leave a 911 behind without much difficulty.

However, Porsche’s 911 Turbo has always had a way of outrunning the on-paper quicker cars. That wide wave of turbocharged torque gives the 3,750-lb Turbo S the shove of a freight train, and thanks to the near-seamless shifts of the PDK transmission, that shove is never interrupted. With 553 lb-ft of torque available from 2,100 rpm, the Turbo S is frighteningly fast from just about anywhere in the rev range. In most real-world situations, that big-block-esque turning force should make the Porsche the quicker car.

Watch how both four-wheel drive vehicles leave the line at about the same rate, but how the Porsche surges ahead once they’re underway. With that mid-range shove and perhaps a mild traction advantage, the Porsche’s the faster from stoplight to stoplight. That said, the jump off the line pays dividends. 1,350 feet later, the two are separated by just a tenth of a second. At the end of the quarter mile, the Porsche pips the snarling bull by a hair’s breadth.

Dragging from a dig and from a 40-mph roll are two different tasks entirely. The Lamborghini’s weight and throttle response play a role here. At tip-in, the Porsche’s mild delay keeps it from snagging the rolling race. When time comes to stop, the award again goes to the Performante; roughly 700 pounds make a major difference in the act of deceleration. You simply cannot cheat physics when it comes to braking—but that doesn’t stop Porsche from trying.

Which one would you rather have?

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Porsche 911 design icon: Tony Hatter

“I was born in Northern England, but whereas most of my friends were football fans, I was crazy about cars. My parents thought I should get into some sort of engineering apprenticeship, but that proved a bit of a dead end and I went to Lanchester Polytechnic [now Coventry University] where I did a degree which involved transport design.

“But vehicle design itself wasn’t properly understood at that time, and it wasn’t till I got to the Royal College of Art in London, where I spent two years, that I really discovered design and styling.”

Full of youthful enthusiasm, Tony Hatter was keen to join Porsche, but in 1981 the company wasn’t hiring so he found a styling position at Opel, moving to Porsche in 1986, a path trodden by a series of well-known Porsche designers beginning with the then-styling chief, Tony Lapine.

“As a newcomer I started off on small jobs, such as the wider rear bumper for the 964 Turbo, and I remember I did the ribbon latch pulls for the doors of the 964 RS. To be honest there wasn’t much happening, though we always had work on the Linde forklift to fall back on.” Linde was one of several major third-party contracts at Weissach.

Lapine retired after a heart attack in 1988, and his replacement, Harm Lagaaij, began in late 1989. Tony’s first recollections of the 993 are from the end of that year. “We started in early 1990. I was very pleased to be working on the new air-cooled 911.”

He describes the particular challenge of creating a new 911: “The Porsche board always had very firm ideas about its shape. It was claimed the 964 was 80 per cent new, but visually it looked barely 20 per cent new. We needed to do something less conservative, but without being too radical.

The front of the 959, the plans for the 989 four-door and the facelifts for the 928 showed the way in terms of the frontal aspect – this new, smoothed front became part of Porsche’s design vocabulary.”

Hatter is reluctant to acknowledge that budget constraints had a significant impact on the exterior design of the 993. “We did redesign the windscreen wipers, even if they didn’t fall below the level of the bonnet.”

And it must be admitted that mounting the wipers centrally as a pair made their operation far more effective. “Don’t forget that the body in white is essentially that 1963 car. There’s a limit to what you can do so, for example, you have to maintain things like the rain gutters. What I really wanted to do with those was ‘flow’ them into the rear of the car – that was difficult.

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Porsche 993: the 911 that had to succeed

In retrospect, it’s easy to say Porsche’s mistake was its decision to keep the G-series 911 in production for 15 years, but from the company’s point of view, through the early 1980s the 911 was selling ever more strongly.

Regular updates and revisions ensured it remained at the top of the performance stakes. The robustness which made it a car you could count on day after day meant that despite its archaisms, it was still the ultimate road and track sports car.

However, within Porsche it was also a source of frustration to many of its engineers and designers keen to modernise it, dispensing, for example, with the torsion bar suspension and introducing assisted steering and a less idiosyncratic ventilation system. Journalists in other respects always well disposed towards the 911 observed it was becoming increasingly an enthusiast’s car, lacking broader appeal and depriving Porsche of a wider market.

The 928 launched in 1977 was supposed to address the GT segment of the market, but by the time the Vorstand had approved the next 911, Typ 964 in April 1984, sales of the 928 were already in decline. The 964 itself was a radical step in engineering terms – a completely new chassis and suspension which allowed fitment of ABS and assisted steering, a larger and more potent flat six, and four-wheel drive.

A conservative board, however, would not permit the designers to change anything above the axle line, which meant the 964, despite its revised front and rear bumpers, looked remarkably similar to its predecessor. Moreover its four-wheel-drive, such an innovation when Audi introduced the Quattro in 1981, was no longer a sensation, and early 964 buyers were able to confirm what the magazine testers had found, that Porsche’s fixed 2:1 rear/front torque split made the latest 911 an uninspiring understeerer.

The rear-drive C2 911 appeared a year later, but by then the damage had been done: in a generally morose market, and one which had halved in the US, clearly the 964 would not be the model to rescue an increasingly beleaguered Porsche.

A rolling of management heads saw new blood brought into the company. A former Weissach R&D engineer named Ulrich Bez was enticed from BMW Tech to become engineering boss, and he appointed his chief designer at BMW, Harm Lagaaij, another ex-Weissach man, to reinvigorate Porsche styling. These two were the impetus behind the next 911: the 993.

Bez was particularly critical of the 964’s crude ride and the C4’s handling, and Lagaaij’s remark when he arrived at Porsche’s design studios in October 1989 that there was “nothing going on” has gone into the history books. Work on 911 Typ 993 would start within weeks of the 964 C2 reaching the showrooms.

This time, a chastened Vorstand, which had pensioned off its managing, engineering and styling directors in short order, was prepared to offer Bez and Lagaaij more licence, and the pair took as much advantage as their still-constrained development budget permitted. 

Nevertheless, the new 911 represented a challenge: how could the new 993 retain its defining ‘Neunelfer-ness’ yet be endowed with a more modern appearance and wider appeal? 

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Porsche: concepts mules and prototypes

Before any new model goes into manufacture the design – in various stages of finalisation – has to go through practical testing. These vehicles are prototypes, recognisably and most often visually identical to the subsequent production vehicle.

Far less frequently these days, where more extensive research and dynamic development can be carried out with software simulations, a manufacturer experiments with a radical new idea by building some of the technology into the preceding model. These cars are often referred to as ‘mules’.

In the past, the need to keep particular experiments confidential even led to some mules wearing total disguises to fool both press and competitors.

Examples of this at Porsche include the Audi 100 Coupe, into which Weissach shoehorned the 928’s V8 and running gear; later the 928’s innards would also be built into an Opel Diplomat.

Concepts are used by manufacturers to float an idea, to test acceptability of a particular design or style. A phenomenon which in today’s homogenised and regulated auto industry has become unusual, the most successful example in Porsche history was the Boxster concept, greeted with standing ovations when it was revealed in 1993.

That the resultant Boxster – which would closely prefigure the new 911 – was so similar to the concept was a tribute to Porsche’s original design, achieving homologation with a minimum of compromises which usually dilute and sometimes completely spoil the original idea.

The real workhorses of pre-production are, of course, the prototypes, masked these days if their makers want to hide them by an astute application of chequered tape, which brilliantly sabotages visual perspective.

Of the thousands of prototypes built, virtually all of them are subsequently broken up, occasionally to the dismay of auto historians. In deference, however, to the interest they generate, Porsche has selected a handful of the more remarkable prototypes it has kept, and sometimes displays them at the Museum at Zuffenhausen…

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Our Favorite Porsches For Sale This Week: Volume 141

We’ve been compiling some amazing Porsche models on the internet for over five years now, and we’ve seen some pretty astonishing examples pop up now and again. This week we’re still working on getting our beach body. For that reason, we’re looking for buff widebody Porsches to inspire us! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed our « curated » look at the Porsche market. Keep in mind, some of these Porsches could be great collection investments, while others might prove to do more financial harm than good.

INTERESTED IN HAVING YOUR PORSCHE FEATURED HERE?

Every other week, we feature 5 of our favorite Porsches for sale. That post is sent out to our mailing list of more than 17,000 Porsche owners and fans and is seen by tens of thousands of other readers who visit our site directly. If you’re selling a Porsche on eBay and would like to see it featured here, just shoot us an email with the details and we’ll be back in touch. Otherwise, feel free to check out all the other eBay listings we have on our Porsches for sale pages.

1. 1979 Porsche 911 SC Targa Widebody For Sale

This wide and chunky Porsche looks great, doesn’t it? Obviously it didn’t look like this from the factory, but with the addition of some huge width flares, a Ruf-style bumper, and a wild 964 rear tail you wouldn’t think it would look quite right, but somehow it has grown together to have a pretty cohesive look. It’s got a good stance with some big wide wheels and tires. It’s got an interesting look with the Targa bar painted body color, and the soft top replaced with a hard metal roof. The interior looks awful, and the engine compartment looks a mess, so buyer beware, but it’s an interesting look from 10 feet, I imagine.

For more pictures, pricing, and information, check out the full listing on eBay

2. 1975 Porsche 911S Slantnose Widebody For Sale

I’m a real sucker for a slant nose coupe with wide turbo fenders and a 935-style tail. Add a set of flat-faced basket weave wheels color matched to the body, and I’m instantly in love. Unfortunately, this car doesn’t have the go to match its show, as it still features a bog standard 2.7 liter S motor from the mid-1970s. If this had some wild naturally-aspirated 3.4-liter that breathes fire, or a mega turbocharged job, it would be worth the bodywork. As it sits, this car is all hat and no cattle.

For more pictures, pricing, and information, check out the full listing on eBay

3. 1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Sunburst Widebody For Sale

This Porsche is legit with a capital L. Before Nakai San started off on his worldwide tear of building RWB wide-fendered Porsches, he worked for Sunburst Japan building widebody Porsches. The original wide fender look was cribbed directly from Porsche’s motorsport models. You can see the RSR and GT2 influences here and there. You can see the incredible worksmanship that has gone into this car. You can see the gorgeous paintwork and the awesome engine work. This might be the coolest street legal Porsche I’ve seen for sale this year. Snatch it up before it’s gone.

For more pictures, pricing, and information, check out the full listing on eBay

4. 1973 Porsche 911S Targa Widebody For Sale

It’s hard to argue against a 1973 911S. The 2.4-liter engine is a gem with its high-spec camshafts. The suspension is well set up from the factory. It’s a beauty to boot. This one, however, has been fitted with some huge fenders and giant tires to resemble a period 911 RSR. The RSR was, obviously, a coupe. This treatment doesn’t look quite right on a Targa model, but it looks right enough that I would hustle it through the canyons every day from now until my dying one. It’s not perfect, but it’s got potential. And eye-searing yellow paint, which is always a plus.

For more pictures, pricing, and information, check out the full listing on eBay

5. 1979 Porsche 911 SC Widebody For Sale

I mean, just look at it. I love everything about this, except for the fact that the rear decklid says « Turbo » while the engine is clearly not turbocharged. I despise that immensely, and would throw that badge away immediately. Otherwise, this is great.

For more pictures, pricing, and information, check out the full listing on eBay

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