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3.2 Carrera Clubsport: the lightweight special

The proliferation of GT models over the last few years means we’ve arguably become a little spoilt when it comes to the concept of more focused, pared-back 911s. It was a rather more novel approach back in 1973 when the legendary 2.7 RS burst onto the scene, a model Porsche followed a year later with the much rarer 3.0 variant.

The SC RS continued Porsche’s burgeoning Rennsport tradition at the start of the 1980s, but the reality is it cannot be considered in the same vein as its predecessors. Just 21 were made, but it was also a pure competition car, unlike the homologated RS 911s of the 1970s. 

It would actually take until 1991 for the Rennsport badge to make a comeback on the decklid of a road-going Porsche 911 as we know it, this time attached to the 964.

That meant nearly a 20-year gap between these air-cooled homologation specials so coveted by enthusiasts today. There was, however, an attempt by Porsche between 1987 and 1989 to plug that gap with a lightweight special: the Clubsport

There was certainly space in the Carrera range of the time for something a little more focused, and with the 964 waiting in the wings it could be considered a fitting last hurrah before increasing modernity swept away many elements of 911 tradition. Even if it isn’t quite the real RS deal, this is a model that had more than a dusting of Rennsport magic, and today it’s a Total 911 favourite. 

Work on a prototype designated by Porsche as ‘911 F22 prototype sports package 2’ had begun in 1984, and it appeared on the road the following year featuring glass-fibre bumpers and the older 915 transmission, neither of which made it to the production version that would make its debut at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show two years later.

Initially aimed at those with an urge to participate in club-level racing and other track events, it would go on to make for a magical road car, albeit a rare one. Of the 340 made, just 53 would come to the UK, with a further 28 examples heading Stateside – yes, this is a lightweight special that was permitted for the American market. The majority of Carrera Clubsports – 169 – were produced in 1988.

Numbers like those should have ensured instant desirability, but rather to Porsche’s surprise the reality proved slightly different. Despite actually being cheaper than the 3.2 Carrera upon which it was based – not a strategy you could see Weissach embracing today, where less very much costs more – early sales were something of a struggle.

The reasons for this have never been fully explained, although it’s conceivable that the somewhat austere specification didn’t really chime with the period of 1980s excess, a time when the well-heeled wanted to flaunt their financial status with luxury cars. So what did ticking the option box marked ‘M637’ actually get a buyer for their £34,389?

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15 years of the Porsche 997.1

A new model of 911 is always controversial. Porsche enthusiasts tend to get so used to the current version that they can be almost resentful when it is replaced.

Indeed, the arrival of any new 911 is usually at least slightly controversial, and with over half a century of history, examples abound: the 964 disappointed for resembling its aging predecessor so closely; the 991 shocked some with its considerably larger dimensions and, for more conservative types, the 992 was not only wider still, but a daunting tech-fest.

Then, of course, there was the 996, Porsche’s imaginative and brave attempt to translate the 911 into the 21st century idiom. Such was the outcry that it was hard to distinguish whether it was the styling or the water-cooled engine which upset diehards more.

The original 901 attracted more curiosity than outright admiration, but in 1963 nobody knew what the future 911 would be capable of. 30 years later and the 993 was mostly favourably received, if still seen as quaintly old fashioned outside Porschedom

By contrast there was one 911 for which praise was unanimous when it appeared, and that was the 997. Here, Porsche managed to combine tradition and progress as never before or, for many people, since. Allow us to take you through the 997’s history, tech, and current standing.

Planning dictated that the 996 would run out six years after its launch, and preparations for that successor began within a year of the 996 appearing in the showrooms. In response to market and press reaction, ideas for its successor were already taking shape.

Two things became clear: if aesthetically modern, the 996 was a little too radical. The Carrera was seen as a shade too refined-looking, lacking a certain aggressive element.

If the Aerokitted versions partly addressed this, in reality they still looked too much like aftermarket modifications. The cabin, too, was not quite right: certainly it was more spacious, and ergonomically it addressed the classic faults of the old 911 cockpit, with its scattered and not always logical switchgear.

But the 996 interior’s curves were, for many observers, overstylised. There was also the matter that the 996 shared not just its cabin, but the entire body from the doors and A-pillar forward with the much cheaper Boxster. 

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UK Porsche 993 road trip across the USA

Sometimes in life you need to jump and have faith things will work out. Having covered many thousands of miles in the States, I’d long wondered what it would be like to drive across this great country in one of my own cars.

One winter’s day last December I booked a couple of flights to Nashville without clearing my six-week travel plans with my colleagues at work. It would also mean my partner, Renée, who I planned to take with me, would face a similar predicament. We decided to take the plunge.

I found very little information to help take my own British-registered, C16 993 Carrera S to the States. Others had asked the question on forums before, only to be ridiculed, the perplexed wondering ‘why?’ It’s not for everyone, and certainly not without risk.

Think about things that could happen: an accident, theft, breakdown. With a rental, you simply call a number and someone else sorts your problem. At worst, you’ll be inconvenienced a day – that was my experience when I wrecked a BMW in Death Valley a few years back. Taking my own car would expose these risks and more, so my appetite for adventure had to match my love of Porsche. 

You can rent a Porsche 911 at LAX, but even booking months in advance you’ll be lucky to get availability, and are limited to collection and drop off at the same location. If you can get one, you’ll pay $1,800 a week for the privilege, and when you return with 8,000 miles added to the odometer there will be an extra $4,000 to pay. This was never my plan, exploring the options a way to justify the end.

Old 911s are great cars for covering distances in. They’re reliable, small, usable and intoxicating to drive. The world has long woken up to how good they are, and they’re in demand, many of us becoming cautious of piling on miles or even getting them wet.

Yet driving them is where the real value will always be. There was something distinctly appealing about shipping the 993, that familiarity of taking a faithful companion along for the trip of a lifetime and the sense of occasion an air-cooled 911 always delivers

The process has taught me it takes organisation, patience and a lot of form filling. There are two main shipping options: a roll-on-roll-off service, or a container, either with just one car or shared with other cars. I did a mixture, RORO outbound and a container inbound.

Costs were £4,000 including collection from Tennessee and transportation by road to Charleston on our return. You need to allow extra time for shipping delays; my car was over a week late arriving, luckily factored into the dates.

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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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Porsche releases new C4 GTS British Legends edition

Porsche Cars Great Britain has revealed a special 991.2 C4 GTS British Legends Edition 911 to celebrate the achievements at La Sarthe of Brit Drivers Richard Attwood, Derek Bell and Nick Tandy. Available immediately in one of three colour combinations evoking the famous Porsche livery of each driver’s period winning car, this special GTS has been developed with the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur department for the UK market only.

Attwood, Bell and Tandy have all had a direct hand in choosing the spec of the car too, with the C4 version of the current 991.2 GTS chosen to evoke the all-wheel-drive layout of the current 919 e-hybrid piloted by Tandy in the World Endurance Championship. It is also the fastest 911 in the current Carrera range. Alcantara and carbon trim provides a direct link to the cockpit of the racing cars each driver successfully pedalled to the top step of the podium at Le Mans, while a comprehensive standard specification including Sports Chromo Pack and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control further enhances the car’s motorsporting aspirations. A choice of either seven-speed manual or PDK transmissions is available.

Though the spec of each British Legends car is identical from a technical aspect, the three variants are all distinguishable by their liveries, with the Attwood car finished in Guards red with black centre-lock wheels to evoke the Salzburg livery of his 1970 Le Mans-winning 917, the Bell GTS finished in Sapphire blue metallic to evoke his 956’s Rothmans livery, while the Tandy car is finished in Carrera white metallic which of course honours the appearance of his 919 hybrid from his 2015 triumph. All versions then carry small side decals featuring the iconic number of each driver’s Le Mans conquering car, with the driver’s signature printed on a discreet plaque mounted aft of each car’s B-pillar.

Generously specced and unique in their appearance, these cars offer a rare opportunity for motorsporting aficionados to suitably honour their most admired Brit racing driver from Porsche’s hallowed works roster. However, theres a high price for such admiration, as the GTS British Legends editions are available from £122,376, slightly more than new 911 Turbo money. The cars aren’t part of a numbered production run but Porsche GB says the number available will be small, Total 911 estimating this to be around one example per Porsche Centre.

 

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