“How can you find so much to say about just one car?” It’s a question I’m frequently asked with regard to the Porsche 911, generally by people who are perhaps not the most diehard of Porsche enthusiasts.
It is indeed a reasonable question to ask as, to the casual observer, Porsche 911s are all the same. Rather Germanic, still with the engine in the wrong place and for those with a love of curvaceous Italian cars, not particularly attractive with engines that have a gruff exhaust note and none of the musical high tones of a Ferrari. “They are all the same” is indeed a fair assumption to make.
But in truth, the long life of the Porsche 911, now in excess of fifty years, means that there is always something new being unearthed, so content itself isn’t always a problem. There always seems to be something being unearthed or some new genre coming along. These three features I was commissioned by Total 911 magazine to write over the last three months are symptomatic of the diverse nature of 911 ownership and are typical of the varied appeal of a car which at first glance is a simple sports car but is in fact an entire ecosystem of stimulating Porsche ownership.
So if you think that all Porsche 911’s are the same, then here’s my attempt to educate you.
Driving the 997 Sport Classic.
I’d admired this model ever since I’d seen Jay Kay’s in the paddock at Outlon Park a few years ago. It’s nicely understated, almost to the point of being an introvert 911. The deep, soft grey, non metallic colour is very difficult to photograph well, but photographer Chris Wallbank did a good job of capturing not just the deep paintwork, but also the myriad of small detail changes and enhancements over the standard 997, from tiny visual styling cues that pick up on the history to the detail changes made to the engine, transmission and suspension setup. The result, as I wrote about in the feature, is a car that drives utterly differently to any other 997 Porsche I’ve experienced.
Car photography makes a very poor spectator sport, but the car’s owners were patience personified as we worked at several locations to get the images, with the final feature being well received. They obviously have great affection for the car, symbolised by the beautifully finished bespoke book supplied by Porsche that documented the build of the car.
The 997 Sport Classic was a car I enjoyed driving far more than I anticipated. The myriad of small detail changes made by Porsche all come together to deliver the most tactile liquid cooled Porsche 911 I have ever driven.
Euro Carrera vs Carrera 3.0
The North Yorkshire Moors in early winter can be a pretty bleak place, but we were blessed with sunshine and cloudless blue skies that made Chris Wallbank’s images look more like California. The brief was to write about these two air cooled 911’s that were pivotal in the Darwinian evolution of the marque.
Had Porsche got it wrong in this period, then we could well be seeing a vastly different company today. At a time in the 1970s of global fuel shortages, newly introduced regulations on both crash worthiness and also for the first time emmisions standards, the 2.7 ‘Euro Carrera’ with mechanical fuel injection marks the last of the hedonistic days of uncaring fuel useage, while the 3.0 Carrera was the car that introduced Porsche to electronic fuel injection. Specialist Cars of Malton, as ever supplied the immaculate cars and manpower to make our job so much easier.
It was one of those features for the die hard Porsche enthusiasts and the fact that these two cars are now highly collectable is something probably only truly appreciated by the more knowledgable Porsche 911 owners. My final thought on the pair was that even today, either of these cars would make perfectly acceptable daily transport.
Rauh Welt Beggriff Porsche build.
This one was thought provoking. I’m on record as being less than complimentary of Rauh Welt Begriff cars. For me, they’re a collision of the tuner car industry and a classic Porsche 911. The results vary massively, especially some of the West Coast USA cars which I feel are best viewed from this side of the Atlantic. My initial reaction when editor Lee contacted me was “How on earth do I write that?” Indeed, would I even wish to?
A few hours of reflection brought me to the conclusion that I was probably well placed to write about this car. Total 911 readers are a partisan and knowledgable group and I’m aware that many owners share my views. However, there are a great many other car enthusiasts who are rapturous about the RWB genre, so for me, the most interesting story wasn’t just covering the build of the car, but also it’s impact on car culture in Porsche 911 circles.
It’s also worth recalling that these aren’t the first aftermarket body kitted Porsche 911s. In the hedonistic 1980’s there were some true horrors out there that everyone loved at the time, but with hindsight, we would be diplomatic to call them ‘interesting’. Gemballa, Koenig, Strosek, Rinspeed are all search terms worth Googling…
A chat with the car’s owner provided me with the inspiration to write the feature and it was pleasing to hear that the consensus was that I’d hit the sweet spot with it.
Still think they are all the same?
Unless you drive them regularly, then you probably hold by your original assessment. I expect and indeed hope that I will continue to garner odd looks from certain quarters about my affection for the Porsche 911 for many years to come and rightly so. If you are a lover of Ferrari (and I am too) or Lamborghini or Japanese supercars, then thank you for bearing with me. If you are a Porsche 911 owner, you’ll know where I’m coming from. If you’re not, perhaps you might try one once again?