Porsche builds its one-mil­lionth 911

Spe­cial one-off green ver­sion cel­e­brates an iconic sportscar legacy

The Star Early Edition - - EXOTICS - JESSE ADAMS

THE REAL ro­mance only sank in once I was be­hind the wheel. Al­though I’m not sure if the feel­ing was ro­mance, or just that I was pet­ri­fied of slid­ing an ir­re­place­able car into the shrub­bery along­side a rain-soaked Scot­tish B-road.

A day ear­lier Porsche had put its one mil­lionth 911 on dis­play in front of me­dia at Ed­in­burgh Cas­tle. Dra­matic doesn’t be­gin to de­scribe the cer­e­mony. They rolled the thing out un­der moody over­cast skies, through the cas­tle gates, be­tween a pair of flam­ing caul­drons, be­hind an army of bag­pipers and into line with a fleet of chrono­log­i­cally ar­ranged 911 brethren - in­clud­ing some rare ex­am­ples from Porsche’s mu­seum. It was like a scene from Brave­heart, ex­cept with a lot more sportscars and photo-snap­ping jour­nal­ists.

But I wasn’t re­ally feel­ing it. It’s just a reg­u­lar 331kW Car­rera S af­ter all. The one mil­lionth car to come off the 911’s Zuf­fen­hausen assem­bly line since the first 1963 isn’t very spe­cial by Porsche stan­dards. In­stead of cel­e­brat­ing the oc­ca­sion with a Turbo S, or a GT3, or some other su­per high-per­for­mance vari­ant be­decked with wings and roll cages and car­bon­fi­bre, the peo­ple in charge of the project opted for a rel­a­tively Plain Jane model. But with good rea­son. The mil­lionth car is de­signed to mimic the first Porsche 911 owned by Ferry Porsche in 1964, with an Ir­ish Green paint job, sil­ver mir­rors and win­dow trim, white hound­stooth seat up­hol­stery, and wooden in­te­rior ac­cents in­clud­ing the steer­ing wheel’s rim. Great idea in con­cept, not so much in prac­tice. To be bru­tally hon­est this com­bi­na­tion is quite naff when ap­plied to a 2017 model. I was far more ex­cited to drive the mu­seum cars, which Porsche bravely of­fered up for tests along­side the spe­cial one-off.

And drive them I did. From a petrol-smelly 1967 Targa, to a hugely de­sir­able light­weight 1985 Club­sport, to a floaty but boosty 1991 964 Turbo, I was im­mersed in rear-mounted flat-six Porsche his­tory. I also sam­pled an in­sis­tently firm 996 GT3, a stripped-down plas­tic-win­dowed 997 GT3 RS, last year’s in­stant clas­sic, the 911R, and a soon-to-be-launched 991.2 GT3 with a man­ual gear­box (see next week’s pa­per) be­fore some pas­sen­ger hot laps in a Car­rera Su­per­cup race car. It was 911 over­load.

And then came my chance in the mil­lionth car. The one and only. The ir­re­place­able. And it was pour­ing rain. I had around 100km of twisty Scot­tish passes, lined on ei­ther side with soggy fields of frol­ick­ing sheep and unforgiving hedgerows, with the odd Ne­olithic stone wall thrown in for good mea­sure. I should have soaked up the spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence, but in­stead I was fo­cussed on keep­ing the left-hand drive ve­hi­cle in its left-hand lane.

It was only 10 days prior to this event that the folks at Porsche Ex­clu­sive were putting the fin­ish­ing touches to the mil­lionth ma­chine, and it was hard not to no­tice the smell of fresh paint in the cabin. Per­haps it was just the fumes, but I did be­gin to feel a bit fairy­taily with the whole thing. Here I was roam­ing the low­lands in a car bound for an af­ter­life in Porsche’s Stuttgart mu­seum, and I’d for­ever own some of the clicks on the odome­ter. Mine, out of in­ter­est, were be­tween 773 and 829 miles.

Porsche Ex­clu­sive, by the way, is the be­spoke end of the fac­tory where you can have your car cus­tomised to your heart’s con­tent. Just like most high-end brands, Porsche will cater to your wildest de­sires (for a cost of course), and if you want a pink spray job with green leather, so be it. Hope­fully no one will …

Ex­clu­sive was re­spon­si­ble for the mil­lionth treat­ment, and aside from the afore­men­tioned retro touches also added some unique “911 nr. 1000000” plaques on the B-pillars, stuck some gold badges on the rear lid, ap­plied an orig­i­nal Porsche crest to the steer­ing wheel, and made a match­ing Ir­ish Green key fob. But it didn’t stop there. The dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter dis­play also throws up a spe­cial “1000000” an­i­mated graphic, and the gauge num­bers il­lu­mi­nate in shim­mer­ing green.

Tech­ni­cally, all of this pos­si­ble if you wanted to cre­ate your own Mil­lionth 911 via Porsche Ex­clu­sive, but you might be forced into nu­mer­i­cally cor­rect badges. The Zuf­fen­hausen fac­tory has prob­a­bly made an­other few hun­dred units by now. Also, you’d need to share a spe­cific taste with 1960s Ferry Porsche, and that taste is a bit naff, er, out­dated today.

The mil­lionth 911 wrapped up its Scot­tish tour last week, and will head to Ger­many for some oblig­a­tory Nur­bur­gring laps be­fore jet­ting off to the Peb­ble Beach Concours in Au­gust. It’ll also do some rounds in China be­fore land­ing at its per­ma­nent home in Porsche’s Stuttgart Mu­seum.

This spe­cial an­niver­sary 911 com­mem­o­rates the 1964 ver­sion of Ferry Porsche, son of com­pany founder Fer­di­nand Porsche.

White hound­stooth seats and a wooden steer­ing wheel, a la 1964.

The cus­tomised one-mil­lionth 911 was cre­ated by Porsche Ex­clu­sive.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.