With in­ter­na­tional Porsche ad­ven­tur­ist, Johnny Ti­pler

911 Porsche World - - Practical Porsche - 911 & Porsche World’s

Aided and abet­ted by my reg­u­lar snap­ping com­pan­ion, I re­cently re­viewed a quar­tet of 911Ss span­ning a seven-year pe­riod, from the first 2.0-litre S of 1967 to the last of the line, a 2.7 S built in 1976. It was a heady mix in­deed: the two other cars were a 2.2 S and a 2.4 S and, se­duced as I was by each one’s ar­cane and es­o­teric at­tributes, the one that I came away think­ing that, were I to sell my home, the one I’d want most to spend the money on would be the 2.7. Imag­ine my sur­prise when the owner, Porsche spe­cial­ist Alas­tair Iles an­nounced the other day that it would in­deed be up for sale.

Here’s why I’d choose it. The 2.7 S is a left­hooker, hav­ing been bought from a Los An­ge­les Porsche deal­er­ship in 1976, but since I have a pen­chant for 911s helmed from the left-hand side I rather rel­ish that prospect. In that par­tic­u­lar year, pro­duc­tion of Cal­i­for­nia-spec 911Ss to­talled 2174 units, though con­sid­er­ably more of the 49-state 911Ss were shipped. One aspect that makes it spe­cial is that it’s a nar­row-bod­ied shell with im­pact bumpers. But what does make it con­sid­er­ably rarer is the pre­sum­ably unique spe­cial-or­der colour; it’s not dis­sim­i­lar to Mex­ico Blue, though some­what paler in hue. ‘It only had two own­ers in the States be­fore it came to me,’ states Alas­tair. ‘It’s still got the fac­tory un­der­seal in­tact, and that mileage is a be­lieved gen­uine 19,000. It was a high-spec car in Amer­ica be­cause it was equipped with air-con, ei­ther fac­tory-fit or fit­ted at the dealer, and that I’ve never seen be­fore. The black Blaupunkt rear speak­ers are quite un­usual, and the seats have black leather per­fo­rated cen­tres.’ It was also spec’d with Bil­stein Sports dampers, 6in x 15in Fuchs wheels, which are cur­rently run­ning Pirelli P6000s, a 380mm-di­am­e­ter com­pe­ti­tion steer­ing wheel, elec­tric win­dows and sun­roof, and black win­dow trim in­stead of chrome. Its US head­lamp bezels have been changed to Euro­pean ones, and the heavy-duty rub­ber bumper over-rid­ers have also been swapped ac­cord­ingly. Alas­tair loves it. ‘The 2.7 S is prob­a­bly the un­sung hero of the S saga, be­cause it’s got the nar­row body and the im­pact bumpers, which don’t de­tract from it, and it be­ing slightly newer tech­nol­ogy. It’s so easy to drive, too.’ As for the 2.7-litre en­gine, still emit­ting that awe­some sound­track, Alas­tair’s had it re­built to 180bhp Euro­pean fac­tory spec, but in its orig­i­nal ’76 Cal­i­for­nia spec­i­fi­ca­tion it had re­tarded cams, ther­mal re­ac­tors and ex­haust gas re­cir­cu­la­tion, drop­ping power fairly sig­nif­i­cantly to 160bhp.

Other ben­e­fits of this model are that, in 1976, the I-pro­gramme 911s ush­ered in zinc-coated shell pan­els, a ma­jor ad­vance on pre­de­ces­sors whose floor-pans only were gal­vanised. The quar­ter-light and rear three-quar­ter win­dows no longer open, but the sin­gle ‘ele­phant’s ear’ door mir­ror is elec­tri­cally ad­justable, while elec­tric win­dows were now stan­dard across the range. The S was get­ting much more civilised, though this was the last in­car­na­tion of the 911S un­til the once much vaunted S-suf­fix was re­vived on up­graded ver­sions of the tur­bocharged 964, 993 and 996 mod­els, as well as the 4WD 996 C4S. By this time, so many other per­for­mance em­bel­lish­ments ex­isted that the for­merly sig­nif­i­cant S moniker had be­come rather over­looked. Para­dox­i­cally, the val­ues of clas­sic Ss are all over the place. ‘The 2.7 is a third of the value of the 2.0 and the 2.2, and the 2.4 is a lit­tle bit less than them.’

So, for the try-out, I ease aboard the 2.7 S for a turn be­hind the wheel and, in com­par­i­son with its older sib­lings, it feels like a mod­ern 911. This model’s high-back tomb­stone seats with their in­te­gral head­rests and longer seat squabs were in­tro­duced in 1974, pro­vid­ing bet­ter leg and back sup­port in ev­ery di­rec­tion, and the 2.7 S cabin is thus a more re­laxed and bet­ter com­posed en­vi­ron­ment than the older ver­sions. Repa in­er­tia reel seat belts were stan­dard, too, while door han­dles and bins took on a recog­nis­ably mod­ern aspect. The way the

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