911 Porsche World - - Contents - Words: Johnny Ti­pler Pho­tos: Porsche Pho­to­graphic Ar­chive

Our favourite car maker has been build­ing our favourite cars for 70-years. To cel­e­brate, we’re tak­ing it a decade at a time. This month it’s the ’80s

The 1980s wit­nessed two ma­jor evo­lu­tions for the 911, mor­ph­ing from SC to 3.2 Car­rera in 1983 and the 964 in 1989, with the 959 su­per­car pref­ac­ing vol­ume pro­duc­tion four­wheel drive. Hav­ing been seen as the fu­ture of the Porsche line-up, the front-en­gined mod­els – 924, 928 and 944 – be­came more re­fined as the decade pro­gressed, only to face the axe as the 911 was re­ha­bil­i­tated with the in­com­ing 964. On the com­pe­ti­tion front, the mar­que went from strength to strength, with in­nu­mer­able suc­cesses in­clud­ing seven con­sec­u­tive tri­umphs at Le Mans and many wins in WEC Group C events, plus two vic­to­ries in the har­row­ing Paris Dakar Rally


The 928S is launched, run­ning a 4.7litre V8, match­ing the 930’s 300bhp power out­put. Trans­mis­sion is ei­ther five-speed man­ual or three-speed Daim­ler-benz au­to­matic, with cruise con­trol and cli­mate mon­i­tor­ing also wo­ven into the lux­ury spec, plus small front air dam and rear spoiler.

The 924 Car­rera GT is the first com­pe­ti­tion car de­rived from the new fron­tengined ranges. An evolution of the 924 Turbo, it is given the fac­tory type num­ber 937. The body kit is un­pre­ten­tious as the car is intended for com­pe­ti­tion work, and it is pro­duced in suf­fi­cient numbers for ho­molo­ga­tion into Group 4. Vis­ually, the 924 Car­rera GT stands out be­cause of its plas­tic front wings and wheel spats, and that dis­tinc­tive bon­net air scoop. Un­der the skin, what makes it spe­cial is the in­ter­cooler that the or­di­nary 924 Turbo doesn't have, and it rides on a stiff­ened and light­ened plat­form to pro­vide race-qual­ity ride and han­dling.

Jacky Ickx and Rein­hold Jöst fin­ish 2nd at Le Mans in a 936/80. Three 924 Car­rera GTS fin­ish 6th, 12th and 13th. There are fif­teen 935s and four 934s also en­tered. In fact, 24 out of 55 cars en­tered are Porsches.

Porsche builds sin­gle-seater Indy Car in as­so­ci­a­tion with In­ter­scope rac­ing; rows be­tween or­gan­is­ing bod­ies over rule changes cause the project to be aban­doned.

The 'Weis­sach' spe­cial edi­tion 911SC is a lim­ited-edi­tion run of 408 cars for the USA mar­ket only.


The 930 3.3 Turbo is Ger­many’s fastest pro­duc­tion sports car, and anti-cor­ro­sion war­ranty is ex­tended to seven years for the whole car.

The 924 Car­rera GT evolves into two de­riv­a­tives: the GTS and GTR. In March 1981, the two off­shoots are an­nounced once the con­struc­tion run of the road-go­ing Car­rera GT is com­plete for ho­molo­ga­tion pur­poses. Although the GTR and GTS are pri­mar­ily com­pe­ti­tion cars, with head­lights lurk­ing be­hind Plex­i­glas fair­ings rather than the par­ent car’s pop-up va­ri­ety, a num­ber are adapted for road use and fin­ished with full cabin fur­nish­ings and wind-up win­dows in­stead of the slid­ing Plex­i­glas type. As well as dis­tinc­tive flared plas­tic whee­larches, glaz­ing is thin­ner than

stan­dard-is­sue 924 panes.

The Slant-nose 930 is avail­able to spe­cial or­der from the Spe­cial Wishes depart­ment; stylis­ti­cally it’s an homage to the 935 race car.

The 936/81 of Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell wins the Le Mans 24-Hours. The 944 GTP – an evolution of the 924 Car­rera GT – of Jür­gen Barth and Wal­ter Röhrl places 7th.

The Kre­mer K4 is in­tro­duced in June, the ul­ti­mate ex­pres­sion of the 935, cre­ated by lead­ing Porsche pri­va­teer race team Kre­mer Rac­ing and avail­able to other teams con­test­ing the WEC. And do­mes­tic GT cham­pi­onships.


In Fe­bru­ary Porsche de­liv­ers the 100,000th 924.

The 944 is in­tro­duced, pow­ered by a front-mounted 2.5-litre water-cooled in-line four-cylin­der en­gine (fun­da­men­tally half of the 928’s V8 mo­tor), with gear­box in-unit with the fi­nal drive. In pro­duc­tion for a decade, from 1981 to 1991, the 944 epit­o­mises the Porsche line-up’s mid­dle ground in the show­room, bridg­ing the price and per­for­mance gap be­tween the 924 and the 911SC. Although the body of the 944 is based on the 924, it's dis­tin­guished by its bla­tantly flared com­pe­ti­tion-style whee­larches. Like the 924, this transaxle model is also pro­duced by Audi in Neckar­sulm. A 150bhp cat­alytic con­verter ver­sion is in­tro­duced for 1986 and, for the 1989 model year, ca­pac­ity is in­creased to 2.7-litres, en­abling 165bhp.

Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell win again at Le Mans with the new Type 956 ground­ef­fect Group C car; Porsche 956s take first three places, and 935s come 4th and 5th.

Aussie F1 World Cham­pion Alan Jones takes eight wins in the Aus­tralian Sports Car Championship in a 935 K3.

On 4th Septem­ber Porsche de­liv­ers the 200,000th 911, an SC.

The spe­cial edi­tion 911SC ‘Ferry Porsche’ model is re­leased, of which 200 units are cre­ated when the com­pany turns 50.


The 911SC is re­placed for the 1984 model year by the 3.2 Car­rera, avail­able in coupé and Targa for­mat. It’s pow­ered by the big­ger ca­pac­ity 231bhp flat-six, with hy­draulic tim­ing chain ten­sion­ers and Bosch Motronic ECU; brakes are big­ger, too. Spec­i­fi­ca­tions dif­fer from one coun­try to an­other: apart from be­ing right-hand-drive, the ma­jor­ity of 3.2 Car­reras im­ported into the UK are highly spec’d Sport edi­tions, mean­ing they have the whale-tail rear spoiler, min­i­mal air-dam be­low the front valance, stiffer dampers, leather sports seats and trim, rear wiper and sun­roof. Later cars have 16in in­stead of 15in Fuchs wheels, while cars sold in the German do­mes­tic mar­ket are very of­ten non-sport. The catal­ysed ver­sion pro­duces 217bhp, and 207bhp in US trim.

Porsche 956s oc­cupy the first eight places at the Le Mans 24-Hours. The 956 of Vern Schup­pan, Al Hol­bert and Hurley Hay­wood takes the win.

Works team Roth­mans 956 driver Jacky Ickx is World En­durance Cham­pion for the sec­ond year run­ning.

At the Geneva show Porsche presents the 911SC Cabriolet, the first drop-top in the range for 17 years.


An all-wheel drive 953 helmed by Rene Metge and Do­minique Le­moyne wins the Paris Dakar Rally, pref­ac­ing a full-on as­sault on the 8700-mile (14,000km) Sa­ha­ran epic the fol­low­ing year with nor­mally-as­pi­rated 959-bod­ied cars – which

fails mostly through ac­ci­dents.

An­other clean sweep for 956s at Le Mans with Klaus Lud­wig and Henri Pescarolo com­ing 1st in the Jöst Rac­ing 956.

At Weis­sach, Jür­gen Barth and Roland Kuss­maul build 21 ex­am­ples of the rallyspec 911SC/RS. Roth­mans Pro­drive’s Saeed Al Ha­jri wins the FISA Mid­dle East Rally Championship.

The 962 is in­tro­duced as el­i­gi­ble con­tender for IMSA GT in North Amer­ica as well as WSCC FIA/LE Mans events. Now the driver’s feet are be­hind the front axle rather than in front of it, as in the 956.

Tag-porsche V6 turbo en­gines power Mclaren’s Niki Lauda 5 wins) and Alain Prost (7 wins) to record F1 points score (143.5). Lauda is cham­pion by half a point from Prost. Be­tween 1983 and 1987 TAGPorsche en­gines win three World Cham­pi­onships and 25 F1 GPS.

The 930’s bul­bous wheel-arches and its big­ger brakes and sus­pen­sion are avail­able in con­junc­tion with the nor­mallyaspi­rated 3.2 en­gine and mar­keted as the Car­rera SE (Sport Equip­ment). More com­monly known as the Turbo-look, par­tic­u­larly in the USA, the up­side is the for­mi­da­ble ap­pear­ance and beefier run­ning gear, though the down­side is that the wider body cre­ates greater drag, hence de­liv­er­ing a marginally lower top speed than the stan­dard 3.2 Car­rera.


The 944 Turbo is launched, rep­re­sent­ing the top-of-the range model in the 944 line-up. Its front apron is en­hanced with in­te­grated fog lights and high-beam head­lights, while the black rub­ber buf­fers of the stan­dard 944 are omit­ted. Be­low the rear bumper is a rear dif­fuser painted in ex­ter­nal body colour. The 2.5-litre turbo en­gine gen­er­ates 220bhp, while the Turbo S ver­sion of 1988 pro­duces up to 250bhp via its larger tur­bocharger. For 1989 the 944 Turbo re­ceives the same en­gine as the Turbo S model, and for the 1990 model year it fea­tures a hoop-shaped black rear wing.

On the 3.2 Car­rera, Boge dampers be­come stan­dard, the ra­dio aerial is in­te­grated in the wind­screen, there’s a four­spoke steer­ing wheel, elec­tric seats with taller back­rests, shorter-throw gearshift, and ac­tive car­bon fil­ters in breather sys­tem.

The 928S re­ceives a 5.0-litre 4-valve V8 en­gine.

Klaus Lud­wig, Paulo Bar­illa and John Win­ter win Le Mans in a Jöst Rac­ing 956.

The Turbo-bod­ied 3.2 Car­rera Su­per Sport, or SS, des­ig­nated op­tion M491, is ini­tially only avail­able as a coupé via the Spe­cial Wishes pro­gramme, but is ex­tended to in­clude a Turbo-look Targa and Cabriolet in 1985. The Su­per Sport Equip­ment 911 then be­comes an of­fi­cial model from 1986, and from 1987 the des­ig­na­tion is of­fi­cially known as the SSE.


Group B rally-spec 2849cc Porsche 959s driven by René Metge and Do­minique Le­moyne, and Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur place 1st and 2nd in the Paris Dakar Rally. Th­ese are full-on 4x4, twin­turbo, 400bhp 959s, the three most com­plex cars in the rally, with Roland Kuss­maul com­ing home 6th in a third, backup 959 to prove the point. Just 67 fin­ished out of 488 starters.

The 924S re­places stan­dard 924, pow­ered by the 2.5-litre 944 en­gine.

The 944 Turbo Cup kick-starts the Porsche Car­rera Cup and Su­per­cup race se­ries. The fore­run­ner of the multi-na­tional Car­rera Cup and Su­per­cup se­ries, this is Porsche’s cal­cu­lated con­tri­bu­tion to recre­ational mo­tor sport. Any­one could have a crack at it, given the where­withal. In the in­au­gu­ral seven race se­ries, hobby driv­ers went head-to-head with pro­fes­sion­als in vir­tu­ally bog-stan­dard 944 Tur­bos, the 40 con­tes­tants shar­ing a DM45,000 purse at each race. The higher you fin­ish, the more you earn. Th­ese 944 Turbo Cup cars are rel­a­tively lightly mod­i­fied com­pared with later it­er­a­tions of Cup Cars: the few changes to the stan­dard ’86 944 Turbo in­clude harder rub­ber sus­pen­sion bushes, thicker 27mm and 21mm anti-roll bars front and rear, stiffer spring and damper set­tings, and 8in D-90s or Fuchs with 245/45 x 16 tyres on the front and 9in with 255/40 VR 16s on the back. The pack­age op­tions in­clude 30mm front and 25.5mm rear anti-roll bars, heigh­tad­justable Koni dampers, up­graded in­ner and outer front drop-link bushes and front cas­tor mounts. Brakes con­sist of larger 32mm discs, four-pot Brembo calipers with 36mm and 44mm pis­tons, with ABS. For the ’87 Turbo Cup se­ries, en­gines are rechipped to 250bhp, along with stiffer sus­pen­sion. In typ­i­cal race­car spec, the 944 Turbo Cup cars have seam-welded shells and lighter glass­fi­bre pan­els, and the Fuchs wheels are re­placed with sim­i­larly-sized pearl white cast mag­ne­sium Tele­phone Dials. The new tech­ni­cal tweak is switch­able ABS, in­stalled so that Porsche can as­sess the ben­e­fits of as­sisted brak­ing un­der race stresses. In France, 944 Turbo Cup com­peti­tors are given much more lee­way with spec and set up. Un­like the German 944 Turbo Cup cars whose orig­i­nal pur­pose is to pro­mote a road-go­ing race­car ethic, all ‘leisure’ equip­ment in­clud­ing air-con, hi-fi, cen­tral lock­ing, elec­tric win­dows and power steer­ing is re­moved from the French cars in the in­ter­ests of lighter weight.

A spin off from the 944 Turbo Cup cars is the 944 Turbo Club Sport vari­ant. Des­ig­nated op­tion code M637, the spe­cial or­der model pro­duces 250bhp and goes from 0–62mph (100kph) in 5.9sec with a max­i­mum speed of 162mph. The rim of the seven-spoke forged D90 wheel projects slightly which makes it ap­pear more like a dished wheel, while the spokes join the rim with a shield-like re­in­force­ment at the point of con­tact with the rim, a fea­ture that doesn’t oc­cur on the cast ver­sion.

The 928S4 is launched for the 1987 model year, joined a year later by the S4 Club Sport.

For the 3.2 Car­rera range, all mod­els now have the same gear ra­tios; fat­ter an­tiroll bars, big­ger rear tor­sion bars; re­vised dash with larger air vents, 20mm lower seats, new sun-vi­sors, and cabin tem­per­a­ture sen­sor.

The Le Mans 24 Hours is won by Derek Bell, Hans Stuck and Al Hol­bert in a Roth­mans-porsche 962C.

The Type 961, the rac­ing ver­sion of the 959, wins its class at Le Mans, driven by Rene Metge and Claude Bal­lot-lena. The 961 is based on the core 911 bodyshell, with rear space­frame sup­port­ing the pow­er­train. This con­sists of a 2.85-litre, 650bhp, four-cam flat-six, in­cor­po­rat­ing ti­ta­nium con­rods and water-cooled four­valve heads (like the 956/962) with me­chan­i­cal tap­pets in­stead of hy­draulic lifters, and du­plex roller chain-driven cams in­stead of gear-driven cams. The com­pound turbo sys­tem has all six pots flow­ing into one turbo up to 4000rpm, af­ter which three ex­hausts are routed to the sec­ond turbo. That way, there’s swift re­sponse at low revs, and a sec­ond push when the sec­ond turbo kicks in. Be­hind the whee­larches are two large in­ter­cool­ers, hence the vents in the body­work, and the tur­bos sit just be­hind them. Their boost pres­sure is hiked from the stan­dard 959’s 0.8 Bar (12psi) to 3.25 Bar (47psi), with Motronic en­gine map­ping tuned to pro­vide ad­di­tional charge air in­ter­cool­ing. The six-speed trans­mis­sion fea­tures taller gear­ing and sin­tered clutch lin­ings, with elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled four- wheel drive via four race-ori­ented driv­ing pro­grammes. It is the first all-wheel drive car to race at Le Mans.


The 944 S is re­leased. The S model is iden­ti­cal to the stan­dard 944 in re­spect of body de­sign and equip­ment, though it is equipped with a four-valve en­gine that devel­ops 190bhp.

The much vaunted 4x4 959 “su­per­car” is in­tro­duced as a small-vol­ume pro­duc­tion model, built by Baur. It’s the em­bod­i­ment of re­vived cor­po­rate en­thu­si­asm for the 911 un­der new CEO Peter Schutz, who over­turns the previous regime’s pen­chant for the front-en­gined mod­els. The 959 is a tech­ni­cal tour de force: noth­ing so so­phis­ti­cated has ever been avail­able be­fore in a per­for­mance sportscar. With bulging wings, faired-in head­lights and aero­foil hoop it looks like a 911 mor­phed into a space­ship. Its gut­ter­less roof, front and rear wings plus in­te­gral sills, rear body­work and aero­foil wing are all in Kevlar, while the front panel is polyurethane and the bon­net and doors alu­minium. It is rac­ing car raw rather than limou­sine luxe. The over­all ef­fect pro­duces a zero-lift shape, where the same down­force ap­plied at high or low speed, while drag co­ef­fi­cient is re­duced to 0.32 – the same as a modern 997 coupé – from the 3.2 Car­rera’s 0.34cd. The 959 is pow­ered by a 2848cc flat-six, de­rived from the rac­ing unit pow­er­ing the 935-in­spired ‘Moby Dick’ Group 5 Le Mans car, with air-cooled block and water-cooled cylin­der heads, four-valves-per-cylin­der, twin se­quen­tial KKK tur­bocharg­ers with in­ter­cool­ers, de­vel­op­ing 450bhp. Thanks to the se­quen­tial tur­bos, power de­liv­ery is smooth across the rev range rather than the vi­o­lent all-or-noth­ing that char­ac­terises the 930 and its 934 and 935 rac­ing off­shoots. In a test con­ducted on Volk­swa­gen’s EhraLessien test track by Auto Mo­tor und Sport magazine late in 1987, the 959 Sport clocks 0–100kph in 3.7s and on to 200kph in 13s, max­ing out at 317kph – new world records

for pro­duc­tion cars at the time. The trans­mis­sion con­sists of five for­ward gears plus G for off-road, with per­ma­nent all­wheel drive and elec­tronic torque mon­i­tor­ing that ap­plies power to front and rear axles ac­cord­ing to driv­ing con­di­tions, rang­ing from wet and dry to ice and of­froad. Sus­pen­sion con­sists of dou­ble trans­verse links front and rear, al­lied to coil springs and Bil­stein dampers, and anti-roll bars. The 959 has eight dampers, two at each cor­ner, with three set­tings for stiff­ness and au­to­matic damp­ing man­age­ment. Brakes are ven­ti­lated four-pis­ton discs, work­ing in con­junc­tion with a so­phis­ti­cated ABS that con­trols each wheel in­di­vid­u­ally. On the Kom­fort ver­sion the car’s ride height can be ad­justed elec­tron­i­cally for ne­go­ti­at­ing speed humps or un­even ter­rain, a fea­ture omit­ted from the Sport vari­ant to save weight.

Derek Bell, Al Hol­bert and Han­sJoachim Stuck win the Le Mans 24-Hours again in a 962C.

The sin­gle-seater Porsche Indy project is re­vived for the ri­val North Amer­i­can CART championship, with Teo Fabi driv­ing: its per­for­mance proves some­thing of a dis­ap­point­ment.

The 911 3.2 Car­rera gets the new Ge­trag-made G50 gear­box, re­plac­ing the Porsche-built 915 unit, to­gether with hy­draulic clutch; new rear tor­sion-bar hous­ing; two rear foglamps in­te­grated in rear re­flec­tor panel, lights in door han­dles for noc­tur­nal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. Targa gets im­proved weather seal; Aus­tralia gets own ver­sion with tim­ing re­tarded to run on 91 RON fuel, oth­er­wise pre­mium grade is pre­ferred in ROW.

Chair­man Peter Schutz, who over­saw the line-up progress through the yup­pie ’80s, is re­placed in 1987 by Heinz Bran­itzski, whose brief is to re-es­tab­lish the brand loy­alty dis­si­pated by fickle and un­com­mit­ted own­er­ship.


To cel­e­brate the 250,000th 911 and 25 years of the model’s pro­duc­tion, Porsche in­tro­duces the Spe­cial An­niver­sary model, painted Di­a­mond Blue metal­lic, and 875 cars are made in a mix­ture of Coupé, Cabriolet and Targa. Only 50 are al­lo­cated to the UK; the rest are dis­bursed be­tween the USA and Ger­many.

The Speed­ster makes a come­back in its 3.2 Car­rera guise, a vari­a­tion on the Cabrio theme and fea­tur­ing a slanted wind­screen and low-line soft-top canopy. Pro­duc­tion runs to 2065 units.

The non-sport model 3.2 Car­rera re­ceives Fuchs wheels as stan­dard, re­plac­ing ‘Tele­phone Dial’ al­loys. Elec­tri­cally-ad­justable seats be­come stan­dard, as do head­light wash­ers, cen­tral lock­ing, while all brake, clutch lin­ings and gas­kets are now as­bestos-free.

The 944S2 re­places the 944S. The S2's 3.0-litre four-valve en­gine gen­er­ates 211bhp, al­most match­ing the 944 Turbo.

The 944S2 is also avail­able in Cabriolet for­mat.

The light­weight Club Sport ver­sion of the 3.2 Car­rera comes out. With aus­tere cabin and blueprinted en­gine, it is cal­cu­lated to ap­peal to the more com­mit­ted en­thu­si­ast, and as well as re­viv­ing the ethos of the 2.7 Car­rera RS, it can do the oc­ca­sional club event or track evening, and driven to and from the cir­cuit. Only 340 units of the M637des­ig­na­tion 3.2 Club Sport are pro­duced over a three-year pe­riod, and just 53 are fin­ished in right-hand drive for UK de­liv­ery. The en­tire pro­duc­tion from 1987 – 81 cars – is sup­posed to have re­mained in Ger­many. As far as the USA is con­cerned, only 28 CSS with US Fed­eral emis­sion and safety con­trols are im­ported by Porsche Cars North Amer­ica in 1988 and 1989, al­most all painted Grand Prix white with red Car­rera graph­ics. The PCGB Club Sport reg­is­ter gives the kerb weight of the 911 Club Sport as 1160kg, mak­ing a CS 50kg lighter than a 3.2 Car­rera Coupé with Sport equip­ment.

The 930 Turbo is avail­able in Targa and Cabriolet ver­sions.


On the 3.2 Car­rera, the alarm sys­tem is linked to cen­tral lock­ing; it also gets thicker anti-roll bars, and 16in Fuchs wheels are now stan­dard.

Pro­duc­tion of Porsche's first com­mer­cial four-wheel-drive of­fer­ing, the 964 Car­rera 4, be­gins in Jan­uary 1989 and UK de­liv­er­ies start in Au­gust. It’s based on the 959 4x4 su­per­car, and though sim­i­lar in lay­out, the all-wheel-drive sys­tem em­ployed in the C4 is less com­pli­cated than that of the ex­otic 959, pro­vid­ing a 31/69 torque split front and rear. The elec­tron­i­cal­ly­con­trolled sys­tem senses in­di­vid­ual wheel speed dif­fer­ences and com­pen­sates ac­cord­ingly, im­prov­ing trac­tion and cor­ner­ing abil­ity.

The 964 Car­rera 4 em­bod­ies a ma­jor re­vi­sion of the tra­di­tional 911 spec­i­fi­ca­tion: up­grades in­clude the 3.6-litre twin-plug en­gines, wish­bone sus­pen­sion, and the all­wheel drive C4 ver­sion, plus a ma­jor facelift com­pris­ing new aero­dy­namic front and rear bumper pan­els and elec­tri­cally ac­ti­vated rear spoiler.

The Car­rera 2 is an­nounced for the 1990 model year, with Tiptronic trans­mis­sion op­tional. The 964 rep­re­sents the tran­si­tion from clas­sic to moder­nity, com­bin­ing tra­di­tional looks and er­gonomics with more so­phis­ti­cated run­ning gear. It’s one of the most sig­nif­i­cant mod­els in the en­tire 911

saga. In pro­duc­tion for four years, from 1989 to 1993, it is mar­keted as the 911 Car­rera C2 and C4, and is the fi­nal evolution of the 25-year-old body shape be­fore the de­sign is soft­ened by the im­mi­nent 993. As well as Targa and Cabriolet vari­ants, it also spawns two iconic sport­ing de­riv­a­tives: the 964RS and 964 Turbo.

The 964 also em­braces sev­eral new tech­ni­cal fea­tures hith­erto un­fa­mil­iar in 911 spec­i­fi­ca­tions, in­clud­ing ABS brakes, while sev­eral pre­vi­ously hit-and-miss crea­ture com­forts are in­tro­duced, such as de­pend­able cabin tem­per­a­ture, heated seats and an on-board com­puter re­veal­ing fuel con­sump­tion and pro­jected range. Although a clas­sic-car boom is in full swing in the sec­ond half of the decade, by 1989, sales of new Porsches have tum­bled dra­mat­i­cally with the on­set of a re­ces­sion, so the 964 is some­thing of a gam­ble: it’s re­garded as the car that could re­sus­ci­tate the com­pany and its tra­di­tional model line. To that end, the de­sign depart­ment is tasked with up­dat­ing the 911 body and, ex­ter­nally, the main dif­fer­ences be­tween old and new are the 964’s all-en­velop­ing bumpers that merge more flu­ently with the shell and re­place the vis­ually crude, de­formable rub­ber bel­lows of the 3.2. The tra­di­tional Fuchs wheels give way to De­sign 90 al­loys. Although the car's fa­mil­iar flow­ing lines re­main es­sen­tially the same, un­der the skin the 964 is a fun­da­men­tally re­vised 911 which Porsche claims is 85 per cent new com­pared with the old Car­rera 3.2. The air- cooled flat-six en­gine is ex­ten­sively re­designed, and ca­pac­ity in­creased to 3600cc, de­vel­op­ing 250bhp and 310Nm of torque at 4800rpm. The 0–60mph dash takes 5.0sec, pro­gress­ing to a top speed of 162mph, 12mph up on the previous model. Twin-spark ig­ni­tion also en­ables more ef­fi­cient com­bus­tion.

The 964 re­ceives the race­car-de­rived flat-bot­tom treat­ment, man­i­fest in an un­der­tray be­neath the en­gine that im­proved aero­dy­nam­ics and re­duced the drag co­ef­fi­cient from Cd 0.4 to 0.32. With vir­tu­ally zero lift, sta­bil­ity and road­hold­ing are greatly im­proved at high speed. In­te­gral to the de­sign is a speed-sen­si­tive rear spoiler: in­stead of the whale-tail fixed wing of Sport Equip­ment 3.2s, the new spoiler emerges from the en­gine cover at 7mph and ex­tends above 50mph to im­prove down­force at high speed. Be­low 7mph the spoiler folds away to in­te­grate with the en­gine cover so that, at rest, it merges with the curved bee­tle-back of the orig­i­nal 911 de­sign. A cen­tre-con­sole switch ac­ti­vates the spoiler man­u­ally, and head­lamp heights are also ad­justable via a dash­board switch.

Ferry Porsche is pre­sented with a one­off de­sign study based on a 964 for his 80th birth­day, named the Panamer­i­cana – a nod to the ori­gins of the Car­rera moniker.

The 5.4-litre 928GT and GTS V8s are in­tro­duced, avail­able only with man­ual trans­mis­sion, and there­fore the most de­sir­able 928 mod­els for the en­thu­si­ast driver.

Fi­nal year of 930 Turbo pro­duc­tion. For just one year the model is en­dowed with the 5-speed G-50 gear­box, in­stead of the longer-geared 4-speed trans­mis­sion it came with from the out­set. The 930 is dropped in July 1989, prior to the end of 3.2 Car­rera pro­duc­tion, though it will reap­pear in Septem­ber 1990 in 964 guise with flared wheel arches.

Porsche’s Weis­sach com­pe­ti­tion HQ builds a line-up of 50 cars based on the 964 to con­test the Car­rera Cup se­ries, due to take off in the 1990 rac­ing sea­son. Out­put is 265bhp (195kw) at 6100rpm, with a 6800rpm max­i­mum. Com­pared with the stan­dard model, the per­for­mance in­crease of five horse­power is mod­er­ate, and it has to re­tain the three-way cat­alytic con­verter. A five-speed G50 gear­box is fit­ted, with short­ened ra­tios for 3rd, 4th and 5th gears, along with a lim­ited-slip diff. Sus­pen­sion is mod­i­fied with harder and shorter springs and ad­justable anti-roll bars, and set 55mm lower than stan­dard. Power-steer­ing is omit­ted, while the Car­rera Cup cars run large in­ter­nally-ven­ti­lated and per­fo­rated brake discs com­bined with the stan­dard ABS sys­tem. An alu­minium roll-cage, re­placed in 1992 with a welded-in steel cage, protects the cock­pit and in­creases the shell’s tor­sional rigid­ity. The 964 Car­rera Cup car weighs in at 1120kg.

A Targa ver­sion of both the 964 C2 and C4 is avail­able for the 1990 model year. The roof panel folds to two-thirds of its ini­tial size to stow in the boot. Mean­while, the Cabriolet model waits in the wings.

Pro­duc­tion of the 3.2 Car­rera ends in Septem­ber, with 80,684 units built. PW

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