Journey through 911&PW’S past
The all new 996 Targa featured on the front cover of the December 2001 issue, with its slick sliding roof, a feature that started with the 993 and continued with the 997, before reverting to the retro look, hoop style of the 991. Editor, Horton, was dispatched to Austria to drive, while current Dep Ed, Brett Fraser, fired off the pics.
Truth of the matter is, that once you’ve detailed the slick sliding roof arrangement, there isn’t really much to say, particularly since the Targa was mechanically identical to the Carrera 2. Indeed, perhaps what swung the Targa for us, over anything else, was the convenience of the opening rear tailgate! Simple things and all that.
In his ‘Motorsport month’ column, Michael Cotton argued the case that the 911 was past its sell by date as a competitive force in sports car racing, following some high-profile defeats to BMW’S M3 GTR and the Ferrari 360. Development of the rear-engined machine had been stretched to its limit. Surely it was time for the Boxster to take over, its mid-engined layout far more suitable for the task. Of course it didn’t happen, and Porsche did, amazingly, manage to squeeze some more from the 911, but it’s never been the dominant force that it once was. Interestingly, in order to remain relevant in recent years, Porsche has had to effectively lobby for a change in the rules, to turn the GTE Pro Class, 911 RSRS from rear to mid-engined, to stand a chance against the BMWS, Ferraris and Fords. Our man, Cotton, was kind of right then. It just took about 16years to happen.
DECEMBER 2012 (ISSUE 225)
Uunderrated, was the coverline, or should that have read ‘Unpopular?’ The theory was to gather a bunch of 911s that were flying under the radar, and therefore the value curve, and so we collected a 911T, 911SC, early, non Varioram 993, 996 C2, gen 1 997 C2, a roll hoop Targa and a Cabriolet, the perception being that these were the 911s to be avoided, for a variety of reasons, that had become, somehow, accepted wisdom.
Pre the air-cooled boom this had some basis, as good 911SCS could still be had for £15k (as evidenced in the classifieds) and a 911T was the cheapest way into a classic looking 911. If you’d have bought any of the air-cooled cars in the feature, it would have been a smart move. The two water-cooled cars, however, are still in the same position, but that’s slowly changing. Don’t get left behind this time!
Talking of buying cars, a quick flick through the ‘Our cars’ pages and there I am buying yet another 944. A 2.5 Lux, in Diamond Blue metallic, it turned out to the be the best one I ever had, too. Sold it to make way for my 996, perhaps following the above advice!
DECEMBER 2007 (ISSUE 165)
Some issues bring back certain memories, and not always Porsche related. The December 2007 issue, produced in mid October, reminds me of putting the magazine together, largely on a lap top from bed, with the help of very strong pain killers, having comprehensively jiggered my back.
Back to the Porsche side of things, and it was a good issue, proving that the drugs clearly did work! Our regular columnists had plenty to say. Keith Seume debated whether Porsches had become just too common, while Peter Morgan celebrated the business nous and inspirational leadership of Wendelin Wiedeking. In retrospect, you have to say that Keith was probably right, and that Wiedeking was largely responsible for that, while turning Porsche into the world’s most profitable car company. History also tells us that the ‘Wunderman’ then got rather ambitious and by 2012 he was gone and Porsche was being bailed out by VW...
On the domestic front, the London Congestion Charge was being rolled out, which would see most Porsches paying £25 to enter, save for the 2.7-litre Boxster and Cayman, which would pay only £8. What mpg could we squeeze from one we wondered? 36.4mpg, and that was trying!
Something along the lines of what Michael Cotton might have been alluding to was featured in this issue: namely a Boxster with a 996, 3.4-litre engine transplant. Distressingly for the owner, the 2.5 Boxster’s IMS bearing let go, but Autofarm came to the rescue, sourcing an engine and creating a properly fast Boxster.