911 Porsche World - - The Usual Suspects -

Can I have a bit of a gripe? Of course I can; at my age I’ve given up wor­ry­ing when some­one calls me a grumpy old man. Elec­tric cars have been caus­ing me to grum­ble of late. Not elec­tric cars per se you un­der­stand, but the way that means of propul­sion is be­ing ap­plied.

Yes, a purely bat­tery car will mean zero emis­sions on the street, but what about the en­ergy used to gen­er­ate the elec­tric­ity to charge the bat­ter­ies? And the need for ex­otic min­er­als for the bat­tery, and dis­pos­ing of old bat­ter­ies, and all those charg­ing points we’ll need, not to men­tion the pid­dling short range of most ve­hi­cles on of­fer at the mo­ment and the in­crease in pur­chase price?

To my mind, the way things are at the mo­ment we’re a long way off elec­tric utopia and head­ing down a blind al­ley to ob­so­les­cence – to be res­cued ul­ti­mately by the fuel cell I think. Un­til that day there’s a lot of devel­op­ment still to come from the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine, mark my words.

But that’s not what I’m on about here. I can (just) see the point in Porsche pro­duc­ing a to­tally new all-elec­tric car – the Tay­can as the Mis­sion E has now been named – be­cause…well, be­cause they need to keep pace with ev­ery­body else. What I don’t want is an all-elec­tric 911, or Cay­man, or Boxster. These are true Porsches, in the true spirit of the mar­que that can be traced right back to 1948. Rear (or mid) com­bus­tion-en­gine cars of­fer­ing ex­cite­ment and qual­ity of driv­ing that few other makes can pro­vide that should not be tam­pered with.

What’s got me wor­ried? Here’s a cou­ple of ex­am­ples: the all-elec­tric E-type ‘Zero’ now of­fered by Jaguar’s Her­itage di­vi­sion at £300k-plus, and the bat­tery MGB sold by Mid­lands com­pany RBW and pre­viewed at the Clas­sic Mo­tor Show which re­tails at a lower but equally eye-wa­ter­ing (for an MGB) £110k.

How can any­body want to throw out that glo­ri­ous twin­cam, in-line six, de­signed by en­gi­neer Wal­ter Has­san whilst on bomb watch duty on the roof of Jaguar’s Coven­try fac­tory dur­ing World War Two? Or, hum­ble though it may be, the bur­bling BMC ‘B’ se­ries unit mod­estly pow­er­ing the most suc­cess­ful, in pro­duc­tion terms, British sports car ever? Imag­ine a 911 without the un­for­get­table clat­ter of a flat six!

Both the Jaguar and MG are clever and doubt­less fine pieces of en­gi­neer­ing – RBW has elicited the as­sis­tance of tech­nol­ogy lead­ers Zytec and Hyper­drive – but I can’t help wish­ing they’d left the orig­i­nals as they were. Like­wise, Porsche, make the new Tay­can if you must but please, please leave the 911 as Ferry in­tended.

It’s a clas­sic car, but not as we know it. Dig­i­tal dash and a lack of gear­lever gives the game away in this elec­tri­cally pow­ered MGB. A snip at £110,000

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