THE GEN­ER­A­TION GAME

In Porsche cir­cles, few let­ters of the al­pha­bet evoke such a strong re­ac­tion as ʻSʼ – es­pe­cially when itʼs the model suf­fix for the 911. Clas­sic Porsche brings to­gether four gen­er­a­tions of Porscheʼs orig­i­nal pro­duc­tion hot-rod

Classic Porsche - - Contents - Words: Johnny Ti­pler Pho­tos: Antony Fraser

Fam­ily val­ues donʼt comemuch stronger than the 911ʼs, and here, on a windswept Norfolk aero­drome, we have fourmem­bers of the ʻSʼ clan. Re­mark­ably they span a pro­duc­tion pe­riod of just nine years, yet each one rep­re­sents a dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tion of the ʻSʼ de­riv­a­tive. And, of course, that suf­fix rep­re­sented the pin­na­cle of the 911 range for six years, from1967 to 1973.

Weʼre here, on this old WW2 air­field, courtesy of Alastair Iles, pro­pri­etor of Tro­feo Cars, a high-end clas­sic car busi­ness. Heʼs brought along the four 911Ss that heʼs col­lected over the past five years for us to peruse the evo­lu­tion. Three of them are right-hand drive, in it­self fairly ex­cep­tional, and they are, firstly, a 1967 2.0 S – the first 911S – a 1970 2.2 S; a 1972 2.4 S; and a 1976 2.7 S.

Alastair has a his­tory of rac­ing Alfa Romeos and owns a Tro­feo race car, hence the name of the firm. But he also has a life­long pas­sion for Porsches, hav­ing grown up with a 911 own­ing fa­ther – (see side­bar for de­tails of the com­pany).

Letʼs check them out in chrono­log­i­cal or­der. Fin­ished in Light Ivory, the 2.0-litre Sʼs 1991cc flat-six is fed by two banks of We­ber three-bar­rel carbs, en­abling 160bhp at 6600rpm and 179Nm torque at 5200rpm. Back in the day it was good for 143mph, and although we have the ben­e­fit of long run­ways to zoom along for our shoot, the sur­face is un­pre­dictable in places (even though a Tiger Moth lands mid-ses­sion) so we con­fine our­selves to saner speeds.

Mind you, I would­nʼt doubt it could eas­ily make 120mph still, judg­ing from its get-up-and-go. Its 0–60mph time was 7.5sec, and hav­ing done less than 30,000 miles it seems to have lost none of that urge that so de­lighted the devo­tees in the late ʼ60s.

ʻThe light ivory car is quite rare be­cause of its high spec, with black leather, all fac­tory fin­ish, too,ʼ Alastair points out. All engine, chas­sis and gear­box num­bers match, and its 5.5Jx15in Fuchs rims are shod with Con­ti­nen­tal Con­tact

Sports, 185/65 R all round. Char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally, the orig­i­nal black leather seats are rel­a­tively low-backed with no head­rests, as you would ex­pect of the era.

Charm­ingly, it has open­ing quar­ter lights, open­ing rear three­quar­ter win­dows, and the orig­i­nal press but­ton door han­dle arm­rests. The mileome­ter reads 29,313, and itʼs fit­ted with the orig­i­nal Blaupunkt Köln wire­less, ob­vi­ously a well-used ap­pli­ance, judg­ing from the way the but­tons have been worn.

The 2.0 S prob­a­bly feels its age the most of the four – and why would­nʼt it, though thatʼs down to its man­ner of do­ing things rather than worn com­po­nen­try. The dog-leg first and re­v­erse gear slots are a tad vague and way over to the left, so in first the lever en­croaches on the pas­sen­ger seat. It feels pretty ba­sic, but thatʼs how they were, of course. On the other hand, it is de­light­fully light in the con­trols and han­dling, and has pos­si­bly the best-sound­ing flat-six roar of all, re­ally coarse and harsh as I ac­cel­er­ate up the straight.

S-bends and Ss? Itʼs a short-wheel­base car – 2.25 inches shorter than its sib­lings – but thereʼs no sense that itʼs ea­ger to swap ends in this en­vi­ron­ment, and it does have the ben­e­fit of an im­pres­sively tight turn­ing cir­cle.

The 1967 O-se­ries S pro­duc­tion run con­sisted of only 1162 ex­am­ples, of which just 35 were right-hand drive, of which only seven are thought to re­main in GB and, thinks Alastair, ʻpos­si­bly no more than five in the rest of the world.ʼ In­ter­est­ing to re­flect on what it was do­ing 50 years ago. It was de­liv­ered on 30th July ʼ67 via Mas­ters, the Porsche dealer in Bermuda, to Alexan­der Simpson, a New Zealan­der re­sid­ing in Bermuda, and was sub­se­quently reg­is­tered in New Zealand on 24th De­cem­ber ʼ68, just in time for Christ­mas.

The most eye-catch­ing 911S here is the Sig­nal Or­ange 2.2, reg­is­tered on 4th Novem­ber 1969 and one of only 34 im­ported

into the UK by AFN in the 1970 model year. Its colour scheme makes it even rarer, just one of a mea­gre eight cars built in 1970. Fully re­stored and re­built be­tween 2012 and ʼ14, it had but two own­ers from new un­til then.

This one is prob­a­bly Alas­tairʼs favourite: ʻThe 2.2 S is the ul­ti­mate early 911,ʼ he says: ʻIt was Steve Mc­queenʼs favourite 911, and is said by many Porsche cognoscenti to be a bet­ter drive than a 2.7 RSʼ. The engine is un­doubt­edly the star of the show in the 2.2 S, des­ig­nated the 911/02 unit, bored-out from 80mm to 84mm to give a per­for­mance boost more sig­nif­i­cant than per­haps 200cc would sug­gest. Other fac­tors were also in play: Bosch me­chan­i­cal fuel-in­jec­tion and a 9.8:1 com­pres­sion ra­tio re­sult in a power in­crease to 180bhp, also ex­pressed as an im­pres­sive 166bhp per tonne. Lu­bri­ca­tion was, per usual, dry sump and there were stronger con­nect­ing rods and mag­ne­sium crankcases.

Other sig­nif­i­cant as­pects of the 2.2 S in­clude the alu­minium engine lid, dog-leg 901 gear­box and 15in Fuchs al­loys, in this case wear­ing Miche­lin XWX 185/70 VR 15s. This car also has H1 head­lamps with twin sets of re­flec­tors. Im­mac­u­late houndʼs tooth seat cen­tres fea­ture large in the crisply ap­pointed cabin, and it has a rel­a­tively high seat­ing po­si­tion com­pared with the 2.4 car. I note it states 48,000 miles on the odome­ter. Thereʼs a sin­gle Du­rant rear view mir­ror and re­tractable ra­dio ae­rial.

Us­ing the lengthy shift lever the first and re­v­erse gear throws are long, though not quite as ex­treme as that of the 2.0-litre car, with ex­tended travel be­tween each ra­tio. It just takes a bit more time to site them ac­cu­rately.

“THE ENGINE IS UN­DOUBT­EDLY THE STAR OF THE SHOW…”

How­ever, this engine is an ab­so­lute joy, the way it loves to rev and the nee­dle zings right round the rev counter. Helm­ing it is harder work than the other two ʻclas­sicʼ 911Ss, though you could ar­gue that makes it all the more in­volv­ing.

So, we move on to num­ber three, the 2.4 S. Built in July ʼ72, the sil­ver-metal­lic 2.4 S with its gor­geous red cabin in­te­rior is still wait­ing for new match­ing car­pets, lend­ing a touch of aus­ter­ity to a car thatʼs oth­er­wise fully specʼd. ʻI think itʼs unique, be­ing the only right­hand drive 2.4 S with red Re­caro in­te­rior,ʼ says Alastair.

The orig­i­nal seat up­hol­stery is called Red Madras Check – soon to be re-up­hol­stered – with leatherette sides and velour on the back­rests and squabs, car­ried through into the rear squabs, too. ʻWeʼre go­ing to have new car­pets made be­cause itʼs got to be the red with the lit­tle black flecks to match prop­erly; no-oneʼs got the right red fab­ric, be­cause it was such a rare colour at the time.ʼ

Thereʼs an af­ter­mar­ket Moto-lita steer­ing wheel, which is very good as far as the driv­ing as­pect is con­cerned and does­nʼt de­tract from the orig­i­nal­ity. Thereʼs a red weave strip across the base of the dash, and it has a sun­roof, plus rear wiper and two ex­ter­nal mir­rors. The rest of the in­stru­men­ta­tion and con­trols are all in good shape, and note that re­v­erse is now be­neath fifth in the gate, a

“YOU COULD AR­GUE THAT MAKES IT MORE IN­VOLV­ING…”

man­i­fes­ta­tion of the all-new 915 trans­mis­sion.

The 2.4 E-pro­gramme model is the first 911 to use the 915 gear­box, de­scended from the 910 rac­ing car of 1968. This one also has the one year only fea­ture of the ex­ter­nal oil filler flap on the right-hand rear wing, as a re­sult of the oil tank be­ing re­lo­cated ahead of the right-side rear wheel in the in­ter­ests of weight dis­tri­bu­tion. I head off down the run­way. Thereʼs a strong sen­sa­tion of torque from the 2.4-litre engine (#6322525), and Iʼd de­scribe its per­for­mance as ef­fi­cient rather than dra­matic.

This ʻSʼ runs on Koni dampers and has quite a hard ride, matched by accurate steer­ing, and Alastair be­lieves it might have done a lit­tle light com­pe­ti­tion work in a pre­vi­ous life. ʻThe pre­vi­ous owner had it quite a long time and I think he hill­climbed it a bit.ʼ

And, fi­nally, up comes the 2.7 S, the only left-hooker here, hav­ing been bought from a Los Angeles-based Porsche dealer in 1976. That year, pro­duc­tion of Cal­i­for­nia-spec 911Ss to­talled 2174 units, though con­sid­er­ably more 49-state 911Ss were shipped. Itʼs a nar­row-bod­ied shell with im­pact bumpers, but what does make it con­sid­er­ably rarer is the pre­sumed unique spe­cial-or­der colour; itʼs not dis­sim­i­lar to Mex­ico Blue, though some­what paler in hue.

Alastair is de­lighted with it: ʻIt only had two own­ers in the States be­fore it came to me, itʼs still got the fac­tory un­der­seal, and that mileage is gen­uine at 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 Iʼve per­son­ally never seen be­fore. The black Blaupunkt rear speak­ers are quite un­usual, too, and the seats have black leather per­fo­rated cen­tres.ʼ

It was specʼd with Bil­stein Sports dampers, 6Jx15in Fuchs wheels – cur­rently run­ning Pirelli P6000s – a 380mm-di­am­e­ter ʻcom­pe­ti­tionʼ 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 over­rid­ers have also been swapped ac­cord­ingly.

Alastair loves the 2.2 S be­cause of the way the 2.2 engine be­haves. ʻItʼs won­der­ful to drive, but the blue 2.7 S is prob­a­bly the un­sung hero, be­cause itʼs the nar­row body and the only dif­fer­ence is the im­pact bumpers – which donʼt de­tract from it – and it be­ing slightly newer tech­nol­ogy. Itʼs so easy to drive, too. I took it to Le Mans Clas­sic and did­nʼt feel tired at all.ʼ

As for the 2.7-litre engine, Alas­tairʼs had it re­built to 180bhp

Hereʼs an ex­cit­ing date for your mid­sum­mer diary. On Satur­day 18th Au­gust, renowned air-cooled spe­cial­ist BS Motorsport of West­cott, Buck­ing­hamshire, is hold­ing its first open day in five years, with free ad­mis­sion for all. And as any­one who at­tended the last such event will surely tes­tify, hav­ing wit­nessed pro­pri­etor Neil Bain­bridge spirit­edly demon­strat­ing Mike Mooreʼs Mar­tini RSR trib­ute car at three-fig­ure speeds, it prom­ises to be an­other one to re­mem­ber.

The pre­cise for­mat of the day is still be­ing fi­nalised, but it is ex­pected that vis­i­tors will be able to look round the engine-build­ing fa­cil­ity – one of the best-

Above: First up is the 1967 model, the orig­i­nal 911S and pos­si­ble the best sound­ing of them all. With fewer than 30,000 miles un­der its belt, it’s as good as it gets

Below left: 160bhp 2.0-litre engine likes to be revved – it pro­duces all its power high in the rpm range

Below right: In­te­rior fea­tures low-back seats, which are com­fort­able rather than par­tic­u­larly sup­port­ive

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