Project 965: is it the 964 Turbo?

Total 911 - - 964 Turbo 3.3 -

Let’s clear this one up once and for all.

The fact gen­er­ally ac­cepted is that the Porsche 965 was a still­born con­cept cre­ated by Porsche engi­neers to ex­am­ine the con­cept of re­plac­ing the 911 Turbo with a new pre­mium model. It was to be a top-of-the-range car, faster than the 930 but cheaper and be­low the ul­ti­mate 959.

It’s at this point that if you Google ‘Porsche 965’ that ev­ery­thing be­comes com­pli­cated. Re­mark­ably, many peo­ple think that the

964 Turbo is ac­tu­ally a 965. Spe­cial­ist car deal­ers, who re­ally ought to have a firmer grasp of the facts, ad­ver­tise them, and on any Porsche forum there is a his­tory of heated de­bate on the sub­ject.

This ex­per­i­men­tal 911/965 that the fac­tory engi­neers toyed with was fit­ted with a V8 sup­plied by Audi, and as such, was a wa­ter-cooled engine. As a re­sult, the ex­per­i­men­tal ve­hi­cle had to be heav­ily dis­guised when it was tested on pub­lic roads, hence the matte dark-grey paint fin­ish on the road-go­ing ex­per­i­men­tal ver­sion. Many dif­fer­ent en­gines were tested in this ex­per­i­men­tal ve­hi­cle, but the one that re­sides in the car today is the Audi V8 unit.

The 965 project was canned shortly af­ter CEO Peter Schutz’s de­par­ture, with Porsche real­is­ing they didn’t have the fi­nan­cial ca­pa­bil­i­ties to do both the 911 Turbo and 965. Ul­rich Bez de­cided the com­pany couldn’t do with­out the 911 Turbo, a keen profit maker for the com­pany. Thus the 964 Turbo made it to pro­duc­tion, while the 965 project was con­signed to the his­tory books. Though most mules were crushed at the time, a lone pro­to­type stills re­sides at the Porsche Mu­seum today.

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