The 964 was new in a whole host of ways, not least by introducing Neunelfer buyers to a fresh approach to aerodynamics: the pop-up spoiler had arrived
Find out how the 964 introduced adaptive aero to the 911’s repertoire
The 964’s sleeker styling saw a far greater focus on aerodynamic efficiency, but early in its development the decision was taken not to have any visible aerodynamic devices. That spelled the end for the iconic ‘whaletail’ that adorned many a 3.2 carrera, and in its place came an electromechanically operated pop-up item. despite its smaller size it still produced useful amounts of downforce, reduced rear lift to negligible levels and, according to porsche, doubled the volume of air drawn into the engine compartment when it was extended.
The effect on cooling was substantial, so much so that running at high speed without the spoiler deployed wasn’t recommended. left to its own devices it rose at 50mph and disappeared at 6mph, but a switch in the cabin allowed the driver to raise the spoiler manually. The engineering behind it was typically intricate: an electric motor driving a cable which then operated gears acting on a quadrant to raise and lower the unit. The combination of maintaining the 911s clean lines while still offering aerodynamic benefits at speed ensured that the new arrangement continued to both 993 and 996 generations, on-going development ensuring that levels of downforce were increased without a notable penalty on overall drag, although the spoiler now rose at 75mph – a rather unfortunate speed indicator for UK motorway users. The 996 would also see the addition of a third brake light on the spoiler’s trailing edge, an inclusion continued on the 997.
Further aerodynamic improvements meant the 991 carrera was launched with a 0.29 drag coefficient – impressive given the larger dimensions – but while the rear spoiler still rose and dropped at 75mph and 50mph respectively, its height and angle of attack could now be adjusted depending on speed. The 991.2 took things further still, with a much greater degree of tuning possible depending on aerodynamic or cooling needs. The spoiler on the gts could extended further than the one used on the standard carrera, while the adoption of turbocharging allows more air to be directed to the intercoolers – in high temperatures, the spoiler can be fully extended at speeds as low as 37.5mph. And it all began with the rather special 964.
“Despite its small size it still produced useful amounts of downforce and reduced rear lift”