Although the opinions may vary about the weight distribution of Stuttgart’s finest, it’s widely regarded as the most reliable sportscar and perhaps the only supersportscar (once we’re talking Turbo-guise) that can be used daily. Obviously, with great appeal come great sales, so it’s also quite a common car. Hence the Aston-Martin and Ferrari buying crowd always referring to it as ‘the car that everybody has’. However, many people that own exotica end up at Porsche at some point, yet not many Porsche owners appear to desire trading it in for anything else. Add to that the fact that it holds value like no sportscar and is always ahead of its competition in endurance-racing, the Porsche 911 is sensible insanity.
The car shown here is a 1987 model, the first time Porsche started calling 911’s “Carrera”. Following up on the 911SC, the 3.2 Carrera shared its crankshaft with the iconic 930 Turbo, and 400cc more than the SC. Making for 231hp, and 6 seconds 0-100 km/h.
Compared to BMW’s offerings at that time, with the 535i throwing 218hp on the table already, it was some 60hp short of BMW’s E28 M5. Also, on the 3.2 the interior was still leaning heavily on the 70’s in fit and finish. The heater knobs and ergonomics are no match for even the earliest 1980’s BMW’s, but these days I could fall in love with the simplicity and purpose-built dials and knobs. It’s almost military, such is the utilitarian look and feel of it.
Working on the car though, one swiftly finds out that this is Porsche AG at its best, high quality materials (lots of aluminium), and higher quality fasteners and bolts than BMW’s from the same era. Because the engine-gearbox position being so whack, Porsche really came up with some good solutions to make wrenching on these cars easier. You’d kind of expect that too, with Porsche having this much experience with the setup since the 356.
Before the 3.2 Carrera, Porsche deemed it necessary to phase the 911 out, with the 928 being the alleged succeeding model. Strong forces within the company and its customers resulted in the continuating of the 911 though, the rest is history. Obviously, the 928 has better cards in many aspects. In a way, it’s a more sensible car. Getting into a 928 immediately shows that this was the future, where the comparable 911SC was clearly the past. However, opposed to what can be seen with BMW’s current flock of turbocharged, diesel and SUV – Motorsport models, old-school elements can be a good thing. Customers are not buying a sportscar solely on rational aspects, and the irrational aspect of the 911 is its weight distribution. Compared to other sportscars, that may have that tackled but fall short in other directories, it may not be such a bad minus-point. After all, the 911 has been around for so long that Porsche has ironed out every other possible flaw, that final thing would however kill its character as a true 911.
After the 3.2 Carrera the 964 followed, and the now very sought-after 993. 1996 made the opinion-splitting 996. When Porsche spawned the 997 in 2004, it was quite clear to me that they were still able to make the best sportscar in the world, and with this year’s 991, they’re really pushing the envelope without losing sight of where the car came from. Porsche may have some other cars in the line-up that purists horror, such as the Cayenne and even the Panamera. However, the 911 will always be sacred in Stuttgart. Sometimes one has to do little evil to do greater good. Persisting on a legendary car such as the 911 has shown that staying close to your roots always pays off. Even in economic turmoil, Porsche AG shows fantastic numbers. Perhaps another succesful German manufacturer should take a good look at its cards and try to make their sportscars with the ingredients that have been selling them for more than 50 years? There is certainly enough little evil being made to grant an even greater good.