Classic Porsche 911 For Sale?

Classic Porsche 911 for sale

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    PORSCHE 911 REVIEW (1964 - 1989)

    Overall Summary

    Dusty Cars Rating

    In all honesty, there is probably no need for any special introductions when it comes to the classic Porsche 911 for sale. This is one of the most revered sports cars in the world and it is instantly recognizable even for people who do not consider themselves car fans.

    The 911 lineage started in 1964 and it still runs today. However, the models dubbed “classic” stopped producing in 1989 when they were replaced by a model internally marked as 964.

    The 911 came after the much praised and still legendary 356. Replacing a legend is always difficult, so it was understandable to expect that the 911 would be met with frowns. However, the rear-engined successor to the 356 was a perfect blend of traditionally beloved features of the 356 and modern approaches to technological achievements. Basically, it had the best of both worlds, preserving the proud heritage and improving it even further. If you liked the 356, there was nothing to complain about with the 911.

    Compared to the Porsche 356 coupe and convertible for sale, there was an additional body type introduced in 1967 – the Targa – which was the result of fears that the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would ban convertibles for safety reasons in case of overturning. The ban never happened, but the Targa became incredibly popular and it has been offered for sale ever since. The original design came mostly from Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, but renowned Erwin Komenda was also responsible for the instantly recognizable shape. The success of the design is evident from the fact that the current model shares a lot of styling features with its predecessor of over 50 years. The 911’s general shape might easily be the most enduring design in the whole industry.

    Power ratings, as you might imagine looking at the time span of the classic 911s, vary significantly. All of the engines were air-cooled and six-cylinder boxers (flat-6). The weakest option was a 2 l unit with 110 hp (interestingly enough, even though it was the weakest, it was not the oldest model of the 911, but a replacement for the 4-cylinder 912), while the most powerful engine was the 3.3 l from the 930 Turbo which, with the help of a turbocharger and intercooler, chunked out 300 hp (330 hp with an optional performance package in 1983). The development of various models within the classic 911 lineup are mostly connected with the increase in their engines’ displacements – simply put, for most of them you could say, the larger, the newer.

    A fun fact: the 911 was not supposed to be called 911 at all. The first designation was 901, but Peugeot had exclusive rights to the three-digits-with-a-zero-in-the-middle setup in France and Porsche opted to have the same mark for all of its markets, so they changed it to 911 which has since represented one of the most admired models in the history of the entire industry.

    Driving & Performance

    The 911s were still exclusively RR cars, meaning that they were extremely fun and often challenging to drive. Most of the first few models had well under 200 hp, but, when driven harshly, they were not very easy to control due to their RR layout. This was greatly improved during the first few years of the 911 with an increase of the wheelbase by moving its rear wheels further back, which made the car far more stable and comfortable, but kept the overall length at the same level.

    All of the increases in power also called for improvements in transmission and suspension. Aside from the standard 5-speed manual, a Sportomatic 4-speed semi-automatic also debuted in 1969. Many of the initial models had the dog-leg gearing, but at the start of the 1970s, it was dropped in favor of the H setup.

    Also, Porsche stuck with their boxer six-cylinder engines which provided wonderful balance and low centre of gravity which in turn gave way to an incomparable driving feel. Even though there were more powerful cars, there was simply nothing that could compare to the RR-inspired Porsche sensation and the feel of successfully taming a 911. Driving a 911 with confidence inevitably meant you were a good driver. Much of the Porsche’s driver’s car reputation stems from the early era of the 911.

    Despite the seemingly modest power ratings, even the early 911s had the top speed in excess of 130 mph and accelerations to 62 mph in about 8 – 9 seconds. On the other hand, the later models were similarly awe-inspiring on paper and in practice, with the 3.3 l 930 Turbo achieving top speeds of 161 mph and reaching 62 mph from a standstill in 5.2 seconds. Almost all of the other 911 classic models fall somewhere between these figures.

    There was no way Porsche were about to let go of the advantages stemming from the 356’s uniqueness over its competition. Significant changes in fuel injection systems, suspension and chassis, as well as in transmission, kept improving the 911’s driving feel with every new model. The gear changes were steadily growing quicker while still maintaining the famed precision and reliability and the suspension kept inspiring more and more confidence during sharper turns, while design features such as the tail provided more downforce for high-speed driving.

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    Equipment & Comfort

    The driver and the front passenger had more than enough room in all 911s. All of the areas up front give enough comfort and there is absolutely nothing to complain about. However, even though the 911s were 2+2 cars, the two rear seats were, and still are, tiny and utterly insufficient for adults even for short trips.

    The design of the interior changed over the years (which is understandable, knowing that the classic 911s were produced for 24 years), but all of the models followed the same design route. In all of them you would expect high-quality interior materials, usually with leather seats and upholstery, and older models featured chrome accents. The sporty steering wheel stood in front of the instrument cluster which consisted of up to five instruments. The central position was reserved for the rev-counter rather than speed indicator – a feature almost entirely unique and one which persists in 911s to this day. Left of the steering wheel you would find another unique feature of the 911, based in the Porsche’s racing heritage – the ignition placement. On the other side you could find other controls including the stereo and, from the early 1980s, air conditioning which then became a standard feature for all US 911s.

     The seats were comfortable and usually made of leather. Early models with the smallest power ratings did not provide loads of lateral support, but they were comfortable and supportive enough, bearing in mind the performance capabilities of the classic Porsche 911s. However, as the power ratings and suspension competence grew, the seats were providing far more support and they became pretty respectable even by modern standards.

    The central console was virtually non-existent in the early models, with transmission stick and handbrake protruding from a bulge in the floor. This setup was common at the time and it provided lots of space in the car. However, later models gave way to more elaborate central consoles.

    As in other Porsche cars, the interior materials were all of very high-quality and many of them still look great.

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    Running Costs

    Much like with the 356, if you have got major repairs in front of you, the classic Porsche 911 for sale is not a cheap car to own. However, its reliability record is outstanding and, bearing in mind their age, most of them have had most major work done already. Porsches are usually beloved, owned by people who can afford maintenance and therefore remain in good condition. All this being said, if you still do need to chunk out a large amount of money to make your 911 mint, it might be well worth it, since it is a very reliable car and once it has been brought to perfect condition, you might as well forget where your mechanic is.

    Just for reference, a clutch kit will set you back more than $1,000, ignition wires about $130, tie rod kit about $350 for the Turbo, as well as front control arms. Still, the 911s are vastly popular and there are loads of different models so shop around and you might find surprisingly good deals, or just opt for a completely rebuilt car perfected by professionals

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    History & Development

    Series A and B (2 l)

    We have already said that each new model of the 911 carried significant improvements, so pay special attention to the list of technological wonders in the following paragraph. The first 911 came out in 1964 sporting a 2 l engine with 130 hp. It had 6 cylinders (two more than the outgoing 356) and the engine was air-cooled. The new engine also completely did away with pushrods and moved on to overhead camshafts, which gave tremendous boost to all subsequent 911 models in terms of performance. Additionally, the first 911 also offered a very rare (at the time) five-speed gearbox. In terms of suspension, the new model also provided major improvements, what with its torsion-bar-sprung independent rear suspension with semi-trailing arm and MacPherson struts for the front. The brakes were Dunlop disks all around and the steering was the state-of-the-art ZF rack-and-pinion system. Now, once again, all of these groundbreaking features came with the 1964/1965 models and all subsequent models only got better. The 911 at the time was as innovative and revolutionary as it is today, if not more.

    In 1966, Porsche improved the carburetors (changing the supplier from Solex to Weber) and improved rear suspension. This year also saw an increase in power for the 911 in a model dubbed 911S. The S had 160 hp. A remarkable design feature of the 1966 model are the Fuchs 5-spoke wheels.

    1967 saw the first ever Targa model. It sported the same engine and mechanical parts, but the new roof layout was an instant hit, although it came from a necessity. The same year was also the inception of the least powerful 911 in history. Dubbed the 911T, it was a replacement for the 912 (a cheaper model which had 911’s chassis, but also the 4-pot engine from the discontinued 356) and it had 110 hp. The standard model also got a new name – 911L.

    A true gem from Porsche also appeared in 1967. It was the 911R and it was the ultimate track-oriented version of the car with significant improvements in almost every department. A power increase to 210 hp (and to 230 hp with the optional 901/21 four-cam engine) and extreme weight reduction (it weighed 1786 lb, almost 500 fewer than the standard 911) brought stunning performance with the acceleration to 60 in just 6 seconds. Its value is further increased with the fact that only 20 of them were ever made.

    In 1968 the 911 received several mostly cosmetic changes including a new rear window for the Targa, wider wheels and thus also wider flares and magnesium engine case.

    All of the models from 1964 to 1968 were under the 911 A series. The B series appeared in 1969 with an increased wheelbase that improved handling. Other improvements included fuel injection for the S and a whole new middle-ground model dubbed 911E. The semi-auto Sportomatic gearbox was also introduced, but it never became very popular. The power ratings ranged from 125 hp for the 911T (the only one with a four-speed gearbox), through 140 hp for the 911E and up to 170 hp, reportedly, for the 911S which reached 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds.

    Series C and D (2.2 l)

    Even though the improvements were significant and the car was adored, the next year brought the second generation of the 911 with increased engines dubbed 911 C and 911 D. The displacement increase came to 2.2 l for all three models and brought power ratings to 125 hp, 155 hp and 180 hp respectively. The engines also had all-new aluminum cylinder heads and a limited-slip differential appeared for the first time as an option. However, the C and D series models were also short-lived, since they were replaced in 1972 by the E and F series, which as well lasted only 2 years.

    Series E and F (2.4 l)

    The third generation 911s (E and F) saw another increase in displacement reaching 2.4 l. Understandably, the power increased as well and it now reached 140 hp, 165 hp and 190 hp  in the T, E and S respectively, while the latter weighed only 2,315 lb. In the US all of the models used mechanical fuel injection, while the entry model still employed a carburetor in Europe which is why it had 10 hp less. The 911T from the F series (in 1973) was the first to employ the K-Jetronic fuel injection system, which was to remain ever-present in the years to come. These models, even though they belong to the entry-level T class, are coveted among the fans of the company and often called 1973.5. The 2.4 l engines also came with new transmission which was in the H pattern, as opposed to the dog-leg that was used beforehand.

    Another peculiarity of the third generation appeared only for the 1972 model. It is the altered position of the oil tank which was moved inside the wheelbase in order to reduce the weight at the rear of the car and thus decrease the oversteer which was a big issue with novice drivers of the 911. The change also meant that the oil filler input was located right behind the passenger door and, resembling the gas filler input placed at the front left of the car, it was said to have had many people pour gasoline in the oil tank. This is why this placement was used only for the 1972 model (thus allowing you to recognize it immediately) since the oil tank was moved back to its previous position the next year where it remained until the first non-classic 911, the 964.

    Carrera RS

    We have already mentioned the 1973 Carrera RS as the model with the sky-rocketing price. The RS was made for only two years (1973 and 1974) and it was produced only for the car to be able to enter certain races which required that the racers drove production models. The RS had a 2.7 l engine with 210 hp. Expectedly, suspension and brakes saw a significant improvement, rear wheels grew wider and a ducktail spoiler appeared.

    The 1974 Carrera RS had a 3 l engine and the K-Jetronic system and it gave 230 hp. The power increase was just a small part of its value since this road car shared chassis with the RSR racing model and brakes with the 917 racing model. This would be the equivalent of having brakes from a Formula 1, or Le Mans car today. Stripped down interior also reduced the 1974 RS’s weight to just 1984 lb, making it a proper racing machine for the street. This might be the ultimate pre-turbo 911.

    Series G, H, I and J (2.7 l)

    Much of the RS’s design features were here as well including the wider wings and the 210 hp engine. The seats got a lot more supportive to accommodate for the significant increase in power and the weight of only 2,370 lb. Emissions issues in the US saw the first decrease in power for some of the models, even though the displacement increased.

    1976 brought to the appearance of the Carrera 3.0. The 3 l engine came from the first turbocharged 911, the 930, which appeared the year before (described below). The Carrera 3.0 had 200 hp and the engine was paired with either a 4-speed, or 5-speed gearbox.

    911 Turbo (930)

    The 930 is seen by many as the most significant production 911 of all times. It was introduced in 1975 and it was the first Porsche to employ a turbocharger. There were two versions of the 930. The first one had a 3 l engine with 260 hp and it was produced from 1975 and 1977, while the increased and intercooled 3.3 l engine, which was made from 1078 to 1989, had 300 hp, or 330 hp in the 1983 performance package. The 930 was so powerful that standard transmission, brakes and suspension needed to be replaced by superior setups. For the 1978 restyling, the brakes were further improved and based on the ones from the 917 race car. Also, a beautiful new rear spoiler increased downforce and sent more air to the engine. Driving the 930 is an incredible sensation for many reasons including the turbo lag which was known to lead to instant and almost uncontrollable oversteer. The fastest 930 sprinted to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and it topped out at 173 mph, which made it the fastest production car in Germany at the time.

    The 930 was also the car that introduced the Slantnose design.

    SC Series

    The 930 was developing almost independently. It started a year before the Carrera 3.0 and went on until the end of the 911 classics. However, standard models kept developing as well. Porsche moved to new marking in 1978, when the base model bore the name 911 SC. It had a 3 l engine with the reduced power, compared to the previous Carrera 3.0, of 180 hp. However, this power figure was only for the US market burdened by various legal requirements. Most of other countries over time enjoyed more powerful engines of 188 hp and 204 hp in this model.

    In 1980 and 1982 two special edition models came out. The first one was called Weissach and it featured loads of styling and comfort additions, while the second one, named Ferry Porsche Edition also consisted mostly of cosmetic peculiarities. Both of these were produced in limited numbers and are therefore specially valued among collectors.

    Another significant milestone occurred in 1982. This was the year when the first 911 Cabriolet appeared, almost 20 years since the last 356 convertible had been produced. It instantly became popular and it was the spark that made Porsche offer a convertible version of every 911 produced since.

    3.2 Carrera

    In 1983/1984 the final series of the classic 911 appeared. It was named 911 3.2 Carrera and it featured a 3.2 l boxer six-cylinder engine which included loads of newly developed solutions. The power rating was at 234 hp (210 hp for the US market) and it reached 60 mph in between 5.4 seconds and 6.1 seconds – the latter measurement comes from the manufacturer, since Porsche has been known to be more conservative in their figures which resulted in many of the models actually being faster than the manufacturer stated. The initial models featured the familiar transmission from the previous models, but in 1987 a whole new transmission was introduced. It was built by Getrag, the largest transmission manufacturer in the world. The new gearbox was technologically superior but it also provided great driving feel and precision.

    Most of the engine, fuel injection and ignition control technologies used in this series were completely new, so as the engineers were getting more familiar, the performance increased and fuel consumption improved.

    Even though the technological aspect of the new 911 improved significantly, the design received only modest changes compared to the 911 SC. Furthermore, all three body styles were available.

    The M491 optional package appeared in 1984. It was named Supersport, but it was basically a normal Carrera with bunch of 930 Turbo’s styling features which gave birth to its street name – the Turbo-look. Many of these were sold in the US, since the 930 was not available on this market for a while.

    This series also received two special editions: the 1988 Commemorative Edition and the 1989 Anniversary Edition, both of which were based on styling peculiarities and were built in limited numbers.

    Another option was the 911 Speedster which was sold only in 1989 and it was a 2-seater convertible version reminiscent of the 356’s styling of the roof and low windshield.

    The 3.2 Carrera was the last classic Porsche 911 for sale and it was superseded by the 964, an incredibly technologically advanced version of the 911 which also brought the first all-wheel-drive production 911. However, the classic 911 models still hold a special place in the industry, not only because of their heritage, but also due to their unique nature which is without comparison even today. There are faster, more advanced, more modern and, some would argue, more beautiful cars, but if you have tried the classic 911 and got hooked on the unique and unmatched driving experience it provides, the only option allowing you to relive that sensation is still only – the classic 911.

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    Facts & Figures

    BodyCoupe, convertible and targa
    Engines2.0 L H6, 110 – 170 hp
    2.2 L H6, 125 – 180 hp
    2.4 L H6, 130 – 190 hp
    2.7 L H6, 150 – 210 hp
    3.0 L H6, 180 – 204 hp
    3.2 L H6, 207 – 231 hp
    3.0 L H6, Turbo 260 hp
    3.3 L H6, Turbo + intercooler 300 hp (330 hp with performance package)
    Dimensions and weight
    Wheelbase87.0” – 89.3”
    Width66.9” – 70.1”
    Height51.2” – 51.6”
    Porsche 911 years of production
    All Models1964 – 1989
    2 l1964 – 1969
    2.2 l1969 – 1971
    2.4 l1971 – 1973
    Carrera RS1973 – 1974
    2.7 l1974 – 1977
    Carrera 3.01976 – 1977
    SC1978 – 1983
    3.2 Carrera1984 – 1989
    930 (Turbo)1974 – 1989
    Porsche 911 production numbers
    Carrera RS1,580
    1967 911R20
    Ferry Porsche Edition200
    911 SC58,914
    911 Speedster2,104
    Carrera Club340
    911 3.2 Carrera76,473 (35,670 coupe, 19,987 convertible, 18,468 targa)
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