The current 991 based Porsche 911 Turbo is a very impressive car. When you consider the humble roots from where the 911 originally developed years ago, one could hardly fathom back then that we would eventually have a 520 horsepower, all-wheel drive monster on our hands wearing a 911 badge. But for some, it’s a bit too digital. Sure it’s fast, but the visceral feeling of the air-cooled clatter and rear-drive setup is gone. As long as you don’t exploit the car’s true potential, most anyone could drive one of these cars semi-fast and look like a pro. Dial back two decades, though, and the hot 911 was not so user-friendly. These were the kind of cars that would bite if provoked. This 1991 911 Turbo would be the last rear-drive generation Turbo, as the final air-cooled 993 would adopt all-wheel drive.
All posts tagged Turbo
Last week, I wrote up a 944 Rothmans Cup car, a model that introduced the idea of a factory-backed, one marque race series as an opener for larger races. In truth, this was no new concept; the unused M1 race cars got turned into the “Procar” series in the late 1970s/early 1980s and run with F1 drivers before races, as well as prior forays by Porsche in the IROC series. But the 944 Rothmans Cup was an effort that any gentleman driver could partake in, and that made it a bit more special. While the racing was close for sure and generated plenty of great action, the lightweight 944s really weren’t particularly fast in the grand scheme of things. Having launched a new Turbo model of the 944 in 1985, Porsche nearly immediately started development of the Cup version of the 951. With sealed motors pushing a bit more power that stock thanks to some revised engine mapping, catalyst-free exhaust and a revised magnesium intake, the real gains came in further use of exotic materials to lighten the cars. While the regular 944 was a bit lighter, the Turbo Cup went the next step; lightened suspension, magnesium wheels, stripped interior and plastic pieces. Undercoating was never installed on these cars and as a result of many small changes, the 944 Turbo Cup weighed in some 400 lbs less than the roadgoing version. Even with a modest power increase, this made for one potent and very special race car:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo Rothmans Cup on Race-Cars.com
Not that long ago, if you were at a gathering of automobile enthusiasts and said you had a diesel race car, you would likely have been laughed out of the group. And if I’m completely honest, I probably would have been one of those laughing. The term “diesel” coupled with “performance” just were two words at opposite ends of the spectrum to me even as recently as the mid 1990s. I recall that I had a friend who was very excited about the then relatively new TDi Golf and Jetta, reciting from carefully memorized brochures the fuel economy figures in any given situation. But then, something strange happened. I grew up and got a job where I had to drive – a lot – and was footing my own gas bill. Suddenly, the concept of 50 m.p.g. and having something a little different than the typical performance cars made sense to me. I was contemplating all sorts of weird permutations, generally into the cars I owned. For example, I thought the concept of swapping a diesel motor into the V8 quattro chassis was an interesting one, or for that matter an Audi S6 – the look of performance, but the mileage and run-for-eternity longevity of a diesel motor. Then Volkswagen did us all a favor and started bringing over performance versions of their TDi cars, starting with the Jetta TDi Cup Edition. An effective homologation of their one-make race series, the TDi Cups were essentially a GLi with the TDi powerplant – and offer performance in corners to make things fun coupled to fuel economy that makes life more practical:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDi Cup on eBay
10K Friday Family Truckster Edition: E500 Wagon v. 530xi Touring v. Passat 1.8T 4Motion Variant v. S6 v. Touareg v. Cayenne S
Family life – it’s a mixed blessing. I could never have imagined the unintended consequences expanding my family by 50%; in terms of space consumed, physics and logic told me that there was no way that the amount of space required with a small child would increase any more than…say, 50%. Yet, the reality of adding to my family is that the amount of space required for even what seems like the most miniscule trip increases disproportionately to the size of the package that arrives. Babies are a bit like those magic sponges in a capsule I got when I was a kid; once they hit air, they expand to 200-300% the size they were. So, long story short, when you have a family you likely need more space.
Over the past few years we’ve seen a general backing away from wagons towards the bane of most enthusiast’s existence, the S.U.V. and the “crossover” – many of which are really just tall wagons. So what are the options if you want to maintain an enthusiast’s lifestyle whilst still surviving the onslaught of baby-themed items? Well, for around $10,000 you can get some pretty diverse rides – so let’s see what’s the one you’d choose:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Mercedes-Benz E500 4Matic Wagon on eBay
I often wonder if you need the real article, especially when discussing rare automobiles. I can think of a few cases where having the replica wouldn’t bother me very much; generally, they’re replicas of rare cars that are just hard or very expensive to come by. For example, I’d love to own a 917K or LH, but first off it will never happen due to monetary considerations, and secondly if I did own it, I’d be afraid to take it anywhere and drive it in anger. But Race Car Replicas make a pretty convincing replica of the 917 that can be had for around $60,000, and to me the look is good enough that I can deal with it not being the real item. The same goes for Daytona Coupes, some rare Ferraris and even some factory-built replicas; Audi’s Auto Union Type C streamliner comes to mind. But what about road cars? If they’re rare, difficult to come by or expensive to keep running, I think the case can be made that a replica is just fine, especially when executed well: