Oh Paint to Sample, you’ve really done it this time. What you are looking at is a 1990 Porsche 911 C2 painted in “Karminrot.” In English, that is “Carmine Red,” but you can see that this car is not red. Even more so, if you see that a Porsche is painted in Carmine Red, it will look like this. So what gives? Why is this car pink? During a point in 911 history, Karminrot was actually this color. I suppose somewhere along the line they came to their senses and decided that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to call a pink car “red,” as well as the fact that no one was actually buying this color. That likely leaves this 964 as possibly the only example finished in a color most associated with bubblegum.
You know why we’re here. This 1991 Porsche 911 C2 is a left-hand drive ROW-spec that was delivered to Japan and painted in the wonderful Veilchenblau. That is “violet” in English, but it is very purple and I love it. I think this car doesn’t punch you in the face like a 991.2 GT3RS in purple does and doesn’t look like it is trying too hard. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, because the dealer has no problem listing a 964 Turbo S for $1,450,000, but for some reason won’t put a public price on this one. Don’t you love used car dealers?
During my many miles of walking I do during the week, I run through a lot of hypothetical car purchasing situations. One of those recently was “how much of a discount would you need to buy and own a (pre-PDK) automatic 911?” While certainly not the most common 911s, there are a handful of these traditional automatic gearboxes on the 964, 993, and 996. The 964 and 993 had a 4-speed, while the 996 gained an extra 5th gear. All featured “Tiptronic”, a term Porsche coined and owns, that allows you to select what gear you wanted to be in within some limitations. Most often people who bought these automatic gearboxes were those with a physical limitation who couldn’t drive 3-pedals or the old saying of “so my significant other can drive it too” when in reality that maybe happens twice a year and one of those times is driving it from the garage to the street because the driveway was getting resealed.
Naturally these cars didn’t just go off and disappear because they still have a ton of value, but you’d be kidding if you think all things being equal they would be priced the same as a manual gearbox car. Yes, the look, sound, and feel of an aircooled 911 is still there, but these older ZF gearboxes suck up the power and you notice it. That is exactly what is going on with today’s car, a 1991 C2. This has all the ingredients for a perfect 964. Amethyst Metallic paint, Speedline wheels, and just under 73,000 miles. Problem is, it has the automatic gearbox. Is the price discount enough to make you overlook that?
For some time, the 964 design was relegated to the “least favorite” column for many in the 911 world. Regarded as little more than a bridge between the classic 911 design of the 3.2 Carrera and the sophisticated modern beauty of the 993, appreciation for the clean lines and steadfast simplicity of the 964 has grown. It hasn’t hurt that the cars around it have rocketed up in value, either. So today let’s take a look at a prime example; a ROW 1991 911 Carrera 2 in Paint-to-Sample in Murano Green.
Unlike earlier cars, changes between the ROW 964s and North American cars were relatively minor (minus the special production cars, like the Carrera RS). Power from the 3.6 air-cooled flat-6 was effectively the same as its North American counterpart. The bumperettes were missing on ROW cars, and of course for Euro plates the center rear bumper section was slightly different. Without the 5 mph mandate, ROW cars didn’t have the heavier crash bars behind their bumpers either, nor do they have the collision bars in the doors. As you’d expect, the headlights and tailights are different, and Euro cars had sidelights that were missing on NA cars. Those headlights were adjustable in cockpit via an adjuster next to the key. Foglights were standard on ROW cars and they also had no third brakelight. ROW cars had larger fuel tanks, lower suspension, and a few other minor tweaks. Reading all of that would probably lead you to believe the ROW cars were lighter, and they are – somewhere around 50 lbs or so.
But here it’s not the missing 5-year-old’s weight you’re excited for – it’s just got to be the color:
As I discussed in the ’91 911 Turbo post, while Porsche claimed that a fair amount (85%!) of the “new” Turbo was “new”, in reality it was an evolution of the ’89 Turbo wrapped in a smoother package. However, as our reader Howard pointed out in the comments, one very important change outside of the look was the suspension, which moved away from
wooden carts the antiquated torsion bar setup to ‘modern’ coil springs. Coupled with the new limited-slip differential, anti-lock brakes and more sophisticated engine management (hence, smoother power delivery), the ’91 Turbo was a lot more livable in day-to-day situations.
Of course, that meant that it was possible to introduce even more power. Since the ’91 Turbo was a replacement for the defunct 965/969 V8 project, it made sense that Porsche hadn’t developed a new Turbo motor for the initial 964 Turbo launch. But for 1993, Porsche took the 964’s 3.6 liter and mated it with the turbocharger from the 3.3. The result was, of course, the Turbo 3.6. The extra displacement meant power was up 40 to 360 and torque 52 to 384 lb.ft, while both numbers were achieved lower in the rev range. To show off this new-found power, Porsche installed some fantastic Speedline-made Cup wheels and discrete “3.6” badging after the Turbo script. Despite the relative undercover looks, these are sought cars.
Today’s car is listed as one of the 288 Turbo 3.6s imported in ’94, and with a scant 6,350 miles on the odometer you know the price will be high. How high?
As the Turbo era died off in the early 90s and nearly everyone abandoned forced induction thanks to newer, more stringent fuel economy and emissions standards, Porsche’s ‘Gott verdammt, ve continue to do things the same vill!‘ attitude extended to boost. Instead of backing away from their somewhat flawed design, Porsche doubled down and launched a ‘brand new’ Turbo model of the 911 for 1991. I say ‘brand new’ because while the body looked modern and the interior updated, in reality this was the same old-school Porsche 911 Turbo underneath. It was still rear-drive only, still a single turbocharger with a ton of lag, and still capable of ripping your face off. Still displacing 3.3 liters, revisions to the intake, exhaust and ECU left the flat-6 churning 315 horsepower and 333 lb.ft of torque, the 964-era Turbo hit 60 in under 5 seconds if you threw caution to the wind and was within a breath of 170 flat-out. Outside, the 964’s smooth bumper covers replaced the impact-era units and 17″ Cup 1 wheels filled the flares, but squint and not much looked different from 15 years prior. Yet sure enough, newfangled technologies had crept in: anti-lock brakes, airbags, power steering *gasp!* In many ways, though modern and certainly capable of hanging with the best cars of the day if not exceeding their performance, they felt a bit like a dinosaur unabashedly sticking its middle claw up towards progress and the future. It’s that attitude, reputation and look that today continues to drive the desirability of this model in the used market:
A Tahoe Blue Metallic 964 is a color I used to never see come up for sale and then suddenly it seemed common. Of course, by common I mean that I have come across and posted three different examples over the past 14 months so they aren’t really that common, but given that none seemed to exist before that you get the idea. Of the three I have posted two have been Turbos and one was a C4 Cabriolet. Were I looking for a 964 those really aren’t the models I’d be looking for. What I’d be looking for is the one we see here: a Carrera 2 Coupe. So for me that makes this one the best of the bunch.
When speaking of regular 911s, i.e. not the various limited-production variants Porsche has released, the Targa always has been my favorite model and among the Targas the 964 is the one I like best. With the Targa, I like the slightly different profile the roll hoop provides and really like the versatility of the Targa top. The 964 gives us a little more modern performance and refinement relative to the 911SC and 3.2 Carrera that preceded it and it looks just a little bit better. The problem is we very rarely see them. There aren’t a ton of 964 Targas out there and many of those I do come across really don’t seem to be in great condition. Alas.
This one appears to be an exception: a Grand Prix White 1992 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Targa with what the seller has listed as a Cream leather interior (perhaps Linen?) and 130,935 miles on it. We aren’t provided any details, but it looks in really nice condition given the mileage. It’s pretty pricey. That isn’t surprising with 964 Targas, especially the Carrera 2, but this one is pushing things a little bit. Nonetheless it’s still great to take a look at one of these.
The rarest of the rare. Of all of the various 911 models, the 964 pretty much leads the pack when it comes to the ultra-rare. I joke occasionally about the myriad configurations of modern 911s, which I think at this point has resulted in around 22 different model variants from which buyers can choose. There’s pretty much a variant to suit every possible need (though still no rear drive Targa, come on!). While we couldn’t really call the 964 similar it does seem to be the model where Porsche really began to see just how many different ways it could offer their flagship car. The other significant difference is that none of the current 911 models really is all that rare. There are a couple special editions that were produced in very low numbers, but those aren’t too much more than unique option packages producing cosmetic differences. Even the Turbo S Exclusive is limited to 500 and while that’s not a lot of cars it’s nothing compared to the car we have here.
This is a 1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Leichtbau. According to Canepa, the sellers of this particular example, there were 22 total produced. I’ve seen that number listed elsewhere as only 20, but perhaps there were one or two additional special requests, which kind of sounds like what occurred with the one here. Like a lot of Porsche’s most extreme performance models the Carrera 4 Leichtbau wasn’t for sale in the US market. You’d almost never have a change to buy one. Here is one such chance.
I have always found this to be one of the more peculiar 911 models. This is a Midnight Blue Metallic 1992 Porsche 911 America Roadster, located in Miami, with a Tan/Black leather interior and 73,368 miles on it. These are pretty rare – only 250 were produced – and this one looks in very nice shape. The price is pretty high, but given their rarity these do tend to have a high price attached.
So why do I find them peculiar? Well, maybe because I don’t really know why the model exists. Were buyers clamoring for a wide body Cabriolet? Was the 911 Speedster based off the 3.2 Carrera so successful that Porsche felt they needed to produce something similar for the 964 as well? I don’t know, though the Speedster would return in 1994 after America Roadster production ceased so perhaps there was some desire for one.
Regardless, these are pretty neat even if I’m not quite sure about their appeal. The idea was to build a more driver-focused Cabriolet in the spirit of the 356 Roadster, which had replaced the 356 Speedster. As the Roadster moniker suggests, the rear seats have been removed. The rear is wider and the America Roadster received the brakes and suspension from the Turbo. It’s basically a Turbo-look Cabriolet and given that the 964 Turbo only came in Coupe form the America Roadster was your only shot at getting a Cabriolet with the wider rear.