In 1964, Porsche introduced the last iteration of its famed first model, the 356. Dubbed the “C”, Porsche continued to offer two variants of the model – the Coupe and Cabriolet. Base power came from a 1600cc pushrod air-cooled flat-4 with twin Zenith carburetors – this motor carried over from the 356B model – and was good for 75 horsepower. Optional were the 95 horsepower 1600 SC motor and the 130 horsepower 2000 Carrera motor; both with twin-throat Solex carburetors and were expensive options.
But the 356C, in Cabriolet form, was far from cheap. The base price in 1964-65 was well over $4,000 at a time when a 289 V8-equipped Ford Mustang convertible cost about $2,600. But demand was great enough that the C model actually overlapped with the Porsche 911, and these Cabriolets would be the last full drop-top top model until the 1980s.
Cabriolets were assembled by Reutters and are more rare to find than the Coupe equivalent. With a total of around 15,000 356Cs produced, only about 2,500 were Reutter Cabriolets. Today’s is a restored ’64, and currently has a 1600 SC-spec engine installed for a bit more fun:
Here’s another alternative air-cooled Volkswagen from Brazil. We saw the Brasilia recently – Volkswagen do Brasil’s answer to the Golf platform and intended to extend the life of the Beetle platform. Here was their attempt to modernize the Karmann Ghia – the infamous SP2.
‘SP’ referenced São Paulo where the SP and SP2 were produced. The early model had a 1.6 liter flat-4, while the SP2 moved up to a 75 horsepower 1.7 air-cooled flat-4 mounted in the rear. The proportions of the body styling seemed to suggest the opposite though, with the long, low hood and hatchback GT profile looking more like a traditional sports car than any VW had before. Other period designs were borrowed – the Volkswagen 411, the Porsche 924 and Audi’s 100 Coupe S all had similar angles. But it was probably Volkswagen do Brasil’s own Karmann Ghia TC (Typ 145) that looked the most similar.
Only about 11,300 of these ultra-rare, Brazil-only SP2s were produced. They’re about as legendary as air-cooled VWs get in the U.S., so when one pops up for sale it’s worth a look:
Do you ever wonder ‘What if VW had decided to make the Golf platform develop from the Beetle rather than the Audi 50?‘
Me either. But it’s an interesting thought exercise, and what’s interesting is that we actually have an example of what could have been. That’s because Volkswagen do Brasil did produce a hatchback successor to the Beetle, and here it is – the Brasilia. The Brazilian branch of VW utilized a Karmann Ghia floor, a 1600 cc Beetle motor and borrowed the styling from the Type 4s to create a small 3- and 5-door hatchback.
It was reasonably successful, too – Volkswagen do Brasil reportedly sold somewhere north of 1,000,000 of them over a ten year production cycle from 1973-1982. They were sold primarily in Central and South America, never making it past the Rio Grande officially, but kits of the Brasilia were also sent to Africa. The Brasilia remains the only mass-produced air-cooled rival to the Beetle, amazingly. Today, an absolutely pristine example is up on eBay:
In April, 2017, a very rusty, non-running and incomplete 1962 VW Bus appeared on eBay and caused quite a stir. When the bidding ended, the sale number was $20,100 – all for a chassis number. Why so expensive? Because it was a ‘Samba’, in this case a 23 Window version. If the Golf Limited is the most highly prized of modern VWs, the 23 Window shares nearly universal appeal and, consequently, value. You see, unlike the super Golf, the Sambas most definitely aren’t unknown to the rest of the world, and for the last few years they’ve been trading for numbers that make their air-cooled brethren from Stuttgart jealous. They’re so unobtainable, in fact, that I generally ignore them. But when I saw today’s pristine example come across my search criteria, I had to take a closer look because of the outrageous asking price:
This will be my last regular post here at GCFSB so I wanted to go out with a personal favorite: a 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Club Sport. I won’t say that the 3.2 Carrera CS is the best 911 ever made, but for reasons of history and its particular quality it is my favorite. I grew up in the ’80s so the 3.2 Carrera and 911SC always have held a special place in my heart. As the classic 911 design would give way to the more modern 964 the Carrera CS served as a great way to send off these fantastic machines, which had played such an important role in solidifying the 911’s place at the top of the Porsche lineup.
The Club Sport followed typical protocol for producing a performance-oriented variant: the engine was blueprinted and rev limit raised, the gearbox was modified to provide closer ratios, the suspension was retuned for a more track focus, and unnecessary weight was removed. The CS wasn’t as stripped out as a 964 Leichtbau, but most creature comforts were gone and total weight savings was around 50 kilograms. Only 340 were made.
I have featured the Club Sport a few times over the years, ranging from ultra-rare original examples to modified track cars and in each case they were a treat to behold. I figured we could look at one final example, and it just might be my favorite of those I have come across.
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.
Slate Grey, the preferred color of the famous Steve McQueen. This isn’t one of McQueen’s cars, but those who restored it seem to have had McQueen in mind when choosing how to proceed with their work. This is a 1973 Porsche 911E Targa painted in that wonderful Slate Grey, located in New York, with Tan interior showing a nice set of sport seats and a reported 54,100 miles on it. It has been fully restored and as it sits now looks quite good!
As the seller has noted, the 911E was positioned in between the entry-level 911T and the sportier 911S. It utilized a similar mechanically fuel-injected engine as the 911S, though with fewer horses (160 hp). Hydro-pneumatic struts replaced the torsion bars up front providing a smoother ride than the standard suspension available on the T. The E thus served as the luxury version relative to the more sporty 911S. Values, of course, tend to follow suit with the E slotting in between the other two models. However, the gap from the E to the S is far more significant than between the T and E.
Update 1/7/19: This Silver Anniversary 911 Coupe has dropped from $64,500 ask in 2018 to $59,500 today.
It feels like it’s been a good while since I’ve come across a nice one of these. This is a 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe Silver Anniversary Edition, which Porsche released as part of the sendoff to the 3.2 Carrera and as a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of 911 production. They were fairly limited production with only 500 total produced (300 Coupes and 200 Cabriolets). There was a time when I’d see these for sale somewhat frequently, but those days are long gone. This particular one looks exceptional.
The Silver Anniversary Edition was available in two exterior colors: Silver Metallic, which we see here, and Satin Black Metallic. Wheels were painted to match the exterior color, but the interior colors were the same. Of the two colors Silver Metallic was much more common with 240 of the 300 Coupes produced in silver. So this one isn’t quite as rare as it could be, but still very rare nonetheless.
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.