It would be easy to assume that the ’92 Carrera Cup USA was a turned up version of the RS America, but actually it shared more DNA with the European market Carrera RS. Porsche intended to continue the trend of its successful 944 Cup and 944 Turbo Cup support series races with a 911 Carrera Cup in the U.S., but after luring 45 buyers and converting 25 to full race spec by Andial funding for the series fell through. Many of the Andial-converted cars were then returned to full road-legal spec and the legend of these lightweight 911s has been circulating ever since.
he RSA was actually the least expensive 911 version in showrooms in the early 90s too, while the Cup was a substantial 20% premium. Why? Well, it was a lot more than just removing a few extra items. While the RS America lopped 70-odd pounds off a standard C2, the Carrera Cup was 200 lbs lighter. The Cup wore bigger 24mm 5-way adjustable front/ 18mm 3-way rear sway bars, stiffer progressive-rate springs that were 50mm front/45mm rear lower than a standard car, aluminum hubs, ball joint upper spring mounts, and Bistein rear shocks. The engine was the M64/03 rather than the RS America’s M64/01, and featured a lightweight flywheel, only one accessory belt, a remapped DME and solid rubber mounts to channel more of the extra power to the ground. The Cups had a lightweight battery and master electrical shutoff, along with a more simple carpet and rear shelf layout. The gearbox was also different, as the Cup for the G50/10 with longer first and second gears, hardened synchros and mounts, and a standard variable locking differential. Brakes? Yep, different too – the Cup wore Turbo calipers with 322mm front vented and cross-drilled rotors. They kept the standard retracting rear spoiler rather than the RS America’s fixed unit, but had no undercoating and thin glass as well. These were racers through-and-through. And today, they’re not cheap:
Although it certainly added up to more than the sum of its parts, on paper the Porsche 968 was a bit lacking compared to most of its competition. For example, for $2,000 less than the base price of a non-Sport package equipped 968, you could get a twin-turbocharged 300 horsepower Nissan 300ZX packed full of the latest technology. Or the also twin-turbocharged Dodge Stealth/Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 twins. Or the sublime turbocharged Mazda RX-7. And while the Supra Turbo came at a higher price, its performance was also on another level. One thing was clearly missing from the 968 package in order to compete.
Porsche’s Motorsport department, under the leadership of Jurgen Barth, solved this problem in 1993 by offering a turbocharged version of the 968 Clubsport. The 16V head was dropped for a development of the 944 Turbo S head and turbo, but the car retained the 3-liter bottom end. This comprised the M44.60 engine. The result was 305 horsepower and 368 lb.ft of torque. Unlike the 944 Turbos, the 968 Turbo S also got the 6-speed manual (G44.01) and 75% locking differential out of the Clubsport, too. Outside, an homage to the 924 Turbo came in the form of twin NACA ducts on the hood, and the Turbo S gained a huge spoiler in the rear with an adjustable center plane. The Turbo S also nabbed 911 goodies in the form of Turbo brakes and 3-piece Speedline wheels. The Clubsport’s 20mm lowered suspension was dropped even further. For good measure, Porsche Motorsport chopped another 45 lbs off the already lightened Clubsport, too. They featured the lightweight Clubsport interior, no rear seat, and few options. The performance figures were reportedly good enough to best 911 Carrera 3.8 RSRs of the period.
As well as anyone can figure, Porsche only constructed 14 968 Turbo Ss – 11 ’93s (VINS ending 061-071) and 3 ’94s (VINS 001, 061, and 062). Because they’re so rare and were never sold in America, in fact, even some Porsche fans on this side of the pond aren’t aware of their existence. They don’t come up for sale very frequently, but -001 is available right now:
In 1976, Porsche won the World Sportscar Championship for makes with successful runs in both the 935 and prototype 936 chassis. The 936 was triumphant at Le Mans in the already famous Martini livery, while a series of 935/76s carried the colors in Group 5 FIA sports car racing. It was there that Porsche introduced the ‘slant nose’ aerodynamic bodywork that became the hot mod on 911s in the 1980s; however, in the 1970s you could get a very nice slantnose Porsche – replete with Martini Racing colors – for a lot less than a 911 Turbo.
To commemorate the success of the 1976 season, in 1977 Porsche released a limited run of Martini-colored 924s. Option M426 was the Martini World Championship Edition, and it cost $450. Add in a removable roof like this one for about $350, and the sticker price of this car just passed $10,000. For that sum, Porsche gave you quite a lot of visual enhancement; bathed only in pure white, the 924’s 8-spoke alloy wheels were color-matched to the body. Martini stripes ran the length of the sides, their design mimicking the wedge shape of the 924. Inside, a special two-tone interior of scarlet corduroy and black leatherette was offset with Martini stripes stitched into the upper portion of the seats and blue piping ran throughtout. A commemorative plaque was added to the back of the center console, too, reminding you that the car you were driving was from the house of a champion. You held a real leather steering wheel, and helping execute your commands was achieved by Porsche adding sway bars to the suspension both front and rear. It was a series of small changes that resulted in a neat package, and one that is sought by collectors of the transaxle design today:
A few weeks ago, I took a look at a trio of Porsche 968 6-speeds. One was a rare 1995 model; only 259 were sold from that model year. As is often the case with 968 Coupe 6-speeds, the asking prices of two of the three were quite high and they still linger on the market, unsurprisingly. Well, today we have another double take of ’95 specific 6-speeds – how do they measure up to the last three we looked at?
Last month I wrote an article for The Truth About Cars where I covered the special models of the Porsche 924. Recounting the various special editions drew into sharp focus the general lack of any performance gains with those models. Sure, some had sway bars and fog lights – two of the best known performance upgrades in the 1980s. But generally speaking, most of the Porsche 924 limited models were just a special color stripes and/or special interior. The 1976 and 1977 World Championship Edition 924 is probably the best example of that, but before it’s completely dismissed as a mega-poser, it’s worth a look if for no other reason than it’s quite the looker:
Continuing on my theme of watercooled transaxle Porsches in famous livery, in 1976 Porsche won the World Sportscar Championship primarily with its 935 and 936 models in Martini Racing livery. To commemorate this achievement, in 1977 if you walked into your Porsche dealer and selected option M426 (Code E19) on a new Porsche 924, you’d be handed the keys to a uniquely colored coupe. The outside of each was Grand Prix White, and along the side were triangularly shaped stripes in the now famous Martini Racing livery. The “Tarantula” alloys were color-matched white as well. Underneath, the Martini cars were equipped with front and rear sway bars – the only real performance option. Inside was what really set the car apart, though, with scarlet carpet and seat centers, contrasting piping, a leather steering wheel and of course a commemorative plaque to let you know you were in the house of a World Champion!
As Rob said in his recent 964 Carrera 4 Widebody post, the flared variants of the middle generation 911 can be polarizing. Even more polarizing are the extra-widebody Nakai-san Rauh-Welt Begriff creations. That Akira Nakai is an artist is unquestioned, but whether his creations are genius or blasphemous depend on your definition of art I would suppose. Nakai takes the stock 911 and turns it up to 11, with custom molded, hand crafted flares and widening the lines of the 911 to outrageous proportions. Fitted with giant wheels, lowered suspensions and custom front and rear bumpers, they are the embodiment of the Japanese tuning scene but with a decidedly European feel. Indeed, you don’t need to look far into Porsche’s own developments to find the inspiration for these models from Stuttgart’s own work. Indeed, many of Nakai’s works look a lot like the 964 Turbo S Le Mans racer and later 993 GT2 race car, with their giant gold BBS wheels, huge spoiler, vents and wide flares. Personally, I think that Nakai does an exceptional job mimicking the best of the 911 race car design whilst simultaneously introducing his own style. That becomes more obvious when you see a non-Coupe RWB such as today’s Targa model – I believe the first open-air RWB I’ve seen:
Over the past few decades, the classic car market has been so crazy in some cases that former race cars have been reverted expensively back to street models in order to capitalize on their greater value. Factory race cars obviously retain their appeal – sometimes even if they were never raced – yet cars that were converted by your average enthusiast retain the prospect of a return to their former street-worthy status. One of the most popular cars to convert to track use has traditionally been the Porsche 911, a car that since it’s inception was a gentleman racer in the making. But with values in a shocking climb, will we see these 911s leave their ancestral home at the track and head for climate-controlled garages with heavy specialty insurance premiums?
Well, I hope this will stir some interest, as I think this is a bit of an interesting comparison. What level of performance can you buy for $10,000 (give or take) these days? Surprisingly, there are a lot of options – and those options vary pretty seriously in their execution and packages; there’s a wagon and a sports car, two sedan-based coupes and a hatchback. Engines range from a 2 liter turbo to a V8, with a bit of everything in between. Yet, what appears to be a very strange comparison linked only by price is revealed to be much closer when you look at performance figures:
E36 M3: 240 hp, 0-60 6.0 seconds, 3,200 lbs
944 Turbo: 220 hp, 0-60 5.9 seconds, 2,900 lbs
CLK500: 302 hp, 0-60 5.7 seconds, 3,800 lbs
S4 Avant: 250 hp, 0-60 5.6 seconds, 3,700 lbs
GTi: 200 hp, 0-60 6.6 seconds, 3,200 lbs
The range is much closer than you’d expect – especially when you consider that these figures could easily be equaled in margin of error, driver skill and reaction time. In the twisties, the lower powered cars like the GTi catch up to the higher power CLK and S4. All are, in one way or another, practical choices. Some are destined (or already) classics, while others will likely fade away. So what would be your choice? Let’s start with an M3 we’ve already seen:
Although the appeal of the budget speed of the 944 Turbo is certainly large, the actual driving experience around town can sometime be a bit lacking and the expense of 25 year old turbocharged technology can be a turnoff. Luckily, Porsche offered its own solution with the 944S2. Well covered on these pages, the S2 offers early Turbo levels of performance from its 3.0 16V motor, with no turbo lag. I’ve said it was perhaps the best all-arounder Porsche has ever built, and I think overall that’s a realistic look at the S2; if all-out speed wasn’t your goal, the S2 offers practicality, lower ownership costs and enough power to take advantage of one of the best handling chassis ever made. Take a look at this 1989 example: