If you are like Richard Hammond, in the sense that you love Porsches, then you’ll want at least one of these nine wonders. Each of these Porsches brought something new and exciting to the automotive when they were first introduced. And as they say old is gold, which is why all nine cars on the list, are at least two decades old. But don’t let the age of the cars fool you into thinking that they aren’t fun to drive. Remember, age is just a number.
This 1973 Porsche Carrera RS 2.7 – one of just 200 M471 “Lightweight” versions produced – is an icon of Porsche performance, and as such, it is regarded by many enthusiasts as the ultimate 911. The M471 “Lightweight” embodies the pure distilled essence of the Carrera RS ethos tipping the scales at a svelte 2,150 pounds, as compared to its brethren M472 at 2,370 pounds and its sister 911S at 2,550 pounds. This quantum weight loss entailed using thinner-gauge steel in the fenders, doors and hood, substituting lightweight fiberglass in lieu of steel on the engine lid and the front and rear bumpers, and converting to a lighter and thinner Glaverbel window glass. A larger-displacement 2.7L engine was developed and fitted with mechanical fuel injection. The body changes include flared rear-fender arches to accept wider rear wheels, a front chin spoiler and the RS signature ducktail rear spoiler.
The all-new 993 introduced for the 1993 model year gave Porsche the opportunity to breath more performance into the road-going Turbo, the first one ever to feature twin turbochargers and all-wheel drive; but the ultimate Porsche of the air-cooled era was the GT2, the stripped-down, lightweight rear-wheel-drive version of the Turbo designed for racing in FIA GT2 competition, in which all-wheel-drive had been banned. The GT2 showed the benefits of extensive wind-tunnel development, a new full-width front spoiler with upturned side winglets balanced by a huge two-tiered rear spoiler with integrated air scoops to feed its twin KKK K24 turbochargers. The Turbo’s 3.6L engine was tuned up to 480 in competition versions, and it was backed by a 6-speed manual transaxle incorporating locking differential with automatic limited slip. While fitted with more comfortable interior appointments, the street versions built to homologate the GT2 were no shrinking violets, delivering 430 HP over a virtually flat torque curve and capable of otherworldly handling and braking.
When announced by Porsche in 1983, the 959’s press release defined it as a research vehicle for a Group B racer, but one that also contained “all the prerequisites for everyday road use.” While drawing from the 911 for its basic shape, interior design and technical layout, the resemblance ended there. The 959’s flat-6 boxer engine was directly descended from the highly successful 935 and 936 endurance racers, both of which were Le Mans winners. Porsche produced a total of 329 of the 959s in two configurations: “Sport” and “Komfort,” corresponding to race and road versions respectively, the latter of which included full leather, power windows and seats, air conditioning and a Blaupunkt Bremen SQR 46 radio.
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Conceived as the swan-song exclusive offering to the 964-based Turbo 3.6, Porsche built a mere 93 Turbo S models worldwide, 76 of which were built with the Flatnose configuration, meaning only 17 cars were built with the Flatnose Delete Package. In model-year 1994, the standard Porsche Turbo 3.6 was the fastest production car available in the United States. This already formidable sports car was further elevated with the Turbo S option-code 36S. A key feature of the Turbo S cars was the M64/50S high-performance engine, a factory derivative of the 1993 IMSA 3.6 engine built by ANDIAL for Brumos Racing. The acceleration was neck snapping with 0-60pmh realized in less than 4 seconds and the quarter-mile elapsed time achieved in only 12 seconds. The Flatnose-delete version was lovingly and officially referred to as “the Package car.” The interior features a cashmere leather interior with sports seats and deviating black on the dashboard, upper door sills and headliner.
The 1995 Porsche 911 RS is one of just 274 examples produced in that model year and represents the ultimate both in terms of pure driving exhilaration and collectability. The RS name designation – an abbreviation for Renn Sport or Race Sport – has always been affixed to limited-edition versions of Porsche 911 that are thinly veiled race cars fitted with just enough obligatory equipment to make them street legal. This particular RS is based on the “Carrera Cup” specification, a European single-marque, single-model racing series popular in the 1990s. In terms of the Porsche RS, its sole purpose for existing was to homologate its special 3.8L engine for eligibility in both GT3 and GT4 racing in Europe. The highly coveted 1995 Porsche 911 RS represents the very last generation of the air-cooled Carrera RS models ever built.
This cabriolet version was built for enthusiasts wanting to feel the wind in their hair while piloting the quickest road Porsche ever offered at the time. In Porsche tradition, the new Turbo was an all-around more refined performer thanks to improvements made beneath the skin. The 3.3L flat-6 engine still used the single KKK turbocharger, intercooler and Bosch fuel injection to deliver 282 HP and 278 lb-ft of torque, but power was now delivered to a 5-speed Getrag transmission in place of the original 4-speed, adding a touch of civility to the Turbo’s formerly brutal throttle response while still maintaining its 0-60 time of 5 seconds flat. Wider rear wheels and tires improved stability under hard acceleration and in high-speed cornering, and the Turbo’s famously massive disc brakes added unreal stopping to its inventory of superpowers.
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Known to the public as the 911 Turbo, the Porsche 930 was the top-of-the-line model between 1975 and 1989. However, this 1984 Porsche 930 is not your average 911 Turbo; it was completed by German car-manufacturer RUF Automobile, which built higher-performance Porsches from unmarked bodies-in-white. This Porsche 911 Turbo received the RUF 17-inch wheels, front spoiler with oil cooler, heavier-duty “dog-leg” 5-speed gearbox, steering wheel with RUF-embossed center pad, and a boost gauge. The engine was also upgraded as a RUF BTR with 374 HP, thanks to 3.4L pistons and cylinders, an intercooler mounted underneath the vented whale-tail rear spoiler, revised camshafts and a 4-pipe exhaust system. The BTR designation came from “Group B,” “Turbo” and “RUF”. In the mid 1980s, RUF-built Porsches ranked among the fastest cars in the world.
When Porsche first announced the 1989 Speedster, the cars became instantly collectible and were fetching a healthy premium over their MSRP from anxious buyers. Simply stated, the demand far exceeded the supply and the realized purchase price reflected this. The Speedster is instantly recognizable by its steeply raked and low-slung windshield and solid hump-style tonneau cover. Although it could be ordered with a narrow body, the majority of Speedsters came as wide-body models with front and rear fender flares sourced from their sister, the Porsche 930 Turbo. Contrary to the original 356 Porsche Speedsters, which were minimalist cars that offered little in terms of creature comforts, the 1989 Speedster came fully equipped with air conditioning, power windows, power seats, power locks and a premium audio system.
Launched in 1995, the internally named 993 Turbo represented a sharp break from Porsche tradition. Until then, the only turbocharged all-wheel-drive Porsche to make it to even limited production was the 959. Porsche’s head of engine testing Heinz Dorsch used the 993 Turbo to implement several racing-inspired technological advances, the most notable of which was the use of twin turbochargers. This allowed smaller turbos with lighter internal mass, which resulted in quicker spool-up, and therefore less throttle lag. Exhaust gas sensors were placed in both sides of the crossover exhaust system to feed information to another Dorsch innovation, the Bosch Motronic M5.2 engine-control system that gave the Turbo the distinction of being the first world production-car model to meet On Board Diagnostic (OBD) Phase II standards introduced in 1996. A new, larger fixed rear spoiler and wider rear-fender flares meant there was no mistaking the Turbo for any other Porsche.
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