40 years of the Porsche 911 Turbo
Porsche wasn’t the first manufacturer to release a turbocharged, petrol-engined road car. That accolade falls to the Chevrolet Monza, released in 1963. In fact, Porsche wasn’t even the first German manufacturer to achieve that feat, with BMW’s 2002 Turbo beating the 911 Turbo to market by a single year.
However, while other car makers rushed to implement a technology used in the aeronautical and maritime industries since the start of the 20th Century in their production vehicles, the board at Porsche AG turned to Weissach’s racing department to prove the forced-induction philosophy in the most unrelenting of arenas: the race track.
After the 917 was ruled out of international competition for 1972, Porsche turned its attention to a turbocharged version of the prototype designed to rule the US-based CanAm series – and rule it did.
The 917/10 and its Penske-developed successor, the 917/30, were untouchable in 1972-73. Porsche was convinced of the concept, producing the 911 RSR Turbo 2.1 before, in 1974, an icon was born with the release of the Porsche 911 Turbo road car, popularly known as the 930 3.0.
This was a definite case of motorsport improving the breed, as the lessons learnt in the 1,000bhp+ CanAm monsters translated into the 930 3.0, earning its place as the fastest-accelerating road car ever produced upon its release to the public in 1975.
Only six years before, man had set foot on the Moon for the first time, and now here was a sports car truly worthy of the space age.
Thanks to its 2,994cc capacity and a single Kühnle, Kopp & Kausch turbocharger, the first 911 Turbo was capable of sprinting from standstill to 100kph (62mph) in 5.5 seconds.
Its 260bhp output may sound meagre today, but this was a car that enjoyed nearly 25 per cent more power than the previous range-topping 911 Carrera 2.7 (its engine taken from the fabled 1973 RS).
To read more about every generation of the legendary Porsche 911 Turbo, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 116 in store now. Alternatively, you can order a copy online or download it to your digital device.