911 Group Test: Battle of the Best

Styling

The 911 arrived in 1964 as a replacement for the 356, and for the last four decades has remained the epitome of the sports car and an automotive icon. Styling-wise, the original 911 is a true work of art, with its glorious teardrop profile and delicate chrome accents around the windows and bumpers: a symbol of Sixties cool. You can’t help but love the Porsche name spelled out across the tail in block letters with 911 in script just above and to the right of the maker’s name, and below a large single air intake at the top of the lid. We had an S for our shoot, which came with a set of the gorgeous, unmistakably Porsche, Fuchs five-spoke alloy wheels. Inside you will find leather and wood to hold up those five large, black, round, luminous-faced dials, even the luggage compartment is lushly trimmed. Put simply, the finish is beautifully vintage and Germanic.

In 1974, Porsche launched the 911 G-Series; the impact-bumper cars considered more complex, uglier and heavier. More emphasis was placed on the issues of safety, comfort and eco-friendliness, so its bodywork was restyled to meet US 5mph bumper-impact regulations. The revised big, boxy bumpers were largely criticised for spoiling the 911’s lines, but today the distinctive Accordion-pleat rubber boots fitted at each corner of the car, neatly filling the gap where the chunkier bumper was pulled out and mounted on aluminium tubes that collapsed when struck, are an appealing feature to some. Another new styling cue was the full-width reflector between the rear lights, with the word Porsche boldly emblazed across it, deeper outer sills, and obviously slightly altered wings and bonnet to accommodate the new bumpers. Inside, besides the strong whiff of fuel, the G-Series boasted smarter seats with better support and integral headrests, redesigned door pockets with top-opening lids and a new four-spoke 400mm steering wheel.

The introduction of the 1989 964 saw Porsche make some large advances, and although 85 per cent of the components had been redesigned, the body style remains faithful to the classic 911 lines. The car had new bumpers and a retractable rear spoiler (so as not to spoil the lines at resting) that automatically extends at 50mph and, while increasing the downforce, also doubles the volume of air intake for improved engine cooling, a feature that has survived to this day. More noticeable, though, was the elephant ear door mirrors. These chunky protrusions weren’t pretty but allowed for electric adjustment and heating, and soon became another distinctive 911 feature that lasted right into the early-Nineties.

The 993 was released in 1993, and retained many of the instantly recognisable lines of the first 911 albeit with flatter headlamps, wider and less rounded front wings and broader rears that blended into the tail more. Only 20 per cent of parts were carried over from the previous generation, and the interior remained incredibly dated, with little changed since the first 911. That’s largely down to Porsche lacking the time and resources, but is infinitely better than the 997’s bland button-fest and some will appreciate the retention of the dash with its aforementioned classic dials.

The first truly all-new Porsche 911 appeared in 1998 with the 996 and, let’s not beat around the bush here, signalled mass production methods, big profits and real-world depreciation. Although it retained the same basic shape as the original 911, it shared no body panels and actually had more in common with the lesser Boxster, which you can see quite clearly in the model’s headlamp design, with the famous bug-eye headlamps eradicated and the bumpers rounded off. The lines were smoothed out, the windscreen raked right back and it was considerably larger than before. This allowed for increased crash protection and a roomier, radically updated cabin featuring better ergonomics and pedals that were now proper non-floor-hinged items.

By 2005 the 997 replaced the 996, and although it still shared a third of its parts, Porsche took its styling cues from the earlier 911s, returning to the old air-cooled car’s circular headlamps with a subtly re-shaped nose. At a quick glance the two do look remarkably similar, however. Inside, only the large, circular dials and centrally mounted rev counter look familiar, instead your attention is drawn to all of the modern technology this car is packed with, signified by lots of tiny switches. The dash is more upmarket and horizontal, too.

Though the silhouettes of every 911 are consistent, with all the cars gathered together for our group shoot you could quite clearly see just how much bigger the new 991 was, especially compared to the original. It dwarfed it. Compared to its predecessor, the wheelbase is about 100mm longer, but with the reduced height of the car, it looks more muscular. The classic bulbous wings extend to an even wider front track, further enhanced with new wheels, in sizes of up to 20 inches. Remodelled mirrors now sit on the upper edge of the doors, while out back the rear lights are sleeker, and there’s a wider, variably extending rear spoiler. Sitting in a 911 is now less of an occasion, even more so in the 991 now it’s more Panamera. Saying that the console is less cluttered, more slick and modern, the dash has the same bent-paper notch across its midsection as the first one does, but it’s far comfier, and the quality of materials is better than ever.

The decision to organise a group shoot of every generation of 911, having only been editor of Total 911 for seven weeks, was perhaps a brave one, but I was up for the challenge and, suicidal or not, with the new 991 out, now was as good a time as any.

Porsche had agreed to supply the latest 911, a 993 and a G-Series, and Phil Raby, my predecessor, could bring along a 996 and 997 that were part of his current stock having set up a Porsche consultancy business, which left me with a 964 and pre-impact-bumper 911 to source.

With less than a week until the shoot, my proposed idea for this issue’s cover shoot could’ve easily blown up in my face, but I had faith that someone, somewhere would be willing to help. Sure enough, after posting on our social network sites, several forums – including Rennlist, DDK (Die Deutschen Klassiker) and 911uk – as well as the secretary of the Early 911 Register (from Porsche Club GB) putting the word out, within a few days I finally had a 964 Carrera 2 and a 1970 2.2S. Mission complete. Well, almost.

I needed a location. As Porsche was willing to deliver its cars via a transporter lorry to any destination (within reason) and Philip is based near Chichester, I decided Goodwood would be particularly fitting.

That just leaves me to say, I hope you enjoy joining us on a journey of pure 911 indulgence as we look at how the most useable supercar of all time has evolved. 911 aficionado and highly respected motoring journalist Richard Aucock gives his two cents worth on each one, too, and I give you my thoughts on the day, spending time with one of the most tempting ensemble of cars I have experienced in my 15 year long career.

Performance

The first 911 engines delivered just 130bhp on carbs. However, although very credible for its day, they were underpowered and, dare we say, underdeveloped. That is until they increased the wheelbase in 1969 by 57mm by shifting the rear wheels back – thus improving weight distribution and handling, gave it mechanical fuel injection and a year later displacement went from 2.0-litres to 2.2-litres. It also offered five gears when most sports cars of that era had four-speed manual transmission. In S trim, Porsche threw some spark curve and timing changes into the regular six-cylinder horizontally opposed air-cooled engine, bumped the compression ratio up from 9.0:1 to 9.8:1 and the result was an output jump to 180bhp. You couldn’t ask for a more willing engine and there are two definite peaks in the torque curve, at about 5,000rpm when it comes on cam with a vengeance and a wail that’s extremely seductive indeed, and before that at 3,000. Get it on a twisty road in third gear and the car really comes alive.

Moving onto the G-Series then, and despite the addition of the impact bumpers, clever design ensured that the car’s weight remained almost the same, so the range-topping 150bhp 2.7-litre Carrera version performed similar to the previous year’s RS. The engines still had the same low-rev torque, flexibility in any gear and special sound of the flat six. In 1984 the Carrera received a new 3.2-litre version of the flat-six engine to celebrate 20 years of the 911 and we had a 1986 example from Porsche’s Experience Centre Silverstone. The later models came with a G50 gearbox, reckoned by many to be the ultimate extension of the original 911 line and it’s lively on power with 231bhp. Again it was renowned for lift-off oversteer, although ultimately this is a problem with the driver rather than the car – it just takes more talent to master but that’s what makes this 911 and those before it, so special. It accelerates from 0-62 in 6.1 seconds, quick by today’s standards, and on to a top speed of 152mph. In a nutshell, it is noisy, loud and raw.

All that new styling for the 964 was wrapped over new engineering, with the introduction of the state-of-the-art Tiptronic automatic transmission, with adaptive electronic management and full manual control, better than the old Sportomatic, and a new 3.6-litre, twin spark plug engine making 250bhp that is particularly sweet at high revs. Making the 0-60 dash in 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 163mph, it was the most powerful normally aspirated 911 production powerplant.

The 993 remained mechanically almost identical to its predecessor, and it was very solidly put together and hand-built at great expense, unlike the mass production versions that succeeded it. Its 272bhp 3.6-litre was the last of the air-cooled sixes and feels creamy smooth and grunty, although despite the extra 22mph it’s only a few tenths behind the old car from zero to 62mph. Put simply, the 993 is brilliantly useable and mechanically bulletproof, with a gloriously throaty growl to boot. There was a choice of Tiptronic or manual transmissions, and four-wheel drive was available.

Still a naturally aspirated flat-six design, mounted longitudinally behind the rear axle to a slick six-speed manual or PDK (Porsche’s latest two-pedal sequential gearbox), the Porsche 911’s beloved, and by then highly developed, air-cooled motor was dropped in favour of water-cooling for the 996. The redesigned engine included four valves per cylinder, which achieved higher power outputs and much better fuel economy. Motoring hacks gave the new 911 some awful reviews, however, forcing Porsche to release many powerful variants to try to win over the press. Thankfully it still retained that familiar whirring sound on start-up followed by a sweet, mellow howl, as you start to climb the revs.

The 997’s engine didn’t represent a significant departure from that of the 996, simply offering more of the same but only better, and begged to be worked hard. However, with no lag whatsoever, and additional low-down grunt, together with punchier gear changes and accompanied by a more aggressive engine note, it made for a truly addictive recipe. The Carrera, which we had for the shoot, has a 341bhp 3.6-litre flat six, the S out of interest gets a 380bhp 3.8. Both are available with four-wheel drive and Porsche’s PDK sequential-shift gearbox, and both deliver eye-popping performance yet the car is a lot better balanced and immensely involving.

Finally we come to the 2012 911, the most radically altered Porsche 911 model since the 996. The new 991 Carrera’s engine, which we have for the shoot, has been downsized to a 3.4 that delivers 345bhp wringing to a much higher redline, and mated to a new, optional and improved PDK or, alternatively, the world’s first, seven-speed manual gearbox. The Carrera S gets a 394bhp 3.8, and has beaten its predecessor’s Nürburgring lap time by an impressive 14 seconds, putting it in 997 GT3 and Turbo territory. That’s bloody impressive. Not surprisingly, it is more economical than ever before, but to its credit sounds so much louder (no doubt helped by a Sound Symposer that pipes the engine noise into the cabin –a surprise move for Porsche), but the best bit is the way it pops and crackles on the overrun.

Ride and Handling

The first 911 was packed with the latest technology when it came to the ride and handling, including sophisticated semi-trailing arm and torsion-bar-sprung independent rear suspension as opposed to solid rear axles suspended on leaf springs and MacPherson struts up front like other cars of that time, in addtition to precise, delicate and poised ZF rack-and-pinion steering. There’s a constant reminder, however, when you jump into an older 911 that the rear weight bias is out to get you, even if the reality is rather different, and after a vigorous workout you’re left feeling quite fatigued with the heavy clutch, stiff gearshift and sheer concentration required. The front of the S was fitted with a 24.2-pound weight in an attempt to help the car’s weight balance, a rear antiroll bar and ventilated disc brakes. They’re extremely mechanical – plain old-fashioned visceral sports cars really, but with the excellent seating which put you at one with the car you’re able to go out and enjoy its character to the full… once you get used to its foibles that is!

The second generation G-Series also gives the authentic, classic 911 road manners and feel that Porsche enthusiasts love. Still lacking servo assistance on clutch or brakes there’s no doubt you still feel more at one, and it makes for a more seat-of-the-pants drive. It is phenomenally grippy, however, with fantastic traction and positive on turn-in. Although light, you know what the front end is doing, but it’s imperative you keep the throttle balanced throughout the corners – get it wrong you get bitten (especially in the wet or press-on conditions). A memorable car, and befitting of its era: sophistication and affluence.

The first 911 of the Nineties, power steering and ABS brakes were standard on the Type 964, with improved aerodynamics using knowledge gained from the Le Mans-winning 959 and 962, reducing the drag coefficient to 0.32. Virtually zero lift greatly improved stability and road holding at high speed. The suspension was also revised with MacPherson struts retained up front and outback coil springs instead of torsion bars with new trailing arms. Also part of the rear suspension was Porsche’s Weissach rear axle that added self-steering elements to the rear end to minimise unwanted oversteer. It may have raised the eyebrows of some 911 purists but it allowed a much broader market appeal. It was also credited to have introduced the (somewhat pointless) first four-wheel-drive 911 dubbed as the Carrera 4, followed by the two-wheel-drive Carrera 2 a year later, the model for our shoot today. It’s worth noting improvements in tyre technology resulted in far more user-friendly driving characteristics on the limit, too.

With an all-new aluminium multi-link rear setup, wider tracks and new geometry for the front suspension, many claimed no 911 has ever handled as well or been as easy to drive. I am, of course, talking about the 993. It still induced the emotive and engaging drive of the early 911, but Porsche had tamed the quick build-up understeer, and careless snap into oversteer. The car just felt generally more balanced and predictable. The steering ratio was reduced to improve sharpness, while increased castor made the car more planted when you were giving it some beans. The bigger discs controlled by Bosch’s new ABS-5 anti-lock system were praiseworthy, too.

When it came to the 996, suspension and sub-frames were mostly in aluminium alloy, with the same basic geometric layout as before: MacPherson struts up front, five-link wishbones behind, but the driving experience is totally different from all the 911s that preceded it. The restyled structure was 45 per cent stiffer yet lighter than the older model, providing for a far more civilised, composed ride, with less immediate reflexes. Some liked it more, but most felt it was a betrayal of the car’s heritage and diluted the 911 as a sharp driver’s car.

For the 997 the wheelbase remains unchanged, as do the cornerstones of the suspension, but it boasted better aerodynamics than the 996. With a drag coefficient of 0.28 front and rear lift have been reduced, and there is now a flush-fitting underbody. There’s no denying the 997 is hugely capable and accessible, providing lightning-quick steering, sublime balance, astounding grip and phenomenal braking power. The S also comes with adaptive sports suspension, which can be switched between comfort and sports modes, somewhat common in most manufacturers’ cars of this ilk now. It now carved through the corners with ease: hi-tech gadgetry overkill? Perhaps. It’s still as unmistakable as before just more complete, you could say.

Porsche isn’t the only car maker who has suffered from the ongoing crusade for safety, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, while at the same time having to produce a more luxurious ‘everyday supercar’ packed with electronic gizmos to make for predictable (unchallenging?) handling. And because of the passion these enthusiasts, you and I, have for the first 911, every radical change is inevitably going to come under intense scrutiny. The fact is it’s had to move with the times and become a victim of the modern world, but what we must remember is that in doing so it’s evolved and taken the concept to higher levels, and ultimately made it a legend. It’s the car Porsche couldn’t kill off and it looks as though there’s no sign of things slowing down yet with the new 991.

The vehicle’s body is constructed of aluminium-steel reducing weight by 45kg, which is paired up with aerodynamic optimisation, providing reduced lift while retaining a good coefficient of drag value. In addition, the longer wheelbase, wider front track and new rear axle together with the new addition of Porsche’s Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) active antiroll gear, translates into greater agility, precision, stability and grip. A few hybrid-like tricks like a start-stop function (in the PDK transmission) and the adoption of electro-mechanical steering make it more efficient, the latter of which has come under severe criticism for not providing enough communication or feel. It’s only at odds because the 997’s steering was instantly weighty and direct; that’s not to say the 991’s offering is much better at speed, and although lighter is still eager to react. It’s something people will become accustomed to no doubt, like everything else we love to hate. It’s certainly not enough to spoil a car that ultimately encourages you to push it hard, especially with the brilliant steel brakes. So, even less understeer and even more composed through corners – to the point you can get on the power far earlier without the fear that it could end with you staring back aghast at the terrified faces of oncoming traffic. It gives you nothing to fear, though, and isn’t that one of the most loved traits of the very first 911? Not to mention it’s still breathtakingly beautiful. The 991 for all its groundbreaking new features, does not make me feel like the first one did, in terms of pleasuring all five senses (bar taste obviously!) but then I always have had a soft spot for older cars.

DATA

#01: ’70 2.2S

Owner: Nigel James

Engine: Six-cylinders, air-cooled, 2195cc

Power: 180bhp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 164lb ft at 5,200rpm

Transmission: Five-speed manual

Suspension: MacPherson strut (front);

semi-trailing (rear)

Brakes: 228mm discs (front);

244mm discs (rear)

Wheels: 6×15”

Tyres: 185/70 VR15

Weight: 1,020kg

Length: 4,163mm

Width: 1,610mm

0-62mph: 8.0 sec

POWER TO WEIGHT: 176bhp per tonne

Top Speed: 144mph

Production Years: 1969-1971

Price then: £5,211; Now: £80,000

“Several things strike you when driving an original 911. The open interior architecture is unique, complete with a huge, thin-rim steering wheel that’s really heavy at rest yet, given the amount

of feedback it’s transmitting, curiously light at speed. The noise is also unmatched, totally unfiltered and as richly creamy as vinyl in a world of compressed MP3s.

Most of all, it’s the sheer delicacy of the thing. You drive by fingertips and senses, willing it millimetrically not by turning the wheel but by thinking where it should be. If you’re receptive enough, it’s possible to become totally immersed by an early 911 with the car responding to your every whim. Drive it without thought, however, and the tail is there waiting to bite. Don’t say it didn’t warn you…”

#02: ’86 G-Series 3.2

owner : Porsche GB

Engine: Six-cylinders, air-cooled, 3164cc

Power: 231bhp at 5,900rpm

Torque: 209lb ft at 4,800rpm

Transmission: Five-speed manual

Suspension: MacPherson strut (front);

semi-trailing (rear)

Brakes: 282.5mm discs (front);

290mm discs (rear)

Wheels: 6×15” (front); 7×15” (rear)

Tyres: 185/70 (front); 215/60 (rear) VR 15

Weight: 1,160kg

Length: 4,291mm

Width: 1,652mm

0-62 mph: 6.1 secs

POWer to weight: 199 bhp per tonne

Top Speed: 152 mph

Production Years: 1974-1989

Price then: £25,227; Now: £15,000

“The sweetest of all the G-Series Porsches, everything about the 3.2 Carrera is just right, particularly later 1987-on models. A 231bhp engine has a super-creamy wail of just enough power, handling mates classic interactivity to modern sophistication, and the fact it turned into the 3.2 Carrera Clubsport with so few apparent changes proves what a spot-on machine it was.

It’s the most useable of all affordable Porsches and its blend of simplicity and highly developed refinements makes it an immensely rewarding car to drive. And drive it you will, for this feels totally bulletproof to an extent not quite matched by any air-cooled Porsche other than the 993. You can even shift gear without special training, thanks to that G50 ’box – even later 964 and 993 models didn’t have a shift quite as satisfying as this.”

#03: ’90 964 C2

Owner : Tony Clinch

Engine: Six-cylinders, air-cooled, 3600cc

Power: 250bhp at 6,100rpm

Torque: 229lb ft at 4,800rpm

Transmission: Five-speed manual

Suspension: MacPherson strut (front);

semi-trailing (rear)

Brakes: 298mm discs (front);

299mm discs (rear)

Wheels: 6×16” (front); 8×16” (rear)

Tyres: 205/55 (front); 225/50 (rear) ZR 16

Weight: 1,160kg

Length: 4,275mm

Width: 1,651mm

0-62 mph: 5.7 secs

power to weight: 216bhp per tonne

Top Speed: 163mph

Production Years: 1989-1994

Price then: £41,504; Now: £20,000

“The 993’s legend precedes it: the ultimate classic 911, in name and nature. The multi-link rear suspension removed the handling nasties, searingly powerful engines made it the first 911 to be supercar fast even in standard guise, while intelligent focus on ensuring the classic 911 went out with a bang made this the most well-honed 911 in a lifetime.

Everything about the 993 feels right, feels exactly how you’d expect a Porsche to feel: tight, oozing depth and quality, involving, satisfying, true. There were the progressively faster versions, including the absolutely insane Carrera 3.8 RS, but even a standard 3.6 Carrera is just enough, just right. This would be the last 911 in which the door would click shut behind you, the engine gnarl and gnash behind you, the windscreen stand bolt-upright in front of you for that perfect panoramic view of the world. Both classic and modern in feel, the 993 is as much of a peach to drive as it is to look at.”

#05: ’99 996 Carrera

Owner : Phil Raby Porsche

Engine: Six-cylinders, water-cooled, 3387cc

Power: 296bhp at 6,800rpm

Torque: 258lb ft at 4,600rpm

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Suspension: MacPherson strut (front);

multi-link (rear)

Brakes: 318mm discs (front);

299mm discs (rear)

Wheels: 7×17” (front); 9×17” (rear)

Tyres: 225/50 ZR17 (front); 255/40 (rear) ZR17

Weight: 1,320kg

Length: 4,430mm

Width: 1,778mm

0-62 mph: 4.9 secs

power to weight: 224bhp per tonne

Top Speed: 173mph

Production Years: 1998-2004

Price then: £65,000; Now: £13,000

“The first all-new 911 introduced all-new driving dynamics. Foolproof was in, sophistication was in, refinement was in: the rawness (and quirks) of classic models was all very obviously dialled out. The normality of the drive was complemented by an interior that, compared to a 993, was like an executive car. It was all slightly unnerving.

Luckily, although the original water-cooled 3.4-litre engine was quieter, it was also a searing gem of a unit. Later 3.6-litre motors weren’t quite as sweet but had more guts, while the perfection of the handling continued right to the end. Always safe and secure, 996s gradually became more involving with time, too. Porsche was learning, and convincing more and more people that the 911 world hadn’t ended with the air-cooled cars.”

#06: ’07 997 Carrera

Owner : Phil Raby Porsche

Engine: Six-cylinders, water-cooled, 3614cc

Power: 345bhp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 287lb ft at 4,400rpm

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Suspension: MacPherson strut (front);

multi-link (rear)

Brakes: 318mm discs (front);

299mm discs (rear)

Wheels: 8×18” (front); 10.5×18” (rear)

Tyres: 235/40 ZR18 (front); 265/40 (rear) ZR18

Weight: 1,415kg

Length: 4,435mm

Width: 1,808mm

0-62 mph: 4.9 secs

power to weight: 244bhp per tonne

Top Speed: 179mph

Production Years: 2005-2012

Price then: £64,650; Now: £37,000

“A 996 made pretty: but there was more to the 997 than just a new nose and interior. For starters, it was a comprehensive refinement of the 996, taking all that car’s potential and making sure it was finally delivered. Later, it became the first 911 to receive direct injection engines, with the all-new block proving to be yet another flat-six landmark.

Those Generation 2 cars, from 2008, are the choice picks, thanks to that green new engine that, even in base form, produced 345bhp. It’s a wonderful motor, snap-crack responsive and beautifully guttural at all revs. With chatty steering and otherworldly balance in bends, the 911 had never been easier to drive, and had never given so much back for so little effort on the driver’s part. Already a 911 icon, and rightly so.”

#07: ’12 991 Carrera

Owner : Porsche GB

Engine: Six-cylinders, water-cooled, 3436cc

Power: 350bhp at 7,400rpm

Torque: 390lb ft at 5,600rpm

Transmission: Seven-speed manual

Suspension: MacPherson strut (front);

multi-link (rear)

Brakes: 340mm discs (front);

330mm discs (rear)

Wheels: 8.5 x 19 (front); 11 x 19 (rear)

Tyres: 235/40 ZR19 (front); 285/35 ZR19 (rear)

Weight: 1,380kg

Length: 4,491mm

Width: 1,808mm

0-62 mph: 4.8 secs

power to weight: 254bhp per tonne

Top Speed: 180mph

Production Years: 2012

Price now: £71,449

“The pinnacle of the 911s in terms of sophistication, technological development, fuel efficiency and interior practicality. Doesn’t sound much like a 911, does it? Well, that’s until you drive it. The 991 may be a modern 911 but it’s still a genuine one. The engine is still in the right place, the flat-six howl is still present, the steering still has the right subtleties. In fact, handling is even more able, engines even more firecracker. Sure, in doing this, the synaptic purity of that original 2.2 has been removed by the filter of modernity, but the benefits are a level of ability in line with today’s profile of 911 as supercar. Porsche could have got it wrong, could have made it anything but a 911. Indeed, with the Panamera interior, many feared it had. No such fear. This remains the real deal.”

Final Thoughts

If Porsche was to take on a personality trait it would be that of smug, much like its owners, right? Before you throw away the magazine in disgust, that’s an opinion I used to have, but it was enough of a spark to fuel an irrational hatred of Porsche. I was desperately trying to deny the hype, basically. And it wasn’t until I drove the revised original Boxster S (yes, not even a 911) that I realised how naive I was. If ‘the Porsche for those that can’t afford a 911’ (well, it’s true) feels this good what would the real thing deliver. Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to jump into a number of 911 seats. And you know what, I’m pretty damned smug about it. So, as soon as the latest generation of 911 came out, and I was given the reins to the best 911 magazine there is, I thought, besides making for an awesome feature, gathering up every model together next to Goodwood motor circuit would be a particularly pleasant way to spend my day.

To say that designer Neil and I were excited would be an understatement, he especially so since I got him car insurance cover, taking his role of directing a car shoot (and subsequently being ignored by the photographer!) to now encompass driving the things. Talking of which Jamie Lipman, famed for his work on Top Gear and Car, also had a big smile on his face having owned a Blood Orange ’72 911T, and I have since learnt that not all Porsche people exude arrogance (no really, it’s true!). In addition to the pleasant company of the two gentlemen with the 1970 2.2S and 964, we were also privileged enough to have a few readers come down in their respective Porsches to see what we were up to. News on forums spreads fast! I owe a big thank you to everyone’s generosity and patience. We shot nonstop from 9.00am until 5.00pm – the prevailing dark the only thing preventing us from bagging more shots – and finished the day numb from the cold, but it was one of the best days of my career getting an up-close look at the cult of the ultimate everyday supercar, from its roots to the present day. If ever I needed proof of why the world has fallen for the 911, this was it!

This was taken from issue 85, for all Total 911 back issues visit www.imagineshop.co.uk/

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