Lux: Porsche 911L test drive
‘L’ must be one of the least exhilarating letters in the automotive world – and especially for those who appreciate Porsche 911s. After all, ‘L’ usually refers to long-wheelbase models, but letters such as S, R, RS, GT or GTS, well, enthusiasts pay more notice to those!
There has been one L in the 911 range and, as it happens, it adorned a car with pride of place in the 911 lineage.
In the days leading up to our drive in the 911L, social media was abuzz as the world’s motoring media descended on the new, improved Kyalami circuit in Johannesburg, South Africa, to attend the international launch of the 991.2 Turbo and Turbo S (see issue 137).
This morning, before Porsche’s fastest production 911s set off on their hot laps, the track’s management allowed us to grace the newly laid tarmac with a special 911 from the 1960s – a model never before featured in the pages of this magazine – the 911L from 1968.
As is the case today, back at the start of the 911’s production life, Porsche didn’t wait too long to update the range. By the end of 1966, the firm introduced the 911S for the 1967 model year.
By the end of that year, Porsche changed the 911’s range again, adding the T (Touring) as well as the L. The L featured several of the S’s features, but not its more powerful engine (the former still offered 130bhp at 6,100rpm). This was partly owing to US regulations but it did, however, feature the S’s ventilated disc brakes.
By 1968 the 911 range comprised of the T, L and S. But, even though Porsche had little experience in terms of its customers’ demands, the firm was learning quickly with every passing year.
The L was another chapter, albeit a very short one, with the company testing the proverbial waters in the European and US markets. For the American market, Porsche made a few changes to the engine to comply with the emission requirements.
Compared with the European engines, these US-specification units featured a V belt driven air pump, which blows air into the exhaust manifolds when the throttle is closed. In line with Porsche’s aim to offer a luxury version of the 911 with a softer ride, the front anti-roll diameter was also reduced from 13mm to 11mm.