Opinion: Why Porsche should revive an icon
The last model generation of Porsche 911 saw Zuffenhausen produce a sports car variation for pretty much every type of driver. At the end of the 997 era, there were over 20 different Porsche 911 models to pick from.
With 15 Porsche 991s to choose from already, the latest flat-six icon from Stuttgart doesn’t look to be bucking that trend anytime soon however, there is one car missing from the current range that I would like to see return.
The 911 hot rod scene divides opinion in the Porsche world. Despite this, I love it, not for the work many of these enthusiasts produce (although much is outstanding). Instead, I enjoy what their work represents.
Original, pre-impact bumper Porsche 911s were light cars, with many weighing in at just over the tonne mark. They didn’t enjoy the prodigious power outputs seen in today’s DFI-engined offerings but, with not much metal to propel they make an inviting prospect to a driver.
The hot rod scene accentuates this, finding weight to lose where others didn’t even knew it existed. Combined with some slightly more punchy powerplants, the end results are quick enough to put a smile on your face, while remaining dynamically exciting.
By comparison, the latest Porsche 991 Carrera hits the scales at 1,380kg. While that is a 15kg saving over the original 997 Carrera, it still seems heavy to someone like myself who truly believes in Colin Chapman’s old adage of ‘adding lightness’.
What I want is a relatively low powered, lightweight 911. While I could achieve that with an early air-cooled car, their prices are rising massively, and I’m a bit of a stickler for originality. Also, every time I drive a modern water-cooled Porsche, I am awed by their technical mastery.
So, I would love to Porsche revive the Clubsport moniker. And yes, before you say it, I know the Clubsport brand is currently used to denominate the ultra-stripped out GT3 variants. However, while the 911 GT3 (and its RS brothers) understand the lightweight philosophy, you are charged for the privilege.
What’s more, 911 GT3s and GT3 RSs possess so much punch that they are arguably too fast for the roads, especially here in Britain. Instead, I want something that I can enjoy legally on our winding B-roads.
The 3.2 Carrera Clubsport failed to capture the public’s imagination upon its release in the Eighties but now the lightweight 911 is lauded as a fast-appreciating classic. And, at the time, Porsche did charge you more for giving you less!
I would love to see Porsche take a standard 991 Carrera and liberally strip weight out of it. Remove the rear seats, fit completely manual front seats (without the expense and mass of electric motors), and trim them in cloth (like the 959 Sport).
Have a glovebox delete like the Seventies ST and RS models, and remove lots of the sound deadening and door padding. Unfortunately, modern safety laws would probably prevent a lot of this, and Porsche wouldn’t want to charge less for what is essentially a special edition model.
But, by drastically cutting weight, the currently lethargic 3.4-litre motor would spring into life, providing a raw driving experience coupled with Zuffenhausen’s modern reliability, and the cachet of factory originality.
It’d also satisfy tightening EU regulations thanks to its improved efficiency, yet without causing an uproar amongst 911 traditionalists. In fact, you can’t get more traditional that lightweight, low power when it comes to the 911.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely to happen, but I can dream…