Porsche 930 Turbo: Capital gains

This is the oldest part of London; the original Roman Londinium. Its streets have witnessed 20 centuries of congestion, commerce and crime, yet now they are calm. For a few brief moments, the city sleeps. 

Abruptly, an air-cooled engine shatters the silence. Its hard-edged howl echoes along the corridor of concrete, scattering the day’s discarded newspapers in a fast-approaching frenzy. A flash of Guards red races across the mirrored windows of an office block. The Porsche 911 Turbo is back on home territory, and history is being repeated.

The original Turbo (usually identified by its internal Typ number of 930) was launched in 1975, but the 1980s were its high-living heyday. As stocks soared and London boomed, this flagship 911 became the must-have car for a new breed of affluent city slickers. These ‘yuppies’ weren’t shy about their wealth, and Porsche’s excess-all-areas Turbo chimed perfectly with the times.

I don’t have red braces, a Filofax or, regrettably, a bonus-boosted bank balance, but I do – for one night only – possess the keys to a 930: a 1979 3.3 Turbo currently for sale at Carbitrage. The plan is to revisit its old stomping ground, criss-crossing the capital and driving into the small hours. If any car is worth losing sleep for, it’s this one.

I rendezvous with photographer Dan at Greenland Dock, close to the Millennium Dome. The evening sun glints off the 930’s shapely hips as it strikes a pose by the Thames, the tightly packed towers of Canary Wharf twinkling in the distance. It looks like a classic 911 on steroids, oozing latent aggression. Guards red paint – a Porsche staple since 1974 and the Turbo’s signature shade – is the pièce de résistance, perfectly offset by the gloss-black Fuchs alloys.

Four decades ago, this area of east London was a virtual wasteland; now it’s crammed with des-res apartments. The 930 has travelled a similar trajectory in its 43 years, morphing from black sheep to blue-chip classic. Its story starts with the 917/30: Stuttgart’s first foray into forced induction. This fearsome racer produced up to 1,600hp in qualifying tune, winning Can-Am championship titles in 1972 and 1973. Porsche chairman Ernst Fuhrmann saw the potential of turbo technology for the road, saying: “I was of the opinion that racing must have a connection to the normal automobile… I said to my people, why don’t we put this success into our car?”    

Testing for a turbocharged 911 began in 1973, using a 2.7-litre engine and the wider bodywork of a 3.0 RS. The production 930 debuted at the 1974 Paris Motor Show with a 3.0-litre engine, four-speed 915 gearbox and a Kühnle, Kopp & Kausch (KK&K) turbo that delivered 0.8 bar of boost. The figures that mattered were 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 155mph, elevating performance to Ferrari Boxer and Lamborghini Countach levels. For the first time, the 911 could square-up to supercars.

For the full article of our ‘Capital Gains’ trip the City in Porsche’s 930, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 168 in shops now or get it delivered to your door. You can also download our high-definition digital edition to any Apple or Android device. 

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