Porsche’s impact bumper dynasty: 911 2.7 v SC v 3.2 Carrera
In 1974, the 911 underwent its first major styling change, becoming known as the impact bumper model. This enjoyed an impressive 15-year life, which is all the more remarkable considering the 15 years after that would produce no fewer than four separate 911 designs.
However, although the 911’s appearance both inside and out remained essentially unchanged, this does not mean there was a developmental stasis – far from it, in fact.
Over the period, Porsche twice rebuilt the engine with improvements to performance and economy, made incremental changes to the suspension to enhance handling and ride as tyres became wider, and introduced servo brakes and a hydraulic clutch.
Effectively, there were three distinct 911 models during this decade and a half. Therefore, although they’re superficially similar, the impact bumper models exhibit significant detail differences according to the period in which they were manufactured.
The new G-series was presented at the 1973 shows as the 1974 model year range of 911. Looking back, it is hard to imagine how difficult a time this was for Porsche: 60 per cent of its sales were in the US, and draconian new emissions legislation combined with uncertainty about safety norms was destabilising for all car manufacturers.
For its part, Porsche had seen several more established German manufacturers disappear in the Sixties, and never excluded the idea that this fate could befall the Zuffenhausen firm too.
But if Porsche lacked confidence, it was not apparent in its new design: the company’s interpretation of the particular US requirement for 5mph impact-resistant bumpers was masterful.
Wolfgang Möbius melded the requisite fenders with the 911’s lines so skilfully that after only a short time, it appeared to many observers that the 911 had been styled around them, and it stood in complete contrast to pantomime offerings from respected makers such as Volvo.
To read more of our impact bumper history, including test drives of 911 2.7, SC and 3.2 Carrera iterations, pick up issue 121 of Total 911 in store now. Alternatively, you can order your copy online or download it to your digital device.