Throwback Thursday: Rise of the Porsche 964

If you’re not already kicking yourself, you should be. A few years back, the Porsche 964 was a bargain. Relatively unloved by enthusiasts, it lived in the shadow of the 993, and potential fans lived in fear of the big bills legend said it could create.

Not anymore. Today, the 964’s rightful reputation is restored as the classic Porsche that’s anything but an old-school 911 with modernistic abilities – and one that is thoroughly worthy of consideration by modern eyes. Here’s why you should act now before prices become even higher…

Launched in 1989, the 964 is arguably the 911 that most faithfully combines modernity with the classic elements that made the car famous. Much money was spent at the time with the aim of making it a car for the Nineties while still retaining the visual appearance of a model from the Sixties.

Porsche 964 RS interior

It could almost be considered a modern classic, given the dual aims of updating it as much as possible while keeping cosmetic alterations to a minimum. For those who have dreamed of a ‘real’ 911 that performs as well as a modern one, the 964 may be for them.

Yes, it has impact-absorbing bumpers, smooth body kit and some Nineties-esque colour options, but look at what remains intact: the silhouette, the upright wheel arches, even the exposed drip rails that give it such a period look. Yes, the 964 is the Eagle E-Type, born two decades earlier.

The 964 range is supremely creative, too. This was the first modern 911 to benefit from the lifting of the shackles that an impending death had on the range. Since Porsche boss Ernst Fuhrmann’s threat to kill off the 911 in the Seventies, development of Porsche’s most famous model had slowed.

Porsche 964 RS engine

Or, more accurately, stopped, save for the odd update to ensure it met emissions laws. Fuhrmann’s replacement, Peter Schutz, rectified some of that in the Eighties – that’s how the 911 lived on and how the 3.2 Carrera came to be such a well rounded model – but the chance hadn’t yet arisen to indulge in the full lifting of the development and investment clampdown. The 964 was it.

The specific development intent was to bring the model as up-to-date as possible. By now, the 911 was 25-years old: this was to be the car that would ensure it lived on for another 25 years.

Such lofty intentions are, of course, why the development costs spiralled out of control – Porsche quickly made up for any lack of investment cash on earlier 911s here – but the level of detail engineering that the car benefits from is another reason why it’s so desirable nowadays.

To remind yourself of the rise of the Porsche 964, you can read the full feature in Total 911 issue 92, available to download straight to your digital device now.

Rubystone Red Porsche 964 Carrera RS

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