1970 marked a high point for Porsche – their 917’s and 908’s dominated world endurance racing, they won Le Mans for the first time, and factory prepared 911’s were the sports car of choice for international rallying and racing. This was an era when engineers and racers still ruled over marketing men and accountants, and where noise regulations and fuel consumption figures were as commonplace as truth is when a politician opens their mouth.
The 2.2s 911 also firmly established a lineage for Porsche that can be traced through all their road and racing cars: The handling had been tamed without blunting the sharpness, power-to-weight put the car in the supercar league, reliability was unquestioned and their racing provenance proven. And dare I say it, but I believe these short-stroke cars to be better than the later 2.4 litre 911’s. Weight went up and with the increase in stroke the engine’s free-revving ability and sound was muted. Sure they required you to stir the cogs more often but that just meant you got to enjoy the race-derived dogleg gearbox. Here’s a photo of my car with it’s more modern brethren in 2002.
My car, chassis 911 030 0948 rolled off the Werks 1 production line at Weissach in March 1970 and was just one of 34 RHD built for the UK market that year. It has a continuous and documented history from new, being owned by Adrian Chambers who was principal and owner of the team that won the British Touring Car Championship in 1972, a BRDC member and chairman of Brands Hatch. Roger Bray Restorations rebuilt the car in 1999, retaining the original silver exterior, black leather interior and matching numbers panels and mechanicals.
In 2004 I had the engine rebuilt by Nick Fulljames (he owns Redtek ph 01280 841911) who at the time worked for Autofarm, after it chewed a camshaft. Somewhat fortuitously the next chassis off the production line to mine was a 911ST, chassis 949, and was prepared by Louis Meznarie and driven on the 1971 Tour de France by Jürgen Barth complete with psychedelic red and yellow Shell livery.
The engine was therefore rebuilt to period Group 4 specification, including twin plug ignition, Carrillo rods, 906-specification fuel injection, 10.3:1 lightweight pistons and Mahle barrels, and extensive blueprinting and fettling.
At 8,000rpm it will still make the hairs on the back of the neck stand on end. Now there’s a reason you never see old Ferrari’s anywhere other than in museums or at car shows, they never do any road miles. Old Porsches on the other hand are made to be used hard.
On the first leg of a 3,500 mile, ten day blast around Europe:
Here’s a photo on the autobahn – the car was still accelerating as hard in 5th as it had been in 3rd at this point. Do the maths on the top speed, not bad for an old car…
And it’s also pretty useful for posh occasions (you’ve got to wear a 1970’s shirt if you drive a 1970’s car):
The perfect 911? I certainly think so.