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Porsche

Broadcast dates : 2nd October 2005
6th October 2005


The beauty of a Porsche 911 is that itís a car that cuts across so many boundaries. 

Whether itís a classic 911S from the mid-1960s or the latest GT3, Porsche 911s command respect. 

Especially amongst enthusiastic drivers who often race them on weekends.
With a pedigree going back over forty years, the most remarkable aspect of a 911 is its development of a design that has its roots in the Volkswagen beetle.

Rear-engined, air-cooled until 1997, it enjoys a constant thread of evolution rather than revolution.

Itís a supercar in every respect, yet once you delve beneath the sheet-metal, especially in the older models, itís a car that can be worked on by a knowledgeable enthusiast. This fosters a unique relationship between Porsches and their owners.

Many Porsche weekend racing machines are based on old 911s from the 1970s, that can be bought in the R150 000 price range.

But because the factory racing cars were based on production machines, many exotic bits and pieces bolt right into place on a stock 911.

For this reason, replicas of exotic Porsche le Mans cars can be built up from basic 911s at relatively low cost. And Porsche Club members do exactly that to their weekend track toys, while others like to keep their 911s completely original.

Early design drawings for the Porsche 911 are said to date back to 1956. When the first car was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963 it was named the 901.

The only major change in production the following year came in the name. Peugeot had copyrighted all combinations of three numbers with a zero in the middle. Hence the 901 became the 911.

The first 911s were also backed up by a less powerful four-cylinder version called the 912.
But the car that set enthusiasts a-buzz was the 911 S. This original gold example was built in 1968 and is extremely rare, as Porsche did not produced gold-coloured 911s. 

It was specially ordered by an American customer who wanted it to match his wifeís gold Cadillac!

The 911 S had 160 horsepower Ė 30 horsepower more than the standard 911, thanks to new camshafts, higher compression and two triple-choke Weber carburetors. This version weighs in at around 800 kilograms, so performance is good, with 0-100 in around 8 seconds.

Handling the 911 was challenging. If you lifted off the gas in mid corner you really discovered the meaning of the word "oversteer".
Some thirty years later, itís hard to believe that this monster is essentially the same car.

Still with a flat-six engine, but now enlarged to 3,8 litres from its original two-litre sizing, and with two huffing turbochargers, power was boosted to over 600 horsepower, or 450 kiloWatts in todayís terms.
The Porsche GT2 Club Sport is a pure race car with number plates. This is one of only 38 built by the factory, and Andreís car is even more special as it features Evolution body parts. It also has bigger brakes and larger turbos that hike power to the six-hundred and fifty region.
Those with a more classic bent may prefer the original boy racer, the Carrera RS, although this is an RSR replica based on an early 1970ís body.

It runs a strong 3,5 litre motor, and genuine RSR wheels which are as rare as, well, ducks that canít swim.

These are the Porsches for the men and women who like to stretch their cars to the limit. Not on the highway, but in the relatively pain free environment of a racetrack.
The beauty of a 911 is that once the track fun is over, it can be driven home on the road. As Andre Bezudinhout says, the Porsche Club is known for its fanatical enthusiasm.

At the launch of its latest model lineup in Frankfurt, Porsche revealed that it remains the most profitable car company in the world.

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