It was only a few weeks ago, although it feels like a lifetime has passed since, with all that has been going on in the motoring world lately at the Frankfurt Motor Show, that I got the very rare privilege of not only being allowed into Porsche AG’s Classic Workshop in Germany, I also got to drive two very special cars.
The simple fact is that more than 70% of all Porsches ever built are still on the road today, and they play a huge part in preserving the brand’s heritage, while providing owners many years of motoring pleasure at the same time.
And I am sure you can understand that a well-looked after, or correctly maintained and repaired classic Porsche, is not only simply worth more money, but it also offers the owner unending satisfaction.
And to bring this point across, we were given a very rare tour of the Porsche AG Classic workshop just outside Stuttgart in Freiberg am Neckar, where they maintain all Porsche Classic models, from the 356 all the way up to the Porsche 911 (Type 993).
In fact, any Porsche 10 years or older falls into the classic category, and can be looked after under this global programme.
I can tell you that people bring their cars from all over the world to this facility, and when I say that the place was jam-packed with all types of very special and rare classic Porsches, I mean it.
I think I counted eight or nine 959 Porsches alone in various stages of restoration or repair, to 930 Turbos, to 356s to 911 SCs.
There were Porsches that were comfortably older than me waiting to go back home to their owners, looking like they had just rolled off the show room floor, and that’s one thing I can’t say about myself.
The goal of such a facility is to retain the authenticity and value of your Porsche.
From a technical perspective, this is no easy task, and Porsche Classic use original special tools, body frame gauges, data sheets and Porsche Classic original parts to achieve this.
Obviously all work on your vehicle is carried out in accordance with their usual exacting requirements regarding quality and the genuine character of components.
Perhaps a little-known fact is that Porsche SA have Porsche AG-approved Porsche Classic facilities at their Cape Town and Pretoria centres, with Johannesburg coming online by the end of the year.
So, just as in Germany, if you want to restore your classic Porsche from the ground up into like-new condition, or simply have it serviced or maintained, it can be done right here in SA.
You can contact Porsche Centre Cape Town on 021 555-6800, Porsche Centre Pretoria on 012 816-7600 right now, and Porsche Centre Johannesburg on 011 540- 5000 in the future, or visit the SA Porsche group website at www. porsche.co.za for more information.
Once we were finished being kids in a candy store, we were treated to some of the candy in the form of a drive in a Porsche 964 Turbo, that clicked over to 11 000km when one of my colleagues was driving it just after my stint was done.
In fact, now that I think of it, we couldn’t get him out the car again.
The car we drove was the original 964 Turbo model as introduced in March 1990, as the successor to the 930 Turbo.
Legend has it that Porsche didn’t have the time to develop a turbocharged version of their 3.6-litre M64 engine, and chose to re-use the 3.3-litre engine from the 930, with several minor revisions that made the engine smoother, less prone to turbo lag and more powerful, with a total output of 240kW.
What an experience this was.
The steering feel and true mechanical grip of this car was brilliant – remember, no electronics here to save you, just you and the car and the twisty road in front of you.
Of course, there was some turbo lag, and the urge was insistent more than brutal.
There are car manufacturer’s today that still haven’t managed to engineer this kind of agility into their cars.
A bit of history, in 1992, the 3.3-litre Turbo S was introduced and ran a modified turbocharger, bigger injectors, more boost, more aggressive camshafts with a lightweight interior and limited “creature comforts”.
It was one of the fastest cars on the road with 280kW.
Yes, I know that is nothing by today’s crazy standards, but this was more than 30 years ago.
Porsche released the 964 Turbo 3.6 in January 1993, and this car now featured a turbocharged version of the 3.6-litre M64 engine and produced 264kW, and with fewer than 1 500 of them produced in total, this model became one of the rarest and most sought-after Porsches produced since the 959.
And yes, this is the Porsche made famous by the Bad Boys movie from the mid-1990s. Not the exact Porsche. I did a bit of Googling and there are all sorts of “experts” on the subject that say the car was anything from a 930 Turbo to a kit car built just for the movie.
But most of the knowledgeable people seem to agree that the car was the updated and very rare, 964 3.6-litre Turbo I just mentioned.
Then it was my turn to play in the very rare Porsche 911 R, and this naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre punches out a full 368kW of howling fun through a six-speed manual sports transmission.
Obviously, everything was that much sharper on this new car as it should be, but it was still built for spirited driving of the highest order.
Relying on systematic lightweight construction, specially tuned standard rear-axle steering that guarantees even more direct turn-in characteristics and precise handling while maintaining high stability.
Then, as is the case in the modern era, the control systems of the Porsche Stability Management (PSM) have been specially adapted for the 911 R.
No having to use all your skills in terms of hand, feet, and eye co-ordination only to go really fast, like in the 964.
A computer is in the background helping you look good on the road and preventing you from splattering yourself all over the side of a mountain pass.
Limited to just 991 models worldwide, this car became an instant collectable, fetching crazy prices on the pre-owned market.
Ironically, Porsche has just released the new 911 GT3 with Touring Package, that is basically a clone of the 911 R.
So whether it is an old pristine Porsche that still goes like hell, or the latest state-of-the-art model that goes beyond hell, Porsche has something for you.