by Michael Tashjian
Every young man can recall his first glimpse of the Turbo insignia as seen from the backseat of his parents station wagon as the object of desire whistled by. Dad said, “Cool” Mom said “No.” A short story filled with awe and emotion, this moment would captivate the young man’s mind for many years to come. For what is more American for most young boys than the fascination of girls and cars? For some, this experience is what kept us determined later in life while working the night shift to pay for University, not for education or wish of a better world, but rather the ultimate prize of capturing Chimera.
Let’s set the stage: 1974, the Paris motor show and Porsche is about to unveil the most significant achievement to come out of Stuttgart since the acclaimed Carrera RSR. The German economic environment is dismal, at best; the U.S. is concentrating more on Richard Nixon’s resignation and a 55mph speed limit throughout the US to limit fuel consumption than the newest sexy sports cars of Europe and the Don Juan types that pilot them. Fortunately, Porsche’s engineers are not deterred from their goal of producing and manufacturing a sports wagon that will compete and beat it’s Italian nemesis, Ferrari. Sporting a 3.0-liter single Turbocharged power plant, wider stance, stiffer suspension thanks to upgraded torsion bars and Bilstein shocks, this new Porsche is about to change everything.
Fast-forward 42 years to the NA International Motor Show in Detroit, MI, the birthplace of the automobile and home of the salt-of-the-earth, American workingman. Its fans have already drooled over the pictures in magazines, heard rumors of tests from pretty boy Internet reviewers (okay, that was below the belt), and certainly have read a plethora of technical specifications, both mind boggling and exhilarating. It seems as though Porschinits are always talking about the next “Turbo.” This time, however, the Turbo is a little different. Different because most Porsches are now Turbo’s; wait, is this even politically correct to say yet? But certainly all of these new Porsche Turbo’s are NOT Turbo’s. The 991.2 Turbo is everything that is [still] right with the world. Virtually no Turbo lag, even though we have heard this before. Seriously though, this time it’s different; we have something called Dynamic Boost Function, also known as the Flux Capacitor! The 991.2 Turbo is as refined and handsome of a GT car bred with the likes of GT2 performance as you can ask for while not deviating from its core purpose. Sub 2.8 second 0-60 time surly to get your PBA card revoked, a price tag of almost 200K for the S a 30K premium from standard Turbo model because F it at that point your probably headed for divorce anyway, and bragging rights on the trading desk of your new toy that make Mandy the new intern now the second most popular HiRes wallpaper.
Sorry, went off on a bit of a personal fantasy there. Let’s get back on track and talk Turbo specs. 3.8 liters (as opposed to the new Carrera at 3.0, respectively), 580 ponies (sure to be 800 ponies after we get a hold of the software), fuel consumption (no, I do not care), 205 mph downhill before breakfast under the most optimal atmospheric pressure and tailwind conditions some PhD in aerospace could find, all wheel drive for the dare devil taking his car to Sugarbush Mid March, and an interior fit for a king as long as you get the natural leather option for 1500 USD extra. The 991.2 may not look so very different from its predecessor 991.1 but I assure you, from every aspect, it is. When developing any product it is never any one change or improvement, but the total package that warrants placing an ad in the Post Classifieds for your “old” 991.1 Turbo.
Imagine the Imperial Landing Craft and the 356 B meeting at a bar and having a wild, irresponsible night drinking Scotch and Moonshine, resulting in a 991.2 Turbo. While retaining the elegance and pizzazz of the Porsche silhouette and understanding and implementing what today’s Facebook employee craves, the designers and engineers have produced what I consider to be the best looking Porsche to date. Please understand that I’m also a big fan of the 991.2 Targa. Up until, and including the 993 Turbo, I always felt Porsche begged the market to embrace and coddle the original 911. Sure, I’m nostalgic, but not while compromising performance. The balance achieved with the 991.2 is only comparable to Picasso’s Nude and blooming of the Bleeding Heart.
Type 930 is considered to be the pinnacle of the 1980’s. We knew the pilot was a driver. We new the owner was a success. And we knew we wanted one. Now with the kids out of college and [mostly] off the payroll, maybe we can adorn our garage with one, too. The 930 coupe’ and cabriolet with its husky stance, 15’’ Fuchs, and flared fenders makes a statement just as much today as it did pulling up to Danceteria on a fall night with a girl named Lorraine in the passenger seat draped in Calvin Klein. (Well, you had your Cavaricci’s on, so don’t pass judgment.) It was the simplicity of the time that warranted such a sport cars. A sports car that did what most all sports car should do: induce sex appeal while offering uncompromised reliability tooling through downtown or gallivanting throughout Western Europe. One of the most iconic parts would certainly be the tail, which would be modified, botched in most cases, and returned to its original glory over the course of 30 years.
The Porsche owner is generally man or woman who demands function over form. No need for the swanky Scuderia Shield adorned on the fenders, or bull-charging on the steering wheel. Just pure, unadulterated speed with self-preservation listed at three or four on the list of priorities, but what other way is there to truly live? Without getting too in depth with acronyms and numbers, the 991.2 Turbo is the best-packaged sports car on the market today. Light, powerful, efficient, comfortable and reliable. This should be Webster’s definition of sports car.
The 930 Turbo of the time was not much different. New, state-of-the-art technologies such as intercoolers later on in the production, intermittent windshield wipers, a boost pressure gauge to show off to your Corvette friends, a brake power booster and illuminated heater controls, ow-ooowwww. Let’s not forget the light on the dash with its duel purpose for seatbelt and ebrake that is unfortunately NLA right now as a replacement. I would be amiss to also not make mention of the updated 4 speed transmission capable of handling a ludicrous BHP of 245.
And now the obituary of the 991.1 and its ancestors. I will not make a claim that I myself do not adore the type 930, 993 Turbo, and yes even 996 Turbo, for it has provided me with years of summer thrills sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on Montauk Hwy. What must be said is that the 991.2 Turbo is the greatest achievement in the 911 line since the 993 Turbo. Its mere attendance in any crowd is sure to conjure up debate about the BEST sports car ever produced. I know I would take the Pepsi challenge any day of the week against the likes of 488, LP 610-4, or most production sports car on the market today. This is a car marketed to those who will not compromise on function. The 991.2 has just as many new bells and whistles as the type 930 did in 1974. But this time, it comes packaged in a luxury, 200mph+, all wheel drive, true Gran Turismo that the wife would be happy to pilot with the kids strapped into the back.
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