911 Turbo – A Seventeen Point History

porsche-911-turbo-131973, the Frankfurt Motor Show. Porsche show the 911 Turbo for the first time. The rear spoiler from the 3.0RS evolving into the ‘tea tray’ with soft rubber edges that we all know and love to squeeze whenever we see a 930 Turbo up close. A 3.0 flat six, single turbo, 280bhp, 160mph and a four speed 915 gearbox. Legendary turbo lag and an associated reputation as the scariest handling Porsche 911 of all have made the 911 Turbo into a legend. In the true Darwinian Porsche tradition, it has evolved ever since. Here are seventeen useful facts about the Porsche 911 Turbo that will probably get you into an argument in a pub.

* The original Turbo features the ‘Whale Tail’ spoiler, developed from the 3.0 RS. Later 3.3-litre cars have the ‘Tea Tray’ intercooler spoiler, identified by a flat deck area and a thick rubber lip around the edge
* Porsche overcame the pause in acceleration in the lower engine speed range (so-called ‘turbo lag’) by charge pressure control via an exhaust bypass valve, which until then had only been used in motor sport. This complex control system made it possible to size the turbocharger so it built up more pressure at lower engine speeds and generated more torque
* The price of the first 911 Turbo in 1975 was £14,749 in the UK
* Production of the 911 Turbo 3.0 totalled 2,876 units by 1977
* When Motor achieved 160.1mph during its road test of the 3.3 Turbo in 1979, the car became the fastest production car the magazine had tested to date. At 12.3 seconds to 100mph from rest, it was also the most accelerative
* ‘Group B’ 911 Turbos finished 11th, 13th and 15th at Le Mans in 1983, winning the category outright. They were effectively lightly-modified road cars
* The original 1973 911 Turbo concept car displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show survives to this day: its 3.0 RS body now clothes a 3.0 RS engine.
* 930 sales in America were halted at the end of 1979 due to emissions regulations. The model returned in 1986 with a catalytic converter.
* When it was launched in Feburary 2000, the 996 Turbo was hailed as the ‘world’s lowest emitting automobile’ made possible by itsengine featuring four valves per cylinder, water cooling and the first use of VarioCam Plus valve timing
* The 997 Turbo was the first petrol-powered production car to feature variable geometry turbochargers, hitherto only available on diesel cars
* The first 911 Turbo to feature four-wheel drive was the 993-based model introduced in 1995
* The first 911 Turbo to be available with an optional automatic gearbox was the 996-based model introduced in 2000. PDK arrived in 2010
* 20,664 of the original (930) 911 Turbos were built, split between 3,227 examples of the 3.0-litre model and 17,437 of the 3.3-litre. Later production included Targa and Cabriolet derivatives, along with rare ‘slant nose’ models incorporating ‘pop-up’ headlamps
* The most powerful, air-cooled, production line built 911 Turbo ever was the 993 Turbo S model of 1997, featuring 430 hp
* Continuing the tradition of the 911 Turbo as a technology pioneer, the latest Type 991 model features the world’s first variable front spoiler – powered by pneumatic actuators depending on vehicle speed
* The latest 911 Turbo S can lap the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in 7 min 27 secs – in 1997, the lap time for the Type 993 Turbo was 8 min 12 secs
* The 911 Turbo had an especially prominent fan very early on: Professor Ferry Porsche drove his 911 Turbo with chassis number 930 770 088 until 16 June, 1980, for a total of 8,200 kms. Equipped with a steel sliding sunroof, air conditioning, brown leather upholstery and many other extras, this car has since been part of the Porsche Museum collection

Image via Porsche AG

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Author: Neill Watson

If you love the sound of the Cosworth V8 as much as the V12 Merlin, the smell of Jet A1 as much as Castrol R and admire the late Ray Hanna as much as Sir Stirling, you’ll find you’re both on the same page. Neill's love of art deco buildings means that his ideal home would be a brilliant white, 1930′s control tower in Southern France, with crisply mown grass, biplane parked on the driveway and a Ferrari 288GTO in the garage. This is something that those around him tolerate, though it does concern them from time to time.

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