November 2010 is 911 & Porsche World magazine’s 200th edition, so Editor Bennett has pulled out as many stops as possible to make it entertaining. The centrepiece is a conglomerative effort from all editorial contributors, in a feature called ‘Ultimate Porsche’. The idea was we had to pick our ultimate factory Porsche, and bring it to Bruntingthorpe to run them all back to back.
My ultimate Porsche is a 917: nothing touches that car for drama and all-round Porsche cleverness. Entered via loophole and raced hard by our favourite heros, the 917 demanded king-size balls to drive quickly. Just looking at it makes me feel a bit funny, so what it must feel like to drive one at 250 mph down the Mulsanne Straight, with the lightweight body flexing and pinning your foot to the throttle pedal, I have no idea.
I tried everywhere I could think of to get a 917, but to no avail. Once I was used to the idea of not being able to bring my Ultimate Porsche, the next best thing was probably an easier solution than most people would believe.
My take was that the Ultimate Porsche beyond the 917 should be something you can get into right now and take to the Bergmeister Monte Carlo route: surely the most incredible driving ever done in a car. So it had to be something within easy reach.
Looking in my garage, I had two 911s to choose from: my Carrera 3.0 and the 964RS I was advertising for sale on behalf of a friend. Both are quick, in nice condition, both sound and smell like a proper Porsche and both are wonderful to drive. So which one to take?
Picking your own car for one of these things is dodgy ground. Much as I love my C3, there is barely an as-factory part on it. I also make no secret of the fact that it could one day go to a new home, so by definition it is not the last word in Porsche for me. If I had the asking price for a decent 964RS sitting in my bank account I would buy one, no question and with absolutely no hesitation. So, red one it is then.
This choice may seem tough to reconcile with my well-known love of the early and impact-bumper style cars, but it’s not that tricky really. The 964 Carrera RS looks like them, sounds like them, smells like them but goes faster than any of them in factory guise. The one in my garage was set up by Water Röhrl and rides beautifully. It’s built like the brick proverbial. Every time I get in it, I soon find myself driving like an eighteen year-old.
It’s a time machine, plain and simple. If you want to make yourself twenty years younger buy a 964 RS. It comes from a time when Porsche built sports cars: the world’s best sports cars. And they all looked like classics, straight out of the box.
My Top Ten from the Ultimate Porsche line-up:
- 964RS. Uncompromising in every positive sense of the word. A Stuttgart V-sign to all Porsche-hating motoring journos, it says: “Don’t like me? F**k you, get me a proper driver.”
- 2.7 RS. Think of it like Scarlett Johansson lying on a bed, summoning you with her finger. There is no saying no.
- 997 Turbo. Faster than a shooting star strapped to a 4wd comet. There comes a point where outright ability matters: this car is past that point.
- 3.0 RSR. Won’t run under 4k rpm and is too noisy to take anywhere but I’d live in it.
- 911 2.4S. Every inch a classic.
- 356 Cabriolet. The original. The one that started it all.
- Cayenne Turbo. A Porsche for every day. As Fraser says: if you could only have one Porsche for the rest of your life, then….
- 996 GT3. I’m never going to get past those headlamps. Sorry GT3 boys.
- Carrera Club Sport. Gas-filled exhaust valves do not an RS make. If they’d gone further it’d be the Ultimate, but they sold us short.
- Panamera Turbo. Big executive saloon. Nuff said.