Wunderbar – Pure 911 & the Purist

The Carrera name returned to the Porsche stable in 1973 having been last displayed on the 356 model of 1966, initially featuring a 2.7 litre engine which was surpassed by the 2994cc unit that also powered the 930 Turbo. Many enthusiasts believe that the Carrera 3.0 model hasn’t received the attention it deserves from the collector car market and slipped under the radar having been eclipsed by the ‘widow making’ turbo option. Although the performance figures for the new engine were similar to the 2.7, the Carrera 3 enjoyed superior torque and excellent fuel economy (23mpg) whilst offering 6.5 seconds to 62mph and just under 150mph maximum. The 3.0 litre was also lighter than many alternate 911 versions, whilst still boasting 200bhp from its air cooled ‘Boxer’ six cylinder with Bosch K-Jetronic injection. Performance figures aside, the 3.0 Carrera is also a rare beast indeed, supplied in 1976-77 just 3,687 departed the Zuffenhausen factory north of Stuttgart. The emissions regulations in America ensured that this particular Porsche never featured in the sales brochures across the pond thus numbers remained very limited. Just 1,064 were Coupe versions (462 Targa option) with R/H/D, mostly specified with the Comfort package; very few were supplied to the UK market with the additional ‘Sport’ upgrades which included anodised aluminium replacing chrome trim, front and rear spoilers, Bilstein dampers, sports seats, and extra width Fuchs alloys. The Carrera 3 enjoys the ‘driver’s car’ label minus the unpredictability often pointed at its turbocharged stablemate, this lighter 911 doesn’t feature power steering or servo assistance for its all-round disc brakes. It wasn’t all minimalistic as the 1977 car featured here came with a Goodrich space saving spare complete with pump, a heated and electrically adjusted wing mirror plus cabin temperature control between the seats. Now the realisation that the Carrera 3 offers a true 911 driving experience plus the diminishing availability may account for the values more than doubling over the past decade. None of these factors concerned Kevin Halsey when he first admired this 3.0 litre in the year 2000, he just fell ‘head over heels’ unaware this mistress harboured many secrets.

Versteckte schrecken (Hidden Horrors)

‘Taking a short break in the UK, I went to an up-market classic dealer just outside London with a view to buying an E-Type’ Kevin confessed. Being a veteran of several restorations, including several MG’s, a Lotus Elan and even a frog-eyed Sprite, it was time for something that didn’t require two years’ hard labour in a damp garage. Noticing a white Porsche at the rear of the showroom, an enquiry led to a short test drive followed by the deal, ‘I was immediately smitten and could certainly sort out the small rust spots at the base of the ‘B’ pillars’ he continued. The history file confirmed that after 88k miles travelled and several owners in Scotland this car headed south with homes in Essex and Hertfordshire. Kevin had been working in Germany for 16 years with his job as Technical Author, writing aircraft maintenance manuals. In the early 70’s his office overlooked the Porsche factory and their first road tests could be admired from his balcony; maybe this influenced his decision. The return journey to Germany would offer an insight as to the problems to follow.  Once on the motorway and at speed the steering became vague, to say the least, and braking resulted in the 911 pulling any direction but straight. Arriving home, the car went into the local Porsche Centre located in Kevin’s village, their findings read like a Bram Stoker novel. Cracks and wear to the front tubular axles, both rear swing arms retaining plates rusted through and whilst checking the incorrectly adjusted timing a broken head bolt was found inside the rocker cover. The despair was not complete as small rust spots were the first signs of several tubs of filler secured by chicken wire that could hold back the corrosion no longer. Once the base trim panel on the sills was removed areas which were once solid steel collapsed into a large bucket along with Kevin’s world and he explained ‘It was very well hidden, the supplying dealer was so shocked that they made a contribution to the repair, worst of all, the wife was more than a little ‘peeved’ with my purchase’. After years in the aircraft industry Kevin only understands perfection thus he faced a decision, either move on and accept his loss or rebuild the Carrera from the ground up regardless of cost. He was already aware of this 911’s rarity and had also confirmed that the specification it departed the Zuffenhausen factory in 1977 matched exactly with the car 88k miles and 23 years later; he knew the car enjoyed the breeding but did he enjoy the funding and the desire?

Jagd auf Perfektion (Chasing Perfection)

The Five Lakes Porsche Centre (Funf-Seenland) near Munich began the repair to the broken head stud but by the time the ‘Boxer’ unit was reinstalled Kevin had authorised many additional precautionary repairs; these included a complete strip and rebuild with main, big and small end bearings, pistons and barrels, cylinder head valves and seats, camshaft, flywheel, all clutch parts and cam chain tensioner. After a month the car was transferred to a Porsche Bodywork Specialist named Gunther Seemüller (admiring the panels 17 years later the phrase ‘craftsman’ is certainly apt) were it would remain for a further seven months. His restoration skills worked well with the owner’s insistence on factory parts only and unlimited timescale. It had to be correct in every original detail. The bespoke wider fenders on all corners were replaced and the inner wings became corrosion free as Gunther worked through the body shell from bow to stern. Kevin took the chance to view the Carrera throughout the process and was on hand when the time arrived to re-cloth its unblemished body in its original white finish. Kevin recalls what must have been a glorious moment, the first test drive in his fully restored and immaculate Carrera 3.0. A year after the worrying drive from the UK to Munich, the route selected for his triumphant test would include the high Alpine road of Grossglockner in Austria. All 36 fast bends, climbing nearly 12,500 feet to the snow-capped summit would certainly test all aspects of the rebuild; the 911 took every mile in its stride confirming that all the effort and worry had been worthwhile.

Der beste Straßentest (Best Road Test)

Whilst seventeen years have passed since this Porsche had enjoyed the attentions of Deutschland’s engineering talent, there is little doubt that their efforts have stood the test of time; immaculate springs to mind. The milometer may record 111k miles but its exterior and interior are exact, original and virtually faultless but what would the on-road experience offer? With keys in hand, I must confess I harboured a certain anxiety, this Carrera represents Kevin’s ultimate automotive prize and huge financial sacrifice. Installed, I found the seating comfort and grip perfect, although it took a couple of seconds to adjust to the pedals being slightly offset; this is improved by adjusting the seat closer to the steering wheel. The 3.0 litre fired up instantly and the tick over reminds you that this is a performance car, although my fears were somewhat allayed when the clutch operation was firm but not harsh as described in certain road tests. The Type 915 gearbox accepts the first of its five gears with ease, this transmission works better if it is not rushed or forced, with a reliability record that offers decades of use if basic maintenance is applied. No power steering, no problem; those of a certain vintage will remember when most cars were minus all the driver aids now present in the most basic of moderns. The front 205-16 Michelin’s don’t require a heavy haul on the steering to manoeuvre whilst the wider rear 225-16 on Fuchs rims bite into the tarmac whenever rapid progress is made. The brakes are minus any servo assistance and Kevin points out more foot pressure will be required in an emergency but with discs all round they responded perfectly. The Carrera 3.0 is one 70’s supercar that is actually happy in all conditions, certainly the acceleration is staggering, not just for a 40-year-old, this car will shock most current high performance machines. The power builds quickly but after 4,000 rpm it is almost brutal but alternatively the owner demonstrated its flexibility; a 911 that will pull from 20mph to maximum in fifth gear without complaint was a real surprise. It took no more than a couple of minutes before I was able to relax and enjoy the experience inside one of the rarest and finest classic Porsche’s on our roads and like its owner I too fell ‘head over heels’ with all it offers. Ensuring his joy remains in the finest order means constant attention by Kevin with an underside steam clean and wax oil injection to all parts every other year. For his time, honesty and help with translations, a big thankyou to the Carrera’s custodian, for I am now amongst the privileged few having experienced the pure performance, rarity and admiring glances this 911 brings.

View from the Pilot

Kevin Halsey shares his thoughts on preserving and enjoying the 911 Carrera 3

In January 1971 I was sent, on contract for 18 months, to SEL Elekrik AG in Stuttgart to compile technical manuals for a Satellite Ground Station in Euskirchen. Our off-site offices were in a building on the Porschestrasse. Now, this is where my appreciation of Porsche’s really began and the seed sown! I used to go out on the office balcony at lunchtime with my sandwich and watch all these growling 911’s fly past on road test. Dribbling and dreaming.… one day …. just one day, I may be in the position to own such a car. Fast forward to the year 2000, I was home on holiday in England looking for an E-Type Jag. Having viewed and rejected a car at one dealer I was about to leave when I spotted a white 911 at the back and asked about it. ‘Oh that’s a Carrera 3.0 Sport but I don’t think you’ll like it; it’s a bit agricultural compared to a modern 911’ came the sales patter. By the time I had reached the one mile mark on the test drive I had a silly uncontrollable grin on my face, that was it, I was hooked and I had to have it! So how much did it all cost to end up with almost a new car? A lot more than I dared tell the wife; but I think if we are honest with each other that’s par-for-the-course with our rusty hobby! Since completion of the restoration 17 years ago, the running costs have been simply normal servicing (now carried out by AW Motorsport in Southbourne), tyres, batteries and the odd light bulb. The important bit is that my car is no museum piece or trailer queen. It gets driven regularly 12 months of the year and is guaranteed to put a smile on my face every time I get in it!

 

 

Carrera 3 Klatsch (Gossip)

The Carrera 3.0′s engine was developed from the power unit of the very rare Carrera 3.0RS, of which only 109 were built. Fifty of these cars were uprated to RSR specification, victorious in the 1974 and 1975 seasons, winning both the FIA GT Championship and the IMSA Championship each year.

The Carrera 3.0 was available with manual gearbox (type 915) with 4 or 5 speeds.

Many owners changed the original 5 blade cooling fan for an eleven blade unit for additional air supply, whilst the dry sump engine oil level can be monitored from a dash mounted dial.

The Carrera 3.0 (along with the 2.7 and Turbo) was the first Porsche model to feature the trademark rectangular electrically operated door mirrors that remained a feature of the 911 up until 1992.

It’s not uncommon for a Carrera 3 to be fitted with a Turbo models ‘Whale-tail’ as the sport package cars often required UK dealers to fit the spoiler kit on arrival and supply issues could result in a mix and match situation; Kevin’s car was completed in Germany and was exported with ‘Sports Package’ fitted and the correct 1977 model year all black polyurethane spoiler.

The Carrera 3.0 was considered a ‘milder’ version of the original 2.7RS and 2.7 Carrera’s but enjoyed almost identical 0-60 and 0-100mph and with its extra torque could pull from 25 to 100mph in top gear, over 3 seconds faster than either of its production predecessors.

Carrera is Spanish for ‘Race’ exclusively used by Porsche for some of its models to honour the company’s success in La Carrera Panamericana race across Mexico in 1953. The company’s 550 Spyder enjoyed a class win and like the Targa is named after the Targa Florio, the Carrera title remains.

Finally, with just a two-year life span, a mere 3687 Carrera 3’s were built, a small number compared to nearly 58,000 911SCs and 76,500 3.2 Carreras produced. Porsche have established that approximately 70% of this model are still out there. The remaining cars being scrapped or crashed beyond repair. That means that for the UK’s cars there is probably only about 60 Coupes’ and Targa’s in both comfort and sport versions remaining.

 

Porsche 911G Carrera 3.0 Specification 1977

Engine: 2994cc/Flat Six/Dry sump/SOHC with 12 valves

Gearbox: Porsche Type 915 5 speed manual

Cooling: Air with oil cooler

Kerb Weight: 1.1 imp tons/1120Kgs

Length: 14ft Width: 5ft 4in

Performance: 200bhp/183lbs foot torque

0-62 – 6.5 seconds/top speed 145mph

Cost new 1977 £13,999