Porsche 911 Carrera (993) Review

By: Joe Kenwright

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Future classic: Porsche 911 Carrera. Joe Kenwright gives us the inside line on collectible 911s

Porsche 911 Carrera (993) Review
Future classic: Porsche 911 Carrera


Porsche 911 Carrera (993)

Just as Volkswagen had to eliminate the labour-intensive old school construction of the Beetle to add value elsewhere 20 years earlier, Porsche faced the same challenge with the 911. After the extra plastic added to the previous 964 series did little for its desirability, Porsche was forced to complete the transition with a new 993 series launched locally in March 1994.

The 964's early 911 panels could only deliver a 15 percent cut in the workforce. The 993 reduced build time by 40 hours for a management cut of over 40 percent and a 25 percent drop in factory area. Unlike VW's switch from the Beetle to the Golf, the 993 preserved the original 911's stand-alone lines and petite dimensions. Yet only the roof and front lid were interchangeable.

The huge savings delivered a state-of-the-art, multi-link independent rear suspension in an elegant, self-contained alloy hoop that could be added to the structure in a single operation. Not just better at isolating harsh road surfaces, the geometry improvements were radical.

A stronger 3.6-litre engine lifted outputs from 184kW/310Nm to 200kW/330Nm and there was a new six-speed manual, yet the drivetrain weighed less. A new AWD system for the Carrera 4 added only 50kg instead of the previous model's 100kg, boosting desirability in equal measure.

Although the extra plastics and lighter parts were not always hidden, there was an integrity about the process, placing the 993 near the top of desirable everyday 911 models. A reduction in parts that can be refurbished later was the only downside.

Because the 993 was the last air-cooled, dry-sumped 911 - and one of the quickest - the already rare manual coupes were pushed into competition earlier than previous models. This transition can only intensify after track use exposed oil surge issues and other failures in later wet-sumped Carreras.

There is no shortage of Tiptronic convertibles and coupes at affordable prices. Although prices are as low as they have ever been, finding a manual coupe that has escaped a hard life is not easy. The 993's intrinsic value as the last compact air-cooled, dry-sumped 911 leaves little margin for further decreases for the right coupe.

There is more. A November 1995 upgrade added VarioRam induction that boosted outputs to 210kW/340Nm. These later cars, picked by their large alloy inlet manifold and D-shaped exhaust outlets compared to the previous simpler manifold and oval exhausts, are special.

Porsche followed with wide-bodied Carrera 4S and 2S versions, regarded by many as the ultimate expression of the original 911, hence prices for the best of these models have barely moved in seven years. Yet top examples of the last standard, narrow-bodied 993 coupes, which are lighter and more pleasant to drive over a wider variety of road surfaces, can only become more sought-after as each new 911 moves further away from the original.



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