Porsche 964.jpg
Porsche 964
aka Porsche 911 Carrera or Carrera 4
Production 1989-1993
Class Sports Luxury
Body Style Coupe / Cabriolet / Targa / Speedster
Length 4295 mm
Width 2000 mm
Height 1310 mm
Wheelbase 2272 mm
Weight 1450 kg (C4 Coupe)
Transmission 6-Speed Manual or Tiptronic Sequential
Engine 3.6 litre flat-six
Power 225 hp
250 hp
260 hp
Similar Chevrolet Corvette
Ferrari Testarossa
Lamborghini Countach
Designer Evolution of Butzi Porsche's 911 from 1964

The previous generation 911 - namely the 911 2.7, SC and finally 3.2 Carrera - had been very successful during their lifetimes, but the whole range was ageing and Porsche had to refresh its most famous model for the 1990s. The company, and especially the board members, were itching for a full renewal of the model - but Porsche had very little expendable income after the bottom fell out of the sportscar market in the late 1980s, and a compromise was struck - take the 3.2 Carrera, and tweak it. The result was the Porsche 964 - a 911 that was 83% new on its release in 1989.

Extensive Modification

Porsche detractors complained that the 964 was only a facelifted 3.2 Carrera. Sure, the only external changes over the previous model were smoother bumpers, more pronounced sideskirts, a new alloy wheel design (the flat-fronted, contemporary-styled Design 90) and the addition of an automatically lifting spoiler instead of that symbol of 80s excess - the Tea-Tray spoiler. A new colour chart was coined, and apart from the modernisation of certain components, the interior remained identical to the predecessor.

However, it was under the skin where the large proportion of changes were in evidence. The engine had been replaced by a 3.6 litre unit developing 250 BHP, and ABS was standard on the 911 for the first time. Advanced dual ignition was employed, and the four-wheel drive chassis made its debut on the Carrera 4 model - and has been a regular model in the 911 range since. Porsche declared that 'You won't recognise the home stretch' in its marketing claims, playing its trump card of reliability and rival-thrashing build quality. The marketing ploy worked, and despite a dire market, the 964 found enough homes to keep it going until the all-new 911 was released in 1993. Minor modifications were made each model year, making the 964 that bit better, along with the introduction of the Turbo, Carrera RS and Speedster variants.


The Speedster

The Speedster option was part of the 3.2 Carrera 911 range from 1987 onwards, and received the same treatment as the standard car for the conversion into type-964 status. The Speedster was designed to revoke the memories of the 356 in the hearts of buyers, and was intended for pleasure purposes only. The car was manufactured after the US importers of Porsche convinced Stuttgart that sales could be plentiful, especially in the warmer, drier states.

The Speedster used a standard cabriolet shell, and to this a lighter, shorter and removeable windscreen was added. A large fibreglass cowling covered the hood, and sat in place of rear seats. Interior-wise, the Speedster featured RS-spec doorcards, but apart from this, could be specified to the customer's individual needs. The hood had no waterproof guarantees, and speed was limited when the hood was upright, due to insecurity - and as such, customers had to sign a waiver removing Porsche from blame should the hood blow off or leak water into the cabin.

The car could be ordered in 'Standard Body' or 'Turbo-look'. The standard body was the same as the 964 Carrera cabriolet below the windowline, but the 'Turbo-look' added the flared arches and wider alloys of the Turbo - this was the rarest of the two styles. The Speedster had 'Cup One' alloys instead of the standard 'Design 90'.

The Carrera RS

Initially a Europe-only model, the Carrera RS followed in the footsteps of the 1973 2.7 Carrera RS. Released in 1992, the car was designed to homologate the 964 for GT racing, but also to provide a car for the traditional 911 buyer - the enthusiast, which Porsche had largely neglected during the heady years of the 1980s. Based upon the rear-wheel drive Carrera, the RS enjoyed a 260BHP engine, along with lower, track-focussed suspension, and a weight loss regime, which stripped both the weather-proofing from the chassis and un-necessary sundries from the interior, such as thick carpets, sound deadening, the standard seats and the rear bench. For the extreme enthusiast, a turbo-bodied 3.8 litre version was released, but for the not-so-extreme, a 'Touring' version was offered, which reinstated weather protection and sound deadening.

The car encouraged rave reviews from motoring press, and enjoys a legendary cult following today.

A very rare Carrera RS was built, in a batch of 20, by the Porsche Motorsport Department in Weissach. This car was based upon the Carrera 4, and was completely stripped out. The bodywork of the Carrera Cup racer was added - rear spoiler, aerodynamic mirrors - but the car was delivered on the Design 90 alloy wheels of the Carrera 4.

The Turbo

No 911 model range is complete without a Turbo version for those with more money than is strictly healthy. The 964 model line was no different, and a forced-induction variant was released in early 1991. Having had its fingers burnt with the poor sales in the latter years of the 930, the company first released a rather half-heated attempt - the 964 bodyshell, with the obligatory wide arches, the spoiler and Cup One alloys but with the 3.3 litre engine from the 930. However, sales were reassuringly strong - strong enough to encourage Porsche to develop a turbocharged version of the new 3.6 litre engine. Released in 1994, many refer to this model as the Turbo 2.

The Turbo 2 had 360 Stuttgart thoroughbreds under its rear hatch, but only 2000 examples were produced. Even rarer than this, though, was the Turbo S, harking back to the 930 Turbo S. It featured a modified engine, with 385 BHP, exquisite interior trimming and split-rim magensium forged alloys. It even had a Flatnose - although this was modernised to have 968-esque headlights, rather than the original flaps (it should be noted that Japanese versions were manufactured with the 930 Flatnose). Less than 80 were produced.

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