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Retro 911 is the sweetest 997 model yet

Our Verdict

Porsche 911

A sublime all-purpose sports car that few others can match for its combination of power, handling prowess and interior refinement

26 November 2009
Porsche 911 Sport Classic

What is it?

A special-edition 911 limited to 250 examples.

it's called "Sport" because it runs an uprated version of the 3.8-litre direct-injection Carrera S engine (with an additional 22bhp), and a standard sport chassis. It gets "Classic" because it incorporates styling cues taken from Porsche’s back catalogue – most relevant of all, the fixed position ducktail spoiler, not seen since the 2.7 RS.

Also making a comeback are Fuchs-style alloys and black surrounds for the headlights, a detail from the 1974 Turbo RSR.

Other distinguishing features are: the use of the wider body from the Carrera 4 without all-wheel drive, a double-bubble roof, and a mandatory Classic Grey colour.

What’s it like?

Surprisingly comfortable. If you’re expecting a stripped-out semi-GT car, then that is not what the Sport Classic is about. Instead the interior draws heavily on Porsche’s Exclusive department, so much of the cabin is finished in the Expresso Nature (dark brown) leather, including the air vents and door handles.

There’s also a 1970s-style checkerboard finish to door skins, and a different style of carpet, gearlever and handbrake than you’ll find in a regular Carrera.

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The way it goes down to road is also surprisingly relaxed. We’ve tried sport chassis-equipped Carrera S models before, and found that while they offer more precision and control than the regular car, they can feel a little jittery over broken surfaces. Something the Sport Classic doesn’t.

While the Sport Classic does have the advantage of standard-fit ceramic brakes, which reduce unsprung mass, we’ve tried a similarly equipped Carrera S previously and the new car is better still.

It has a slightly old-fashioned softness to the way it rides bumps and crests, and yet there is all the accuracy and body control you could need. It even steers more sweetly than we remember recent Carreras doing.

This could be down to the fact that our German Sport Classic came fitted with Bridgestones rather than Michelin tyres Porsche UK normally fits. And although the 1425Kg kerb weight is identical to that of a regular Carrera S – aluminium doors counterbalance the additional weight of the flared rear arches – the Sport Classic feels somehow lighter and more nimble.

To feel the benefit of the extra power you need to rev the engine to within 1500rpm of the redline, but doing so rewards with not only more outright speed but more vigour.

And a standard non-switchable sports exhaust helps with the sense of occasion, even if it could be a fraction fruiter still. The Sport Classic is manual only, which suits its back to basics character.

What’s most impressive, though, is that the Sport Classic feels so nicely balanced, not in solely in terms of handling, but in the balance of power, grip, traction, and in the measure of the control weights, which are tacile without being overly heavy. Overall it feels rounded and rewarding.

But what’s curious about the Sport Classic is the unlikely combination of extrovert design details and plush interior, paired with a chassis that feels pure and unfussy.

It feels like the product dreamt up by the marketing department, but one the engineering team wouldn’t release until they were happy to put their name to.

To say it is a modern day 2.7 RS would be to overstate the importance of a spoiler, but that doesn’t stop the Sport Classic being a very fine 911. So much so that, GT3 aside, it is the most rewarding 997 currently on sale.

Should I buy one?

See Porsche Classic pictures

You can’t, as all 250 examples are sold.

But even if you could, you’d have to stomach a seriously steep price tag. £140,049 is a frankly ridiculous price, given the extent to which the Sport Classic differs from the regular Carrera S.

Porsche claims that the aerodynamic changes required the car to be homologated as a separate model, and this, combined with the limited production, explains the price. But even still, it looks very expensive when a GT3 costs £60,000 less.

And if you think you can simply build your own Sport Classic, think again. Some of the components are available as options on the regular production car; the enhanced engine is available as a power kit, the Fuchs can be ordered as an option, and Porsche Exclusive will do whatever you want to the interior.

However, the ducktail spoiler and roof are not, and will not, be available. And the biggest disappointment is that the Sport Classic’s single best component, its peachy chassis settings, cannot be specified on a regular Carrera. Even if you go for the Sport Chassis, you will not get a 911 as sweet as this.

Jamie Corstorphine

Join the debate


26 November 2009

optional extras ! I'm sure i could make a duck tail spolier with some filler, fibreglass and a bit of sheet metal. and a bubble roof if necessary.

26 November 2009

what a waste of money. yawn. rather than waste time building nonsense like this why don't you design a car for once instead of rehashing tired old designs time after time.

26 November 2009

There's an obituary in todays paper for Elio Zagato , credited with inventing the double-bubble roof (most of his famous designs used this feature)

26 November 2009

I love how Autocar says the chassis has a secret to it. Its a magic combination of unknowable modifications that make it such a special and maybe worth the money exchange.

Keep up the great marketing truth you fellows are better salesmen than the dealers and marketeers themselves.

All we need now is an Autocar dealership with Steve and Chas as managers.


26 November 2009

[quote jl4069] truth you fellows are better salesmen than the dealers and marketeers themselves.[/quote]

Autocar doesn't need to be. All 250 of them are gone.

26 November 2009

[quote originalguv]

what a waste of money. yawn. rather than waste time building nonsense like this why don't you design a car for once instead of rehashing tired old designs time after time.[/quote]

and behold:

full (unsquashed) pics here:

27 November 2009

" I love how Autocar says the chassis has a secret to it. Its a magic combination of unknowable modifications that make it such a special and maybe worth the money exchange."

What journalists would be able to do is find the what the "classic" (different shocks/struts/bushings) modifications themselves are...and offer the knowledge up to 911 drivers who want a sharper steer. This in no way should be Porsche's secret. No this is not a magic car for 250. ITs a stupid basic 997 and VERY little else. J

27 November 2009

This sure is the best looking 911 out there, just wish Porsche would start making the 911s more compact, the design is starting to look really bloated. Smaller, lighter, more fun and more environmental friendly. Give me a Lotus with a Porsches´ engine.


27 November 2009

It is not often I feel compelled to quote Janice from Friends (don't ask), but OH - MY - GOD.

I don't quite have the words. What an absurd and outrageously overpriced machine! It is no wonder that Porsche is the 'most profitable' (though vast loss-making) car manufacturer in the world - they clearly have the most feeble-minded client base in the world.

Who are these 250 idiots who believe it reasonable to pay 140k for an already overpriced 70k car with a few naff options, a couple of good options, and the weaker 3.8 block (vs the GT3 block)? In primer, of all things?! They should be named and then neutered to remove such idiocy from the gene pool.

The colour is appalling, the spoiler would look good on a Citroen Saxo, and the concept such a grotesque marketing mongrel I don't know what more to say. You could have a MUCH faster, better engineered and more attractive GT2 AND a Citroen Saxo with a naff spoiler for the same money, and enough change to trick up said Saxo to impress even the most critical McDonalds car park. Or a Turbo and enough change for a lightly used M3. Or a GT3 and enough change for an XF-R. Oh my head................

27 November 2009

How can anyone say the car is over-priced if all examples of the car are already sold? If anything, Porsche have underpriced it.


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