Posts Tagged porsche 911 turbo

On the Porsche 911

Porsche 911TMy relationship with the Porsche 911 is like the relationships most people have with celebrities: I feel like I know it even though I don’t.

I’ve never driven a 911, but having read scores of accounts, I can tell you all about the early models’ reputation for sinister oversteer, or the workings of the 2014 911 Turbo’s active aerodynamics.

That’s why I’ve always been ambivalent about the 911. I only know it as a car driven by pretentious rich people and Jerry Seinfeld, but I’m still in a celebratory mood because of its 50th anniversary.

To me, the 911 has always been part of a select group of automotive overachievers. Like the BMW 3 Series and the Toyota Camry, if it’s part of a magazine comparison test, it will almost certainly win.

It’s actually a bit frustrating. There’s always a more interesting car, or one with a better story, that always gets beaten by the Porsche’s sheer competence.

Automotive journalists often say the 911 is a sports car you can use everyday and, indeed, its upright profile, front trunk, and available all-wheel drive make it seem almost practical.

2014 Porsche 911 GT3This is probably why men having midlife crises gravitate toward the 911: yes, it’s a sports car, but it won’t do anything to upset a Westchester family’s genteel sensibilities.

Yet the 911 also has decades of racing victories to its credit, and Porsche’s constant fiddling has made every generation perform better than the last.

It’s also one of the few high-end cars with a passionate customizing subculture, something I find endlessly amusing.

That’s the secret of the 911’s staying power.

The 911 really can be all things to all people. It’s not a car of extremes; it plays the middle so well that nearly anyone can find something to like about it.

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Sunday Royals Garage Car Show recap

Aston Martin Vanquish Audi R8 Chevy ApacheLast weekend was Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer and car show season. I spent Sunday at the Sunday Royals Garage Car Show at Lime Rock Park, and saw nearly every type of car imaginable lined up on the same main straight that usually hosts Le Mans prototypes an Trans Am racers.

The show was a little small because of the weather, but there was still an outstanding variety of cars. Here are my top five favorites:

Plymouth SuperbirdPlymouth Superbird

You may have seen Vin Diesel driving this car’s twin, the Dodge Charger Daytona, in the latest Fast & Furious movie. It’s a Plymouth Road Runner with the best aerodynamics the 1970s had to offer, making it the perfect weapon for a NASCAR oval. Today, the Superbird is one of the rarest muscle cars around, so I was excited to see this Hemi Orange example at Lime Rock.

1929 Stutz Blackhawk1929 Stutz Blackhawk

You rarely see a car this old out and about, unless it’s a ubiquitous, mass-produced Ford. In addition to having one of the coolest names ever, the Blackhawk represents a time when most cars of a certain price really were one-of-a-kind, thanks to their custom bodywork. Stutz was also one of the first great American marques, known for the Bearcat sports car and its heated rivalry with Mercer.

Bob Sharp Datsun 240ZDatsun 240Z racecar

It’s hard to argue with a wide-body 240Z in red, white, and blue, but this car had special resonance for me. Bob Sharp was one of the first American Datsun/Nissan dealers, and did a lot to promote the brand through racing cars like this one.

My parents bought our first new car after moving to Connecticut at what used to be Bob Sharp Nissan, so the local connection made this slick 240Z that much more special.

Nissan GT-RNissan GT-R(s)

There were actually three copies of Nissan’s all-conquering sports car at Lime Rock, but that doesn’t exactly make it common. The GT-R is an all-wheel drive, four-seat coupe that can dice with a Porsche 911 Turbo at the Nurburgring, all for a (relatively) affordable price. Unlike that Porsche, or certain Italian cars that will go unnamed, the GT-R really is a performance car that you can imagine living with every day.

1980 Toyota Tercel1980 Toyota Tercel

I heard the show’s MC talking about a 1980 Tercel over the loudspeakers and thought he was joking. I hadn’t seen the car.

Bringing a Japanese economy car to show that also featured an Audi R8, Aston Martin Vanquish, and three Nissan GT-Rs takes a lot of chutzpah, which this little car and its owner had in spades.

The car looks perfect slammed onto those chunky wheels, and under the hood is a souped up engine that was basically made from scratch. They don’t sell many performance parts for Toyota Tercels.

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