Hot off the press, so to speak, is Berlin Motor Books’ latest offering covering the 911 G-Model, and what an impressive publication it is. In line with their other excellent publications in recent years, this latest addition to their growing list of titles is produced to the same high standard as their earlier works.
The 911 G-model is loved by many, and while some dislike the protruding concertina bumpers, this solution by the Porsche engineers was nothing short of ingenious. When compared with the ugly rubber blocks ‘stuck’ to the front and rear bumpers of their competitor’s cars (Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, MG etc), the 911 G-model looked sleek and refined. Only Porsche could have come up with a solution as concealed and integrated as that seen on the 911.
The decade-and-a-half covered by this book (1974 to 1989) includes some of the most important 911s in the company’s history. Take the Turbo era for instance, we are still today writing about and marvelling over how sensational turbo technology was through the mid-70s, and what it did for Porsche’s fortunes, both on and off the track. Of course, success on the race track with turbo-powered race cars helped immeasurably with improving the performance of its road cars.
While the Targa body style had first appeared on the 911 in 1967, no 911 had yet appeared in cabriolet form, until 1983 that is. It was promoted, justifiably, as one of the fastest convertible sports cars available on the market, and it certainly did no harm to 911 sales as this variant was snapped up by film and sports stars around the world. Later in the same decade, Porsche reintroduced the Speedster model, which proved to be an instant classic, bringing back memories of the high performance 356 Speedster of the ‘50s.
So, in a nutshell, the 15 years between 1974 and 1989, saw some of the most memorable 911s produced. It was though, during this very time, that the company’s Chairman of the Board, Ernst Fuhrmann, announced that the 911 was to be phased out, to be replaced with a line of front-engined sports cars. The reaction was incendiary, and he was soon shown the door by Ferry Porsche, much to the relief of staff, engineers and the wider Porsche community around the world.
What the book covers
The authors have divided the book up into five main sections: 911 2.7 – Model Years 1974-1977; 911 turbo 3.0 – Model Years 1975-1977; 911 SC – Model Years 1978-1983; 911 Carrera 3.2 – Model Years 1984-1989; 911 turbo 3.3 – Model Years 1978-1989. Then, within each section, besides the regular production models, special edition models have been given their own chapters, such as: 911 Carrera RS 3.0 (1974); 911 Silver Anniversary model (1975); 911 Signature model; (1976) – which is part of the first section. Special edition models in later sections include: 911 SC ‘Weissach Edition’ (1980); 911 SC ’50 Years Porsche’ (1982); 911 SC/RS Coupe (1984); 911 Turbo S 3.3 ‘Sonauto’ (1989) – and many more.
In addition, each section is divided into chapters covering the models produced in the years for that section, and each chapter concludes with purchasing advice and a table of market values for those models covered within that chapter. Handily, the authors have included a specification table for each model.
One of the authors, Andreas Gabriel, indicated to this reviewer that personal highlights in the whole project included his two interviews with key personnel, Friedrich Bezner and Vlasta Hatter. The former, Friedrich Bezner, had an extraordinarily important and key role at the company, starting with Porsche at the tender age of just 14 years. He worked his way up the hard way, and was soon assistant to Professor Helmuth Bott. He then took over management of the 911 model line in ’79, and was a 911-champion through the years when Fuhrmann tried to axe the model. In time he would head up the 964 and 993 projects, and later the 996 Turbo model too. He retired after 47 years of dedicated service, a remarkable achievement.
An interview with Vlasta Hatter was another key moment for author Gabriel. The Czechoslovakian-born Vlasta, found herself in Germany quite by accident, literally. A fashion enthusiast and model, she started with Porsche in 1976 and was responsible for the creative upholstery styles found in Porsche cars through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. She worked under Tony Lapine in the Colour & Trim department for more than 31 years, until her retirement.
These interviews and the research work carried out by all three authors has revealed previously little known facts and details, and this work is to be strongly commended. In addition, the standard of photography throughout the book is of the highest level, and the shots of the various 911 models being captured in fantastically contrasting industrial settings, truly brings out the sophistication of the sleek lines of each model. The book is in dual language, German and English, and is very well written, easy to follow – and really revealing!