The history of Porsche sportscars is peppered with iconic models that stand out as special, from the earliest models to the very latest. One of the most notable achievements by Porsche’s designers is how they have retained the silhouette of the model through the ages, first with the 356, and then with the 911. Despite the addition of new technology, the inclusion of a plethora of new features as demanded by the modern driver, the 911 has still retained its same basic shape.
When the G-series gave way to the new Type 964 for the 1989 model year, the new model was introduced with a host of new technology. Four-wheel drive technology had only been tried in motorsport in the 911 Carrera 4×4 (1983) and 959/961 (1985-87) before being introduced in the limited edition roadgoing 959 (1987-89). When the 964 was launched, it arrived first as an all-wheel drive 911, but the difference was that the 964 was a production sports car for the general Porsche enthusiast, not just an elite and limited group. While the all-wheel drive 964 used a less sophisticated drivetrain than that used in the 959, it nonetheless gave the 911 enthusiast access to a level of road holding not previously available to the average Porsche driver. The 2-wheel drive model arrived the following year, in 1990.
In short, with the launch of the Type 964, a large number of new derivatives and technological innovations were introduced. While the new 911 retained its classic looks, the factory claimed that the 964 comprised no less than 85 percent new components. In addition, the 911 had not witnessed the introduction of a follow-up production ‘RS’ model since the Carrera RS of 1973, but with the 964 we saw the launch of the Carrera RS in 1992, as well as the Carrera RS N/GT, a road-legal, but track focussed 911. The 911 Turbo S was a turbocharged powerhouse, producing upwards of 380 bhp while the Carrera 2 Speedster offered a trimmed down reminder of those early 356 Speedster days.
1993 also saw the 30th anniversary of the 911 model, and Porsche were quick to introduce a special model to commemorate this. The Carrera RS 3.8 was a model that shot to the top of the 911 family tree, replacing the Turbo as the top model. Other models included the more potent Turbo 3.6, the RS America and the 964 Slant Nose 3.6, offering the 911 driver a wide choice of models to choose from.
In the book…
In his book on the 964, the author has gone to great lengths to uncover the background to the design of this model, and he has supported this with numerous relevant images. He has also enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the 964’s lead exterior designer, Benjamin Dimson, and this has brought a valuable and insightful slant to the book. Included, for instance, are basic 964 design sketches, concept drawings, prototypes and many unpublished factory photos, provided by the Porsche Museum.
Aspects of the 964’s life covered include, amongst other topics: 911 model history, design, aerodynamics, testing, production, US market, Panamericana, Carrera 4 Leichtbau, Carrera Cup, Dutch Police car…and so much more. The book is packed with well written information and shows evidence of the author’s passion for the model, which is made all the more relevant by the fact that he owns and drives a 964 Carrera 2.
Testing plays a big part in the development of any Porsche model, and in this instance, the testing regime of the 964 with its first-ever production all-wheel drive option, is well covered. Motorsport and Porsche are two words that are difficult to separate, and here the author provides generous coverage of the Carrera Cup cars, as it was with the 964 that Porsche commenced the legendary Carrera Cup series which still runs today, operating in ten countries around the world.
Motorsport has played an important role on Porsche’s very existence, and perhaps no more so than in America, its biggest market at the time. Here the author has also ensured that ample exposure is given to the IMSA series and the cars that raced there, most notably the Brumos 911s.
Towards the back of the book is a section devoted to the Carrera Cup. This is significant seeing as it was the 964 model with which Porsche commenced its highly successful Carrera Cup programme in 1990. The 964 model was the car used in this racing series between 1990 and 1994, and the author provides the reader with a series of results tables with some great photos from these early years. These were exciting times, because out of this early racing series would come future racing champions.
The final section of the book contains all the production numbers by model, relevant model specifications, VINs explained, Internal Type Codes, Country Codes, and Optional Equipment details. The value of the content contained within its pages is impressive, and it is in a word, complete!
The importance of the 964 cannot be overestimated, as this model formed a bridge between the old 911 and the new generations that followed. By recognising that the Porsche buyer was an increasingly sophisticated driver, the new 911 model needed to keep up with the times, and this the 964 did adequately in a stylish yet sporting manner. The Foreword for the book is appropriately written by Benjamin Dimson, the lead exterior designer of the Porsche 964.
The book is well presented, easy to read and the layout and timeline make it easy to follow the 964’s life history. The broad structure groups the different chapters into year-by-year model developments so that the reader always knows where he/she is in the life story of the model.
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