You might first want to read the story of the 1973-1989 911 G-model

Porsche 911 964 (1988-1994)

Premiere: Mondial de l'Automobile Paris Motor Show, September 28, 1988

  © Porsche
MY1989/K MY1990/L MY1991/M MY1992/N MY1993/P MY1994/R
Normally aspirated street cars Carrera 2 Coupé 3.6 184 kW
Carrera RS 3.6 Lightweight 191 kW Carrera RS 3.8 221 kW
Carrera RS 3.6 M002 Touring 191 kW
Carrera RS 3.6 M003 Competition 191 kW Carrera RS 3.8 M003 CS 221 kW
Carrera Cup USA Edition 3.6 191 kW RS America 3.6 184 kW built from 1/1992
Carrera 4 Coupé 3.6 184 kW
Carrera 4 Coupé Turbo-look 3.6 184 kW
Carrera 2 Targa 3.6 184 kW
Carrera 4 Targa 3.6 184 kW
Carrera 2 Cabriolet 3.6 184 kW
Speedster 3.6 184 kW
Carrera 2 Cabriolet Turbo-look 3.6 184 kW Speedster Turbo-look 3.6 184 kW
America Roadster 3.6 184 kW (incl. America GS 3.8 by Porsche Exclusive)
Carrera 4 Cabriolet 3.6 184 kW
Turbocharged street cars Turbo 3.3 235 kW Turbo 3.6 265 kW
Turbo 3.3 X33 WLS 261 kW Turbo 3.6 X88 WLS 283 kW
Turbo S2 3.3 240 kW
S2 conversion in MY93
Turbo S 3.3 280 kW Turbo 3.6 Package 283 kW
Turbo 3.6 Flachbau X83 283 kW
Turbo 3.6 Flachbau X84/X85 283 kW
Turbo 3.3 Cabriolet 235 kW
Racing cars Carrera Cup 3.6 195 kW Carrera Cup 3.6 M001 202 kW
Carrera 4 Lightweight 3.6 195 kW Carrera RSR 3.8 257 kW
Turbo S LM 3.2 349 kW
Turbo 3.3 IMSA Turbo S2 3.3 IMSA Turbo 3.6 IMSA
MY1989/K MY1990/L MY1991/M MY1992/N MY1993/P MY1994/R
Tiptronic for Carrera 2
New type engine for Carrera from 12/1990 or 01/1991
Aero-mirrors and 17" wheels for Carrera, new rear brakes for C2

After the MY1984 911 Carrera 3.2 had entered the markets, the plans for the next generation 911 were set. In March-April 1984 the future 911 Carrera was internally designated as project 964 and the successor to the 911 Turbo as project 965. Although the 964 doesn't look so different to the previous G-model 911, it is mostly a new car. Visually new are the bumpers, side sills, rear lamp panel and rear spoiler - the design work of Benjamin Dimson. He was the lead exterior designer of the 944 Turbo, 928 S4, 959, 911 Speedster and 911 964. Porsche unveiled the 964 photos in July 1988, presented the car in autumn in Paris and first journalists got to test it in November. While the 964 was ready and very well received, Porsche AG had really hard time with the 965 project.

964 designer Benjamin Dimson here working for Mercedes-Benz (2008 photo) © Mercedes-Benz

The first modification of the 964 introduced was the 4-wheel-drive Carrera 4. In normal driving conditions it had 31% of the drive force on the front axle and 69% on the rear axle. For slippery surface the axles can be locked (50% front/50% rear).

4WD of 964 Carrera 4. Compared to the 4WD 959, the 964 Carrera 4 was 4 times cheaper. © Porsche
For the photo the airbags were deployed without front-end crash© Porsche
911 964 Carrera 4 in 1988. The automatic rear spoiler erects at 80 kmh/50 mph and goes back in when the speed drops below 10 kmh/6 mph. © Porsche
Interior photo showing the 'heavy' airbag steering wheel that was initially optional and then became standard (first for the US-cars and then for the rest) © Porsche

The 3.6-litre dual ignition engine was new. It got 184 kW, the same amount the 944 Turbo had. The 964 C4 costed 37% more than the Carrera 3.2, but was still considered a bargain compared to the ancient G-model 911. Compared to the outgoing 170 kW-version Carrera 3.2, it had 14 kW more, but was soon to be found not so durable as the 3.2-litre. With the new 964 Porsche tested building engines without gaskets between cylinders and heads. The aluminium on aluminium contact proved to be a bad idea as it wasn't strong enough to withstand the combustion pressure and the cylinders started to leak. Not much, but still. Unfortunately, there was no easy fix to this problem as it was not possible to install gaskets on these early engines.

911 Carrera 4: Start in eine neue Porsche-Generation ("Start in the new Porsche generation") © Porsche
© Porsche

For 964 the torsion bar suspension was replaced by more conventional springs. The 964 got power steering and ABS brakes as standard. The heating system was new and as in the G-model it was so out of date, that little change only could be the reason to prefer 964 over the pullet-proof G-model Carrera 3.2.

For some period the rear-wheel-drive G-models with their bodies made in the old body plant and the 4WD 964s with their bodies made in the new body plant, were produced in parallel and the RWD 964 Carrera 2 was introduced a bit later as a 1990 model. Thanks to saved weight (-100 kg/220 lb) and rear-wheel-drive the Carrera 2 was more fun to drive, more Porsche. The Carrera 4 was more a product of the marketing department as "4WD" was the magic combination in the end of the eighties and nobody really cared that the rear engined car with no weight on the front axle, cannot benefit from the drive force there. The 911s had always had the traction comparable to 4WD cars thanks to the engine putting more force on the rear axle the harder the driver accelerated. The second minus later found with the Carrera 4 was its braking system that didn't last. The 1989 model Carrera 4 had a few differencies compared to the later cars: the wheels were 16" ClubSports (known from 928 S4 ClubSport), catalyst was not standard (optional), there was no switch for the electric rear spoiler, only automatic functioning, rear seat belts were manual, not yet automatic.

The only visual difference between the Carrera 4 and Carrera 2 is the "4" or "2" on the rear lid © Porsche

In 1989, for 1990 model year the Cabriolet and Targa body variants were also introduced in addition to rear-wheel-drive. For the RWD cars the Tiptronic gearbox was introduced, too. So, now you could choose between 9 combinations of body, drivetrain and gearbox: C2 Coupé/Targa/Cabriolet with 5-speed manual or 4-speed Tiptronic and C4 Coupé/Targa/Cabriolet with manual.

Cabriolet, Targa, Coupé - what a nice set, what a nice photo © Porsche
The MY1990-1991 964 Carrera 16" wheels were called 'Design 90'. The 1989 model year Carrera 4's had 16" ClubSport wheels. Design 90's are very similar to ClubSport wheels (that were created for the MY1988 928 S4 ClubSport), but ClubSports were forged and not casted like the Design 90s. © Porsche
Tiptronic, an automatic gearbox with manual gearchange control. The first Tiptronic gearbox was introduced for the 1990 964 Carrera 2 and it had 4 speeds. Tiptronic was important for Porsche's marketing department in coaxing customers from Mercedes and other luxury car brands. Tiptronic is patented by Porsche. Audi has used Porsche's patent on its models from early on. © Porsche
Tiptronic lever gate shows it has 4 speeds. If you wouldn't want a manual 4-speed, why would you want to have an automatic 4-speed? © Porsche
Carrera 2 Tiptronic and Carrera 4 manual © Porsche
The removable Targa roof can be folded and stored in the front trunk © Porsche
This Cabriolet has a fully electrical soft top © Porsche

Porsche had ran a one make championship with 944 Turbos from 1986 to 1989 and switched to 964s from 1990 season. This initiated the birth of the Carrera Cup series and 911 Carrera Cup cars. These lightweight cars based on Carrera 2 had to sacrifice even the power steering that was just introduced to 964 street models. Power was up by 11 kW (195 kW).

Porsche's Weissach Development Center production manager and Carrera Cup manager, former racing driver Herbert Linge with 964 Carrera Cup prototype in late 1989. Most Porsche prototypes use the "BB" number plates issued by the district of Böblingen where Weissach is situated. © Porsche

Wish to read the full article?

Purchase a 30-day or yearly subscription for full access to all articles.
Prices starting from 10 €.

Sign in to purchase

Don’t have an account? Register · Already have a subscription? Sign in

Mar, 05 – 14th birthday of the Carrera GT (2003)
Mar, 06 – 5th birthday of the Boxster 981 (2012)
Mar, 12 – 48th birthday of the 917 (1969)
Mar, 13 – 56th birthday of Ferdinand Oliver Porsche (1961)
Mar, 16 – 40th birthday of the 928 (1977)