Meet the unsung Porsche 911 that bridges two 1970s Zuffenhausen legends
When it comes to 1970s Porsche 911s, there were two seminal models: the fabled Carrera 2.7 RS and the 930, the latter of which plunged the word Turbo into the world of consumerism with all the thrust of the 911 coming on boost. But in the middle of those two milestone models came this, the Carrera 3.0 – perhaps one of the most underappreciated 911s of all, and one that represents an intriguing link between the aforementioned homologation hero and the blown beast.
As the Carrera 3.0 (commonly referred to as the Carrera 3) didn’t meet the stringent emissions regulations in North America, it was never sold Stateside and, as a result, just 3,687 were built between 1976 and ’77. In the vast and storied world of the Porsche 911, that makes it a very rare thing indeed. For some perspective, some 58,000 examples of the SC – for which it paved the way – left the factory in Zuffenhausen, while there were over 76,000 of the later Carrera 3.2s produced. “People place rarity above everything else,” commented one of our experts about younger Porsche 911s in our recent ‘cars to watch in 2017’ feature, and it’s an attribute that has, without doubt, awoken enthusiasts and collectors to the Carrera 3. In the last five years, values have doubled…
Innocent until proven guilty
But why was the Carrera 3 poorly received in the first place? As its name suggests, the biggest upgrade from the outgoing Carrera 2.7 was the engine, which was essentially the same as that found in the newly released 930, but without the turbocharger. The motoring press criticised the car at the time, labelling it as merely a softer 2.7 RS, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Sure, its performance figures were as near as makes no difference the same, but it was the way it delivered its power that defined the car. In the absence of the turbo punch of the 930, Porsche considerably increased the compression ratio, resulting in 200bhp and an impressive 188 lbs. ft of torque – the latter figure arguably making the biggest difference of all to the driving experience.
With such few built, it’s inevitable that the Carrera 3 has garnered a niche and dedicated following of hardcore Porsche enthusiasts. As you’d expect, finding a fine example for sale is tricky – if you don’t know where to look, that is. This oh-so-seventies ‘Platinum Diamond’ Carrera 3 is currently offered for sale by Classic Driver dealer Albion Motorcars, and is fitted with a five-speed gearbox and the optional – and, let’s face it, must-have – Turbo-style whale tail and flared arches. Originality is key with these cars, and while it might have covered some 186,000km, it retains its original stamped service book, matching-numbers engine and kitsch tartan-strewn interior. The Carrera 3 is finally starting to get the recognition it deserves, and that which will surely only increase in time. If you want to arrive at your next classic car meet in a genuine talking point that few, if any, other people will be driving, then look no further than this intriguing piece of Porsche history.
Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2016