1969 Porsche 911
For 1969, the Porsche 911 line was sorted out on both sides of the Atlantic with a three-model B-Series that entered production in August 1968. The 912, to be replaced in 1970 by the "Volks-Porsche" 914, continued to evolve in parallel, though its engine was unchanged. The new 911 trio would run three model years. The initial U.S. versions were as follows:
- 911T -- 110 DIN horsepower European (125 SAE) at 5,800 rpm, 8.6:1 CR, 110 mph official top speed; base price (coupe): $5,995.
- 911E -- 140 DIN horsepower European (160 SAE) at 6,500 rpm; 9.0:1 CR; 134 mph; base price (coupe): $7,195.
- 911S -- 170 DIN horsepower European (190 SAE) at 6,800 rpm; 9.8:1; 140 mph; base price (coupe): $7,895.
Only the T used carburetors (twin Weber 40 IDTs). The new E, replacing the L, and the revived S both sported fuel injection, the modern way to reconcile high performance with low emissions. Transmission choices comprised Sportomatic and four- or five-speed manuals for T and E; the S was now five-speed only.
Developed by Porsche and Bosch, the new fuel-injection system was a mechanical type similar to the one used by Mercedes, with a squirter at each cylinder (making it a multipoint setup) and a double-row, six-plunger pump driven by toothed belt from the left camshaft; tubes delivered fuel to the ports just below.
An electric fuel pump fed the injection pump; check valves in the injectors opened at a set pressure from the injection-pump plungers. The ram tubes and a richer mixture improved power at higher crank speeds while reducing pollutants at lower rpm. To combat the old plug-fouling problem, a capacitive-discharge (CD) ignition was installed.
Fuel injection permitted other power-boosting changes. The E reverted to the original 911 cam profile, which was wilder than the superseded L's. The S had slightly higher compression and reshaped inlet passages, plus an extra oil cooler for greater reliability with the higher power. Crankcases switched from aluminum to cast magnesium construction.
The 911's shape would last over three decades. Here, an example from 1964.
There was an obvious visual change for '69: slightly flared wheel openings, necessitated by wider brakes that expanded E and S track width by 0.4-inch. The S also got six-inch-wide wheels. Less apparent was a 2.25-inch (57-mm) wheelbase increase -- to 89.3 inches/2,268 mm -- via longer rear semi-trailing arms.
Despite an unchanged drivetrain position, fore/aft weight distribution ended up more even, going from 41.5/58.5 percent to 43/57. At the same time, the previous Nadella axle shafts gave way to Lobro assemblies with Rzeppa constant-velocity joints; the shafts were also re-angled slightly rearward from the inner joints.
Another new chassis wrinkle for 1969 Porsche 911 was Boge self-adjusting hydropneumatic front struts, which were standard for the E and early S models, an option for later Ss and all Ts. Replacing the normal front struts, torsion bars, and shocks, they kept the nose at a specified height regardless of passenger or cargo load.
Unlike Citroen's oleopneumatic system, their pump was not engine-driven but pressurized by suspension movement. Though the longer '69 wheelbase shifted static weight distribution forward about 1.5 percent, this was balanced on Boge-equipped cars by deleting the front sway bar.
Still, final oversteer remained the dominant handling trait in any Porsche 911, though it was never a surprise to the skilled, knowledgeable driver.
The Boge struts were part of a new 911E Comfort Package that was optional in Europe and standard in the United States. Also included were 14-inch wheels and tires, aluminum brake calipers, a more strident "highway" horn, bumper rub strips, bright-metal rocker-panel trim, gold deck script, velour carpeting, a leather-covered steering wheel, and an oil pressure/level gauge.
Fuel injection and the CD ignition wrought terrific improvements in 911 drivability. The E, for example, could lug down to 35-40 mph and then pull smoothly away, yet it was almost as fast as a '67 S. Road & Track's example ran 0-60 in 8.4 seconds, the standing quarter in 16 seconds, and hit 130 mph while averaging near 20 mpg overall.
Completing 1969 refinements were a new three-speed heater fan, flat-black wiper arms, and an electric rear-window defroster. The last was also standard for Targas, which exchanged their leaky and noisy plastic zip-out rear window for fixed wraparound glass that made things less open but more comfy and solid. In all, the '69s were the most tractable and pleasurable Porsches since the 356C.
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