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Porsche 911 History

1974-1975 Porsche 911

Road & Track sampled all three 1974 Porsche 911s. The results were about what you'd expect despite the non-stock tires on the base and S examples that made handling comparisons tricky.

The Carrera had more stick and less understeer on the track, but equal-size tires made the base 911 quicker and more agile through the slalom. Car and Driver also found the "plain Jane" model had more cornering power than the Carrera: 0.83 g versus 0.80. Of course, both figures were excellent at the time. In fact, they still pass muster today.

Porsche 911
The Carrera name also was used for this 1974 race car, the RSR Turbo 2.1.

As for go-power, R&T observed that "all our '74s would beat [a '73] 911S soundly in the 1/4 mi despite having taller gearing. The basic 911 is plenty quick, getting to 60 mph in 7.9 sec and covering the 1/4 mi in 15.5 sec; its top speed is limited by power to 130 mph. The 911S and Carrera accelerate identically to 100 mph and beat the 911 to 60 or the 1/4 mi by 0.4 sec; the margin widens to 2.6 sec by 100 mph.

There's quite a difference to be felt by the driver, too: whereas the less powerful 911 pulls evenly toward its rev limit (all three [stop] at 6400 because of their rev limiters) the S/Carrera unit comes 'onto the cam' strongly at about 3500 rpm and shoots toward 6400 at a dizzying rate. All our test cars, by the way, had the optional 5-speed gearbox -- which we think you can jolly well do without, so strong is the low-speed response of either engine."

Unfortunately, the high-power engine still suffered "a good old-fashioned case of temperament" at low speeds, "bucking just like the more highly tuned older S unit." At least fuel economy was "still reasonably good. At 17.5 mpg overall, the 911 is a bit more thirsty than last year's 911E and the S/Carrera does another 1.5 mph less but remains more economical than the old S."

R&T carped about prices, which were up some 20 percent from '73 to a minimum $10,000 and close to 14 grand for the Carrera. "The Porsche people also have the nerve to charge you extra for opening rear-quarter windows in all but...the Carrera, and the air conditioner costs $1125!" At least the Carrera came with power front windows.

Still, as R&T grudgingly concluded, "they've got you over a barrel: a Porsche is like no other car, and if you want one there's no substitute."

For 1975, the Carrera gained a deeper front spoiler and IROC-style rear spoiler. The 911S was visually unchanged, but the base 911 disappeared. Apropos of Road & Track's griping, Porsche expanded standard features to include push-out rear windows, plus intermittent wipers, a rear anti-roll bar and, for the Carrera, a leather interior.

Having bowed in Europe during 1974, high-pressure headlight washers (developed with Hella) arrived as a new option for U.S. buyers. The heating system gained separate left/right controls, and a higher-capacity alternator was fitted along with a single battery (ousting the two smaller cells used since'66).

Engine news was less heartening, as the Carrera and 911S each lost 10 horses (15 in California), the result of detuning for lower emission levels. The Carrera's 0-60 time was up a second (to 8.4), and its official top speed fell 10 mph (to 132), yet fuel consumption was no worse than before -- though no better, either.

Still, Porsche had avoided the worst maladies of the "desmogging" era by offering exhaust-gas recirculation on 49-state cars and twin thermal reactors for smoggy California. And in city driving, the'75s were better behaved than the '74s.

The Carrera now cost $1,700 more than the S but made up for it with standard bodyside graphics in special colors, a three-spoke steering wheel, and the items mentioned above. Interiors were becoming funereal, with matte black or silver replacing shiny materials now banned by the feds.

Overall, though, the 911 remained "one of the world's best sports cars," in R&T's widely shared view. "If an automotive bargain still remains in our inflation-ridden world, the Carrera, or any 1975 911, is it."

Honoring 25 years of Stuttgart production, Porsche issued a limited-edition Silver Anniversary 911S in 1975. Only 1,500 were built, with half going Stateside. Each wore diamond-silver metallic paint, custom interior trim of woven silver-and-black tweed, and a numbered dash plaque with Ferry Porsche's facsimile signature.

Ever looking ahead, the good doctor confirmed that the old warrior was far from finished: "With all the regulations that are known to us now, we think the 911 can keep going for the next six years." As usual, he was being modest.

Porsche 911
The Porsche 911 wasn't substantially changed from 1975 to '76.

Check out the complete story of Porsche cars, including these fabulous models:

Porsche 356
Porsche 911
Porsche 914
Porsche 924, 944, 968
Porsche 928 Porsche 959
Porsche Boxster Porsche Cayenne Porsche Cayman

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  • 1995-1998 Porsche 911