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June 2011 www.911porscheworld.com

RISE OF THE REPLICAS

ULTIMATE HOT ROD 911 GROUP TEST

2.8 RSR  3-LITRE CLUBSPORT  RS TOURING  3.5 RSR  2.7 CUSTOM

SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND ROAD, TRACK DAY AND DRAG STRIP GT3

PORSCHE CAYMAN BUYERS’ GUIDE BUYING INTO MID-ENGINED PERFECTION

PROJECT GT3 EXHAUST/RECHIP OUR GT3 GAINS AN EXTRA 40BHP £4.50 US$9.99 CANADA $12.95 No.207

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BACK TO THE

80s


Ultimate PIN UPS

No Porsche road cars sum up the optimistic 1980s like the Flat Nose Turbo and the 959. We reunite two stars of countless bedroom walls

Words: John Glynn Photography: Antony Fraser

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PORSCHE POSTER CARS

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RISE of the REPLICAS

The factory was never shy of the 911 ‘special’ so neither should you. We gather a selection of the best together Words: Brett Fraser Photography: Antony Fraser

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911 REPLICA GROUP TEST

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he real deal. The genuine article. One hundred per cent authentic. You’ll find none of that sort of stuff here. Quite the contrary, in fact. Because as deliciously evocative as this collection of iconic race-derived 911s looks, they all share a little secret – each of them is a fake. Actually, fake is the wrong word, because it implies deception. The only deception here is of the visual variety (and some aficionados will have already seen through that ruse); there’s no attempt by the seller of all five of these cars – Porsche specialist, Paul Stephens – to represent these fine-looking machines as anything other than the recreations that they are. Well, recreations, replicas and evocations… Because while some of the cars try to stay as faithful as possible to the historic Porsche model of which they are a facsimile, others are merely inspired by the past, paying homage to it rather than being rigidly structured by it. Purists have been known to turn apoplectic about cars like these, firstly for pretending to be something that they’re not, and secondly because to create them in the first place means hacking about a perfectly good – and thoroughly genuine – 911. It’s easy to have some sympathy with their concerns, particularly when the donor vehicle is a nice, solid example. But when the finished result is as intoxicatingly great to drive as the cars pictured here, it’s hard not to start thinking that the means justifies the ends. Unsurprisingly, the recreation market has a soft spot for 911s from the 1960s and 1970s, with special affection reserved for the Carrera 2.7 RS and 2.8 RSR. Furious debate is a generic component of any discussion about the best 911 ever, but you’ll be hard pressed to find

anyone completely immune to the merits of that iconic pair, even if they’re not personal favourites. With impeccable motorsport credentials and with several wellrespected motoring magazines hailing the 2.7 RS as the most enjoyable Porsche ever, the lure of reproducing these models – either wholeheartedly or just cosmetically – has long been irresistible. Of course, thanks to their single year of production, 1973, the relative rarity of the Rennsport models (1580 RSs and a mere 49 RSRs) adds to the mystique. And to the increasing value of genuine examples. In recent times the price of a top condition 2.7 RS has cruised past £100,000, while recently a 2.8 RSR was sold in Europe for just shy of £500,000. That’s serious money, which not only denies enthusiasts even the faintest hope of ownership, but also makes the lucky few owners more reluctant to take out their cars on a regular basis and use them the way Porsche intended – hard, fast and furious. Weigh up these factors and the appeal of a pretender grows. For starters, you stand a chance of being able to afford one in the first place, provided you buy a preowned car – building one up from scratch using a decent donor and good quality components, could set you back almost as much as the real thing. And having spent about a fifth the price of a pukka 2.8 RSR, you might feel more inclined to come out to play. None of the cars we’ve wheeled outside from Paul Stephens’ Sudbury-based showroom is a mere cosmetic special. Along with ‘the look’ come hardcore mechanicals, chosen to make the driving experience either as authentic as possible or as extreme as possible. Or both. Each is slightly different in its conception and purpose; all are utterly compelling.

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SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND When a GT3 beamed itself on to the Editor’s drive, he vowed to make the most of its weekend potential. Get ready for a two-day road, trackday and drag strip thrash – and the burning of many litres of fuel Words: Steve Bennett Photography: Antony Fraser

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GT3 WEEKEND WARRIOR

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eemingly by magic, a Riviera Blue 997 GT3 has arrived on my drive. This is an extremely pleasant surprise, and it deserves to be used to the full. The weekend is looming and spring is in the air (it’s the middle of March). Petrol may be the most valuable liquid commodity on Earth, but there are stirrings within the car community. Garage doors are being prised open, covers are coming off, batteries are being charged. It’s a symbolic moment: the petrolhead is coming out of hibernation. Sorry, it’s all starting to sound a bit wistful, but you do understand. There is a defining weekend of the year when the ‘season’ really does start and car culture takes to the road. You know it when you spot that first VW Camper broken down on the hard shoulder, the first MGB of spring, bikers hooning on the B-roads, a gaggle of Minis going to a show – and basically all manner of car-related flotsam and jetsam out, about and back on the road. And, of course, that includes Porsches. So, just how much excitement would it be possible to extract from a GT3 over the course of a weekend? Well, I guess it’s a question of how much excitement is on offer? Time to find out. Of course, a spirited bit of road driving would do, but really that’s not playing entirely to the GT3’s strengths. It is, after all, a road-and-track creation – and those sticky Michelin Pilot Cup Sports need a proper workout. Likewise, while I would never like to test the effectiveness of the half cage behind the bucket seats, it is symbolic of the GT3’s raison d’être. So, a trackday, then? Yes, but why stop at one? Actually, it’s a long time since I’ve done a trackday. I wondered whether the trackday phenomenon might have been hit by the events that we are constantly told are of a global nature, and therefore not in any way the responsibility of past or present governments. March is slightly early for the trackday season, but a quick perusal of the excellent openpitlane.com revealed a couple of Saturday events – at Goodwood and Bedford Autodrome, both being organised by Easytrack. Both were sold out, too, so I guess the trackday scene is still in rude health. Just shows you what a hardy bunch we UK petrolheads are. So, a good start then, but what about Sunday? Definitely no trackdays on, but something did catch my

eye: Run What Ya Brung at Santa Pod, the Mecca of British and European drag racing. Drag racing? Well, I’ll try anything once. Stick with us here because it’s really rather good fun. However, first things first. The two trackdays are fully booked, don’t forget, so I need to do some schmoozing – or hope that there are some cancellations. Fortunately, it’s the latter, so the good people at Easytrack don’t have to experience my poor PR skills. OK, I admit that being involved with a trackday mag a few years ago meant that it wasn’t entirely a cold call, but I wouldn’t want to be seen to be muscling in. So that’s a result, then: two trackdays and a spot of light drag racing. That should top up the adrenaline levels after a long winter. Time to dig out the crash helmet and have a think about logistics. Actually, it’s something of a no-brainer: it’s got to be Goodwood first because Bedford is on the way home. Like a child, I’m a bit too giddy to get much sleep the night before, but I’m raring to go at 6am Saturday morning. The GT3 in ‘look at me everyone’ spec Riviera Blue is up for it, too. Hunker down in the fixed-back seat with a rear-view mirror full of cage and wing, dip the clutch, turn the key and let the clatter-chatter six wake up the neighbours. From Suffolk to Goodwood, in West Sussex, is a lazy 180-mile lope, and motorway miles are dispatched at a steady 80mph. It’s been a while since I’ve driven a GT3 but, as ever, it’s a manageable feat that doesn’t involve any excessive endurance journeywise. Road noise is the pay-off in mileage terms, and a ride that is creeping towards 10 on the firmometer – but you forgive the GT3 these things, not least because, unlike so many supercars, it’s still wieldy and usable and with a standard of visibility that makes it real-world friendly. An early start means that by the time I get off the M23 the Sussex back roads are still free of traffic. This is good because there are some great roads around, but usually they’re blighted by the South East’s over population problem. The GT3 starts to wake up, and so do I: it is the sort of car that grabs your attention, possibly more so than any other 911 in the range – even a GT2 RS. The GT3 is still the 911 that wears its heart on its sleeve, with a full display of 911 foibles and eccentricities at your beck and call. Its tight, narrow

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911 & Porsche World issue 207