It’s a cold winter morning in Turin. The sky is dull, a few fog banks still hover over among the buildings, a typical weather for the Po Valley during this time of the year. Normally these conditions would suggest to spend the day in front of a warm fireplace, reading a book and sipping a hot drink. But it’s January 2021, in the last year we have been through periodic lockdowns and other limitations due to the sadly well-known global health crisis, and it happens that we eventually have the allowance to freely move (who knows for how many days). Why not to take advantage of this opportunity to remove the sheets from our cars and to finally enjoy a good old drive experience?
Close to downtown, in the direction of the Basilica of Superga, there are some gentle hills, crossed by roads immersed in the woods. One of them, called “Panoramica”, is the usual rendez-vous for the local car enthusiasts during summer weekend. It will be a good destination for today too. A couple of phone calls to find a like-minded friend and we are good to go.
The 3.2 Carrera is the final evolution of the so-called G Series, that can be considered the second generation of the 911. At the beginning of the 1970s, with the introduction in the USA of stricter homologation rules by the NHTSA, the Stuttgart manufacturer opted for a general update of the car (while others just added quite awkward bumper add-ons…Lamborghini, is that you?). Some characteristic black bellows appeared on the new shock-absorbing bumpers, the front turn signals were repositioned, and a new red stripe with Porsche lettering joined the two rear lights. All chrome details disappeared. Inside, three-point safety belts were now standard, and the seats got headrests. Engines grew in displacement and power: in the last years of production of the G series, you could buy a 230hp normally aspirated 3.2 (like this one) or a 330hp 3.3 turbo. The increases in power were obviously backed by progressive widening of tyres and track, especially at the rear.
Meanwhile the fog has completely dissolved, we arrive at the kiosk (now closed) in the middle of the “Panoramica”, where the road widens to form a square. A perfect place for a stop, to take some pictures and to admire the car’s shape as well. The bodywork is painted in « Grand Prix Weiß » color, a very neutral white that refers to the traditional national color of German racing cars, before the era of the legendary Silver Arrows. It is completed by period-correct black Fuchs rims, which create a pleasant contrast. The lines and proportions chosen by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche for his most famous design remain something unique nowadays, more than 50 years since the presentation.
Ludovico tells me how the 911 became part of his collection in 2014: « I was looking for something to keep company to my father’s Ferrari GTB Turbo, something that still embodied the spirit of the 80s but with a different point of view. The obvious choice was following the Ferrari vs Porsche theme, two almost opposite philosophies of thinking cars. » Mid-engine design and a turbocharger for the flashy and polarizing Italian berlinetta. Unexpected versatility and usability, and a large displacement naturally aspirated rear-engine for the German sportscar. » Opposite, but yet complementary driving experiences. »
« Before moving to Turin, the 911 was in Genoa. The previous owner is a friend, he lost interest in the car over the years, he was driving it less and less. Knowing my passion, he decided to sell it to me before the conditions of the neglected car started to deteriorate, so once I got it into my garage it took just some light restorations to bring it back in its full glory. »
The white paintwork has been decontaminated and polished, the leather interior cleaned and revived. While keeping the car’s configuration substantially unchanged, Ludovico added a couple of things to make it more fitting, more personal. First, he added the aforementioned Fuchs set, replacing the original “Telephone Dial” wheels. Inside, the original steering wheel has been replaced by a sporty reduced-diameter Momo Prototype which improves the feeling while cornering at high speed. Following the assembly of this wheel, the rev-counter has been rotated, in order to allow better visibility of the red line zone, just like it was done on the racing 911’s of the time.
It is a car intended to be driven (also) fast: « The last thing I’ve done has been installing a short-shift kit on the gearbox lever. It adds a bit of directness in the gear engagements, which ultimately improves a lot the driving experience when pushing harder. This car, unlike the ones produced from 1987, does not have the acclaimed G50, but the older type 915 box. » This model has a racing pedigree, having been developed from the one fitted on the legendary 908. Therefore, unlike the more « bourgeois » G50, ease of use was not the primary design objective of who engineered it. « It is quite difficult to use it compared to modern ones, you have to learn how to manage it. But you know, at the end this is one of those characteristics that make you feel connected to the car, because you must learn to know it. »
Here, Ludovico’s words reminded me what probably makes me appreciate cars like this, and what I probably miss when I’m dealing with the latest modern cars. It’s getting to know them little by little.
Understanding the dimensions of the car, the placement of the pedals, the inclination of the steering wheel, the distance from the gear lever, the driving position. Studying their technical characteristics, finding their particularities, the strengths and the flaws. And finally discovering the sensations through the steering, the vibrations transmitted from the seat, the noises, the smells, driving them from a light pace up to the limit…
Understanding their personalities, Developing an almost exclusive relationship, something private by definition, intimate.
Getting to know them for real, and sometimes loving them.