God, I love this car. I love this car so much that when I finally saw it on the floor of the Javitz Center in New York it made my palms sweat and my knees go weak (which may have something to do with the poor quality of the above photo.)
There is just one problem.
I can’t own this car. It’s not just the $184,000 price tag, which is just slightly above my reach these days. It’s that 991 people share the same love of pure 911s that I do and have already spoken for every one that will be made. So what is it that makes this homage car so special? Why was it sold out before it even hit the show floor in The States? Let’s start at the beginning.
The Porsche 911 made its debut in 1965 on this side of the pond. It was an absolute anachronism. Small, light, and made just 128 horsepower. With a design that had its air-cooled, flat-six engine hanging way out over the rear axle, handling was, to put it kindly, exciting. But with each iteration, the 911 became better, faster, more desirable. And when in the hands of the right driver, quite successful on the track.
Which brings us to the 1967 911R. It was a special edition designed to allow the 911 to compete against Ferrari and others in homologated racing series, where a minimum of 500 cars of the variant had to be sold. Unfortunately, the FIA felt the alterations in the 911R made it too different from the street versions of the car – 911S and 911T – and it was not allowed to race. So just 23 were built. They are, of course, spectacular, rare, and desirable.
So, to honor the 50th anniversary of the original 911R, Porsche has produced this magnificent machine. Based on the 911 GT3 RS, the 2017 911R features the same 500 horsepower, naturally aspirated, four-liter, flat-six motor. It’s only available with a six-speed manual gearbox and is stripped of many other amenities to make it lighter and more nimble than a standard GT3. As such, it’s a screamer, going 0-60 in just 3.7 seconds and can reach a top speed of 200 miles per hour.
Gone are the rear seats, radio and air conditioner (though you can add the last two back in if you so choose, heathen). The standard front bonnet and fenders have been replaced with lighter, carbon-fiber models and the roof is made from magnesium. All these changes not only produce a car that 110 pounds lighter but lower the center of gravity. Because this car is designed primarily for road, not track, use, it swaps out the GT3’s rear wing for an active spoiler that deploys automatically at speed.
Inside, the sports seats have carbon fiber shells that are modern, thin, lightweight and performance oriented, yet they’re covered in a vintage houndstooth cloth that perfectly captures that late ’60s vibe. It also features a short throw shift lever and the traditional door handles have been replaced with woven loops.
The 2017 911R is a perfect blend of old-school attitude and new technologies. It’s a car that proves even though Porsche has become a purveyor of SUVs and four-door family cars they still know where their heart and soul is and that’s in a lightweight two-seater with an air-cooled engine behind the driver.
All is right with the world again.