Monday, 23 January 2012

Why the 993 is the Star Wars generation's supercar

'That's the sort 911 I'd want', said a skater-looking dude in his early 30s to an unimpressed female companion, as they walked past my friend’s 993 near Balham Tube Station. He didn't look like a 'Porsche person', and thankfully, neither does the driver. I really didn't pay much attention, only hearing as one of our kids in the back insisted we had the sunroof open. A week later after another comment in a London street, this time with all manner of 993-related questions thrown-in about the car, it reminds me of ten years ago, when I bought a '72 911 2.4S just as they became unobtainable to anyone except the deep pocketed 40-50 year-old car collectors. Has my friend recently purchased the most 'desirable' 911 for the next generation of Porsche enthusiasts, the sports car for the generation 'young-ish dad'?

It's not that this 993 is a particularly 'special' 911 - it's not a limited edition, an RS or turbo or anything, my 993 911 Carrera, apart from being a Varioram model (their then-new variable air-intake volume device) is a bog-standard two-wheel drive, manual old-shaped, air-cooled 911 - a sup'd-up beetlebug that's nearly 16 years old. But that's, I'm realising, exactly the point.

OK, so the attraction of trouble-free motoring when you have got a busy job, young kids and a mortgage is a plus for my lucky friend, but it's not just the guarantee that everything 15 years old in it will work all the time (it has a Heath Robinson toggle switch for everything - no computer panel to go wrong etc). More than this, it's a taste thing, just the feeling that this is not the model before-the-model before the last, you know, the nearly 'new one'... it is the realisation that it is not a trying to be a new car. In our minds at The Car Stalker, the 993 is simply just a classic now - and a full stop in its old evolutionary lineage.

The last thick-gauged steel skinned, air-cooled, door clunking, hand made, proper Swiss army knife quality Germanic sports car made before Porsche became a mass manufacturer (and a capital market investor of considerable size in the Noughties). It epitomises pub conversation contradictions of what could be cast as 'masculine engineering' over the more effeminate 'design ethos' in car production, but is also small and unassuming enough to not look like a great big Zennon-lit penis extension. 1994-97 was as far as they could go with developing a 911 within its modest 1960s body shell, before its sides split, and the mechanical boxer unit, along with Porsche's dwindling fortunes, burst out over its widened rear haunches.

Obviously, the noise, pollution, hand-made production costs, not to mention its diminutive size in the future power and size arms race (most hatchbacks do 170 MPH and 0-60 in just about six seconds these days), reminds us of its age but also the nostalgia for an era when the modest 'in the know' fanfare for Stuttgart's track-side tech, was tried and tested on a new production vehicle.

Just my imagination? Well, time will tell on the 'price' side, but judging by a current bog-standard 4 wheel-drive 1996 example at Monks Heath going for a tidy £47,000, anyone finding one of the many good, well-looked after examples (even with stellar mileage) at the mid £20k mark will be making a superb investment, and will prob have a lot of fun driving it too. Did I forget to mention, it's one of the most alive, responsive sports cars most experts have driven? All of that, plus street cred and room for the kids (and their light-sabres) in the back, it seems there is no darkside in the future Porsche value wars for the 993.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

McQueen's Le Mans 911S auctions in Aug, how did it get there?

For many 911 enthusiasts, this is a most special car. Like many Porsche fans, I cannot recall the amount of times I've re-visited that wonderfully atmospheric qiuet-before-the-storm beginning of the 1971 McQueen racing movie, Le Mans.

Having always thought that the car in the movie was the one seen by myself and many others at the Peterson Motor Museum in L.A, we at Jelenek have asked how this iconic car has come up for sale? The simple answer: it isn't the same car, the one in the museum was purchased before he filmed LeMans in 1969 (and has stayed in the McQueen family estate) - and the real Le Mans car, (according to a test drive of the very car published in an article three years ago on is a car that time forgot.

In 1970, McQueen ordered the 2.2 S car with a US delivery spec' for the filming of Le Mans and usage for when on location. His production company, Solar, then exported the car back to Germany (where it underwent transmission upgrading) before being shipped to his home in LA, where it's said to have become surplus to needs, alongside an identical olive green machine. Having sold it off hastily via an advert in the LA Times, a local Porsche enthusiast looked after the car for the next three decades, before its current owner in 2005 purchased the car - a person who hadn't even seen Le Mans the film, until he examined the extensive documentation that came with the 160,000 mile car.

Of course, unless you have very deep pockets, this 1970 2.2 car, which auctions at Monterey's Classic Car week RM Auction, isn't going to be within easy reach. However, the early 911 is useable and affordable classic (an appreciating asset), and a car that Jelenek thinks stands leaps and bounds over other classics of it era.

In the last few years, however, entry prices of the 2.2 S and 2.4 S 1970s cars have become extortionate, with buyers being well-advised to look at later models, or even less desirable non S models such as Es and American-only Ts. A good look-a-like current example, for sale in the UK at Paul Stevens, is a US spec short wheelbase model from the late 1960s. As a 2.0 litre, pre-1970 car it is ideal for classic racing event entry, and Jelenek likes its Texan-import patina (original paintwork and engine), not to mention its reasonable price tag of £32,995. All you need to cmplete the McQueen look is the Tag watch, the Ray-Ban shades and a pair of Hush Puppies.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

996 C4S

A Jelenek first with this new in box 2003 water cooled 996. Less than 3000 miles on the clock from new. If the 996 makes it to collectors status, a tall order in our view, the 4S will definitely be the wise collectors choice from Porsches first water cooled 911.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Joseph Stalins Parade Car For Sale in Finland

Ex-dictator Joseph Stalins Zil 110 Parade car has recently appeared for sale in Finland on JamesList.

It is claimed that Stalin was given a Packard Super Eight by Franklin D Rossevelt during the war, the car impressed him so much that Zil were instructed to manufacture their own version, being the 110. This particular model served as his parade car from 1950 until his death in '53. Having covered only 792 miles the car was meticulously restored to its original specifications in 2001.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Ferdinand ‘Ferry’ Porsche’s prototype 3.0 Carrera comes up for sale

Unlike the ‘spurious’ origins of the 3.0 RSR for sale of James Hunt provenance, which made headlines here and elsewhere, an opportunity to acquire a Porsche with unquestionable intrigue and history in concourse condition, is a rare thing indeed - even for the seasoned ‘car stalker’ at Jelenek.

Available at Jan Luehn, this 3.0 Carrera in dark metallic green may look like a standard, albeit impeccable, 1976 production 911, but it is something of an anomaly - an insider’s glimpse at what became the 3.0 Carrera and the 911 SC.

Ferdinand ‘Ferry’ Porsche, son of Porsche’s founder and father of Ferdinand ‘Butzi’ Porsche (who penned the now legendary curves of the first 911) was given this car as a taster of a new generation of normally-aspirated 911s that would exceed the 3 litre barrier by the Weissach factory on his 65th birthday in 1974. Having recently stepped-down from the board to take an Honorary Chairmanship of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche KG, Stuttgart, Ferry used this prototype which took its engine, not from the production 911 ‘G Series’ 2.7 litre engine of the day, but from the race-ready Carrera 3.0 RSR, some two years before the general launch of a production 3.0 Carrera – a model which shared its boxer block with the 930 turbo, launched in 1975.

This unique car is said to have many other ‘pre-production and race parts’ but is hardy enough to have been used by Ferry as his daily driver for nearly two years. As a ‘one-off’ and one of only a handful of cars available as being owned by the Porsche family, its successor Ferry’s proto’ 911 (930) Turbo (in the same colour combination) resides on display at the new Porsche Museum at Stuttgart. A talking-point 911 available at €175,000 (around the same price as a 997 ‘Sport Classic’) – this is air-cooled heritage without the cod-retro.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid

At this weeks Geneva motor show Porsche demonstrated its commitment to hybrid technology with the 918 Spyder concept, a car that boasts an outlandish spec. The two-seater uses a plug-in hybrid system comprised of two electric motors coupled to a 3.4-liter V-8 racing engine. As a parallel hybrid, the car can run on pure electricity, petrol, or a combination of the two.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Barn Find Maserati Khamsim

Called in to assess the estate of a wealthy business man in Suffolk, Lacy Scott and Knights valuer was asked on leaving whether he would mind having a quick look at the old cars in the barn. The contents including a virtually unused Silver Maserati Quattroporte III, a De Tomaso Longchamp and a brace of Bentleys go under the hammer on March 13th