Porsche

Porsche’s ugly duckling: the 944

The front-engined Porsches are the worst thing that ever happened… for the 911 fans. For “normal” people, this is just another way to live their passion. I drove one of these strange cars, a Porsche 944.

As for my test of the MG B, this test was made in Champagne in the tiny and windy roads of “Pays d’Othe”.

Little history of the Porsche 944

The Porsche 944 replaced the Porsche 924, the first front-engined car of the manufacturer, launched in 1976 with an engine coming from the Audi 100. It was a nice car but not really a sport car. Fortunately, Porsche engineers are pretty good at transforming engines, and this one was a bit more sporty than the Audi.

In 1982, the Porsche 944 appears. It is an evolution of the 924 it replaces. The engine is the same as the 924S, a four cylinder of 2.5 litres, made by cutting a Porsche 928 in half! Great program!
The car architecture is based on the transaxle principle, front engine and rear gearbox.

The power will start to 163 HP and finish at 250 HP for the Turbo ones. The Porsche 944 S2 has a 3 litre engine, the biggest 4 cylinder in a production car!
The Porsche 944 was sold between 1982 and 1991, 162.452 cars were made in coupe and cabriolet.

Driving a Porsche 944 : efficient and reassuring

The Porsche 944 I drive today is Quentin’s car. He bought it one year ago, to have fun with a sport car. His 1987 944S officially delivers 190 HP, but with an improved exhaust line the car is around 200 HP.
The design is beautiful, expressing power, and more modern than the 924. The wheels have a great design, and apart two or three spots due to the aging varnish, nothing to notice on the car.

First step, we stow the photographic stuff in the huge boot. In fact, I can put everything I have in, good news.
The driver seat is fine, it offers a good support. It’s also smooth, enough to be comfortable for long drives. Some of my friends told me that I would have the steering wheel on my knees, but on Quentin’s car, it comes from a 911, it’s smaller and  totally ergonomic.
The gear shift is under the right hand (remember, this is a french car), perfectly. The engine runs properly.

Here we go for a long drive on the windy roads. It’s perfect to test a sport car like the Porsche 944. Contrary to the test of the MG B, the road is dry !
First brake with a bit of fear, but no, the pedals have a good feeling, a real resistance. The right pedal offers the same touch, a good resistance, a good progressiveness and if we consider the nature of the engine, it’s almost impossible to have a bad surprise by losing control.

It’s possible to drive “legally”, even with a 200 HP sport car. We can talk on board without becoming deaf. With the right pedal, fixed on the floor, and its progressiveness, it’s easy to respect speed limitations, even in a city.

As soon as we see the out of city sign, I release the cavalry. The power is available, and we can get on high revs without any problem. The thrust is linear… after 4000 rpm. The speed increases, without issue, the balance is good and we don’t feel any strange reactions. No escape of the rear wheels, it’s locked, it’s Porsche.
The steering wheel gives me just the information I need, no parasites, no blurred zone, no jolting, even on bad roads. The only surprise on a very, very, damaged road comes from the brakes, the wheels were not really in contact with the road.

To conclude, the car is efficient when we want to drive sportly but also very reassuring, without any surprise. A car to recommand.

Drive a Porsche 944

Depending on the version and on the mileage, you can find 944s from £2.500 for a 2.5 to £25,000 for a rare Turbo S or Turbo Cabriolet with low mileage.

Ranking :

5 étoiles

Avantages

disadvantages

– low price Porsche not a 911 –
– Colmfortable ans usable as a daily heavy car –
– Sportly
– Youngtimer style
Rarity 3-etoiles
Price  from £2.500 to £25.000
Posted by Pierre in Cars, Non classé, 0 comments

Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016 : a nice success for nice cars

Last week-end, between Spa Classic and Le Mans Classic, race cars from any era were gathered at the Dijon-Prenois circuit for the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016. It was once again a success, but it’s not chance.

Throughout the week, organizers, drivers and audience checked the sky. With the bad weather in France the previous days, it was likely to rain during the weekend. It would be a shame if it did…

Fortunately, the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016 nearly avoided all the showers. The sky was grey, but since Friday afternoon, rain was replaced by clouds and a dry track.

Friday the audience was small, but it was a bunch of enthusiasts. There was only a few car in the club area as well. However, it was radically different the next day. Collectors saved the date for the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016. People came to see the Group C cars and the clubs. However, there were less people and cars than last year, due to the weather conditions. “Only” 14,000 people came this year!

The owners who had registered beforehand could drive on the circuit, during club driving sessions. Their speed was far lower than the race cars, but it’s not really usual to drive on the track of Dijon-Prenois.

For the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016, the footbridge leading to the inside of the Parabolique  was open, like the access to the southern part, for the first time in a long while. The audience could go all around the circuit to see the cars.

For those who are curious about the engineering behind those marvelous cars. The paddocks were open to the public. You could see the mechanics work on the cars having issues, or just setting them up.

The main show of the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016 is obviously on the track. Let’s start with the most expected group, the Group C cars. Even if some of them did not attend to every session (I could not see the Lancia LC2 race), some played the game. The speed is astonishing and the drivers don’t hesitate to attack. There is hardly any overtaking due to the difference of performance. However the sound of the cars is just staggering. The better demonstration comes from the Peugeot 905 and its engine that could have been in a F1 (the displacement is the same than the V10 F1 engine). Results will come in another post.

The small Formula Junior were not eagerly-awaited. Their aura is quite faint, even if they had some famous beginning drivers behind the wheel. However they provided an enjoyable show, their small size allowing overtaking and their relative grip offering some nice figures.

They were followed by two touring car groups. The first group, U2TC, featured the “small” cars with an engine of less than 2 liter. Minis, Alfa Rome Giulias and Giulia GTs, BMW 1800 and the Ford Lotus Cortinas were still in the first places and still fast! There were a lot of overtakings and it’s not that simple with a car that slides in every corner.

The Heritage Touring Cup gathered cars of bigger displacement, but those were definitely the Queens of touring car championships. The Ford Escorts and Capris are the fastest and the stay ahead. You could find BMW 635s, 530s, et 2002s, Volvos, and even a Volkswagen Sirocco.

Then we could watch the oldest cars, gathered for the Trophée Légende. This group was recreated by Peter Auto for the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016. It gathered the stars of the 1930s: Bugatti Type 35, Maserati 8CM, Alfa Romeo 8C 2300s, including a Zagato and a Monza. To sum it up, cars you can not believe they can be this fast despite their age!

Of you enjoy Italian cars from the 50-60s, the Trofeo Nastro Rosso is made for you. Only cars related to Italy, but not only Italalian cars, some Porsche 356 Carrera Abarth were there. You could find a lot of Ferraris, mainly 275s and 250s.

The event also featured three groups of endurance cars.The  Classic Endurance Racing 1 gathered GT cars from 1966 to 1974 and prototypes from 1966 to 1971.

The CER 2 gathered GT cars from 1975 to 1981 and prototypes from 1972 to 1981. It was a real show, GTs were fighting against the slowest prototypes. You could see a lot of Chevron, Lola or Porsche 911. The races were really entertaining and the victory was determined only at the last minutes, despite the length of the race sessions.

The last endurance group was the  Sixties Endurance. It was THE race to see Saturday, in the late afternoon for two hours. A lot of teams from the Tour Auto were there, even if some cars were missing. I suppose they were saving them for Le Mans Classic, next month. There was a lot of cars on track, 60. Between the battles for the different places and the traffic to overtake, there was no time to get bored. The Shelby Cobras, Jaguar E-types were leading, fighting against a Bizzarrini. The race saw several safety car interruptions.

The Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016 has now ended and we can not wait to see the cars once more at Le Mans. Concerning Dijon, let’s pray for a better weather next year.

Our 1900 photos of the Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or 2016 are available in our gallery here.

Posted by Pierre in Non classé, Past events, 0 comments

A former Le Mans 24 Porsche 911 was at Essen Show

At the Techno Classica Essen, the biggest classic car show in Europe, that you can discover in our article by cliquing here, you turn your head, and you see a 911. But on Porsche Classic space there was a special one, a former Le Mans 24 Porsche 911.

This Porsche 911 was so a bit special because it ran the Le Mans 24 hours in 1972.
The model is a Porsche 911 2.5 S/T based on the Porsche 911 2.4 S model and transformed, as 24 other cars, for racing in FIA’s groups 3 and 4.

The car was bought by Mike Keyser at the end of the year 1971 to run in World Sport Car Championship, known as World Championship for Makes at these years.
The first race of the car was Daytona 6 Hours, only 6 because of petroleum crisis, in 1972 were Keyser welcome his co-driver Jurgen Bärth, factory Porsche driver. The result was not at the end of the race, the car retired after 50 laps. At Sebring 12 hours, it’s the engine that make them retire.

In May, the car comes to Europe, at the Targa Florio the team arrive 10th at general and 2nd in the in their class. At Nürburgring 1000 km, the finished 13rd and only 6th of their class.

For Le Mans, the car arrive under the colours of Louis Mezanarie. Mike Keyser and Jurgen Bärth welcome an other co-driver, the swiss Sylvain Garant.
The race happen weel, and the sunday the car is 13rd at the general, but 1st in GT 2.5 class !

This former Le Mans 24 Porsche 911 ran two other big races in world championship. The first one, at the end of 1972, the Watkins Glen 6 hours, where Keyser, with Beasley as co-driver, took the 8th position and the class victory.

At the beggining of 1973, the car is engaged to the Daytona 24, Keyser, Adamowicz and Beasley took a good 8th place.

This will be the last race of Keyser with this car, remplaced by a RSR for the rest of the season.

The former Le Mans 24 Porsche 911 became a rally car and was modified and turned to G specifications. After some rally and some accident, the car was abandonned.
It was discovered few years ago and given to Porsche Classic to ensure a big restoration. The car has structural and body damages that the specialist of the Porsche factory repaired to present the car at Essen. By the way, the car refind is livery of Le Mans 1972.

We hope we will see the car on tracks soon !

Pictures : News d’Anciennes, Porsche, Revs Institute, Racingandsportcar

 

Posted by Pierre in News, Non classé, 0 comments