History of the 1994 - 1998 Porsche 911
The 1994 Porsche 911 993 redesign was almost as radical as the jump from the 356 to the 911 in 1965. Only the roof and the bonnet remained from the previous 964 Carrera 2 and 4 models, and despite all the changes, prices were cut 10 percent on the Carrera 2 replacement. The rear-wheel-drive Carrera was introduced in mid-1994 and Porsche added cabriolets to the range in 1995.
Among the changes were new bodywork, a 6-speed gearbox, new multilink rear suspension with transverse A-arms, an uprated front suspension, larger cross-drilled brake discs, and a new ABS antilock brake system, improved interior ventilation and new water-based paint. Floating mounts for the front and back windscreens proved problematic with the new stiffer body, as contact between the shell and the glass could cause delamination. A mid-year Touring package softened the ride.
Porsche significantly modified the 3.6-litre engine, including hydraulic valve lifters, lighter valve pistons and connecting rods, acoustically designed reduced flow exhaust, and an airflow sensor to better monitor the fuel mix. All this led to an extra 23hp from the engine, which now gave 270hp, with 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds and top speed of 165mph.
Porsche introduced an 'electronic immobiliser' security system and a power option called an automatic brake differential, which would apply the brakes to whichever rear wheel was spinning under hard acceleration. The Porsche 964's complex computer system, which balanced power distribution on the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 model, was replaced by a much simpler viscous drive clutch, which delivered more power to the front wheels.
The Porsche 993 benefitted from the 'Weissach axle' developed for the 928 and the front and rear suspension sub-frames were now deemed so strong the factory decreed they be replaced after a severe crash, as they could not be straightened adequately. The 'smart' Tiptronic transmission gained shifters on the steering wheel hub on Carrera 2 models, but the switches could also be retrofitted on earlier cars. The Weissach axle would be the last remnant of the water-cooled V-8 928, which was cancelled in 1995, along with its 4-cylinder sibling, the 968.
The best news was the new twin-turbo Porsche 911 Carrera 4, introduced late in 1995 as a 1996 model. This effectively duplicated the powertrain of the 1988 959 – with 'only' 400hp. While the new car could manage 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, the brakes could pull it down from 60-0mph in only 2.6. Top speed was a joyous 180 mph, and it cost less than half the £100,000 of the original 959.
Also in 1996, the VarioRam induction system raised the Carrera 2's horsepower from 270 to 282, improving 0-60mph to 5.3 seconds and the top speed to 171mph. Not all the news was good, though: the Targa system became more complex and involved a glass roof that slid down inside the back window. After a couple of years use, it was inclined to stay there, requiring expensive repairs.
For 1997, the Porsche 911 993 Twin-Turbo S power output increased to 424hp, and both turbo models were now fitted with a 150-watt 10-speaker Bose audio system. Also in 1997 an inkling of the future appeared in the shape of the new Porsche Boxster, which featured a mid-mounted, water-cooled engine of 2.5-litres developing 201hp.
Competition variants of the Porsche 911 993 included the 1995 and 1996 lightweight Porsche Carrera RS, with a 300hp engine, non-retractable rear wing, alloy wheels and spartan interior with no rear seat. An even fiercer version was the Porsche 911 993 Clubsport or RSR, with welded roll bar and all creature comforts deleted. The rear wing was even bigger, as was the chin spoiler. The RS was street-legal in Europe but not in America, and both models have been cloned by enthusiasts.
The Porsche 911 993 GT2 was the racing Turbo from the mid-1990s, when all-wheel drive had been banned. As a result, it was even lighter and faster without the front axle, and the wings were cut back to be replaced with plastic panels, allowing wider racing tires. As much as 600hp was extracted from the racing engine in the Evo version, designed for the GT1 series. A few street GT2s, named the Porsche GT, were built for homologation, and are highly prized by collectors. The GT Turbo operated at higher boost, with 430hp until 1997, and 450hp in 1998.
The year 1998 would be the last for the air-cooled 993 model, as the water-cooled 996 was launched in Europe, and remaining 993 stocks were sold. Coincidentally (and fittingly, perhaps) Ferry Porsche, who had created the company with his father, died on March 27, 1998, at age 88. Only two 993 cut-down Speedsters were special-ordered; a dark green one for Ferry Porsche on his 60th anniversary, and a silver one for comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
In recent years the Porsche 911 (993) has become a very collectable classic. Enthusiasts see the last of the air-cooled Porsches as being an iconic car and all models have risen in value as a consequence.