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Thread: SWB vs LWB. How do they compare?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    East TN

    SWB vs LWB. How do they compare?

    I bought my ‘66 911 5 years ago. I love the car. I love the engine. I love everything about it. (It’s “real”). I’ve put 35k miles on it, so I drive…alot. But, I have a problem. I want a long hood LWB car and I’ve never driven one. Maybe some people can weigh in on the different experience (feel) of driving the two? (Subtleties and non-subtleties). Specifically, I’m thinking of a 1970 or 1971S.

    I thought about buying an 87-89 Carrera. However, long ago in another life I owned 2. My thinking is an air cooled Carrera would now be to sterile. Too “isolating” (if that makes sense). I’ve also owned a 75 impact bumper (my first Porsche).

    How would a ‘71S compare to my “66”? Obviously, it will be faster. Corner better, etc…just a more “advanced” automobile. But, I do not want to lose the mechanical feel of my “66. Is the feel of a 70-71S closer to my ‘66 or is it closer to an early 2.7?

    (TBH, my ‘66 feels as fast as my early impact bumper car did).

    Where on the scale do these Esse’s fall between a SWB and an early impact bumper? Closer to the “66 or closer to the ‘74?

    There is a visceral feel to my ‘66 that’s been somewhat designed out of the ‘74’s. I don’t want to lose that. Will a long hood S keep that feel? Are they closer to a ‘74?

    I have never driven an S. It seems like I’ve never driven most of my 911’s in my life, until I buy it. That’s why I’m asking. A 911S is no longer an inexpensive car. I don’t wanna buy one if every time I go somewhere (to the store or cross country) I reach for the keys to my ‘66.

    Just how refined is an S compared to a SWB or an early 2.7 car?

    ‘87 911
    ‘66 304307
    S Registry #3791
    David Cate

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    This is a report I’ve posted in forum before. It from 1973 written by the incomparable “Jenks” who had been co-driver with Stirling Moss in the Merc on that the famous Mille Miglia. Jenks was involved in Porsche scene in England attending early Porsche club events back in the day and he had a large amount of seat time in various Porsches (and other cars) when they were brand new in his role as a correspondent for the well regarded Motor Sport.

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    Caveat: most people aren’t as good at driving or at assessing vehicles as they think they are and that includes motoring journalists so take any comments with a pinch of salt.


  3. #3
    Borrowed this from a post on Pelican (primarily related to changes in handling of the early 911s):

    “Let's not forget that the demonic handling of the SWB 911 in the early years was associated with 165/15 Firestone Phoenix Tires. It's amazing what wider, modern compound tires can accomplish.

    That said, "unsafe at any speed" was published around that time and the factory took advantage of the time-honored maxim of Torts that "evidence of subsequent remedial measures is not admissible to prove defects of design in products liability cases." Hence:

    Cast-iron weights in the front bumper (1966)
    Wider track (1968)
    Front suspension that was actually adjustable (late 1965)
    Revised alignment settings (1966)
    Revised springplate bushings (1967)
    Revised front crossmember and A-arms (1968)
    Larger front antiroll bar (increased from 13mm pencil bar) (1967)
    Fuchs wheels for less unsprung weight vs. steel wheels (1967)
    Rear antiroll bar (196?)

    Finally they gave up in 1969 and ended up with:

    Flared fenders for wider tires (185/15)
    Longer wheelbase
    Dual batteries way up front and outboard (there is NO electrical reason for this, it's a weight thing)
    Revised front suspension design (different balljoints and crossmember)”

    FWIW, I would count handling as a primary difference. That said, if you’re only going to drive to a C&C, it’s a moot point. I’ve only driven my car (‘72 S) at my max on the track.
    Peter Kane

    '72 911S Targa
    Message Board Co-Moderator - Early 911S Registry #100

  4. #4
    Moderator Chuck Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Reseda, CA.



    I'm usually asked the question the other way around ... From a LWB to a SWB

    So this is how I've answered those questions:

    'Besides the natural torque characteristics of the bigger engines, to me the only difference aggressively driving a SWB vs LWB is you need slightly quicker hands' ....

    So, coming from the SWB to the LWB you should have a bit more confidents...
    But as Peter mentioned, if all you're doing is driving to Cars & Coffee events it's a non-issue...

    Cheers and good luck,
    Chuck Miller
    Creative Advisor/Message Board Moderator - Early 911S Registry #109
    R Gruppe #88

    TYP901 #62
    '73S cpe #1099 - Matched # 2.7/9.5 RS spec rebuild
    '67 Malibu 327 spt cpe - Period 350 Rebuild

    ’98 Chevy S-10 – Utility
    ’15 GTI – Commuter

  5. #5
    Senior Member frederik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    David, you do raise a point that is often on my mind: how are the myriads of other 911s compared to mine? I own a 2.4T and a 2.2S, but have never driven a SWB so can't comment on that. However, if I lived close to you we could swap cars for a drive and both learn something. Maybe there is a forum member close to you who can help you out with a test drive. Although, in my experience, if you have more time with a certain type of 911, you start to appreciate it in a deeper way than during a test drive. If you are in the financial position to own more than one, one option is to buy a 2.2S and sell it again if it disappoints you -- it won't depreciate. You didn't say why you want a LWB though, what is it you're missing in your SWB?

    I did drive a 3.2 Carrera Clubsport some time ago and it impressed me deeply, but in no way was it similar to a 2.2S. The 2.2 dances while the 3.2 CS felt low, wide and glued to the road in comparison, and the engine character is very different: not nearly as highly strung as the 2.2. I haven't driven a regular 3.2 yet though. Based on what I read, I suspect a '75 would be similarly different in engine character from a 2.2: more torque, not as eager to rev.

    One last thought: I always enjoy reading these type of discussions since they are the closest we can get to experiencing other cars without being able to drive them.
    1970 2.2S Elfenbeinweiss
    1972 2.4T Targa Aubergine (MFI) [For sale]
    2002 996 TT Midnight Blue
    Member #3833

  6. #6

    SWB vs LWB

    David. You need to drive a good early '69-73 LWB car and see how you like it compared to your SWB car. I know this is controversial, but I think the early LWB cars are better drivers than SWB cars. It doesn't mean LWB cars are better. It's just a different feel. Aside from cornering, which on a track can be very high in either a SWB or LWB car, the LWB cars ride better due to their longer wheelbase. It doesn't seem like a 2.25" longer wheelbase could make much difference, but it does. I have owned a '73S coupe for decades and it drives better than a SWB '67S I owned in the past and better than a SWB 912 I own. I've upgraded the suspension on the SWB car to '67S specs but the '73S LWB is still a better driving car to me. As has been said, if you are just driving your car for weekend C&C events and some canyon carving both SWB and early LWB cars are terrific. But if you are taking a road trip, I think the LWB cars are more comfortable due to their longer wheelbase. However, again not to insult anyone, there is no comparison between an early LWB car and a later G series car like an SC or a 3.2 Carrera. The difference is the early LWB car feels light and nimble whereas the later big bumper LWB cars feel heavier and even ponderous. (It doesn't mean the G series cars aren't fast or great driving cars...they are. But they feel much different than an early SWB or LWB car due to their increased weight.) In short, if I was just doing fun weekend stuff either a SWB or an early LWB car would be terrific. If I was taking a road trip from LA to New York, I'd probably pick an SC or a 3.2 Carrera...with A/C too. Drive a couple of good LWB cars and you'll have your answer.

  7. #7
    Senior Member bob joyce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    el sobrante ca.
    the general rule
    "The newer The Porsche the better"

  8. #8
    As far as I'm concerned, Porsche stopped making the 911 after 1968.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    I find the swb 68S more urgent/engaging than my later longhoods.
    S Registry#2021

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    NW CT
    This is turning into a great thread. Ironically I was trying to explain to my brother the joy of driving a longhood at 9/10's or more, and sent him these two videos:



    I love that Harris' '64 seems to have a proper bag of antlers as opposed to a short-shift kit. Perhaps heresy, but as big a fan I am of the 72-73 cars, a 901 transmission is so much better than a 915.
    MBR #3926
    '71 911 T Targa "Rick White"
    '71 911 E "Karen"
    '70 S/T
    '16 CD
    '10 E61 "Vomit Comet"

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