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Thread: Model years & difference in handling?

  1. #1

    Model years & difference in handling?

    Hi, my name is Val and I'm new. I'm trying to figure out what year 911/912 to buy for track days and weekends. I like 911s before 1989. My 911 books list changes from year to year, but don't really explain their effect on handling. My priorities in order are (1) Handling (2) Reliability (3rd) Power. I don't care about comfort or modern convenience. If anybody's willing to field my questions or point me to a resource I'd appreciate it.

    1. Can an old 911 be updated to handle as well as a newer 911?
    2. What years resulted in a "quantum-leap" in handling?
    3. Are there years that are too old to update their handling?
    4. Years that would be stupid to modify, i.e. fender flares?
    5. Are there years that are so old they're ridiculously expensive to maintain, difficult to find parts for, and undesirable to race? In other words, strictly collectables.

    Thanks, Val

  2. #2
    That's a lot of questions surrounding a main theme. I fyou do some reading and searching the archives, you will get the info.

    Here's a start: The early cars are lighter, so with some supension tuning and some more power, they are probably the first choice of the hobby racer. As the cars got heavier, the got more power, but the 0 to 60 times and hp/wweight figures didn't change all that much. Obviously, I'm not including Turbos.

    The '66-68 911s had a shorter wheel base. Something to consider for autocross, especially the tighter courses.

    For the most part, cars from the late sixties to the late eighties have a lot in common. For instance, they have the same door size, the same windshield and the same rear deck size. The used the same front A arms and other suspension componets. The items that are different are not that different and often can be bolted on. An example is the later alum rear trailing arm can be used on earlier cars with some minor work and some parts matching.

    So, you can bring an early car around to having big brakes, flares and big tires, big motor, etc. Or you can take a later car and back date it with fender and hood changes that bolt right on. Lot of folk do this in fiberglass.

    Like I said, you need to just spend some time here and on the other boards. Options abound. I hope I didn't miss your point in asking the questions, it's just that the years of the cars don't really make that much difference. In a way, they're all the same. This began to change in 1990. That's another story.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply zeke. I have read the 911 Buyers guide, the red book, a 911 performance book, and the 911 101 projects book. Do you have a book recommendation? Val

  4. #4
    Goldmember ttweed's Avatar
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    Re: Model years & difference in handling?

    Originally posted by Val
    Hi, my name is Val and I'm new. I'm trying to figure out what year 911/912 to buy for track days and weekends. I like 911s before 1989.
    You do realize that most people on this forum prefer the pre-'74 vintage 911, no? You might find more info on the newer 911s on the Pelican Parts forum.

    1. Can an old 911 be updated to handle as well as a newer 911?
    Define "newer". Up to '89 they were all torsion bar suspension, so yes, I would say any pre-89 can be equalized. In '90, they went to coilovers, which was better, but you can update an early car to coilovers, too. With the 993 in '94-95, the rear suspension was improved from the original semi-trailing arm design, and this would be a difficult thing to update an older car to. There is no doubt that the best handling 911 is the latest one you can buy, namely the GT3-RS, and you are never going to be able to easily make an older car handle as well. For a more inexpensive track car, I would consider the 90-94 C2 as a base, as it has the 3.6 engine, coilovers and the G-50 tranny already.

    2. What years resulted in a "quantum-leap" in handling?
    The only "quantum length" change previous to '89 was the change in wheelbase in 1969. For the later cars, see above.

    3. Are there years that are too old to update their handling?
    No, but I would say the '65-'68 SWB cars cannot be changed to the longer wheelbase without a lot of work and expense, and the SWB cars are getting rarer and perhaps should be preserved. They have a certain "uniqueness" to their handling which can be an advantage in some situations.

    4. Years that would be stupid to modify, i.e. fender flares?
    I wouldn't differentiate this by year, but by condition. I don't think you should modify any pre-'74 which is in original, unmolested condition when you find it, but that is just an opinion. There are plenty of unloved '74-77 cars to strip if you're going to make a track car.

    5. Are there years that are so old they're ridiculously expensive to maintain, difficult to find parts for, and undesirable to race? In other words, strictly collectables.
    Once again, I would say this depends on condition and not year. All Porsches are expensive to maintain, difficult to find parts for, and they are all fun to race. But to be collectible, it must either be an original and unmolested example, or a vintage racer with a documented history.

    YMMV,
    TT
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  5. #5
    Early 911S Registry # 237 NeunElf's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Zeke
    The '66-68 911s had a shorter wheel base. Something to consider for autocross, especially the tighter courses.
    The '65s also have the same shorter wheelbase.

    One of the terrors of the autocross world is a 1968 911L Targa named "Marcel." I keep forgetting the owners' name, but they're from the San Francisco area.

  6. #6
    Early 911S Registry # 237 NeunElf's Avatar
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    Re: Model years & difference in handling?

    Originally posted by Val
    4. Years that would be stupid to modify, i.e. fender flares?

    5. Are there years that are so old they're ridiculously expensive to maintain, difficult to find parts for, and undesirable to race? In other words, strictly collectables.
    It's getting so that nice, original, old 911s are getting to be pretty hard to find. I would have to suggest that if a pre-'74 911 has survived unmolested to this day, it should be preserved (i.e. no flares). Particularly the Ss, Es, Ls and the '65s and '66s.

    Just about any Porsche has some frightfully expensive parts, and probably some bargain parts, too. On the short wheelbase cars, for instance, there are two front suspension bushings that cost $250 each. On the other hand, the other bushings are much easier and cheaper to change than the long wheelbase cars'.

  7. #7
    Is Marcel, the '68 911L, a terror to the guys trying for the fastest time of the day, or the guys working the cones?
    Charlie
    '66 912
    '50 VW Bug
    '89 VW syncro Tristar Doka
    '83 VW Westfalia

  8. #8
    Early 911S Registry # 237 NeunElf's Avatar
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    Marcel usually sets the best time of day. As it happens, I understand Marcel's driver usually isn't satisfied till he pushes too hard on at least one run, so Marcel tends to collect an occasional cone, too.

    I understand Marcel is bone stock except for being lowered (and having attachment points for a tire rack). Marcel's nose is so low the bumper looks like ankle height.

  9. #9

    I cannot find it right now...

    but TT, you need to repost a pic of "Mr. Smooth's" swb coupe again. I love that car, and I doubt you could roll a tennis ball under it. Please....

    Shawn.
    67 coupe roller
    99 M96 2.5 litre
    early911s reg 447
    R Gruppe 399

  10. #10
    Thanks Ttweed, NeunElf, & Zeke you guys pretty much answered everything. You gave me some new things to think about. You also confirmed some of my suspicions regarding what to keep original vs what to modify.

    I gathered from my reading that the cars broke down into (66-68) (69E) (69-73) (74-77) (78-83) and (84-86) (87-89). I didnít believe the whole group from 66-89 could be so similar, (except 69E) but I guess they are, and thatís a good thing.

    Iíve heard bad things about thermal reactors & catalytic converters, so I want to avoid that smog equipment. Consequently, I was leaning toward a pre-73. However, I like wide fenders and tires because my assumption is that they enhance handling. I wasnít sure if modifying a pre-73 was a good idea, so thatís why I asked the question. No smog, and fender modification brought me to a í74.

    Iíve never owned a Porsche, so I really donít know how important wide tires are to the handling of a 911. Iíve seen pictures of 911s on a track with super-wide tires, wide tries, medium width tires and skinny tires? NeunElfís comment about a stock 1968 being one of the terrors of the autocross makes me wonder if I really need wide fenders & tires. Maybe a stock pre-73 911-S will give me all the handling I need? What type of cars would a stock 1968 911 compete against in autocross?

    Ttweed wrote that all Porsches are expensive to maintain and hard to find parts for. Are there any particular years that are a flat-out pain-in-the-butt to get parts for? I donít want to be unable to drive my Porsche for 3 months because I canít find a part.

    Thanks a bunch, Val

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