As much as the car enthusiast will love the thrill of going fast, we seem to be in an ever-decreasing spiral of frustration. Engineers are forever managing to push the boundaries of vehicle technology and thus create more competent vehicles in each iteration.
The problem for the car lover, is that the enjoyment factor can be pushed too far up the speed scale and force the risk of a slap on the wrist from our Boys in Blue for having a bit of motoring fun. The first release of the Porsche 911 in 1964 (originally called the 901) was with a 2.0l engine producing 130hp that launched it down the road at a swift, but manageable, 8.7 seconds from 0-62mph. Fast forward to today and the base model Porsche 911 is now available with a 3.0l engine that produces 370hp and will fire the (code-named) 991 across the tarmacadam in 4.4 seconds using the same benchmark.
As entertaining as that may be, it also means you only get to enjoy your Porsche for half the time whilst your toe has the organ pedal accelerator pinned to the carpet. In the long running battle between man and machine, the rush of wringing the neck of your trusty steed is over all too soon, and you start to watch the horizon for signs of a wagging finger and three points and a hefty fine.
There is a lot to be said for a car with sufficient power to be entertaining but not so much that you end up worrying about the next trip to the showers from the cosy confines of your cell. The opportunities for using the full extent of a car’s full potential are so few and far between, that producing regular road cars capable of high speeds is utterly pointless. A Mk7 Volkswagen Golf GTi is limited, that’s limited, to 155mph. Apart from bragging rights down the local pub, that seems utterly daft. Yes, you can take it to a track day and rag the thing senseless but I’d argue that you would do better to rent a Caterham 7 and scare yourself witless through the Craner Curves of Donington race circuit.
It could be that I’m in a smaller minority than I thought, but if Porsche were to produce an entry model to their upcoming 992 model that incorporated the 4 cylinder boxer engine from their 718 Boxster/Cayman, I’d be salivating. I believe that Porsche have missed a trick in releasing the Carrera T with the same six cylinder engine as the base Carrera. There would be plenty of owners that run Boxsters and Caymans, who suddenly find themselves placing their pride and joy in the Classifieds due the impending arrival of tiny feet. Giving those owners an upgrade path to an entry level and light weight 911 with the same 4 pot engine would be less of a shock to the wallet than the current entry price of c.£77k.
In fact, in what can only be called a “light bulb” moment, it occurs to me that Porsche could dig into their heritage bin once more and thus resurrect the “912” name. This would mean that existing 911 owners wouldn’t be horrified at the undercutting or dilution of their favourite model line.
This Porsche 912 Mk2 would be the same body as the 911, retain the four seats, have a 2.0l boxer four stashed in its tail and be shod with skinnier tyres to reduce the overall grip and increase the entertainment. It could be comfortably appointed but needn’t be as luxurious as the 911 and so there would be some weight savings to be enjoyed there too. There’d be no Targa or convertible options, but you should be able to choose between a manual or PDK gearbox. The Porsche purists could barely complain at this model’s reintroduction since the original 912 was released in 1965 with a 911 body shell and a 2.0l flat four. North America also got a 912E variant in 1976. The history is there for the reading and for Porsche to plunder.
The final point to the 912 Mk2 would be the performance criteria. 0-62mph would be reached no quicker than 6.5 seconds and top speed would be limited to 130 mph. Yes, that 0-62mph is slower than the Golf GTi, but so what? Driving entertainment would still be on tap but at a more leisurely, and license saving, level.
If you build it, they will come. And I will be at the head of the queue.
Love and kisses, Rob.