The 1960s and 1970s. A time of freedom, awakening and revolution. For the Porsche 911 Sport Classic (Type 992), it evokes the spirit of this era in a brand new form. Following on from the 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition, the second model of the Heritage Design strategy from Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur draws on elements from Porsche history.
The original Porsche 911
Like its immediate predecessor (the 997-based 911 Sport Classic from 2009), the appearance of the new 911 Sport Classic was predominantly inspired by two legends – the very first 911 (1964-1973) and the 911 Carrera RS 2.7 (1972). The ’60s was a period of great change, when people felt emboldened to challenge the status quo. It was this same spirit that inspired Ferry Porsche’s vision to change the course of sports car history forever with the 911 that started it all –at this point still called 901. He had three prerequisites. The new car must have six cylinders, a rear engine and enough space for a golf bag.
Initially, Ferry’s attempt to combine everyday drivability with sportiness was deemed too daring for the current market. Of course, the rest is history – some 60 years later the 911 is now a motoring icon. A determination to break from the norm is reflected in the 911 Sport Classic of today.
But first things first, the direct influence of the original model of the 911 can be seen in the Pepita fabric of the door panels and seat centres of the 911 Sport Classic. Although the pattern was first used in a number of Porsche 356s – albeit on special request only back then – it was officially mentioned for the first time in 1965 in the equipment catalogue for the original 911. It remains one of the most sought-after patterns today.
Looking back at the 911, this design was without a doubt a controversial concept. The long, outright extraordinary lifespan of this model makes me proud to have been ultimately proven right with my opinion of the 911
Fashionable Grey inspiration
The exterior colour sportclassicgrey of the 997-based Sport Classic, released as a limited-edition run of 250 models in 2009, was in turn inspired by the understated colour of the 1950 Porsche 356. Fast forward to today, and that very same historical grey has inspired the Sport Grey Metallic paint on the brand new 992 Sport Classic. Painted double stripes on the bonnet, roof and rear spoiler in light sports grey help further emphasise the car’s sporty design. In addition to the exclusive Sport Grey Metallic finish, the vehicle is also available in solid Black, Agategreymetallic, Gentian Blue Metallic or Paint to Sample.
The influence of the legendary Porsche 356 is also seen in the instrument cluster, with the revival of green numerals that featured in the 356 and the 911 until 1967 only. At the rear of the vehicle, gold-coloured lettering is another tradition that harks back to the 356. It’s an element that’s a hallmark for all limited-edition models from the Heritage Design strategy.
Spoiler alert: the mighty ducktail from Porsche
One of the defining features of the 911 Sport Classic is its fixed rear spoiler in the style of the legendary 911 Carrera RS 2.7 – the very first to feature the famous ducktail design. The most likely explanation for how the spoiler came to get its name was that it was as a result of a comment by a less-than-enthused Porsche employee when they first laid eyes on the rear of the RS 2.7. Today, this name has become an integral part of the Porsche vocabulary, prompting instant recognition among enthusiasts and casual motoring fans alike.
The 911 Carrera RS 2.7 became synonymous with performance and dynamism. Racing was part of its DNA. It was the first Porsche to feature the ‘Carrera’ name, named after the fearsome ’50s Mexican road race, the Carrera Panamericana. Such was its impact that the initial plan to make 500 units more than tripled to 1,580 in total. It was a car that ignited Porsche passion within many, and there’s no doubting that the spoiler made a significant contribution to that – and, as the new 911 Sport Classic shows, the ducktail has a timelessness that resonates today.
The story behind the Sport Classic name
The influential design of the 2009 911 Sport Classic didn’t end there, either. Its wide body in a 911 Turbo look, rear-wheel drive, manual transmission and the performance-enhanced engine became the template for the later GTS derivative of the 997 during its development phase. This wide body (a feature reserved, at the time, for only all-wheel drive and Turbo models), authentic ducktail rear and ‘double bubble’ roof help inform a trio of elements carried forward from this model and into that of today’s 911 Sport Classic. The double roof domes were initially inspired by the study of the Porsche Panamericana and the removable roof segments of the Carrera GT. The 997 version and new 992 Sport Classic share a further subtle design detail in the form of a stripe design to match the double bubbles.
As for the nameplate itself, the production team wanted to evoke the pure form of the Porsche sports car with the term ‘classic’. Flicking back through the history of Porsche vehicle names, the team decided on ‘SC’ – then short for Super Carrera – deeming it the perfect match for the vehicle’s features. Plus, the shorter the name on the rear lid, the better. Due to issues with naming rights, however, ‘SC’ went from Super Carrera to Sport Classic. As Boris Apenbrink, the then Project Manager of the 997 Sport Classic and current director of Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur Vehicles, sums it up, “A classic sports car with a manual transmission, rear-wheel drive, a performance-enhanced engine and typical Gran Turismo equipment – a Sport Classic indeed.”
A historical revival
Into the present, the 992 Sport Classic faithfully combines a wealth of historic elements in one new, authentic body. It’s one that continues the tradition of outstanding chassis construction and tuning that you expect from the great Porsche sportscars. The seven-speed manual transmission ensures a direct link between driver and the car, but the characteristic feel of the shift remains pure, courtesy of a drivetrain design that can trace its lineage back to the first ever 911 Turbo, which launched in 1974. The powertrain concept is equally unique: the 3.7 litre, twin-turbo flat-six engine transmits its 405 kW (550PS) to the road via the rear wheels only. In combination with the seven-speed manual gearbox, the new 911 Sport Classic is the most powerful manual 911 available today.
You will also notice a throwback to 911 sportscars from the past when you settle into the cockpit. Here, its two-tone leather interior in Black/Classic Cognac* (semi-aniline leather) is paired with Paldao wood décor. It’s an open-pore trim that Chris Holzinger, one of the car’s designers, says “…gives the entire thing a contemporary look with a natural feel that makes it modern. At the same time, it is also a tribute to the 1960s.” And that, in many ways, is the essence of the 911 Sport Classic. Where modern and contemporary, natural and timeless meet.
What’s more, 911 Sport Classic-inspired interiors can be brought to most 911 models with the Heritage Design Package Classic. Drawing upon beloved historic elements, analogue equipment, upholstered Pepita fabric, and Black/Classic Cognac two-tone leather, the flair of decades gone by can be experienced with every drive.
*Also optionally available in a black leather interior