Yet, during a worldwide recession, all 250 cars offered were quickly spoken for. This suggests that Porsches are bought for more than just performance, that some buyers are also looking for something different. And, in fact, Porsche has been building tailor-made cars for such clients for a long time, through a specialist department originally known as Sonderwunsch (Special Wishes).
Have you ever really, really loved a pair of shoes? Well, Sonderwunsch, found in Zuffenhausen’s Werke 1, would happily paint your Porsche to match their color, then wrap every piece of its interior in their leather. As you’d imagine from this example, oddities abounded: A 996 with a baby blue cockpit, a 959 with an under-dash drawer for an Uzi, and a 930 with leather gauge faces and a convertible top that closed itself if it started to rain while the car was parked are but three examples.
The Sport Classic is meant to demonstrate the full capabilities of Exclusive. While the car is based on the mechanicals of the current Carrera S, its wider rear fenders come from the Carrera 4 and give it a wider rear track and a more purposeful stance. While the fatter fenders were in the parts bin, the rest of the body alterations had to be created with production in mind, meeting not only Porsche’s requirements but those of governmental agencies. Thus, the sculpted front spoiler, side sills, revised rear bumper, fixed ducktail spoiler, and double-bubble roof section were all wind-tunnel and TüV tested.
While the ducktail is a clear reference to 1973’s 911 Carrera RS 2.7, the paint is an early 356 gray that faded from Porsche’s color charts. Now called Sport Classic Grey, it’s offset by medium gray stripes over the hood, roof, and ducktail. These disappoint by being self-adhesive rather than painted, and one wonders if they’ll be deleted on some Sport Classics for differentiation — because all 250 cars will have the same colors and equipment. (The sole option is a short-shifter.)
Odd lingo aside, there’s no getting away from the fact that the Sport Classic has the most lavish, finely detailed interior seen on a production Porsche. The material found on the door panels and the seats’ center sections recalls Berber fabric used in 911s of the 1970s. Closer inspection reveals an intricate pattern
of finely woven leather and yarn that’s pleasing to eye and fingertip alike. Sonderwunsch has long been known for its ability to cut leather so thinly that it can cover plastic air vents and still fit them into their dashboard receptacles, an art that continues here.
is a plaque near the glovebox engraved with each car’s standing as one of 250 customer Sport Classics. This test car isn’t one of them, by the way. It’s labeled No. 000/250 and will likely end up in the Porsche Museum.
Moving back outside, the 19-inch alloy wheels are a modern interpretation of Porsche’s first and longest-running alloy road wheel, the basic design of which lasted from 1967 until 1989. Made for Porsche by Fuchs, those five-spoke wheels were known for strength and lightness and came in a variety of finishes — but never with the gloss black spokes and polished lips seen here. Sized 19×8.5 and 19×11 and wearing 235/35ZR19 and 305/30ZR19 tires, the new versions positively dwarf the 14-, 15-, and 16-inch originals.
The optional Sport suspension found on 2005–08 997s used -20 mm springs and conventional gas-filled dampers, which produced a very stiff ride. The new PASM Sport suspension still lowers the car by 20 mm, but now uses the variable damper technology to yield a near-perfect balance between daily driver comfort and taut handling in the Normal setting with enough body control for track events in the Sport setting.
Porsche gave the Sport Classic its best Carrera-line suspension, brakes, and wheels in preparation for the most powerful 911 Carrera engine to date — the first to claim more than 400 horsepower. The Powerkit 3.8, based on the direct fuel-injection sixes used in 2009-on 997 Carreras, was developed for the Sport Classic, and is now available as an option on Carrera S, Carrera 4S, and Targa 4S models.
The result is 408 hp, which arrives at 7300 rpm. Incredibly, this output matches the European 1996 993 Turbo’s peak horsepower figure — without the help of two turbochargers. It’s also 28 horses more than the 8200-rpm 2004 996 GT3, and just 7 shy of the 8400-rpm 2007 997 GT3, while being more economical and cleaner than all of them. While the 3.8 can’t match a Turbo for torque, it still offers 310 lb-ft from 4200 to 5600 rpm.
Out on the road, the Powerkit 3.8 is noticeably stronger than the 3.8 S, and more eager, too. Under full throttle, its deeper lungs let it sing longer and harder to redline. Its signature exhaust note is pitch-perfect all the way from idle to the 7500-rpm cut-out — you can’t help but think this is how all normally-aspirated 911s should sound! Porsche’s engineers say they would have liked to make it even louder — certain markets like Switzerland have strict noise regulations that dictated otherwise — but this Porsche’s inspiring song suffers little from being a few decibels softer.
The Sport Classic also stands tall compared to other recent special models. Our drive occurred back-to-back with the 2010 GT3 RS and 2011 Boxster Spyder, two Porsches that are hard acts to follow. Any of these three are focused enough that even a short drive will bring a wide smile to your face, and all are cars you can lose your heart to rather than merely respect. One, however, stands out as the best all-rounder: the Sport Classic. Where the new GT3 RS is a civilized track toy and the Spyder is a fun sports car, the Sport Classic does everything that a normal Carrera S will, and more.
Of course, the Sport Classic costs more than the RS and the Spyder combined. It also costs more than the 911 GT2, an also-rare 911 with performance on an entirely different level. In dollars and sense, then, it’s hard to understand the logic behind the Sport Classic. So what was Porsche thinking?
We’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not the 911 Sport Classic is worth its €169,300 price tag — but it is the best and most complete driver’s Carrera so far.