Mint

A distinctly different 968, and the man who's wild about it.

September 11, 2012

Also from Issue 204

  • Driving the sportiest Cayenne
  • Ruf RGT-8
  • 1955 356
  • 1965 911
  • 1987 962
  • 2013 Boxster S
  • Smart Buy: 2003-06 Cayenne S
  • How not to replace a fuel pump
  • Tech Forum: Q&A
  • Interview: Alan Johnson
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IT’S GENERALLY ACCEPTED THAT IF YOU WANT THE BEST PORSCHE your money can buy, you get the newest model in your chosen series that you can afford.

Fallen in love with 356s? Then buy a C coupe or cabrio — they’re all good. Want some air-cooled, mid-engined magic? See if you can find a late 914 2.0 from the ’75 or ’76 vintage. Yes, I know the ’73s and ’74s have better-looking bumpers, but the final 914s were the closest to bulletproof. And who doesn’t love the 1984-89 Carreras? Buy an ’87-89 car. Great motors. Better transmissions and clutches, too.

This strategy also holds true with the front-engined, water-cooled Porsches. Start­ing shortly after the introduction of the 2.5-liter 1983 944, Por­sche lavished its best engineering on these beautiful coupes, making them better every year, and sometimes even mid-year. Brakes, motor mounts, engine power, and even the interior design evolved over time. By 1989, the 944 S2 had Turbo bodywork and a 3.0-liter, 16-valve engine making 208 hp.

A 944 S3 might have followed, but Por­sche’s followup to the 944 S2 was so vastly improved that it got an en­tirely new model name. Enter the 1992-95 968, the pinnacle of Porsche’s front-engined, four-cylinder line. While a dismal economy made 968s a hard sell as new cars, they’re sought after today. In a world of sub-$3,500 “driver” 944s, good 968s regularly command prices in the teens. Want a top example? Be prepared to fight for it with your checkbook.

I have loved the 968 since my first drive in one back in the day. I even attended a 968 Register meeting a few years ago and came away impressed with the owners, their passion for the breed, and, of course, the cars. But I wasn’t quite sated, and always wanted to know more about these fairly rare, very tempting Porsches.

Who better to ask for a tutorial than the guy who runs the 968 Reg­ister (968register.org)? So I spoke with Jeffrey Coe.

COE’S FASCINATION WITH THE 968 BEGINS NOT WITH FOUR CYLINDERS, but eight. Explains Coe: “I always loved the look of the 928, but I drove one and I didn’t like it. I thought it was too much of a touring GT — too heavy, too big of a car. But I loved the look of it and I liked the 944. So when the 968 got announced, it had the look of the 928 with the performance characteristics of the 944.”

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