Toy Cannon

Also from Issue 211

  • 1975 911
  • 911 50 year celebration
  • 1955 356 Continental
  • 911 Cabriolet buyer's guide
  • 997 GT3 RSR
  • Zwart's 911s
  • Profile: engineer Helmuth Bott
  • 18 year old racer Tyler Palmer
  • SC vs. C2 buying comparison
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But it was bone dry outdoors. Huzzah. I’ll get my short, necessarily ceremonial drive in Alex’s 46-year-old teenager, taking a savory sip from this vintage jeroboam.

Older Than Springtime

The most striking thing about the ’67, particularly compared with the lavish C4S, is how small, understated, even delicate, it is. It’s pleasingly little, words that simply won’t wrap around the meaty, grumbly 991. The two are clearly of the same lineage, but only if you look beneath their vastly different presentations. From an engineering standpoint, their similarities are clear only when you consider their basic architecture.

The interesting thing about this ’67 is that in 1966 Cam Warren’s car seemed cold and uninviting, yet after a moment in Alex Finigan’s garage, the ’67 seems unspeakably “sweet.” Everything about it is modest and welcoming. Its lines are graceful and, in some inexplicable way, vulnerable, like the lines, say, of the earliest 924s. After 50 years, of course, huge changes take place in one’s automotive sensibilities. Everything we thought about the first 901s has been transformed by decades of race-winning, boulevard-bashing, gorgeous 911s that everyone with a pulse would like to own. Those initial impressions, earnestly held, must go under If Knew Then What I Know Now.

The 901 is a 911 but an infant 911. It’s properly equipped, but it’s just beginning to find its way genetically. Finigan’s car, for example, has Fuchs wheels (as would early 911s for another decade). However, his are among the very first Fuchs wheels and are completely unadorned. They have no highly polished surfaces, no black-out backgrounds. It’s as if the makers thought they’d done a pretty good job so far, but they couldn’t decide yet how to make their wheels really pop. Unadorned, these Fuchs look unusual, knowing what was done later, yet they still look great. Finigan also has a set of original chromed pressed-steel wheels—with the original Dunlop “dog-bone” tires on them! They’ve followed the car through three owners. To achieve a “period” look, these pressed-steel wheels would take the car deep into the proto-901 Sixties.

Genealogy Before Preciosity

You may never have heard of Herbert Dramm. Be grateful to him anyway. He was Natonal Service Advisor of Porsche of America and the face of the company during the sports-car struggles of the Fifties and Sixties. He was also one of the main reasons Porsche won races and prospered. For example, when the fast Tony Adamowicz 911 L crashed heavily in the last Friday practice at Daytona in 1969, Dramm called Ferry Porsche in Germany direct to expedite speedy, complete NASA-style repairs in time for the next day’s race. Thanks to Dramm, the car finished fourth overall against prototypes and big-bore V8s—another Porsche sensation.

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