The Flagship

The story of a stunning, award-winning 1989 911 Turbo Cabriolet.

September 14, 2017
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The year 2016 was pretty good for this 1989 Porsche 911 (930) Carrera Turbo Cabriolet. The Guards Red over Parchment soft-top that calls Castro Valley, California home carried off class winner’s trophies at the Carmel Concours on the Avenue, the PCA Werks Reunion, as well as the Hillsborough, Serrano, and Ledson Winery Concours d’Elegance. The car was entered in most of PCA’s Zone 7 Concours events, garnering enough points to win the Class S-4 championship for the 2007-2008 season. In all, says owner Ed Gervasoni, this car has garnered more than 70 first-place, Best of Show, and Peoples’ Choice awards.

Porsche, as we know, introduced its first turbocharged model for the street in 1974 as the Type 930 Turbo Carrera, incorporating technology proven in the factory’s 917 prototype racing program. The 930 was the homologated basis for Porsche’s new turbocharged 934 Group 4 racing car, and it joined the product lineup in 1975. The new 3.0-liter coupe used a single Kühnle, Kopp & Kausch (KKK) exhaust-driven turbine to develop 260 horsepower at 5,500 rpm for Rest-of-World versions and a still-healthy 245 hp for the U.S. market.

Porsche’s engineers decided the engine had a broad-enough powerband to use a four-speed transmission with widely spaced ratios. The new Turbo Carrera, with its outrageous flared fenders, widened quarter panels, and a new “whale tail” rear spoiler, was intended to be the world’s fastest production car, and indeed was capable of a hair less than 160 miles an hour off the showroom floor. The new Turbo Carrera became an instant symbol of German high performance, and colorful Porsche advertising posters soon displaced images of the equally outrageous Lamborghini Countach as well as those of certain Hollywood blondes as garage and bedroom wall décor.

Besides being an immaculate and well-detailed example, Gervasoni’s eye-catching car is a somewhat rare bird; only 600 Carrera Turbo Cabriolets were built for the North American market for the model year 1989 (another 244 were built to Rest-of-World specification). The 1989 Turbo Cabriolet marked the final year of the 930-coded, K-program version. In January of that year, the new L-program Type 964 Carrera 4 with all-wheel-drive began production, and a few months later, the Carrera 2 would appear.

Gervasoni tells us that he had been looking for a clean low-mileage Cab like this for a long time. “An un-restored 930 Turbo Cabriolet is the Porsche I have always wanted to own and drive,” he says, “but it was also the car no one ever wanted to sell.” Today, he says, “Everyone wants to buy it.” In fact, that’s almost precisely the term Porsche used in its factory published 1989 “Fact Book.”

The problem was finding one that met his criteria. Gervasoni kept his eyes peeled for over three years before spotting this one for sale in Excellence in 2006, back when this publication was still running printed classifieds. The seller was located in Georgia. The car looked and sounded like what he had in mind, so after contacting the owner, Terry Whitman, Gervasoni and his wife made some travel plans.

“We flew to Atlanta and then drove to Lawrenceville, where Terry lives,” says Gervasoni. “He had the car sitting in the driveway. It was a beautiful sunny Georgia morning, and the car was just glistening.” Whitman walked Gervasoni and his wife around the car, explaining that it needed a new top and some detailing. Other than those items, he says, the car was in mint condition. The three-year search was over.

Also from Issue 250

  • One-Millionth 911
  • The Birth of the 911
  • Market Update: 912 & 914
  • 1954 356 Speedster
  • Rally-Raid 964 Carrera 4
  • 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • 2002 Le Mans GT Winning 996
  • 2017 911 RSR
  • Third-Gen Cayenne
  • 964 Carrera 2-based 3.6 RS
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