Leland-West Insurance

Classic Porsche: the 911 (964) - 1989-1994

Still Room to Grow.

The first Porsche 911 Model 964 rolled off the line in 1989. Although it was still clearly recognizable as a 911 it had been re-worked to a point that it was considered over 85% new. With it's fresh new look and borderline-bionic technology the Model 964 was not for the weak of heart.... or light of foot.

The first 964's on the scene in 1989 were equipped with all wheel drive and were more commonly known as the Carrera 4. In 1990 the rear wheel drive Carrera 2 was added to the range. Both variations were powered by the flat-6, naturally aspirated, 3.6 liter M64 engine that boasted nearly 250hp. The rear torsion bars were replaced with coil springs and shock absorbers for a more performance-geared ride, and for the first time both ABS and power steering were included in the standard package.

Aside from the new and improved inner-workings, the exterior of the Model 911 was also re-vamped. The bumpers and fog lights were integrated into the body to improve aerodynamics, and an electronic rear spoiler was added that automatically raised at speeds over 50 mph. Cockpit upgrades included an array of warning lights in the instrument panel to alert the driver to possible malfunctions and a vastly improved automatic climate control system.

Keeping with tradition, Porsche produced several variations of the Model 964, the first of which was the Model 964 Speedster. The Speedster was introduced in 1988 at the Frankfurt Auto Show alongside the Carrera 4. 800 of the Speedster models were built between 1989 and 1993 - the majority of them included the wide-body option.

In 1994, a new version of the Speedster was introduced based on the Carrera 2 platform. This version was available in either standard or lightweight trim (the latter more commonly referred to as "clubsport" trim). Initially, the wide-body style was not an available option and in order to live up to it's "driver's car" reputation most of the luxuries were stripped out. Porsche planned to build 3000 of these Speedsters however in two years of production only 936 ever made it out the factory doors. Among the limited editions were 20 models that were finished at Porsche Exclusive's Werk 1 with the wide-body option.

The very last Model 964 Speedster built was the Sonderwunsh or "Special Wishes" Speedster. The Sonderwunsh took nearly 9 months to build from start to finish. This uber lightweight version is superior from top to bottom and was the only Model 964 Speedster finished in slate grey - in celebration of Steve McQueens Model 911S from the movie Le Mans. The Sonderwunsh was ordered by Hong Kong businessman Kevin Yeung and built by hand at Werk 1 alongside the last Model 964 to be built - a 964 America GS 3.8 Hardtop Roadster commissioned by a New Yorker.

The RS versions of the Model 964 were introduced in 1992. The first Carrera RS was only available in the European market. It was a lightweight, rear wheel drive, no-frills model based on the Porsche 911 Carrera Cup race car. To satisfy the American appetite, Porsche released the Model Carrera RS America in 1993. Based on the Carrera 2, the RS America was a stripped out, lightweight version that featured a whale tail spoiler and a luggage shelf in lieu of a back seat.

And finally, no Model 911 version since 1974 would be complete without the Turbo variant. The Model 964 turbo was unveiled in March of 1990. Without the necessary time to develop a turbo version of the 3.6L M64 engine, Porsche re-used the 3.3L engine from the previous Type 930. A few revisions were made to increase power to 320hp and reduce turbo lag. A 3.8L turbo version was also released in 1990 that featured a lowered suspension and a front strut brace. The 3.8L version was only produced for a year, and less than 100 were built.

The 3.6L M64 turbo was finally available in 1993. This fine-tuned version of the M64 engine produced an impressive 360hp and was certainly worth the wait. Just under 1500 turbo models were built through 1994 making it one of the rarest and most sought after versions that Porsche produced since the Model 959.

At the end of production in 1994, there were 90 turbo chassis left over. These chassis were shipped out to Porsche Exclusive and transformed into the extremely limited production model Turbo 3.6S. The Model 3.6S was available with the traditional Model 964 Turbo 3.6 body, or with the even more exclusive Flatnose option.

Production of the Model 964 ceased in 1994 to make way for the next model in line, the Porsche 911 Model 993 - the last of the air-cooled 911's. The final production numbers for the Model 964 and all of it's variations totaled 62,172 during it's 6 year run.

Newer classic 911's like the 1990's 964 series may seem too young to be considered classic - and in fact they are according to your typical insurance company. A proper classic insurance policy with a company familiar with a Porsche's special nature is especially important with these younger classics.