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marcos_eirik
QUOTE(Porsche history)
The successor to the Porsche 944 was advertised in German magazines using the slogan "The old dream of a sports car – the new Porsche 968". It rolled off the production line in Zuffenhausen as a Coupé and Cabriolet variant from July 1991 – as the promising continuation of the transaxle model range in the four-cylinder car segment. It was granted a particularly lavish premiere in Great Britain, with numerous prominent guests attending the event at Porsche Cars Great Britain. The Intelsat 2 television satellite enabled the premiere to be relayed live to large screens at all 26 British Porsche Centres.

The car's new design was the focus of attention. "Now it has the typical Porsche face," commented then Porsche boss Arno Bohn on the car's front view, which was somewhat reminiscent of the Porsche 928. The interior offered passengers the customary hallmarks of Porsche quality: "High-quality materials, meticulous workmanship down to the last detail, an air of luxury", noted the German magazine auto motor and sport.

The Stuttgart-based magazine noted the following with regard to the revised four-cylinder engine with variable camshaft control, whose 305 Nm made it the highest-torque naturally aspirated engine in its class: "It offers excellent performance, responds well to the accelerator, remains virtually free of vibrations thanks to two balancer shafts and is low on fuel consumption."

The 968 had more to offer than a new outfit and a refined engine, however, the press release emphasizing further merits as follows: "The chassis designed for perfect road contact, the race track-tested brake system, the airbags which come as standard for the driver and passenger and the optimised body structure demonstrate the high standard of active and passive safety".

Austrian journalist Gerhard Plattner left buyers in no doubt as to the reliability and durability of this new member of the Porsche family, immediately putting the 968 through an endurance test covering 100 000 kilometres in 100 days, at the end of which he confirmed that "the 968 ran without the slightest problem in the toughest conditions." His test car was fitted with the four-speed Tiptronic transmission, which was available as an option alongside the new six-speed transmission.

The new model year offered fans of the Porsche 968 model range two new, exceptionally sporty models. The first premiere, at the beginning of October 1992, was for the 968 CS, whose qualities were highlighted by the advertising department in pithy phrases such as "weight down, pulse up" or "sparse comfort, little space, no boredom". "CS" stood for "Clubsport", which a press release explained as denoting "racing prowess combined with practicality at a standard of comfort stripped down to the bare minimum".

The 968 CS indeed did without items such as a rear seat bench, electric windows, rear window wiper or an alarm system, thereby cutting the overall weight by around 50 kilograms. Plastic bucket seats provided for a sportier flair inside, while the 20 millimetre reduction in ride height and the standard 17" wheels contributed to the CS being singled out by magazines such as Auto Car and Motor Magazin as the vehicle offering the best handling.

Performance Car praised "the perfectly stepped six-speed transmission and the engine with the heart of a lion". The sound of the engine - which, like the transmission, had been adopted from the standard 968 - actually benefited from the omission of insulating matting in the CS. The 968, which offered greater comfort but was markedly more expensive, continued to be built in virtually unaltered form. It also made it into the Guinness Book of Records, as a team of three managed to cover 5566 kilometres in a 968 within 24 hours on the high-speed circuit in Nardo.

They would have had an even faster trip in the 968 Turbo S. This model was available from the spring of 1993 as a road version of the 968 Turbo RS, which was intended for the race track. The Turbo S was built in a limited production run in Weissach, featuring a turbocharged two-valve four-cylinder engine which delivered 305 bhp. auto motor und sport acknowledged the car as "one of the best dynamic road runners that Porsche has ever built – and one of the fastest, too". In the motoring magazine's test, the Turbo S shot from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds and attained a top speed of 284 km/h.

In order to keep the lively Turbo S firmly under control, it was fitted with the brake system from the 911 Turbo S. Key visual features were a small front spoiler, a rear wing which was adjustable by ten degrees and two air intakes in the engine compartment lid. Only a small number of this speedy gem were built, making the Turbo S a much sought-after collector's item today.

"Probably the most readily controllable Porsche ever built", as the American magazine Excellence attested, remained virtually unchanged in the new model year. The new developments included particle filters for the ventilation system which were able to keep out dust and pollen down to a size of one thousandth of a millimetre. For the wheels, a locking nut was now introduced which could only be opened by means of a special tool.
Additional options such as an audio package featuring ten loudspeakers added to the appeal of this model range. A comfort package was available to bring the 968 CS more into line with the more luxurious 968.

In England, the 968 Sport was available from January 1994, equipped with the chassis from the CS, but also featuring additional comfort elements such as electric windows and door mirrors, rear seats and electric tailgate release.

The 968 CS, which Autocar & Motor chose as the "best vehicle of the year" at the end of 1993, held a very special fascination. Top Gear magazine judged that "Its road holding, steering reaction and exemplary control in extreme driving situations are the stuff of dreams for driving aficionados". Motor Trend was in raptures over its test performance: "15 miles in just over five minutes on an oval circuit at a pace that would have done for a front starting position in the 500-mile Indianapolis race." In view of which, the magazine suggested that a day on a high-speed circuit with potential customers ought to be the best selling strategy for Porsche.

The 968 certainly had the makings of a winner. It won the 6-hour race of the IMSA Firehawk Series in Sebring – driven by the American Hawk motor racing team with David Murry and Lloyd Hawkins at the wheel. But the luckiest 968 driver of the year was without doubt German student Thomas Kleinmann, who won a Maritime Blue CS in a quiz aired by the RTL television station.

The press kit from September 1994, presenting the Porsche vehicles for model year 1995, showed no changes for the 968, which remained available as a Coupé, Cabriolet and CS Coupé version. The Turbo S was no longer available.

A 968 Cabriolet in Guards Red which was raffled off by the Arizona region of the Porsche Club of America did itself a real credit. The sale of the raffle tickets brought in 60,000 dollars for the benefit of sick children treated at the Maricopa Medical Center.

The last 968 was built in July 1995, marking the end of the era of Porsche transaxle four-cylinder sports cars. In all, 11,245 968s were built. This figure includes 306 of the 968 Sport version, which was sold exclusively in England from January 1994 as a type of 968 CS featuring a number of comfort attributes such as electric windows and door mirrors, rear seats and electric tailgate release






More pics here...
clarkma5
I'm not so sure you can go so far as to call the entire range as a whole sub zero (though the Turbos and the CS definitely are in my book), but I think these cars are solidly cool. It seems like very few people know about them (wtf? 968?) and they're just excellent. When you see a 968 on the road you can be certain that the driver/owner is a knowledgeable enthusiast and not some dickwad. So, yeah, cool.
marcos_eirik
There is an amusing thing about the pricing though. Usually the stripped out version of a car is more exspensive than the normal one, but the stripped out-stiffened up 968 CS was £6000 cheaper than the normal 968. That, combined with the fact that it's a real dream to drive puts it in the supercool section, for me at least...

The Turbo S was rather exspensive though, and it still is, being one out of 14. There is one on sale at Mobile.de
TrueSlideXL
Well thats because they had surplus parts from 944's they needed to get rid off. I wish it wasn't so hard to find a 951 in good condition though. This car gets an uncool from me because the 944 was great, and they never needed the facelift.
clarkma5
QUOTE(TrueSlideXL @ Mar 25 2006, 11:07 AM) *
Well thats because they had surplus parts from 944's they needed to get rid off. I wish it wasn't so hard to find a 951 in good condition though. This car gets an uncool from me because the 944 was great, and they never needed the facelift.


What kind of flawgic is that? The 944 was 10 years old when the 968 came out, and it was just a facelifted 924 (aka from 1976) under the skin. To say that a 10 year old car, even one that had received some improvements throughout its life-cycle, could not use a solid freshening is...ignorant, really.

At the very least, the 968 offered near 944 Turbo S performance in the base car. It's unfortunate that Porsche wasn't financially healthy enough to pursue a full 968 model line like they had with the 944, but that fact doesn't change the merit of the base car.
marcos_eirik
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Mar 25 2006, 10:12 PM) *
What kind of flawgic is that? The 944 was 10 years old when the 968 came out, and it was just a facelifted 924 (aka from 1976) under the skin. To say that a 10 year old car, even one that had received some improvements throughout its life-cycle, could not use a solid freshening is...ignorant, really.

At the very least, the 968 offered near 944 Turbo S performance in the base car. It's unfortunate that Porsche wasn't financially healthy enough to pursue a full 968 model line like they had with the 944, but that fact doesn't change the merit of the base car.

I was about to write that... I would actualle go as far as saying the 968 came along too late. It should have been introduced as the 944 successor already when the 16v engines developed of the 928 S4 came out, as it was a huge improvement (dynamically) over the 944. The 968 CS wasn't Autocar's "Best drivers car of the year" (twice) for nothing, it is still regarded as the ultimate four-pot transaxle Porsche. Just imagine what Porsche could have made out of such a car today...

Just an amusing idea; At the time the 968 was developed, Porsche was doing the Audi RS2. What if Porsche fitted the RS2 engine in a 968 CS and called that the 968 Turbo, wouldn't that be great...? drool3.gif But then it would be in conflict with the 964 Turbo... sad.gif
DZ302
uncool
leif
the only front engined Porsche you could own and hold you head as high as if you bought a 911. It ia a choice for a decerning consumer...and that alone makes it cool...but the fact that Porsche was willing to let the CS version out perform the 911 makes it sub zero.
TrueSlideXL
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Mar 25 2006, 09:12 PM) *
What kind of flawgic is that? The 944 was 10 years old when the 968 came out, and it was just a facelifted 924 (aka from 1976) under the skin. To say that a 10 year old car, even one that had received some improvements throughout its life-cycle, could not use a solid freshening is...ignorant, really.

At the very least, the 968 offered near 944 Turbo S performance in the base car. It's unfortunate that Porsche wasn't financially healthy enough to pursue a full 968 model line like they had with the 944, but that fact doesn't change the merit of the base car.

As usual you are reading into things too much. The 968 is uncool because Porsche decided to make it look more like a 911. The 944 was much more forward thinking than that, which is why it gets a solid frozen from me. The 944 was much more than a 924 mechanically as it got older too. I only mentioned the facelift specifically. Learn to read. You're being the ignorant fanboy as always.
clarkma5
A facelift can infer mechanicals as well, so don't jump down my throat.

As for its appearance, it was a much closer cousin to the 928 than the 911. It was only when Porsche released the 993 that the 911 looked more like the 968.
marcos_eirik
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Mar 27 2006, 05:37 AM) *
As for its appearance, it was a much closer cousin to the 928 than the 911. It was only when Porsche released the 993 that the 911 looked more like the 968.

Besides, it had the same "frogeye" headlight solution as the 928...
leif
TrueslideXL, I dont understand why you dislike the 968 so much...if you like the 944, you have to recognise that the 968 was the ultimate evolution of that chassis, and is the best front engined Porsche money can buy, and there for...one of the best front engined cars you can buy, period!
TrueSlideXL
No, it's Porsche changing the way the car looks because they can't stop making all their products so similar.
leif
the simmilar product idea...(im assuming your talking about the 996 and 986) was a way for Porsche to become profitable, and stay independent. I think im right in saying that Porsche is the only Independent large volume (if you consider 80,000 cars anually a high volume) sports car manufacturer, that is because they make intelegent decisions.

I dont mind them coming out with 2 dynamically fantastic products which turned the company around...which shared parts.

and Trueslide...in case you havent noticed...Porsche tends to eveolve their cars, rather than replace them...get used to it...its not a flaw.
TrueSlideXL
The point is the 924-951 were never supposed to be like a 911, they had a chance to expand their styling and left it there. I like Porsches, and 968s are good cars, but a missed opportunity. You assume way too much. What I am talking about is Porsche having a chance to make more than just rear engined cars. The older the 944 series got, the more it was made like the 911, right up until it was killed off.
leif
I think Clark made a good point when he said that it was ment to resemble the 928, not the 911.

and you also have to remeber your history...there was a large element in Porsche in the 80's and early 90's, mainly the Piech Family, who wanted to see the 911 killed off, and replaced by the 968 and 928...

So I dont think its a case of trying to make the product range look simmilar for a marketing puropose...it was more of a failed Coup by the Piech Family, stopped at the last moment by people loyal to the Porsches.
TrueSlideXL
Pretty much.
midnightdorifto
QUOTE(leif @ Mar 27 2006, 09:39 AM) *
the simmilar product idea...(im assuming your talking about the 996 and 986) was a way for Porsche to become profitable, and stay independent. I think im right in saying that Porsche is the only Independent large volume (if you consider 80,000 cars anually a high volume) sports car manufacturer, that is because they make intelegent decisions.

I dont mind them coming out with 2 dynamically fantastic products which turned the company around...which shared parts.

and Trueslide...in case you havent noticed...Porsche tends to eveolve their cars, rather than replace them...get used to it...its not a flaw.

Just a point - when the 924-951 product line was in development, Porsche was FAR from profitable. Other than that, their philosophy has been pretty consistent until late, and that's saying quite a bit. The 968 wasn't as compromising as the 928, and more capable than the 944. A definite thumbs up, ubercool.
moe
Porsche = Frozen. All of them. The fact that this one has the engine in the right place is a bonus.
Westwood Hoover
any car from Porsche ,I think, is just cool at least
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