12 May 2013

In praise of the Porsche 911 2.7

There are not many models of the Porsche 911 which are not now revered but the 1974-78 2.7 911 probably falls under that heading and I believe that reputation is undeserved.Yes- the early 2.7s did suffer engine problems in the first few years of their lives but if a 2.7 is still going strong today then you can be pretty confident that the original problems have all been long ironed out.
Another issue faced by the 2.7s was that they were the first of the big bumper cars and the engines in the US were the first to have emission control gear.The big bumpers were a response to the US 5 mph crash requirements but coming after the very elegant long nose cars they were seen as less attractive.The early emission control gear on the US market engines did nothing for the driveability and performance of the 2.7 engine so this also tarnished the reputation of these cars.But it was only the US market engines that were fitted with this gear.
A 2.7 today can be a good buy because its undeserved reputation is still taking the edge off prices.

My 1977 2.7 passed the 200,000 km mark on a long drive last weekend.When I bought it in 2001 it had done 159,000 kms so I have travelled 41,000 kms in it in 12 years.Not bad for a car which is not a daily driver.
I bought it cheaply from a used car dealer in Sydney.It was in a very tired,sad condition.The yellow paint was faded and chalky.The car was dirty.There were lots of small problems due to a lack of maintenance and TLC .Worst of all it was a Sportomatic -a strange semi automatic transmission which was quite clever but is now very unloved and very difficult to repair.
Sounds like a bad buy? Well it was very original and unmolested which was rare for a car of its age in Australia as many have had flares added and wings etc tacked on .It had an almost complete tool kit,the original space saver tyre and original compressor and complete original books-although the service history was incomplete for the last 5 years.It even had original yellow NSW registration plates which look crude but which I have retained against the strong advice of a friend who thinks that I should have changed them for some smarter,modern plates.And it was a beautiful yellow although the paint has seen better days.

The car was imported into Australia in April 1977 coincidentally the same month I arrived here.The first recorded owner was the wife of the Sydney Porsche dealer who apparently ran it for 6 months.Then it was owned by the head of a major advertising agency for 10 years and who gave it a hard life and who smoked heavily-hence the nicotine stained headlining although the smell has long gone.
I set to work to turn this rather tarnished jewel into a good driving car and in the first four years a lot of mechanical  work was done bringing it into shape.The biggest change was pulling the Sportomatic out and putting in a 915 5 speed manual gearbox in 2002.I also had the original factory airconditioning completely rebuilt and it now works really well but it was an expensive way to cool the car and today I would have ripped it all out and fitted one of the off the shelf kits from the US.

I was told very early on by one of Sydney's premier Porsche specialists, well known for the quality of their work and the size of their invoices,that the engine was a"grenade" -just waiting to explode.Since then it has done numerous hillclimbs,rallies,sprints and regularity trials and 41,000 kms and the engine has not been touched and it is only using normal amounts of oil.Some grenade.
It drives very well,is reliable and it is reasonably quick and thanks to the CIS injection it is surprisingly economical.
Was it a good buy? Well I could have bought a better car for much more money at the outset and avoided all the rebuilding costs but the journey has been fun and I ended up with a car which I really know and which I love driving.And it's yellow.

WHQ 164 last weekend on a Porsche club run down to Berrima in the Southern Highlands of NSW with 200,000kms just clocked up.


  1. Agreed John... they are unfairly maligned. They aren't rocket ships but I still look at them in the Classifieds and internet.

    They are indeed a lot of fun, not as raw as the small bumpers, but heaps of fun none the less.

  2. Enjoyed hearing its history, John. A car that is a delight to travel in.

  3. A beautiful machine, and I love the way you've written about its history. Congrats (PS very jealous).

  4. Replies
    1. I certainly do have it. I drive it regularly and it is running really well.
      Aircon works well too which is a big plus for a Porsche of that era.