The last-of-the-line in traditional Porsches, these Carrera 3.2’s are the best way to deliver the famous air-cooled old-world Porsche driving experience. Evoking a time before power steering and other driving aids altered modern Porsches forever, this Porsche offers today’s lucky driver the authentic driving experience that made Porsche 911’s legendary.
The 911 3.2 had a redesigned engine inlet and exhaust system, along with the fitment of a service-free Digital Engine Management ignition system (DME), in conjunction with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel metering. This resulted in a significant increase in engine performance but a significant reduction in fuel consumption, through better engine efficiency and fuel cut-off when coasting. With a capacity of 3.2 litres, and a high compression ratio of 10.3:1, the air-cooled 6-cylinder, horizontally opposed engine produces an output of 230 bhp, at 5,900 rpm. Maximum torque is 284 Nm at 4,800 rpm, and the maximum speed, limited by electronic fuel cut-out, is 152 mph. Acceleration to 60 mph was achieved in under 6 seconds. This Super Sport Equipment or SSE model, was styled to resemble the Porsche 930 Turbo with its wide wheel arches and the distinctive “tea tray” tail spoiler. They also featured the stiffer Turbo suspension and the superior Turbo braking system as well as the wider Turbo wheels.
'M491' was not just a sop to the excesses of the 1980s, with flared arches evoking the appearance of some dramatic Porsche models from the past, but was a popular option offering the 'macho' good looks of the Turbo without the mechanical complexities. However, it was not cheap adding over £10,000 to the cost of a standard variant by the end of the model’s life in 1989, possibly explaining the relatively small build numbers. The spec also included a limited slip differential, the stiffer suspension and superior braking system from the 930 Turbo, a wrap-around deep chin-spoiler, the famous ‘tea-tray’ rear spoiler, and wider Fuchs alloy wheels. The rarity of M491/Supersport models is undeniable, especially in right-hand drive, but official figures are hard to come by. A respected source quotes that just 651 C16 (UK-supplied) M491 cars (including all Coupés, Targas and Cabriolets) were manufactured between 1984 and
Porsche in 1984 began offering the M491 option on the 3.2 Carrera. It remained an option on the 3.2 from 84 to 89. Finally, direct from the Porsche factory, you could order your normally aspirated Carrera with just about everything the Turbo had, minus the actual turbo of course. This wasn’t just a Carrera with stretched fenders. It included:
The turbo whale tail
The turbo wrap-around chin spoiler
The turbo suspension
The turbo brakes with 285 mm cross-drilled discs and four-piston aluminium brake calipers
The wheels and tires
A slight weight increase but a noticeable handling improvement over the standard Carrera
The M491 option didn’t come cheap. The high cost kept orders and production numbers low, making these genuine M491 equipped models very special, very rare and increasingly a good investment. The M491 Carreras are also highly desirable as track cars given the Turbo handling paired up with the bulletproof 3.2 engine and they were somewhat overlooked until recently as collectables.
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