PH HEROES: PORSCHE 911 CARRERA 3.2 CLUBSPORT
Porsche never made a proper RS 3.2 but this prototype Clubsport is a hint of what might have been
Recently restored with the help of visitors to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart (their signatures can be found on the underside of the luggage compartment lid) this car was the prototype for a run of 340 3.2 Clubsports. Completed in 1984, it wears the graphics applied to non-UK market Clubsports, 'ours' sold exclusively in a more distinctive combination of white paint, red Fuchs wheels and matching 'Carrera CS' graphics along the sills.
Common consensus says just 53 of these cars were sold here and today fetch serious money, Specialist Cars of Malton selling a low mileage example for £65K last year.
One of a kind
Production Clubsports kept the heavy impact bumpers of standard 3.2s, but this prototype has fibreglass skins like those fitted to the SC/RS, saving around 20kg each end according to Landenberger.
Aesthetically it's a subtle change, but it instantly marks this Clubsport out as something a little more hardcore. Clean and mean, even with the whaletail it's about as pure a look for the G Series as you'll have ever seen and, better still, an authentic vision rather than the contrived retro makeover so commonly inflicted on these cars.
Cheaper, lighter, better
In its day it cost £34,389, £1,187 less than a standard Carrera and cheaper even than a 944 Turbo. Read that and weep Boxster Spyder and Cayman R buyers - this was a relatively naïve time when Porsche actually charged less for its lightweight, stripped out models rather than more.
Fresh leather on the steering wheel remains unpolished by human hand, lending the prototype an odd new car patina at odds with the vintage. But you quickly relish the complete lack of slop or play.
The gearbox, a 915 unit in this prototype rather than the G50 used in production versions, is more direct and positive than most, too, as you'd expect of a factory restoration, and there's a wonderful purity to every control that offers a rare sense of travelling back in time to when this car really was fresh off the line.
Production Clubsports were a claimed 50kg lighter than the standard car's 1,210kg dry weight but in a recent story on the same car in Octane Tony Dron asked the museum to put it on the scales and it reportedly weighed in at just 1,071kg.
However you play the wet/dry weights that's significantly less than standard and the prototype feels it, the steering immediately a lot lighter than that of a standard 3.2. It's not quite fingertip effort but it feels eager and quick to change direction and wonderfully alive and alert.
Off the boring Interstate and onto the dramatically cambered and twisting Californian backroads, the real delights of the Clubsport package reveal themselves. That lightness is just so compelling, the bite from the front end seemingly much more tenacious and turn-in super direct. And even with fat seven-inch rear wheels and the apparently modest power you straighten the wheel with your foot rather than your hands. Which sounds like typical motoring hack dab of oppo hyperbole but is, instead, as natural as can be.
PORSCHE 911 CARRERA 3.2 CLUBSPORT*
Engine: 3,164cc flat-6
Power (hp): 231@5,900rpm
Torque (lb ft): 209
0-62mph: 5.9 sec
Top speed: 151mph
On sale: 1987-89
Price new: £34,389
Price now: c. £50-60,000
*All figures relate to production version