RE: PH Heroes: Porsche 968 Club Sport

RE: PH Heroes: Porsche 968 Club Sport

Wednesday 11th June 2008

PH Heroes: Porsche 968 Club Sport

With the 968 CS Porsche discovered that every cloud has a silver lining, writes Ollie Stallwood



The year is 1992 and Porsche is on the ropes. Recession has hit the carmaker hard and while glitzy, powerful versions of its cars had been a beacon of conspicuous consumption in the decade before, wealth is neither something people can or want to shout about anymore.

CEO of Porsche Cars North America Fred Schwab put it perfectly when describing the imminent disaster facing the company: β€˜I remember the movie Wall Street, where the arrogant young executive gets accused of insider trading,’ he said. β€˜An older gentleman comes up to him and says, β€œMan looks into the abyss and nothing stares back. It is at that moment, man gets character.” That was when we at Porsche were able to start getting our character.’


Porsche had lost its way somewhat, and the new 968 – which the company somewhat desperately claimed was 83% new over the 944 – was getting slated by the critics. It was dated, slightly dull and uninspiring. But unbelievably out of this mess came something good, Porsche was able to miraculously recapture what it was that had made it great in the first place.

The firm tried to rescue the situation by appealing to the Porsche enthusiast, someone who arguably it had neglected somewhat over the past few years, as well as attempting to bring to the market something more affordable. In December 1992 the 1335kg 968 β€˜Club Sport’ was wheeled out – five grand cheaper and because most of the luxuries had been binned, 50kg lighter. In fact because of the standard β€˜lux’ pack on UK cars it actually ended up shedding between 100 and 110kgs.


Almost accidentally Porsche had just created one of the best cars it had ever built. It was an instant cult classic, harking back to the seventies with its coloured wheels and β€˜Club Sport’ script down the side. You may have lost the back seats, some sound deadening, electric mirrors and windows, central locking and some speakers, but the trade-off where proper Recaro fixed-back buckets and 17” wheels from a 911.

There was the same 240bhp three-litre twin-cam four-cylinder – the most powerful naturally-aspirated four-pot in a production car at that time – and there was a 10mm drop in the suspension. Zero to 60mph took 6.1 seconds, a slight improvement over the standard car, and top speed was 158mph. Thanks to a lack of safety equipment (the airbag had been ditched for starters) the car didn’t go on sale in America, instead staying in Europe and Australia.

It may not have been a huge sales success but it began the rebuild of Porsche’s reputation as a builder of serious drivers’ cars. Autocar named it best handling car of 1993 and although only 1,923 found an owner everyone seemed to be talking about them at the time.


To find out what all the fuss is about I headed down to Eporsch (www.eporsch.co.uk), a Porsche specialist tucked away in Chertsey, Surrey. When I arrive, owner Roly Baldwin leads me through the front door of an unassuming premises into what is an Aladdin’s Cave of beautiful second-hand Porsches. At the front is a black 968 Club Sport which ironically stands out from other CSs because it doesn’t have the no-cost option painted wheels or side decals. It looks smart - purposeful, low and nicely proportioned.

Climbing inside you notice that space is at a premium for a tall driver like me and this isn’t helped by the fixed-back Recaros that keep you very upright. But pulling out into the traffic I’m surprised at how easy the 968 CS is to potter around in as I hunt out some proper roads.

Its reputation suggests this is a hardcore road/track car, but it doesn’t feel like that to me. The ride is firm but soaks up the bumps admirably and the CS is incredibly tractable around town. As I pull onto a quieter piece of road that curves off through a tunnel of trees I’m wondering whether this car may not be as focused as I had hoped. But I'm wrong.

The moment you nail the throttle something strange happens. The world around you disappears and you see nothing but the road ahead. The seating position is just right, the Recaro fixing you straight ahead. The small steering wheel is perfectly placed. The throttle response is instant. The power delivery is linear and strong.


The 968 CS focuses your mind in a way few other cars can, it feels like a racing car and for a second you are thundering down the Mulsanne Straight. Then it gets better. Turn the wheel as you enter a bend and you discover steering feel that you thought no longer existed in a road car. The steering feel in the CS is fantastic, the end.

This is a car that you control and everything is set up to make sure you do your job as best you can. The car stays virtually flat through bends, and even around roundabouts, thanks to a lack of weight, but it is controllable and doesn’t feel like it will snap away.

The lack of sound deadening makes the four-pot sound good too - throaty and old school - but never overpowering. Bizarrely there is a smidge of the GT40 a drove a few weeks ago about this car. It feels honest and mechanical – it feels like a real sports car from the days when men smoked cigarettes during pit stops.

The speed that can be consistently carried in a CS belies its modest performance stats. This car is about driving pleasure anyway, not bags of grip that will only let you find the limits at crazy speeds. The chassis is perfectly balanced too with a delicacy that makes it accessible to virtually anyone. It feels special, exotic even, and for less than Β£30,000 new (and Β£12,000 now) it seems like a bargain.


Where are all the cut price CS Boxsters now? Performance these days is often measured on outright speed and Nurburgring lap records but the CS makes these things seem rather insignificant. So out of recession came perfection? Perhaps there’s another 968 CS just round the corner…

Author
Discussion

cvegas

Original Poster:

323 posts

150 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
Where is the Cayman CS? This car is crying out for a more focused lighter weight LSD equipped version.

Edited by cvegas on Wednesday 11th June 12:57

clonmult

10,496 posts

156 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
cvegas said:
Where is the Cayman CS? This car is crying out for a more focused lighter weight LSD equipped version.

Edited by cvegas on Wednesday 11th June 12:57
But in the current scheme of things, you'd be paying considerably more for less though ....

Ecurie Ecosse

4,793 posts

165 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
I really really like these - especially in Speed Yellow with the decals.

Is there much of a difference between these and stock 968s, as the stock models seem to be selling for a lot less.

cvegas

Original Poster:

323 posts

150 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
clonmult said:
cvegas said:
Where is the Cayman CS? This car is crying out for a more focused lighter weight LSD equipped version.

Edited by cvegas on Wednesday 11th June 12:57
But in the current scheme of things, you'd be paying considerably more for less though ....
Not quite, the concept of the CS was that you paid less for less. If you paid more for less then that would be an RS.

jon-

15,808 posts

163 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
cvegas said:
Where is the Cayman CS? This car is crying out for a more focused lighter weight LSD equipped version.
The 968CS didn't have an LSD.

scotty_917

1,029 posts

169 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
cvegas said:
Where is the Cayman CS? This car is crying out for a more focused lighter weight LSD equipped version.

Edited by cvegas on Wednesday 11th June 12:57
Porsche won't produce a version of the Cayman with an LSD......the reason being that performance wise it would take it beyond the base 997, which for the Porsche Marketing food chain would not be allowed. yes

NineOneSeven

2,761 posts

156 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
scotty_917 said:
cvegas said:
Where is the Cayman CS? This car is crying out for a more focused lighter weight LSD equipped version.

Edited by cvegas on Wednesday 11th June 12:57
Porsche won't produce a version of the Cayman with an LSD......the reason being that performance wise it would take it beyond the base 997, which for the Porsche Marketing food chain would not be allowed. yes
Yeah isn't it sad that Porsche are engineering the car so its not at its full potential.

Bad Porsche! They lost their cool after the end of the 993 model range.

Porsche are dead to me...



well.. sort of

HDM

340 posts

138 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
Brings back memories, I got to drive one of these at a Porsche day at the UK headquarters in Reading (Don't ask how I got an invite, I still can't figure that out!) after driving a number of 911s - most of which cost more than my flat at the time - the 968 CS was my favourite of the day (IMHO), and yes, it had the most perfect driving position...ah happy days...

shoestring7

5,716 posts

193 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
jon- said:
cvegas said:
Where is the Cayman CS? This car is crying out for a more focused lighter weight LSD equipped version.
The 968CS didn't have an LSD.
Not as std, it was option M220. No factory lsd is available on a Cayman.

SS7

joz8968

1,041 posts

157 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
Anyone remember Performance Car's bright orange 968CS project? driving (Ultimately, given away to one lucky reader in an end-of-project competition).

Edited by joz8968 on Wednesday 11th June 16:27

cuneus

5,962 posts

189 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
I will never understand this car

It's little more than a marketing gimmick and too soft / roly poly to be any real use on a track

fastgerman.com

1,646 posts

142 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
Roley poley?! You have to be joking! I've just sold my 968 coupe, which was easily the most fun car to drive on country roads - better than my E46 M3 on Schnitzer full suspension, FK'd Corrado VR6 and many others. I have been in a Club Sport, which has the same suspension setup as the sport and the ride is a bit harder but either way BLOODY HARD. In comparison to my friends old RX7 lowered all the way on coil overs, it's still bloody hard! CS for the tracks, coupe for the roads, just don't buy a tiptronic... 0-60 about the same as a Golf GTI as they can't change gear. Personally I think the sport is a good compromise. This is the first car I've owned which is more fun in the corners than the straights, just needs more power and a better sound track from the engine/exhaust.

Edited by fastgerman.com on Wednesday 11th June 16:56

Davey S2

12,120 posts

201 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
cuneus said:
I will never understand this car

It's little more than a marketing gimmick and too soft / roly poly to be any real use on a track
confused

Its constantly voted one of the best and most entertaining road/track car by most magazines and raved about by anyone who has ever driven one.

The only problem with them now is trying to find a tidy one that hasnt been spanked harder than a ginger step kid.


predding

455 posts

163 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
Back in 1993, I had to choose between this and UR Quattro - it was very tough (esp as CS was in Speed Yellow with decals). Went with the quattro (still have), but both were equal. Great great car

M3_chaz

267 posts

209 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
I remember thinking of buying one of these back in ooh I'd say 2001ish. back then a nice one was around £15-16K. Looking at the prices they hold today that would have been a good buy.

I went for a racing puma at the time as it was cheaper to run. that was fun little car to in its own right, still no 968 though.

ph123

1,841 posts

165 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
Awesome awesome budget classic car, voted Autocar's Best Handling car and Performance Car of the Year in '93.
Am I allowed to tell you this?
My lhd perfect yellow treble-minter Clubsport with original M030 kit and lsd and stuff is for sale. Will put PH ad in next week.
Thank you.

willdew

2,136 posts

211 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
cuneus said:
I will never understand this car

It's little more than a marketing gimmick and too soft / roly poly to be any real use on a track
I agree that a std 968 CS (without MO30) isn't great on track. Spend a few pounds on one, and it can be a giant killer though. See my profile for more info.

hairykrishna

11,009 posts

150 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
I'd love one of these. My 944 was one of the best thigns I have ever driven, at any price, and I would imagine that these are even nicer.

cuneus

5,962 posts

189 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
Maybe all the press cars were fitted with M030 and LSD - I don't know

The 968 M030 was/is very good BUT was not fitted to the CS as standard

The other thing to bear in mind is that the CS is roundy poundy as well - it's still a heavy car

Why did Porsche fit seats that were over 20 kg each ?


Saied

1,575 posts

166 months

Wednesday 11th June 2008
quotequote all
Caterham and a 968 Club Sport. Two cars I simply must own one day.