Car Magazine Feature
My 964 featured in the May 2001 issue of Car
magazine in a feature titled “Never Buy a Boring Car Again”.
magazine had contacted PCGB looking for a 964 for this article. PCGB contacted
Ken at the 964 Register, who posted a message on the mailing list. I
called the mag and turns out they were looking for a C4 and my colour and spec
fitted the bill.
the end of March, Paul Horrel, Executive Editor and Tom Salt, Staff Photographer
visited me in Berkshire for a day’s test driving and photography. They
then took the car up to London for the cover studio shot. The weather started
grey and dull with light rain later in the day. No matter, Tom took some
great photographs. For the tracking shots, I drove the estate with Tom
lying in the luggage area with the hatch propped open with a camera tripod.Paul really enjoyed the car and wrote a great article. Better not
reproduce the whole thing here until you have had a chance to go out and buy the
May issue. Lots of other good car writing in this one, including Aston
Martin Vanquish review.
Here are some of the best quotes and pictures.
Click Thumbnails for bigger pics. All photos by Tom Salt and words by Paul
“When the original 911 gave way to the 964, then the 993, then the current
996, the same slogan echoed across the nation. ‘It’s not as sharp as the
old one. The feel has gone. It’s not such a challenge any more.’
Give us a break. These cars developed, that’s all. They got more
modern. From a 2001 perspective, the 964 C4 has simply sublime steering
feel and brilliant real-road handling. It dives into every bend with the
nose lightness you’d expect, and you know about it through your hands as soon as
the front tyres are even thinking about getting to their limit. As the
nose goes over a crest, you feel it, As the road surface changes in a curve, you
feel it. As you squeeze the throttle and the rear digs in and the nose
goes light, you feel it. And yet there isn’t any particular kickback or
clonkiness. The constant chattering at the steering isn’t an absence of
refinement, it’s a presence of life.”
engine has remarkably deep lungs, a willing pull and sharp response at every
position on the rev dial, and that delicious fuzzbox wail all the time.
Right from the start you know this is a genuinely aristocratic engine; any
movement of your foot – even no discernible movement, just the teeniest increase
in pressure through your sole – has its effect. But when you floor the
thing and it passes 4000rpm, it opens its mouth into a caveman yowl, announcing
a renewed surge of power that’s just as primal. The car feels faster than
250bhp; it’ll do 0-60mph in 5.9sec and 165mph, but what really grabs you is the
ease with which it finds its speed.”
today’s 996, I did start loving 911s, but this old Carrera 4 showed me that I
shouldn’t have tarred all the old ones with the same brush. I remember
even the Carrera 2 frightening me, not because it threw me off the road but
because it always felt to me, even in a straight line, that it wanted to.
Blame that wandering, tippy-toe-light front end. In the C4, the nose is
pulled rather than pushed, and it’s more emphatically housetrained because of
it. And looked at alongside 12 years of progress elsewhere, you get a car
that certainly doesn’t have modern supercar grip or speed, but which has the
life, precision and sheer chattiness to make an Audi TT, even an Impreza, seem
it’s practical. It’s reliable and it doesn’t depreciate, rust, smoke,
rattle or fart. But the thing is, even if it did – at least a bit – you’d
forgive it once you got behind the wheel. Honestly. This is a really
scintillating drive and it upended a decade of prejudice in this author. You
might be so risk-averse that you need, absolutely need, a warranty. Or
your company car scheme administrators might choke at the very idea of a
12-year-old car. So I can’t unreservedly recommend the 911 option.
But there’s something else. The 911 is without a doubt the best-known
sports car in history; and every-one who knows it has an opinion about it.
Those views are strongly bipolar, so whenever a group is gathered and the
subject comes up, the debate will get lively. No doubt you’ve never held
back in those situations. But if you take the plunge now, even if you get
rid of the thing a year down the line, something will have changed. People
will have to listen to what you say. You will have become definitive.
Because you, my friend, will have owned a Porsche 911.”