Magazine Cover - Classic Cars For Sale - 1000s of Classic Car Reviews, How To Service & Maintenance Guides

Porsche 911

Porsche 911 Published: 14th Oct 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Porsche 911
Porsche 911
Porsche 911
Porsche 911
Porsche 911
Magazine Subscription
The latest issue of Classic Cars For Sale is on sale now - Pick up your copy from all good newsagents including WHSmith or click here to subscribe now

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 20%

Subscribe NOW

Available at all good newsagents including WHSmith

Paul Davies demonstrates you don’t have to leave your classic behind if you’re planning a long road trip

The lady from over the road looked dubious. ‘You’re going in that?’ she asked, referring to the 30-year-old Porsche and our intended trip to Spain through France with a meaningful sideways glance to the much newer BMW parked alongside. ‘Why not’, I said, ‘It’s just 30 years old, and only 115,000 miles on the clock!’

Truth is, the recent drive to northern Costa Brava – and back of course totalling a tad less than 2000 miles – was the third for the Carrera 3.2 in our 10-year tenure. The first time we did the trip (2500 miles then with a detour around the Pyrenees) the car had 70k to show for it, just run in!

A classic is meant to be driven, not just polished, and it’s my firm belief that the more use it gets the better it performs. The Porsche may be a 140mph ‘supercar’ (in its day) but I’ve always insisted it would be a daily-driver. I’ve used it on classic car writing jobs, for general to-ing and fro-ing, and it’s also seen quite a few classic runs over the years. Why not then use it for a spot of grand touring in the way that the men at Stuttgart intended?

Simple logic, but such trips in a closecoupled two-seater (forget about the bit in the back for a moment) need careful consideration. Will it be reliable, comfortable, will the fuel bill be enormous, and finally will we get everything in even when travelling light? ‘We’ of course is me and Mrs Davies, and two peoples’ interpretations of ‘travelling light’ may not be quite the same… However, it’s amazing what you can possum away in a 911. The front compartment may be shallow but it’ll easily swallow a couple of soft bags, a camera bag, coats, various odd items for the house in Spain we were visiting, as well as pairs of shoes filling the cracks. The well behind the front seats is useless for people’s legs but good for more coats, numerous maps, bottles of water, food that can’t be left in the fridge at home, and a bag of travel documents.

The flat area created by folding down the rear seats was reserved for the targa top should good weather demand its removal. An added complication, space wise, was caused by the fixing of the Brantz rally tripmeter meaning the glove box was no longer useable. Fortunately the 911’s door pockets are a reasonable size.

VE have ZE plans…

Forward planning is also important for a hassle-free journey: Insurance should include full European Breakdown cover (Carole Nash classic policies always have this) and it’s vital you have your V5 registration certificate. A reflective jacket, warning triangle and GB sticker are also compulsory, whilst in France by law you’re supposed to carry a breathalyser – although at the moment there’s no penalty if you don’t have one. Headlights should be adjusted/masked to dip to the right hand side.

If you’ve got a portable sat.nav. that doubles as a speed check detector leave it at home and rely on Mr Michelin’s maps – the gendarmes, particularly, will grab that radar device straight away. And give you a big fine. On top of the legal essentials, I always pack a fire extinguisher and first aid kit along with a few emergency items such as a basic tool kit, spare bulbs, strong gloves for dirty jobs, something to lie on, a length of rope suitable for towing, and a hefty roll of tank tape. Not that I expect trouble of course…

So, how did the old banger behave? And should the lady over the road have worried? I can report all went like clockwork, or to be precise the air-cooled, flat-six, never missed a beat. The only slight drama, on the downward leg, was the appearance of a suspicious ‘clunk’ on braking or cornering. Once an errant Coke can had been retrieved from under a seat where it had been rolling, all was OK again.

Previous long trips had seen the car recording around 27mpg (just over half the figure of that BMW parked alongside) which would require umpteen pit stops on the long journey if it were not for the fact that Porsche chose to give its grand tourer an 80 litres (18 gals) fuel tank. The matter that, as we set out, French fuel tanker drivers were on strike was merely a complication. Actually there were no fuel supply problems, so don’t believe everything you see in the papers! Previous trips have taught me that the 98 octane fuel required for the Porsche is available at most pumps, and that autoroute stations are to be avoided like the plague – as in the UK it’s far cheaper at supermarket stops. On average (pre-Brexit) fuel was about 20 percent cheaper than in the UK and slightly cheaper in Spain than France.

And the good news? Don’t know if it was a recent full service that did it, but overall consumption for this latest trip worked out at 31.4mpg. Which I reckon is pretty good for 30 years old and 230bhp.

The autoroute limit in France is 130kph; it’s strictly enforced, but in most places they have the decency to warn you when a radar point is coming up. In the Porsche that’s 3200rpm which proved (see fuel economy) to be a good cruising speed but it means the targa top had to stay in place for comfort. You need to be below the Spanish 120kph limit to have the roof off.

Our chosen way to the Mediterranean is through central France, ignoring Paris (always a nightmare) after exiting the P&O ferry at Calais and heading west to Rouen before picking up the A71 autoroute above Orleans and then joining the A75 ‘Route Mediterannee’ at Clermont Ferrand which has the advantages of being almost deserted, nearly toll-free, running across the wild Massif Central and taking you over the magnificent Millau Viaduct before you hit the French coast. Then it’s turn right at Beziers and fight the mad and frighteningly furious holiday makers heading for Spain.

The French autoroutes are a dream compared with our equivalents, being light on traffic and super smooth, with no pot holes like the M25 and drivers who know all about lane discipline. En-route we saw very few Porsches, but enjoyed a 50kms run in company with a UK registered Ferrari 348 GTC and met a Morgan Plus 4 couple who were on their way back to Blighty from Venice. (There’s a Porsche specialist at Issoire south of Clermont I’ve noted just in case of trouble on a future trip!)

Highlights? A pack of Portuguese bikers who gave the thumbs up as they passed us near Narbonne. Everybody loves a Porsche, when even on holiday!

Share This Article

Share with Facebook Share with Facebook

Share with Twitter Tweet this article

Share bookmark with Delicious Share bookmark with Delicious

Share with Digg Digg this article

Share with Email Share by email

User Comments

This review has 0 comments - Be the first!

Leave a comment

Keep it polite and on topic. Your email address will not be published. Please do not advertise products, all posts of this nature will be removed. We do not stock or supply any of these products, we independently review these products.

Subscribe Today
Latest Issue Cover - Click here to subscribe

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 25%

Britians top classic cars bookazine