Digital Exhibition: Porsche 964
With its distinctive shape and unique driving characteristics, the Porsche 911 has accumulated such an unrivaled following that engineers have been reluctant to effect change. Yet while incremental improvements were incorporated into the model with each passing year, 1989 brought such dramatic improvements to the model that it was officially re-designated the 964. And while a staggering 85 percent of the car’s components were redesigned, the new Porsche model remained a highly recognizable member of the 911 family until it was discontinued in 1993.
At first, the new model was known as the Carrera 4, a clear reference to its all-wheel drive. During its second year of production in 1990 the rear-wheel drive Carrera 2 was added to the model line. While both were powered by the naturally aspirated flat-6 that had been a 911 staple since its 1965 introduction, countless upgrades over time (including a displacement increase to 3.6 liters) allowed the engine to achieve an astounding 250 horsepower. Impressed by the new package, Porsche aficionados embraced the 964 to such a degree that the company was prompted to develop several derivatives.
The first 964 derivative to reach the market was the Speedster, which was conceived at about the same time as the standard version. Introduced alongside the Carrera 4 at the Frankfurt Auto Show, a robust 800 Speedsters were built between 1989 and 1993, many of them with the “wide body” option that gave the model an aggressive stance to complement its top performance. The year 1990 saw the debut of the only turbocharged version of the 964 to be produced. Powered by the same 3.3-liter engine as the previous Type 930, the Porsche 964 Turbo was not offered in 1991.
In 1992 Porsche introduced the Europe-only RS version of the 964, which it followed one year later with the American-market Carrera RS America. The addition of a whale tail spoiler and elimination of the rear seat only underscored its performance intentions. This final 964 derivative was in showrooms for just one year before the model was supplanted by the 993, yet another development of the ever more sophisticated 911.