The 968 was, like the Boxster several years later, seen as an alternative for the aspiring Porsche owner who couldn't quite swing the $63,000 needed for a 993 in the nineties. How unfortunate. In truth, the 968 was a special vehicle, and the Clubsport version offered the discerning user enough lithe agility and surefootedness to forget completely about the engine placement and idea of it being the pauper's Porsche.
Like anything wearing a Clubsport badge, the 968 CS was very light—roughly 200 pounds lighter than the standard model. In addition to the typical removal of rear seats, radio, center console, sound deadening, and sunroof, buyers had some peculiar opportunities to trim heft. If an owner optioned their car without air conditioning, they could enjoy a slew of other weight saving measures including a smaller battery, fixed seats, a smaller alternator, and a smaller wiring harness. In total, these brought the bulk down to a very respectable 2,900 pounds.
That slim figure didn't need much power to move quickly. The 3.0-liter M44 engine made 236 horsepower—enough to get it from 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds, though the official figure is 6.5 seconds. By no means was this slow, even by the standards of the day, but this was not meant to be a car at its best in a straight line. Linear power and a reasonable amount of torque—225 lb-ft at 4,100 rpm—made this a very easy car to maintain speed on the circuit, where it was at its best.
Essentially, this pared-down track scalpel had all one needed to outrun punchier Carreras on a technical piece of tarmac. Fixed back fiberglass Recaros, complete with paint-to-match seatbacks, kept the occupants secure during serious lateral loading. The limited-slip differential helped administer that power predictably, and revised suspension with a ride height 20mm lower than standard gave the car the agility it ought to have, as did the 17-inch wheels wrapped in 225- and 255-section tires front and rear, respectively. It even had a basic lap timer.
And, like some small-batch items with a focus on weight and agility, the interior was far from opulent. Doug DeMuro delves into some of the styling quirks which helped make it as endearing as it was incisive. Watch the footage above for DeMuro's fastidious inspection of one Clubsport we Americans, as a result of the 25-year-rule, have only recently been able to enjoy.