I like to consider myself a Porschefile. What’s that you ask? I define it as someone who is knowledgeable about the brand with a good handle on the cars offered, the company history and most things Porsche related. I know I’m not a Porsche expert, not yet anyway (not compared to guys like Pete Zimmerman, Bruce Anderson and Sam Cabiglio.) Even still, it came as no small surprise the other day to find a Porsche that I knew little to nothing about and that was even more rare (in terms of production numbers) then certain famous Porsches like the 550, RS 60, ‘73 911 RS, 993 Turbo S, and of course, the Porsche 959. What is my super sensational find?
The Porsche 968 Turbo S.
Front-engined, water-cooled Porsches were first introduced with the 924 in 1976 as an entry level replacement to the Porsche 914. The model line continued and improved in 1982 as the Porsche 944 and again in 1992 with the 968.
The Porsche 968 was produced from 1992 to 1995 with total world-wide production numbers (across all models) just shy of 13,000 units.
Here’s a quick Porsche Factoid for you. The 968 went out of production at the same time as the 928 (the only other front-engined Porsche of the time.) Both the 928 and the 968 were the last front-engined Porsches produced until the introduction of the Cayenne in 2003.
Hidden within those 13,000 normally aspirated 968s are fourteen to sixteen (the numbers vary by source) 968 Turbo S cars built by Porsche’s Customer Sport department in Weissach.
The Car Itself
The 968 Turbo S is a forced induction version of the normally aspirated Porsche 968 Club Sport. Visually similar to the lesser 968s, the Turbo S is easily identified by the two NACA front air ducts in the hood, the adjustable rear wing with Turbo S script, 3 piece 911 wheels from the 964 model, with the same name, and the aggressive front spoiler.
The 968 Turbo S was 20mm lower than the Club Sport, had firmer springs and dampers and thicker anti-roll bars. Not only did the 968 Turbo S borrow its wheels from the 964, it also adopted its four-piston alloy calipers and cross-drilled rotors. This extra breaking power was needed to help manage the increased power derived from the single KKK turbo charger.
In order to mate this beefy turbo with the 968s normally aspirated engine, Porsche utilized an old eight-valve head from the inter-cooled 944/951. With the turbo charger set at 1.0 bar horsepower was increased to 305, almost 70 HP over it’s forced air deprived little brother.
Like most Porsches purpose built for speed and performance, luxury and comfort items were ditched in an effort to save weight. The lightweight ME30 Club Sport interior was used in lieu of the heavier and more luxurious interior on the base 968. Most electric convenience equipment was ripped out (gone were the power windows, central locking system, stereo, alarm, etc.) Porsche even went so far as to remove the rear seats and replace the steering wheel with a lighter, 3 spoke wheel from the Club Sport.
Porsche's weight saving efforts paid off. Coming in at 1300 kg or 2865 lbs, the Porsche 968 Turbo S was 44 lbs lighter than the Club Sport and more than 70 kg (154 lbs) lighter than the standard model. Combine the lighter weight with increased horse power and the performance specifications are nothing less than spectacular.
Performance of the 968 Turbo S
0-60mph: 4.5-4.9 seconds
0-1/4 mile: 13.0 @ 112 mph
Top Speed: 175 mph, at least
With these types of numbers it is no wonder Porsche made so few of them and never imported them into the US. Forget about costs, forget about safety factors, Porsche could never have a lesser model upset and outperform the flagship 911. This same problem runs true today and is evident in the frustration of many Cayman owners just begging for a Turbo version (more on this later.)
While researching for this post I spoke to quite a few 924/944/968 fans and owners on rennlist and other on-line forums. I want to thank all of them for their input. Also, a special shout out to Elie Arab from my Porsche facebook group who gave me the idea for the post in the first place.
One of the data points I was searching for was current pricing on one of these elusive beasts. The most recent sale I could find was from 2003, so I’m not sure how relevant that is. However, there is currently both a 968 Turbo S and Turbo RS for sale at a dealer in Germany for EUR 89,900 and EUR 159,900.
If you’re looking for one in the states, I would highly recommend reaching out to Richard Sloan of SloanCars.com as my previous talks with him have proven he has a good handle on rare cars like the 968 Turbo S.
Besides this car, what other rare Porsche models are out there that I may not know of? I would love to hear from any of you on Porsches you would like me to know more about.