Hitting Scotland in the 210bhp 1975 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7
After reading this time DrivesToday, you’ll be well aware of the Carrera RS 2.7’s origins and credentials. What’s not so well-known is its successor, the Carrera 2.7 from1974. After taking photos in Glasgow, we went for a spin in the Scottish Highlands...
Words Johnny Tipler
Photography Ade Brannan
Hitting Scotland in the 210bhp 1975 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7.
Hold on! What’s this? A half-price Carrera RS 2.7?! How come? Well, it transpires this underrated and overlooked 911 variant, produced between 1974 and 1975, is the not-very-well-known successor to themuch-vaunted RS 2.7 from 1973. This dazzler, finished in Hellgrün (Light Green) with matching Fuchs wheels, is resident at Tom Fitzsimmons‘ Border Reivers showroom at Balmaha, located on the bonny banks of Loch Lomond. I’ve known Tom for quite a while and, as regular readers will recall, I followed his exploits in a 356 on the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique earlier this year. The Carrera 2.7 seen on these article is a 1975 model, leaving Zuffenhausen on 1st September 1974 and delivered to Porsche Hahn Fellbach. It spent some years in France before being returned to Germany, where it underwent a comprehensive restoration at Roock Sportsystem at Leverkusen in 2013. Just to get us up to speed before running through the specification of this startling green machine, which is accompanied by a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity and the original registration document, here’s a bit of context.
THOUGH OSTENSIBLY IN GOOD NICK, CHASSIS 911 560 0123 WAS COMPLETELY DISMANTLED AND STRIPPED TO BARE METAL
The 1973 Carrera RS 2.7 was a runaway success, effectively translating the marque’s prolific competition triumphs into a road-going race car. The plan was to continue this success story into 1974, but incoming US crash safety standards required a rethink. Consequently, the next generation (G-series) 911 heralded raised shock-mounted impact bumpers, a stronger floorpan, revised lighting and, in the case of the US-market cars, a return to the emissions-controlled 175bhp engine used in the 911 S. Significantly, however, the European-spec 1974 Carrera retained the 210bhp type 911/83 2.7-litre mechanical fuel injected (MFI) engine from the 1973 Carrera RS, as well as its suspension and the Type 915/06 five-speed manual gearbox.
HUNDREDS, IF NOT THOUSANDS, OF MOVEMENTS IN THE THROTTLE BODIES AND IN THE MECHANICAL FUEL PUMP ITSELF
The wheel arches and rear quarters of the new Carrera 2.7 MFI were modestly flared to accept seven- and eight-inch-wide Fuchs forged alloy wheels. Running gear included new forged-aluminium rear trailing arms, 20mm (front) and 18mm (rear) anti-roll bars, ventilated disc brakes on all four corners, plus Bilstein Sport shock absorbers and struts. The pleasing result was ride-and-handling characteristics virtually identical to the much-vaunted RS.
For a short period, then, the Carrera 2.7 was the direct successor to the Carrera RS. By a quirk of legislation, it was actually built in smaller numbers: 1,580 units of the Carrera RS 2.7 versus 1,036 Carrera 2.7 coupés and 433 Targas. The 2.7 MFI car was also more expensive than the RS.
For obvious reasons, the Euro-spec version has become significantly more desirable than the smothered US model, but while the RS Touring is about half-a-million quid in today’s money, the Carrera 2.7 fetches about half that sum. In a sense, given its similar performance and handling, you could argue the Carrera 2.7 is something of a bargain.
Our feature car’s Hong Kong-based owner, Simon Ireland, is bent on trading-up to an RS. I suppose, personally, I’d hang on to the MFI car because of its comparative rarity, its amazing colour, its interesting specification and first-class restoration. I also perceive the RS as a sort of ‘trophy car’ — why spend double the money on something with equal capabilities?
Tom Fitzsimmons reckons the RS 2.7 still represents an investment destined to increase in value, but you might consider any aircooled 911, including this one, in the same light. The middle years of the 911’s life story, from 1974 to 1989, turned out to be a paradigm of stability as far as its specification was concerned. The frenetic changes in chassis dimensions, body styling, adoption of fuel injection and, most of all, shifts in engine capacity characterising 911s from the late 1960s and early 1970s, settled into a pattern of base models enduring for almost a decade-and-a-half, with just three significant introductions. First up was the 1974 2.7, with three models on offer: the basic 911 (replacing the 911 T), the 911 S (taking over from the 911 E) and what we’ve got here, the Carrera 2.7 (superseding the 2.4-litre 911 S), using the 210bhp unit from the outgoing RS. The company also marked its twenty-fifth anniversary with 1,063 special edition Anniversary Carreras, comprising 664 Coupés and 399 in Targa format, all in Diamond Silver Metallic. A handful came with pukka 2.7-litre RS engines. The 2.7-engined cars also embody the transition from flat-six screamers to the torquier three-litre units ushered in by the Carrera 3.0, just a year later, in 1975. The 2.7 and 3.0 Carreras were dropped in 1978, making way for the three-litre 911 SC.
Keen-eyed devotees will have already spotted those raised impact bumpers and the ducktail-spoilered engine lid — paradoxes in themselves, since the ducktail was synonymous with the RS 2.7, which, of course, pre-dated impact bumpers. Nevertheless, as a classic reference, the ducktail suits any 911. Witness my own 964 and 996, bedecked with the cheeky upturned spoiler rather than projecting wings. Back in the day, the concertina-rubber and elevated bumper-sections which came in with 1974’s 911 line-up was greeted with a degree of derision, mainly on aesthetic grounds. “What have they done to our pretty 911?!” grumbled the pundits. The new styling and what lay beneath it, however, was imperative to ensure the 911 could comply with stringent new vehicular safety legislation in the United States and Europe, which meant all road cars had to be able to withstand a 5mph impact without sustaining any structural damage. Even the ducktail was binned on grounds of pedestrian safety.
Something just as fundamental was afoot on the construction front, too. Porsches were as equally prone to rust as any other steel-bodied cars, and few longterm precautions had been taken to hold corrosion at bay. Now, Porsche tackled the problem by introducing zinc-dipped galvanised steel for all the body panels and was the first manufacturer to offer a six-year corrosion warranty on its car’s main body shell, albeit excluding the wings. Talking of which, Border Reivers runs a busy body shop in Glasgow’s hinterland. When we took the green machine into the city for a photo shoot, we popped by and noted the team had just completed restoring a 911 previously owned by European Touring Car Champion, John Fitzpatrick.
Tom opened his state-of-the-art body shop in 1988. Before long, Border Reivers was approached by Porsche Cars Great Britain with an invitation to become a designated Porsche Approved Repairer. With a staff of sixty-five, this made Tom’s team the largest of Zuffenhausen’s nominated repairers in Europe. The premises contains ten body jigs, four spray booths and low-bake ovens. It was the first Porsche-approved paint shop outside the factory to embrace a water-based ISO-approved paint system. It has also been regularly employed as a training facility by both Porsche and Thatcham for each company’s dealerships in Scotland and the North of England.
ROOCK AND ROLL
Any 911 approaching its half century will have undergone some remedial action — likely to fix corrosion — in its lifetime. In 2013, the car pictured here enjoyed a spell at Roock Sportsystem GmbH at Leverkusen, close to Cologne. Though ostensibly in good nick and accident free (as confirmed by proprietor, Michael Roock, who you can read about later in this issue of Classic Porsche), chassis 911 560 0123 was completely dismantled and stripped to bare metal, apart from the floor, which still retained its original protective cladding and was therefore left untouched. The car was then totally repainted in its original Hellgrün hue (code N9N9) and enhanced by Carrera script graphics. Inside the cabin, everything was similarly stripped out, with new carpets, floor mats and front seats, the latter upholstered in distinctive Black Watch tartan. The dashboard and rear seats are original, as is the Blaupunkt Hirschmann radio.
This eye-popping 911 also boasts a retractable electric aerial — a luxury at the time — and front speakers. The seven-inch (front) and eight-inch (rear) Fuchs fifteens were restored and shod with Pirelli P600s, 195/65 and 215/60 at the nose and tail respectively. Make no mistake, this was a comprehensive job. The brakes were overhauled, with new master-cylinder, discs and pads, plus replaced brake lines, fluid and handbrake system. The suspension refresh included new Bilstein Sport dampers and all joints being re-bushed. New fuel lines were installed and the eighty-five-litre tank restored, complete with new fuel pump and filters. The 2.7-litre Type 911/83 flat-six (engine number 665 0177) was completely rebuilt, with new bearings, Mahle pistons and barrels, new valves, springs and guides, along with a rebuild of the injection pump. The latter is a tortuous piece of work, virtually an engine in miniature. Allow me to explain.
MFI was introduced for the 906 Carrera 6 sportsracing car in 1966. The MFI fuel pump was developed by Kugelfischer and later built by Bosch. Then, in 1967, it was fitted to the 911 R competition car before making its road-going debut on the two-litre 911 S of 1969. Up to this point, all 911s employed carburettors to instil the air-fuel mixture, but incoming emissions regulations as the 1970s drew near, not to mention the demonstrable increase in power provided by fuel injection, led to the introduction of a mechanical fuel injection system for the 911.
The MFI pump is compact, but a very complicated piece of equipment. In a way, it’s a microcosm of a full-size engine, containing a busy, coresponding assortment of levers, plungers, gears and valves. You don’t actually see it when peering into the 2.7’s engine bay, though the attendant plastic air-intake paraphernalia tells you something different is going on. The clue’s in the name — created in an era when machinery worked with cogs and levers, before the introduction of electronic sensors and regulators and the digital age, the MFI pump employs a series of mechanical devices to create a constantly changing fuel map, based on throttle position, engine speed, and barometric pressure. The lower half of the Kugelfischer pump houses a camshaft phased to match the engine’s firing order, while in the top half, six plungers (one for each cylinder) occupy their own individual barrels. The pump’s camshaft is belt-driven off the crankshaft and, as it revolves, acts on tappets which, in turn, operate the plungers by means of pushrods. As each plunger drops, it exposes a suction valve through which fuel is sucked towards the injectors, while a return spring maintains the plunger in position when closed.
Injected at between 225-250psi, the increased injection pressure of the MFI unit creates greater atomisation of the fuel. This produces a more even flame-front during ignition, resulting in more efficient combustion. According to the throttle position, the amount of fuel required is regulated by a pull-rod on the throttle linkage, which adjusts a space-cam housed in the base of the pump. The irregular profile of this cam was shaped to match Porsche’s desired fuel map for each 911 variant, and so it and differs between the T, E, S and RS.
The space-cam rotates the plungers with a corkscrew motion, by means of a rack-and-pinion gear, providing the amount of fuel required during their movement within the barrels. There’s a centrifugal governor above this, connected to the camshaft, regulating the amount of fuel flowing through the pump, depending on the engine speed, and there’s a solenoid valve to provide automatic cold-start enrichment. Deceptively simple on the outside, very complicated within. Hundreds, if not thousands, of movements in the throttle bodies and in the mechanical fuel pump itself are bound to cause wear on moving parts, allowing air to pass through the spindle bushes, corroded throttle chokes, or even a worn 3D cam in the pump itself. If working correctly, however, MFI is a brilliant system, and this one has been competently rebuilt by the team at Roock Sportsystem.
The throttle system was also reconstructed and adjusted on the flow bench, with restored alternator and distributor. All tinwork, engine cladding and air intake trunking was refurbished or renewed, with new exhaust system and heat exchangers, as well as a revived heating system. Likewise, the Type 915/06 five-speed gearbox (number 7850151) received new bearings synchro rings and a ZF limited-slip differential.
ROAD AND RACE
The work was finished in 2014. The car has only covered a few thousand miles since. You can take it for granted Michael Roock’s team did a great job. After all, Roock Sportsystem’s formidable record in competition speaks for itself: the team won the 1993 Carrera Cup, the 1994 Porsche Supercup, the ADAC GT Cup two years on the bounce (1994 and 1995), the GT2 class at the 1996 24 Hours of Le Mans and scored many other victories, making it the most successful Porsche customer team of the decade, an achievement helped by Roock’s development of a near 600bhp 3.8-litre 993 GT2, entered into Le Mans in 1998 and standing as the lightest 993 GT2 ever assembled, tipping scales at a mere 1,060kg. This is not the first Porsche I’ve driven to have been prepared by Roock Sportsystem, nor is it the most garish of colours. Indeed, in 2005, I bought a Mint Green 964 from Michael Roock. The car’s adventures were celebrated in these august pages as The Peppermint Pig, acquired on a trip to interview Michael about his ultrasuccessful racing team and its countless successes at Le Mans and in GT2.
As liveries go, Mint is about as in-your-face as Hellgrün. My car was a left-hooker, too, a driving position I happen to prefer, especially in air-cooled 911s — your legs are straight ahead of you, rather than splayed left, as is the case in a right-hand drive example. Same deployment aboard this immaculate 2.7 MFI, too. Years back, I attended Stirling University, meaning I know Scotland’s central belt fairly well. Local to Loch Lomond, there are the Trossachs, gorgeous wooded glens, lakes and braes, with the supremely entertaining ups and downs of the Dukes Pass to helm the 2.7 MFI over. Here we go, then.
The zesty flat-six delivers a brisk performance and excels from 4000- to 5000rpm. The exhilaration levels get really high under acceleration, and the power kicks in spontaneously when exiting these Dukes Pass hairpins. The zingy RS engine really loves to rev, and as I become more accustomed to the manner of its power delivery, the better I know how much throttle to apply. Performance is vivacious, and even though the steering is non-assisted, there’s a lovely weight to it — this car is easy to control in a tight turn-in situation.
FOLLOW YOUR NOSE
Things get more exciting the more familiar I become with the Porsche — the more compliant and in-tune it seems to be with what I want to achieve from my time behind the wheel. It’s light, it’s tight, it’s alive, and it takes the slightest flick of the steering wheel to minutely alter course, to nudge into turn-in mode. The merest on-off pressure on the throttle pedal also brings the nose in or out as necessary.
There’s no need for any hard braking, except ahead of entry to the sharpest of corners, or when cresting a blind rise. On balance, it feels more planted than the daintier Carrera RS 2.7. This is nowhere more true than on the Dukes Pass (the A821) between Aberfoyle and Brig o’ Turk, which must be the closest we’ve got in the UK to the Black Forest’s exhilarating Schauinsland hillclimb. I fling our Green Goddess this way and that through the fabulous cambered ess-bends, falling deeper in love with every corner. This may be a fifty-year-old car, but because it’s so taut in every respect, it feels as though it’s fresh straight out of the box. Definitely one for me, had I pockets deep enough. Or, indeed, a sporran, given our location.
Above The direct successor to the Carrera RS 2.7, but subject to lower-volume production and a higher sales tag, though the current cost of ownership is roughly half that of hopping into an RS.
Above Significantly, the 1974 Carrera 2.7 retained the remarkable 210bhp Type 911/83 2.7-litre mechanically fuel injected engine from the 1973 Carrera RS 2.7.
Below The 2.7 MFI’s arches and rear quarters in the were tastefully flared to accept seven- and eight-inch-wide Fuchs forged alloy wheels.
Above Fully rebuilt by Roock Sport-system and bought direct from Michael Roock, this stunning Carrera 2.7 MFI is currently available for purchase from Border Reivers.
Above Thanks to its utterly gorgeous coat of Hellgrün, you won’t exactly miss it in a crowded car park.
Above This is a superb lefthand drive example of one of the highly desirable Eurospec Carrera 2.7 MFI, a 911 which shares the earlier RS 2.7’s mechanical fuel injected engine, as well as the RS’s suspension and gearbox.