As the old saying goes, the less you have, the more you can enjoy it. This is the stance I’ve taken to recently when really getting to grips with cars that are built to savour the pleasure of driving. For me, there’s not a manufacturer in the world who embodies that philosophy better than Porsche, particularly with their back-catalogue of 911s. A formula which more or less as simple as; arse, seat, gearknob, a tuned flat six behind your earholes and a great big tachometer front and centre. Just lowering yourself into the rallye-style bucket is an experience in itself.
This car, currently receiving the full Gyeon pamper treatment by our good friend and master detailer Paul at Diamond Detailing Perth, is a 1976 911 Carrera 3.0 - a California car that lived out most of its days as a weekend racetrack warrior. More recently, it has hung up its roll-cage and fire extinguisher to find a new lease of life as an ‘Outlaw’ street car. I like to think of these builds as the Cafe Racer equivalent of automobiles. They’re not daily drives and they’re not pure-bred out-and-out racing machines, they’re cars built by real mechanics to go fast, look badass and offer you untainted driving pleasure - a dying art in 2018.
The Carrera 3.0 was a factory designation issued to take the standard 911 and pump it up a bit, taking it to the next level without adding too many bloated additions that the marques often pick up throughout the years of refreshes and facelifts. Despite sporting an aggressive widebody stance you’d normally see in the Turbo from the same era, the Carrera only weighed 40-or-so KG more than the skinny frame of the outgoing model, at 1120 kg. The brass badge on the bootlid reading Luftgekühlt affirming the aircooled motor was still firmly in place, as the bored out flat-six was pumped up from 2.7 to 3.0 litres, with a bootful of extra torque from the bigger naturally aspirated donk for good measure.
The subtle changes to changes to the model left the Carrera with some of the best bodywork ever to come from the marque. It was aggressive without being over-the-top, it still retained the subtle lines, but pumped out just a little more to make its muscle more visible without having to resort to the plastic tinsel that its predecessor so desperately flaunted.
With this car’s racing roots back in California, it came pre-loaded with an upgraded engine, featuring a bigger cam, a trick induction system and some carbouretter fiddling to squeeze as much performance out of the six without resorting to forced induction. Bigger brakes courtesy of Brembo hide behind an immaculate set of FUCHS Turbo wheels, featuring a combination of brushed stainless-steel dished lips and painted inners, perfectly contrasting with the deep gloss white bodywork coated with Gyeon MOHS+ protective sealant.
The 5-speed manual gearbox features synchros which sometimes work, but mostly act like straight cut gears which require finesse and footwork at a level that would make Senna smile. The 911 is a car for driving enthusiasts, and this Carrera 3.0 personifies that perfectly. This is not a ride for supercar spotters or badge-buy-bellends. There are no electronic driver aids or trick gizmos that will get you out of trouble when you overcook it. It might look like a calm and collected classic, but this is a car you have grab by the scruff of its neck and drive with purpose and precision, and that’s what makes in an almost perfect Porsche.