“The increase in performance makes the 3.3 the fastest accelerating car I have ever tested” winner of the 1960 Le Mans 24 Hours and doyen of ‘thinking racing drivers’ Paul Frère considers the new 911 Turbo 3.3 in his standard work on the model, ‘Porsche 911 Story’
In 1978, writers from the British magazine Motor declared the 3.3-litre Porsche Turbo the quickest production car they had ever driven.
Until its double wins at Le Mans in 1970 and 1971, Porsche was prepared to let Italian supercars own the title Fastest Car in the World. By the mid 1970s, though, via constant improvements on the race track (the mighty 935s) and an ongoing programme of road car development, the Stuttgart company finally had a world-beater: the 911 Turbo.
When a 3.3-litre intercooled version was launched for sale in 1978, no other car could match its searing acceleration, luxurious practicality and hewn-from-granite build quality.
Even at that time, at the close of the vibrant 1970s, some owners still chose bold colours for their new Porsches, shades such as the special-order Continental Orange in which this car was collected direct from Stuttgart in 1979.
The Porsche 911 Turbo 3.3
Just four months after the red-hot turbo of the Martini Racing 911 that finished second overall at the 1974 Le Mans 24 Hours had cooled down, Porsche announced a roadgoing version. The new car (referred to internally as a ‘930’, but never sold as such) was the company’s flagship model and became a byword for effortless performance, state-of-the-art technology and luxury.
At the heart of the first car was a single-turbocharged version of Porsche’s air-cooled 2,994cc flat-six, the Typ 930/50. Not only did turbocharging produce significantly more power (260bhp in Europe, 245bhp in North America), it made the engine cleaner, all the better to cope with ever-tougher emissions regulations.
The 911 Turbo’s stance – big Fuchs wheels and Pirelli tyres, a ‘whale tail’ wing from the 3.0 RS and black PVC ‘shark’s fin’ stone guards – became legendary. ‘Turbocharged’ soon enter the general lexicon, signifying anything that had been enhanced or boosted beyond measure.
In August 1977 Porsche announced a 3,299cc, intercooled Turbo, which replaced the 3.0-litre for the 1978 model year. Power was now 300bhp for Rest of the World (ROW) cars, 265bhp in the USA. A 10 per cent increase in power (and a staggering 20 per cent in torque) was the big news, but the new car was also given ‘917’ cross-drilled discs and four-pot calipers, which finally gave the Turbo proper stopping power
The big rear spoiler was made flatter to accommodate an air-to-air intercooler under the central grille area. An upturned black lip made from rubber (for safety) surrounded the redesigned ‘tea tray’. Whilst retaining the purity and 1970s vibrancy of the first 3.0-litre Turbo, the new 3.3 took performance to another level – a combination that was hard to beat.
From August 1978 to July 1979, Porsche sold 820 911 Turbo 3.3s in ROW (high output) specification. During the same period, North America took 1,200 emissions-capped cars.
This Motor Car
According to the service book that accompanies the car, Porsche 911 Turbo 3.3 ‘0285’ was collected on 28 March 1979 from Porsche in Stuttgart by its first owner and local resident Elfriede Barbara Schwartz. Its chassis number can be broken down as follows:
930 (Turbo) 9 (year, 1979) 7 (Turbo, ROW) 0 (coupé) 0285 (build number).
The car was a regular 911 Turbo with black leather upholstery. Rather than select one of the company’s 20 standard exterior colours, Frau Schwartz chose Continental Orange (ref 107), a vibrant, very 1970s shade recently discontinued. Other extras were a sunroof (M650), heated and tinted windscreen (M577) and a radio with aerial.
The car stayed in Germany and Austria until December 2009, its service book showing the following stamps:
18 May 1979. 979km, Porsche Stuttgart, Germany.
6 May 1982. 22,500km, Alfa Romeo Service Silz, Austria.
9 October 1984. 38,400km, Alfa Romeo Service Silz, Austria.
20 March 1985. 60,000km, Alfa Romeo Service Silz, Austria.
21 March 1986. 76,000km, unknown.
3 May 2004. 150,700km, Martin Thurner, Dollinger-Lager, Austria.
In December 2009, it was bought by an Italian Porsche specialist who commissioned official agent Porsche Padova Est (A Verardini SrL) to carry out a full mechanical restoration (€26,621.15) with an engine and glass out repaint by local experts Carrozzeria Ruzza (€10,599.00). The interior was retrimmed by Tappezzeria La Meta at a cost of €6,500.00. Other specialists supplied parts and services to the value of €9,783.05.
The stunning €53.5k restoration brought the car back to ‘as delivered’ in March 1979, with the engine rebuilt, all other mechanical parts stripped and replaced as necessary and the arresting Continental Orange bodywork once again a gleaming throwback to the funky 1970s. The service book was duly stamped at 165,000km on 30 March 2011 by Porsche Padova, the page annotated with a handwritten ‘restauro totale’ – totally restored.
That year it was sold to an Italian collector, once again returning to Porsche Padova Est for a regular service on 28 November 2014 (at a recorded 3,745km – the odometer was zeroed after the rebuild). Two years later it was in the hands of a German enthusiast before coming back to Italy this year. A Porsche Certificate of Authenticity for the car was issued by Porsche Italia SpA on 22 February 2016. Interestingly, the date of manufacture is stated as November 1978.
Porsche Padova serviced the car on 13 December 2018, the odometer reading 5,265Km.
Totally ‘on the button’ today and resplendent in one of the ultimate 1970s shades, slip a Kraftwerk cassette in the period Blaupunkt radio, turn the volume up to 11 and enjoy that remarkable rocketship ride.
Windscreen with defrost
Radio with antenna