David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/2/20 8:23 a.m.

Two big reasons to consider picking up a Porsche 911 Turbo these days: It’s an automotive icon blessed with immense support, and prices have been sliding a bit. Call it today’s hot twofer.

Whether you call it the 930, Turbo, Carrera Turbo or 911 Turbo–930 was the chassis code, with the model designation changing by year and market–this car needs little introduction. It’s a 911 with everything: big flares, big tail, big attitude and big power. Road & Track’s 1978 review opens with a simple statement: “Outrageous. Simply outrageous.”

Porsche unveiled a turbocharged version of its 911 at the 1973 Paris Auto Show, with European production of the 911 Turbo starting in March 1975. U.S. imports began the following model year, with the name lengthened to 911 Turbo Carrera. 

The heart of this new beast was the turbocharged engine. Where the standard 911 received a 2.7-liter engine, this one measured an even 3.0 liters. Then add in the turbo itself, with American-market cars rated at 234 horsepower. This new Turbo could reach 60 mph in about 5.0 seconds–beyond scorching for the day. During Road & Track’s test of the original 1976 model, Sam Posey set a Lime Rock Park record for a production car “by a substantial margin.”

Turbocharging was new at the time, and with that boost came lag. And with that lag came some challenging handling. Cue the chatter about the model’s widowmaker status.

The Turbo received a displacement bump to 3.3 liters plus an intercooler starting with the 1978 model year. At the same time, the name was shortened to simply the Porsche Turbo–or, depending on the source, 911 Turbo. 

Porsche would pull the turbo 911 model from its American lineup at the end of 1979, but like so many good things in life–Godzilla, Star Wars movies and the McRib sandwich–it eventually returned. Porsche again offered the original turbo 911 to American consumers for the 1986-’89 model years, with a five-speed transmission finally replacing the four-speed box for that final year. 

How much to get in on this action? Top models have been six-figure cars for several years, but the first digit is now likely a 1 instead of a 2. Figure around $100,000 for a good one.

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