Porsche Road & Race Review – November 2016

November 26, 2016

November 24, 2016 review by Glen Smale on Porsche Road & Race:

Much has been written about the Porsche 911, in fact there are few manufacturers in the world, that could boast as having as many books written about one of their models. But as can be expected, many of these books cover selected top models, and those perceived as less salubrious models are usually relegated to books covering all models. 

Fresh attention though has been directed at the classic car market in recent years, with the result that prices have been rising steadily for the more sought after models. Those who are fortunate enough to be Porsche enthusiasts, will have seen the prices of the Carrera RS 2.7 skyrocket, although of late, prices of this sought-after model have settled somewhat. One model though that has until recently escaped much of the limelight, is the Carrera 2.7, but this humble model can claim as its predecessor the mighty Carrera RS 2.7. What a claim to be able to make, and yet the Carrera 2.7 is widely regarded as the lesser sibling and as such, has been largely overlooked. Ironically, the 1974 Carrera 2.7 produced the same output, had the same top speed and weighed the same as the celebrated RS.

The author of this book, Ryan Snodgrass, just happened to be looking for a classic car to buy for himself, and wanted to read up about this model. Not finding much to read on the model, what did Snodgrass do, he wrote what is without doubt, the most comprehensively researched book on the Carrera 2.7, thereby answering all the questions one could possibly have about the car. His book, Carrera 2.7: 1974-1976, covers all 2.7 MFI impact-bumper models between these two years, including the introduction of the 930 Turbo.

Snodgrass takes the reader on a journey through all aspects of the different models, including: Carrera Unveiled; Drivetrain; Rolling Chassis; Body; Interior; Special Models; Racing; Accessories; and, Literature. Each section is explained in the utmost of detail with truly impressive imagery, tables, graphs and illustrations showing in depth, the production and assembly steps. Detailed photographs show production and component differences, while extensive and clearly styled charts show gearbox numbering enabling one to identify a model and its options with accuracy. Sections are dedicated to body colours, exterior colours and aerodynamic developments.

A great deal of attention has been devoted to the selection of images in each chapter, and in this respect, the pictures really do paint a thousand words. Much work has been put into explaining, for instance, the large number of decals in the engine bay, the doorposts and in the luggage compartment, a useful detail largely overlooked by many authors. The chapter dealing with the interior shows the different upholstery styles that were offered in the 911, remembering of course that the mid-1970s was a period of great experimentation with colour, so there is in fact much ground to be covered here. The author has sought out production cards for various stages of the car’s assembly, showing in great detail how various options eventually found their way onto a particular car.

There is a section devoted to the development of the 911 Turbo, the prototype of which was a 2.7-litre car given to Louise Piëch on the occasion of her 70th birthday. This is an extremely interesting prototype, as I have covered this car myself in a feature for a well-known magazine not long ago. Porsche has long enjoyed a very good relationship with the various police forces in Germany and Belgium, and these special models have their own section too.

No book on the 911 would be complete without a chapter devoted to motorsport. This section of course covers those models that participated in both road and rally competition between 1974 and 1976.

A well-detailed section on 911 literature illustrates in splendid colour and detail, vehicle sales brochures (in different languages), price lists, colour options, spare parts catalogues, technical booklets and much more. What tools were issued with each model also gets a showing, and a useful section details the different options that were available to purchase with your 911.

This book is available in two different editions, the Limited Edition numbering 2500 copies, or the Publisher’s Edition which is limited to just 300 individually numbered and signed copies. Both of these come in a strong slip case, so there is no danger of your book getting scuffed.

The care with which the author has displayed and laid out the content is nothing short of exemplary – this book is truly a work of art. In fact, it was so highly thought of, that in 2016 it was shortlisted for the Publication of the Year, a prestigious international award. If you decide to dip into your savings to purchase a copy of Carrera 2.7: 1974-1976, you will not be sorry. This book goes beyond ‘coffee table’ as you wouldn’t want to mix it up with travel or gardening books and the like, this is one for the study bookshelf. You had better hurry to order your copy now.


Octane Book of the Month Review – April 2016

March 09, 2016

Glen Waddington's Book of the Month review in Octane April 2016:

IF YOU'RE THE SORT of person who loves to read books about Porsche this one is guaranteed to have you craving a very particular version of it. Snodgrass has dedicated this beautiful 406-page book (hardcover plus slipcase) to the impact-bumper 911 2.7 Carrera with mechanical fuel injection, built from 1974 to ‘76.

Why is it special? A crucial question. Rightly. Snodgrass has identified the car that came after the legendary (there really is no more appropriate adjective) and increasingly valuable I973 Carrera RS 2.7. The 2.7 MFI hasn't been on the collector radar in anything like the same way. though it performs just like the RS. Admittedly it's rare, yet it's still a 911 that the merely wealthy (rather than mega-rich) can afford. That situation may change once collectors looking for The Next Big Thing have read this.

Within you will find 684 colour photos and a further 146 in black-and-white, of which more than 530 have never previously been published. There are also 50 illustrations. including technical diagrams. As for the story, well, that would be the wrong word. Instead, this is a treatise borne of painstaking research into the production of the car and all its technical aspects.

Sounds a bit dry, but it's not. Take, for example the section devoted to dampers. The 2.7 MFI was available as standard on Boges or optionally on Konis or Bilsteins. They were colour-coded so that the workers building the car (and there are lots of photos taken on the prediction line, courtesy of the Porsche archives) could easily tell them apart — and so could any subsequent owners who were keen to find out whether their car was on the correct set-up. We can proudly report that all UK-market cars were supplied with the sportiest Bilsteins fitted as standard.

There are specification tables, reprints of old magazine road tests. some gorgeous spreads devoted to all the colours available for each model year - illustrated in each case with a huge grid of small profile photos — plus period ads and explanations of how various technical aspects work; not least that Bosch fuel injection. There's also a section devoted to wheels, both the Fuchs and ATS cookie-cutter type, plus the development at aerodynamics from duck-tail to whaletail — which all happened with the MFI.

Many will think £195 is a lot to pay for a book, but the production values alone make this one look like it should cost a lot of money. On that basis, paying an extra fiver tor a signed version seems like a comparative bargain.


Petrolicious Review

February 18, 2016

Benjamin Shahrabani's review from Petrolicious on February 18, 2016:

The finest books boast well-written stories, but to rise to the top, even the best writing needs to have great design to back it up. Think back to the last good book that you read. It doesn’t matter what the subject was, but chances are that you don’t know what the font was, or even remember many details of what the page design looked lik… or how the chapters might have been arranged. Good book design is something you would probably never notice unless it did not exist.

They say, "don't judge a book by its cover," but that is exactly how Carrera 2.7: 1974-1976 and Aston Martin DBR9: The Definitive History should be judged—both the titles and their superb construction tell you exactly what's inside them. These books work!

The legendary Porsche 911 Carrera RS of 1973 resulted from the factory's realization that the weight of its 2.4-liter 911S production model was holding back its development potential for racing. Therefore, the company decided to build and homologate a special lightweight variant for Group 4 GT competition purposes. Demand quickly overwhelmed the initial supply, and although 500 units were initially planned, production ceased after 1,580 units had been produced by the time production ceased in July 1973.

For 1974, newly enacted safety standards in the United States, one of the company’s largest markets, heralded the end of the “long-hood” chassis. The new “G-prefix” series of that year brought with it a shortened hood, impact bumpers, revised lighting, and a plethora of other changes. The Carrera name continued on Porsche’s top-of-the-range model, and a limited number of high-performance lightweight Carreras emerged from 1974-1976 for European markets only.

While never branded an RS by Porsche’s marketing department, these "Euro Carreras",  as they came to be known, retained the legendary Type 911/83 2.7-liter, 210 hp engine with Bosch mechanical fuel injection, the same engine as fitted to the legendary 1973 Carrera RS. However, following in the footsteps of its iconic predecessor was always going to be a tough act to follow—and for a long while the model was misunderstood.

If you’re going to write another Porsche book, it better be something different, and author Ryan Snodgrass has done just that, focusing on just the single model of car stated in the title of his book, Carrera 2.7: 1974-1976. No significant or focused book has ever been written on the ‘impact bumper’ 911 models before, and it was the author’s complete restoration of one of these rare models back to original factory specification that inspired this book.

The result is a very engaging story, and much, much more than just an A to Z compilation of previously known information.

Yes, it has all the de rigueur niceties we would expect and more—detailed photographs, competition history, insights into factory production, technical drawings, and special appendixes for instance, but the author has clearly found a higher level.

Through time spent with the Porsche factory, private collections and archives, as well as countless hours interviewing people directly involved with the cars, he has written a book of almost unprecedented breadth, along the way unearthing many photographs and materials, much of what must be new to the record. A two-page spread early on, located on page–nine of King Hussein of Jordan trading both his 904 and 908 to the Porsche factory for a brand new 1974 Carrera 2.7 surely must be one of them and literally had me in awe. Other wonderful details abound such as in the “body” chapter of the book - the color reproduction and filtering of colors to resemble the actual colors available in period are simply incredible, and must have taken days. 

Snodgrass is not only a Porsche enthusiast, but has also owned and restored a 2.7 Carrera, so his writing is informed by experience in ownership and restoration. He has made an immense effort to paint the complete story by undertaking a level of research rarely seen, the best comparison being the fabledCarrera RS book by Dr. Thomas Gruber and Dr. Georg Konradsheim.

The car is misunderstood no longer, and the relative rarity of the 2.7-engined Carrera, with less than 1,550 cars produced from 1974-1976, has brought a corresponding rise in prices as well as a renewed appreciation in the model. This is a reference book (and much of it applies to the early 930 Turbos) that should be on any Porsche enthusiast’s bookshelf. It’s inexpensive for what you get…


Speedreaders.info Review

February 16, 2016

Sabu Advani's Carrera 2.7 book review at Speedreaders.info:

“They were fire-breathing monsters spitting fumes in their wake. The MFI system produced by Bosch had been developed by the race teams to provide ample fuel flow with smooth and quick throttle response . . . and remarkably quick throttle response was what you got. Floor it in an MFI engine and OPEC cheers.”

This lament by a Porsche owner explains why the subject of this book, the cars with the 2.7L motor with mechanical fuel injection, have “historically been overlooked by the general public and remained unknown to all but the most astute Porschephiles.

And now there’s a book to right that wrong; and not just a book but the book. Truly, Carrera fans never had it so good! In short order, two important books have come out, and each/both qualify for Book of the Decade status. They are entirely sympathetic and complementary, even in terms of level of magnification and general appearance. The author of this book acknowledges a debt of gratitude to the other author—who wrote the Foreword to this one! Also, both books were designed by the same person and are physically so similar that one fits into the other’s slipcase. While both parties are quick to say that the latter is coincidental, both authors obviously knew they were writing for the same audience—anyone with Porsche 911 and 930 Turbo interests—and that both books will surely live side by side.

But, they are different books about different things. Specifically, the Snodgrass book is about a subset of the Carrera family, the 2.7 MFI (1974–76) that is the successor to the 2.7 RS the Konradsheim book examined. Either book could have come to market first and in fact the Snodgrass book would have been first if QC issues had not repeatedly delayed it. On the other hand, the order of the book releases now matches the order in which the cars came out!

Many people have been watching the skies for this book for a long, long, long time. Since it was meant to be superlative in terms of research and also production values, the author rightly strove to achieve the best possible result—even if that meant delays. That this is his first book is immaterial; if anything, he fully embraced the notion that you can make a good first impression only once!

And just to get it out of the way, while the price may seem steep it is [a] entirely justified in terms of the quality of the product and [b] a pittance compared to the run-away prices of Carrera cars these days. If you are in the market for this model, or a restorer, this book is indispensable. The author writes, “It is my goal to see this reference book in a place of honor on every serious Porsche enthusiast’s bookshelf.” It surely will be. (Hey, if you were smart enough to buy one of the only 2500 copies, you could reduce your purchase price by charging others for the privilege of drooling over (over, not on) it.

How thorough is this book? If you can’t tell one model year from another by the shape of the glovebox knob, look no further. Is Madras leatherette redder than Russet? Ever seen a Targa Roof Repair Manual? What finish should be on the wheel lip? The reason for singling out such minutia is to convey to the expert reader, i.e. the one who can fully appreciate the enormity of the scope, that if a book turns over those kinds of rocks then it “obviously” will cover such basics as the model-specific design and engineering angles, along with marketing, specs, and production numbers etc.

Moreover, Snodgrass is mindful of the timeline, specifically the incongruity of bringing a high-performance car to market in the 1970s, which is largely the reason it was not offered in Porsche’s largest market, North America. Worse, the model that did come here, the superficially similar 2.7 CIS, had lesser performance—again, a factor of the timeline, although, for once, the federally mandated impact bumpers actually benefited the looks of the car because they resulted in a shortening of the hood.

While to the man in the street a 911 is a 911 is a 911, Snodgrass begins by sorting out the family tree and the intricacies of nomenclature and the attending differences in spec. Those who find such things tedious should know that there will also be dozens of examples of “decoders” for anything from VIN numbers to components/assemblies to paint tags. Speaking of paint, one reason for the book’s delay is the author’s laudable—and in the end successful—effort to correctly reproduce the cars’ colors (above), including metallics. If you know printing technology you’ll appreciate how difficult this is. And let’s not even talk of 20 tons of “defective” paper. In fact, Snodgrass who was new to all this himself, includes a 16-page “Behind the Scenes” supplement to the special Publisher’s Edition (left, already sold out, note the different colors; limited to 300 numbered and autographed copies, $349.99, ISBN 978-0-9962682-0-2) that explains book production processes most readers would never know or think about.

Coverage of the car is divided into major build groups, and a chapter each is devoted to special models, racing, accessories, and literature accompanying the car (i.e. manuals and such) or used in-house (technical/service manuals etc.). Appended are a reproduction of the homologation forms, 1974-76 equipment lists and production changes by model year and market-specific, as well as specs and a Bibliography. No Index, you grumble? Well, regrettably, that’s only available with the Publisher’s Edition.

The text is most comprehensively augmented by illustrative material drawn from a variety of sources including the Porsche Archive and includes a cutaway drawing, factory blueprints, various exploded components, graphs, and reproductions of letters, memos (some translated), period road tests, and advertising material. Quite a bit of this has not been published before. A good number of photos of cars and details are also specific/new to this book (the complications of which are also discussed in the aforementioned Supplement).

As the flagship MFI is “the best of what Porsche had to offer” so this book is the best that is available for this model. An ex-Amazon engineer (love/hate your Kindle??) Snodgrass only wrote it because he was about to buy an MFI and couldn’t find any decent literature. This review could be three times longer to properly enumerate all its virtues—even if you don’t have a Porsche-shaped bone in your body the book will be a serious treat for any bibliophile.

Snodgrass says he can feel another book stirring in him—maybe it’ll be Ferrari-themed because in his long-ago university days, that was one of his early automotive interests.


GT Porsche, February 2016 issue #171 Book Review

January 14, 2016

Carrera 2.7 is one of those Porsche books you just cannot put down. It is a perfect example of how to write a modern super detailed and beautifully designed text on a specific car. Author Ryan Snodgrass, who looks after the carreramfi.com website in the USA, is a confirmed fan but this work on his favourite model excels in terms of research, writing style, design and the huge amount of contemporary and studio photography. This lavish ($250 USD) slip-cased book details every aspect of the story behind the first full production 911 Carrera.

The 1974 models were the next step in Zuffenhausen's then-established routine of introducing bi-annual major upgrades to the 911 series. The top-of-the-line range model had been planned as a 2.7 911S, with the free-revving engine first used on the previous year's RS. However, the new G-series models were much more than that – adopting the required impact absorbing bumpers and a whole new interior. The use of the revered Carrera name upset many purists, but it was an essential gilding to the top production model at a time when Porsche faced stalling sales and possible bankruptcy caused by the 1973–74 OPEC oil embargo. Although not available in the USA, Porsche treated its customers in other markets to a RS-powered thoroughbred. The Carrera 2.7 was the last in the line of pure-bred 911s, before ever more restrictive regulations took the 911 in a different direction.

This absorbing book details all the development that led to the final production models and includes fascinating sections on the Sonderwunschen (special wishes) cars, the other sections covering the technical specifications, colours, options, literature, motorsport and even the tools included with the car. It is a fantastic work and an essential for any serious Porsche book collector.

 

 

 

GT Porsche magazine 



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