Februar 18, 2016

Petrolicious Review

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…