Speedreaders.info — Turbo 3.0 Book Review
“Without the 3.0-liter Turbo, Porsche’s turbocharged racing story would be a shadow of what it is today and, perhaps, Porsche would never have achieved the reputation of being the groundbreaking, technology-driven manufacturer that it still trades on today.”
- When you order this book, you’d better schedule some vacation time because this is one of those books you won’t want to put down once you get into it. You’ll also want to start building up wrist strength—the package the courier will leave on your doorstep clocks in at around 12 lb.
- The book is so hefty that you’ll want to get advice from your bookbinder friends, or Google it, how to properly break in a big new book without stressing the binding and bend it out of shape permanently.
- If there were valet parking for books, this one is one of those confections that would be left right out front, for all to salivate about.
Enough with the preliminaries. Yes, this book is an “event” unto itself—not least considering its arduous and oft-delayed production path—and while the turmoil probably put a few nails into its perfectionist author-publisher’s coffin, it’ll give you the entirely uncommon thought that there is, still, intelligent life out there. If you are a 911 fan, especially a Turbo fan, none of this will matter because you already know that, based on the strength of the author’s previous work, this is not a book you can afford to be on the fence about. Only 2500 copies (plus 300 in the $595 Publisher’s Edition that was used for this review) exist anyway, so, spool up that turbo and get your order in.
If you have the patience, start your exploration of the book with the 20-page “Behind the Scenes” Supplement. It’ll give you a mighty appreciation for the fantastic amount of thought and work that goes into producing a book of this caliber. And that’s if everything goes well . . . Murphy’s Law could have been invented for the publishing world. . . . People who’ve been aware of this book project for the last few years and had to readjust their “now I can die happy” clock repeatedly know well enough the litany of production challenges Snodgrass had to overcome in order to adhere to his vision. Now the book is here, at last, and of course it was worth the wait. As did the previous book, the new one raises the bar in regards to “richness” in terms of presentation, selection and organization, and distinguishes itself in regards to the integrity of the data, inferences drawn, new micro details added to the record.
A necessary caveat: the book deals only with the original run of 3L Turbos, the 2874 cars built 1975–77. Even if you are—tsk, tsk!—someone to whom all 911s look alike, a 911 Turbo, or, properly, a Porsche 930, is instantly recognizable. Hint; it’s that tail! Throughout its life it was Porsche’s top-of-the-line model, and as engineer-turned-race driver Jürgen Barth (a Porsche author, too) rightly says in his Foreword, at its launch it was the fastest production car in Germany but still even civilians found it “a really fun car to drive” at the limit—if they had been properly briefed on its use, by the likes of him.
For motorcars that burn gasoline, especially performance cars, turbocharging is nowadays a hot topic and so anyone who looks at the technology angle will benefit from seeing here how the first road car produced in series tackled the problems.
The Turbo 3.0 book picks up where the author’s previous one on the Carrera 2.7 ends, both in terms of chronology and also technical evolution. The books were conceived as companion volumes and what little overlap there is between the two in regards to especially photos is only for the sake of rounding out certain aspects of the story.
To thread the needle, Snodgrass offers a quick summary of the technical principles behind forced induction and showcases early applications including ships and aircraft. One of the automotive projects actually involved a young Ferdinand Porsche, in the 1920s (working on the Mercedes-Benz SSK), decades before the firm he was yet to found would become a leader in this technology. This section really is only a high-level snapshot and the novice reader will probably not gain a fully rounded understanding of why turbos were so complicated and therefore costly and also failure prone and therefore were considered unfeasible for mass-produced road cars.
The level of magnification changes drastically once the story turns to Porsche, first the racecars beginning with the all-dominant 917. The existing Porsche literature is immensely deep and it can’t have been easy for Snodgrass to reconcile different accounts, choose which gaps to fill, and clean up the data. From the business case to design parameters to marketing strategies to specs for different world markets, this one authoritative books puts it all your fingertips.
On the illustrative side there are many gems and almost half the images have never before been published. In terms of craft the cutaway [above] by Makotu Ouchi must rank supreme. Moreover, it is the first ever of a Turbo 3.0! The in-period photography of the Porsche factory by Guy Morrison adds singular detail; images of his were already used in the Carrera book as was the contemporary studio work of Michael Furman. The layout is easy on the eyes and the prose, detail laden as it is, a joy to read.
Much more could be said but the case could not be made more persuasive: Whether you are a Turbo owner/aspirant or a bibliophile book geek, on every count, this book is significant.
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Review of the Turbo 3.0 book in Octane magazine's October 2019 issue:
We'll come clean: this book was released last year but our review copy was mislaid during Octane's hastily carried-out office relocation form Bedfordshite to London. It's author, Ryan Snodgrass, very kindly offered to send us another one—and we're so glad he did, because this is a truly exceptional work.
A companion volume to Snodgrass' previous magnum opus, Carrera 2.7, this mammoth 536-page tribute to the Porsche 911 Turbo is printed on creamy archival paper and presented in a stout slipcase. Pay extra for the 300-off Publisher's Edition and you get an even stouter clamshell box that additionally houses convincing reproductions of Porsche ephemera such as press releases and photos, and actual 35mm colour slides, plus a 20-page supplement on how the book was put together.
Is either version worth the money? Emphatically yes, because the level of detail and the production values are stunning. To give just two examples: expert financial book-keepers were hired to check the production data for all 2819 Turbos built; and because no detailed cutaway drawing was ever made of the Turbo, noted cutaway artist Makoto Ouchi was commissioned to draw on. The print specification—which apparently involved '15-micron stochastic hybrid screens' and 'special wide-gamut inks'—will have any bibliophile salivating over their silkscreened linen slipcase.
Every possible aspect of the 1975–77 Turbo is covered in depth: development, build, mechanical, design, one-offs and special editions, racing versions... There's even a spread devoted to specific tyre inflators, jacks and plastic gloves supplied by Porsche for the Turbo's space-save tyre.
As you'll have gathered, we're impressed. It's taken a while for Turbo 3.0 to make it into these pages, but it was well worth the wait.
"Ryan Snodgrass's book on early Porsche Turbos is probably the greatest single model book that I've ever seen in my life. I have not been able to put it down since getting it. It is just full of every bit of geeky goodness about those cars. It is phenomenal."
Of course, when asked at 0:28:07 by Mark Green if manifested into a car, what kind of car would Robb Sass be, his affinity for the Turbo was clear. Sass answered he'd like to be a 1975 or 1976 Turbo Carrera, the first generation Turbo: "I think that they are kind of a little bit edgy. It was the height of the malaise era. A car I really respect as when everything else was slow and crappy, you had this car that would go 0 to 60 in about 5 seconds. Performance on par with a muscle car from ten years before at a time when people were building the Mustang II. If I could aspire to be any car...I'm not a 75-76 Turbo Carrera, but if I could that is probably what it would be as it was so shocking and so surprising and a little bit unpredictable." "Porsche never got the memo that the malaise era was going on."
The Turbo 3.0 book wins first place in the coveted MOTORWORLD BUCHPREIS for the Markenbuch category (best book for a single brand), which honors the best car books of the year. The award ceremony took place on Thursday, May 23, 2019 inside the Arthur Bechtel Classic Motors showroom at the Motorworld Stuttgart V8 Hotel in Böblingen, Germany.
For almost 20 years, noted automotive historian and journalist Jürgen Lewandowski has presided over the Autobuchpreis which honors the best works produced each year on automotive and motorsports topics. For 2018, MOTORWORLD Group became the primary sponsor for the Autobuchpreis, hosting the event and judging team of Jürgen Lewandowksi (chairman of the jury), Andreas Dünkel (Motorworld Group Chairman), Mark N. Backé (Grand Basel Chairman), Vittorio Strosek (Strosek Design), Michael Stoschek (Brose Chairman), Christian Steiger (Classic Cars Editor-in-Chief), Dr. Andreas Kaufmann (Leica Camera Chairman) and Robertino Wild (Capricorn Chairman).