Porsche Road & Race – Turbo 3.0 Book Review
Review by Porsche Road & Race of the Turbo 3.0 book:
Amongst its numerous attributes, Porsche sports cars have always been about performance, engineering, innovation and being different. From the production of the very first sports car to bear the Porsche name, the 356 which came into this world in 1948, the company has strived to excel with each successive model. In this same mould, the 911 Turbo 3.0 is just one of Porsche’s many milestone achievements that have set this manufacturer apart from the rest of the motor industry.
In the same way that the Atlantic salmon swims upstream against the strong flow of a river to reach the headwaters to spawn, so too has Porsche avoided the easy path to achieve its goals. Many motor manufacturers might claim to have pursued similar ideals over the years, but few have come close to achieving these as consistently as Porsche has done. When the 356 was launched, its design was just so far ahead of anything else on the market, and being streamlined and lightweight, it soon started beating much more powerful rivals in motorsport. When it was replaced by the 911 model, racing drivers and teams loyal to Porsche continued to compete, giving the new model excellent exposure. It was the company’s success with the 917/10 and 917/30 turbocharged race cars though, that encouraged Porsche to experiment with turbocharging the 911’s 6-cylinder engine.
Apart from Porsche’s success with the Carrera 4-cam 4-cylinder engine in the 1950s and early 1960s, the most notable big step forward for Porsche, was in turbocharging the 911 engine. A number of manufacturers had dabbled with the concept, some had mild success even, but no other manufacturer came close to achieving what Porsche did with this technology. When Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann suggested hooking up a turbo to the 6-cylinder 911 engine, many questioned whether this would be manageable, or even if it could work in the passenger car market. History tells us that the 911 Turbo 3.0 launched in 1975 was the big breakthrough that saw Porsche’s sports cars grab the market’s attention. Many sports car loving kids around the world will happily admit to having had a poster on their bedroom wall of the Turbo 3.0 at some point (the Editor included).
Production of the 911 had fallen from a high in 1973 (15,438 units), around the time of the Carrera RS introduction, dropping 47% to a low in 1975 (8189 units). With the launch of the Turbo 3.0 in the spring of 1975, sales of all 911s began to climb again to 10,677 units in 1976 and 13,793 units in 1977. Not only was the Turbo 3.0 flying off the showroom floor, but Porsche was also writing history on the race tracks of the world with its 934 and 934.5 models. Put simply, turbocharging the 911 6-cylinder engine transformed the company from a little Stuttgart manufacturer into a serious contender around the world with both its road and race cars.
It should be remembered that Porsche launched the Turbo 3.0 at a time when other sports car manufacturers were facing bankruptcy, dramatic drops in sales, and increasing demand for cleaner running vehicles. In the face of such daunting odds, the Turbo 3.0 made everyone sit up and notice, from customers to race teams, from rival manufacturers to business and financial commentators. Many thought Porsche would fall on its face, but the reverse happened, and we can probably thank Porsche for being so brave in the face of the oil crisis, and for giving us the 911 Turbo 3.0 model.
The book, Turbo 3.0, written by Ryan Snodgrass and published by Parabolica Press, is an outstanding piece of work. The book’s narrow remit is precisely its strength, because if you are the lucky owner of a 911 Turbo 3.0, then you would not need any other book on this subject on your bookshelf. This exhaustive volume endeavours to cover everything an owner, restorer, historian or enthusiast would want to know about the dawn of Porsche’s turbocharged supercar. Turbo 3.0 covers not only Porsche’s historic 3.0-litre Turbo, but also the development of production-based turbocharged race cars by examining the Carrera RSR Turbo 2.14 and Turbo RSR 934/934.5 race cars.
In a letter from the author that accompanies each book, Snodgrass tells the reader that it was his desire to raise the bar for quality and research, in the publication of top-line books. He has indeed succeeded in achieving both goals, admirably. Without any doubt, this is one of the best researched books on the subject of Porsche production cars yet, and the quality of writing and presentation, ensure that it will stand out in the market. But the book is no lightweight, comprising 512 pages, and with book dimensions of 280 x 320 mm tall, this is a substantial piece of work, but be assured, you won’t find a better piece of research and writing on this model anywhere.
Individual chapters cover: Turbocharging Roots; Porsche Turbo Arrives; Drivetrain; Rolling Chassis; Body; Interior…and much more. There is a chapter devoted to motorsport, and then separate sections covering Accessories, Literature, and Production Data with several Appendices closing out the book. As a Turbo 3.0 owner or enthusiast, you will not want to be without this book, as for example, from page 452-497 the author has listed the production data on all 2819 Turbo 3.0 chassis. After this follows many pages giving Production Changes: Engine; Gearbox; Rolling Chassis, and much more.
This is truly a comprehensive, all-inclusive publication and you will be glad that you have a copy on your bookshelf. The book is offset printed on the highest-quality paper and enclosed within a protective slipcase, but only 2500 individually numbered hardcover copies of the Turbo 3.0: Limited Edition will be sold.
If you really want to get the full works, then the exclusive Turbo 3.0: Publisher’s Edition is offered in an individually signed and numbered series and limited to just 300 copies. Only available direct from Parabolica Press, the Publisher’s Edition differs from the Limited Edition with several unique and extra special surprise features included within a bespoke clamshell box designed specifically for the Publisher’s Edition. Additionally, the Publisher’s Edition carries on Parabolica Press’s theme of offering a “behind the scenes” look into aspects for how each book is produced. The Turbo 3.0 Behind the Scenes Supplement continues where the Carrera 2.7: Publisher’s Edition Supplement left off by exploring the deep research necessary to produce books at this level, peering through the viewfinder of several photographers and, finally, understanding how artistic concepts become reality for several commissioned illustrations.
The purchase price is not insignificant, but you will not be pleased when they are all sold out, so get your copy now!
Anche in News
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).