Always wanted a track day-ready German sports car to show off to your friends but can't pay 911 money? This racing-honed version of the 968 is your friend
Some marques hold such a revere with the general public that people dream to own one regardless of quality or price. One such marque is Porsche, which has earned this status primarily through its 911 sports car.
Not everyone is blessed with a 911 budget, however. Knowing this, Porsche has introduced several entry-level models over time, ranging from the 914 through to the modern-day Boxster. For a brief period in the mid-1990s, it was the 968 which held the 'entry level' Porsche status, the last in a line of water-cooled rear wheel drive models where the engine was positioned in the front of the vehicle, rather than hanging out the back like its 911 big brother.
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It wasn't the position of the engine that was the key selling point, but the price. At around £30,000, the lighter Club Sport variant was a relatively affordable sports car and offered all of the thrills you'd want from a Porsche. It might not have held the same prestige as a 911 but for those who simply cared about having a fun driving experience, it didn't matter.
The interior niceties which came with the standard 968 were mostly removed, and features such as sound deafening and electric windows were cut back or replaced to save weight. To ensure performance came before comfort, racing seats were included as standard rather than the leather equivalent.
The ground clearance was lowered by 20mm, 17-inch wheels were used to ensure better grip with a bigger tyres, and weight saving took place in numerous areas to ensure the 968 was no slouch on the track. In period, it could reach 160mph. The only questionable sacrifice for performance was the removal of the rear windscreen wiper, something most drivers will likely miss during a rainy Touristenfahrten session on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Recently arrived in our classifieds is an example in Speed Yellow, one of the six factory colour options available. The model had a full glass-out respray in 2016, with many of the seals also replaced, In that same year, the belts, timing chain and water pump were renovated, while the head gasket and the oil seals at the front of engine were replaced and a new stainless steel exhaust system was installed.
Other refurbishment in the last three years includes work on the power steering pump, a replacement clutch, a single-mass flywheel fitted (the original dual-mass item is included in the sale), new fuel lines, updated Koni adjustable damper suspensio with H&R front springs (originals also included with the car), and work on front wishbones, bushes, balljoints, caster blocks, antiroll bar bushes. Or in layman's terms, it's ready for a workout through the Karussell.
The car's geometry has been set-up with fast driving in mind, and 1990s Audi rallying legend Walter Röhrl reportedly described the 968 as one of the best handling Porsches ever produced when first released. And who do you trust more – your 911-owning mate, or a double World Rally Champion?