For 1974, Porsche came up with a new G series model line-up, with the entry-level car badged simply ‘911’.
This car, which replaced the 911T, had a 2.7-litre engine, that was based on that in the previous year’s RS, but fitted with Bosch K-Jetronic (as used on the US 911T the year before) fuel injection to improve efficiency and reduce emissions. Power was 150bhp for both US and rest-of-world models.
However, the big news was the adoption of new impact-absorbing bumpers, which lengthened the car slightly. These were necessary for the 911 to conform to US regulations that required cars to absorb impacts at speeds of up to 5mph without sustaining damage. Rather than opting for ‘rubber’ bumpers like on, for instance, the MGB, Porsche came up with a design by which the entire aluminium bumper moved to soak up the impact. On US cars this was achieved by means of hydraulic rams, whereas on rest-of-world cars the bumpers were mounted to collapsible steel tubes, which were cheaper and lighter (although the hydraulic system was available as an option).
To allow the bumpers to move, Porsche fitted distinctive rubber bellows at each corner of the car. Although criticised by some as spoiling the 911’s lines, these went on to become a trademark of the car that was to continue until 1989.
Another new styling cue which premiered in this year was the full-width reflector between the rear lights. With the word ‘Porsche’ boldly emblazed across it, this panel left other motorists in no doubt as to what had just overtaken them!
Other body changes were deeper outer sills each with an aperture (usually covered by a rubber plug) for the jacking point, while the wings and bonnet were slightly altered to accommodate the new bumpers.
Inside, the 911 boasted smart new seats with better support and integral headrests, redesigned door pockets with top-opening lids, improved ventilation with vents at each end of the dash designed to direct air at the side windows, and not least a new four-spoke 400mm steering wheel.
The luggage compartment was revised with a reshaped 80-litre fuel tank, space-saver spare wheel and a single battery.
This base 911 was only available in the US for one year, after which it was withdrawn from that market because of emissions issues. However, it continued in other markets.
For the 1975 model year (the H series), the 911 received extra sound insulation but otherwise remained unchanged. By 1976 (I series), however, there was slightly more to shout about.
Most importantly, for the first time the entire bodyshell was hot-dip zinc coated, which went a long way to eliminate the 911’s notorious rust problem.
More noticeable, though, was the adoption of what have since become known as ‘elephant ear’ door mirrors. These chunky protrusions may not have been pretty but they did allow for electric adjustment and heating. What’s more, they soon became yet another distinctive 911 feature that were to endure right into the early 1990s.
Also for the I series, the base 911 adopted the 165bhp engine of the 911S.
The following year, the J series cars boasted air vents in the centre of the dash, the option of a thermostatically controlled heating system (as fitted as standard on the Carrera model), improved locks with recessed door-pins and rotating release knobs.
This entry level 911 is perhaps not the most exciting 911 today, and somewhat overshadowed by its more powerful stablemates. The fully galvanised bodyshell from 1976 may sound tempting but the treatment didn’t stop rust completely and there are some badly corroded examples around today. That said, find a good one and these make affordable and reliable 911s.
The Targa open-roof configuration continued. However, the roof was now a single-piece, non-folding item that fitted in a restyled luggage compartment; that is, except on cars with air-conditioning which continued to have a folding roof because of the extra space taken up by the air-conditioning. With the J series, the Targa finally lost its opening front quarter lights.
Compression ratio: 8.0:1
Maximum power: 150bhp at 5700rpm (165bhp at 5800 from 1976)
Maximum torque: 235Nm at 3800rpm (235Nm at 4000rpm from 1976)
Brakes: Front: 282mm discs; rear: 290mm discs
Suspension: Front: MacPherson struts with telescopic dampers and torsion bar springs; rear: trailing wishbones with telescopic dampers and transverse torsion bar. Front and rear antiroll bars
Wheels & tyres: Front: 15x6J with 185VR tyres. Rear: 15x6J with 185VR tyres