Porsche 911S (O and A series)
Although the standard 2.0-litre 911’s 130bhp was a respectable figure in its day (especially in a car weighing just over 1000kg), Porsche soon started off something that would continue throughout the 911’s history – producing more powerful variants.
The first of these was the 911S (for Super), which appeared in October 1966. This used the same basic engine, but it was uprated to give a heady (for the time) 160bhp power output. This was achieved by raising the compression ratio (with raised piston crowns) from 9.0:1 to 9.8:1, fitting larger inlet and exhaust valves, and a freer-flowing exhaust system. The most noticeable difference, though, was the adoption of two triple-choke Weber 40IDS carburettors.
The combination of the new exhaust and Weber carburettors gave the 911S the soundtrack it deserves – the engine had what we now recognise and love as the true 911 ‘wail’ at full throttle.
The S saw the introduction of another 911 trademark – the Fuchs wheel. The stylish five-spoked forged alloys with their black centres and polished rims gave the 911S a more sporty appearance, and would continue to be a feature of the 911 right up until 1989. They were also 2.3kg lighter than the steel wheels, and were even attached with super-light alloy nuts. However, just to make things interesting for the driver, the Fuchs wheels were the same width as those on the standard 911 – 4.5-inches front and rear.
That said, the handling was slightly improved by way of a thicker front antiroll bar and the addition of an antiroll bar at the rear (a novelty in those days), along with Koni dampers. Brakes were uprated with ventilated discs, which was said to be a first for a production car.
In August 1967, the 911 was updated to the A-series, and the S became the top of a range of three models (the L and T being the other two), and gained minor improvements. Wheels increased in width to 5.5-inches, while brakes gained a dual hydraulic circuit and alloy calipers.
Looking back, it’s clear that the S set the tone for future 911s. A full 160bhp in a lightweight car made for a lot of fun, especially when you factored in the unusual handling characteristics of the rear-engine layout and skinny tyres. This was a car that could be a real handful to drive and separated the men from the boys. Indeed, it still does. Find a good 911S and you’ll have a combination of classic looks, 911 soundtrack and a unique driving experience.
Targa: The 911S was available with a Targa roof. Just like the standard 911, this had a folding plastic rear window.
Compression ratio: 9.8:1
Maximum power: 160bhp at 6800rpm
Maximum torque: 180Nm at 5200rpm
Brakes: Front: 282mm discs; rear: 290mm discs
Suspension: Front: MacPherson struts with telescopic dampers and 19mm torsion bar springs; rear: trailing wishbones with telescopic dampers and transverse 23mm torsion bar. Front and rear antiroll bars
Wheels & tyres: Front & rear: 15×4.5J with 165HR tyres front and rear (15×5.5J with 185HR tyres from 1967)
0-60mph: 7.9 sec
Top speed: 152mph
Copyright © 2018, Philip Raby Limited.