I’ve just been comparing the owner’s manual for a 1970 Porsche 911T with that for a 2005 Porsche 997 Carrera. Two books designed to do the same job, but published 35 years apart.
The format is exactly the same, but the 997 book contains 256 pages compared to the 911T’s 106 pages, and the older book is spiral bound instead of perfect bound.
The content is broadly similar, as you’d expect, as the purpose it to instruct owners about the car’s features and controls. Of course, one of the reasons that the 997 manual is so much thicker is because modern cars have many more functions to explain – tyre pressure warnings, memory seats and cup-holders are all things that didn’t exist in 1970. There’s also a fair number of warnings in the 997 book – Porsche was less worried about being sued in 1970 by someone getting their fingers caught in a folding door mirror.
The 911T book is illustrated by black and white photos that appear to have been beautifully airbrushed, while the 997 has computer generated illustrations clearly finished in grey and yellow.
For me, one of the great pleasures of getting a new car, is sitting quietly in the driver’s seat studying the owner’s manual and putting the car’s features to the test. Thank goodness Porsche hasn’t started putting the manuals onto a CD as computer manufacturers tend to do!