The joys of a Porsche 911 with a 915 gearbox

Read almost any buyers’ guide for the Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera and you’ll be told to choose a car with the later G50 gearbox over the 915 unit that was fitted in earlier 3.2s and previous 911s.

It’s understandable advice because many 915 gearboxes are, for want of a better word, knackered and not much fun to use. This is because they do have a different action to other gear changes and you need to ease the lever from one ratio to another, especially when the gear oil hasn’t warmed up. Force a change and you’ll damage the synchromesh and that’s where the problems begin.

However, those in the know relish using a 915 gearbox, saying that it offers the classic 911 feel which was lost with the later, more conventional-feeling G50 unit. And get a good 915 and it really is a joy to use. The trick is to take it easy until the oil has warmed up and, even then, ease the lever through the gears rather than shoving it hard.

I’ve just taken on this lovely 1986 3.2 Carrera and it has a superb gearbox which I’m enjoying using. It’s proof that the 915 shouldn’t be overlooked. The last owner of this Porsche sensibly choose to use Swepco gear oil – a mineral oil that noticeably improves the feel of a 915 gearbox (what it won’t do, though, is salvage a damaged unit).

Unless you have a strong preference for 915 or G50, my usual advice is to choose the best 3.2 Carrera you can find, regardless of its gearbox.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Will Ellingham

    Well said, Philip. Yours is the best little piece I’ve seen on the 915 to date. I couldn’t agree more on the feel, and have always felt the G50 overrated. Thanks!

  2. Will Ellingham

    Should read …”couldn’t agree more on the feel”…

  3. Owen james

    Hi just wondering if you could tell me which starter motor you used with 3.2 engine and the 915 gearbox

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