Production History of the Carrera 3.0

This post was taken from the website which is no longer online.

The Carrera 3 has an interesting place in the history of the Porsche 911 as it brought together elements from two of Porsche’s most legendary cars. First, it represented the latest incarnation of the Porsche Carrera, originally introduced to the 911 series as the classic 2.7 litre RS in late 1972, and later revamped as the ‘impact-bumper’ Carrera 2.7 in 1974. In fact, the Carrera 3 was the last 911 to bear the name ‘Carrera’ as a production special.

Next, the Carrera 3’s 2993cc engine used the same die-cast aluminium crank-case as its awesome cousin, the newly introduced Porsche 930 or ‘911 Turbo’. This shared unit, codenamed 930/02, was derived from an engine developed for the extremely rare 3.0 RS in 1973.

The Carrera 3.0 was first introduced in August 1975 for the 1976 Porsche model year and was available for two years until July 1977. During these two years only 3687 of the cars were produced for the ‘I’ and ‘J’ Series 911 production runs (2564 Coupes and 1123 Targas). Despite the limited numbers, though, the Carrera’s normally aspirated version of the Turbo’s power unit proved to be a powerful, strong and extremely reliable engine, and the overall design of the car was to form the bedrock for the remaining years of the 911 series’ development (through the 3.0 litre 911 SC and 3.2 litre Carrera) until the introduction of the 964 model in 1989.

For its time the Carrera 3.0 was an extremely powerful sports car. Its 3 litre horizontally opposed, air cooled engine, using Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, produced 200 bhp at 6000 rpm and 188 lb/ft of torque at 4200 rpm. The car was offered with either a 4 or 5 speed version of Porsche’s 915 manual gearbox, or with Porsche’s 3 speed Sportomatic semi-automatic transmission. Few Sportomatics survive now, many of them having been converted to manual form.

The Carrera 3 enjoyed marvellously quick and responsive steering, whilst the handling was taut and, for its day, sensational. The car was also incredibly safe, the front and rear anti-roll bars reducing body roll and improving stability, and the 282mm front and 290mm rear disc brakes managing to stop the car in record times for the mid-1970s.

As far as performance was concerned, Porsche claimed a rather understated 0-62 mph time of 6.3 seconds and a top speed ‘in excess of 142 mph’. However, in road tests by the motoring press the car managed times of 5.7 seconds for the sprint and a top speed of 145 mph, with overall fuel consumption coming in at around 18 mpg. The road performance of the Carrera 3 was generally considered to be better than that of its immediate predecessor, the 2.7 Carrera, owing to its larger engine, improved torque characteristics and the use of K-Jetronic fuel injection.

Porsche also made ‘comfort’ and ‘sports’ packs available for the Carrera 3.0 with the final J-Series cars being offered in one of two factory specifications: the classic, spoiler-less version with Koni dampers and 6 inch front and 7 inch rear wheels; and the Carrera 3 Sport with Bilstein shock absorbers, bigger wheels sporting Pirelli P7 tyres, special seats, front lip spoiler and a rear rubber ‘whale-tail’ spoiler.

Throughout its short production life, the Carrera 3 sat in the middle of the 911 range, between the standard 911 and the Turbo. However, for the 1978 model year, Porsche decided to rationalize the normally-aspirated 911 range into a single car, abandoning the Carrera designation, and renaming the new model the 911 SC. It would be a further six years before the Carrera name reappeared (on a 911 at least) with the introduction of the 3.2 Carrera for the 1984 model year.

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