In The Pit and the Pendulum Edgar Allen Poe imagines a diabolical death machine involving an arcing scythe. If Poe were alive today, he might find this Nice Price or Crack Pipe Porsche 930 equally fiendish for its pendulum-like handling properties, but would he also find its price horrific?
Sunday, Monday, happy days! Tuesday, Wednesday, happy days! Thursday, Friday, happy days! The weekend comes, my Chevy hums, ready to race with you! It most certainly was a happy day for the seller - and potentially the buyer - of yesterday's 1955 Chevy Bel Air hot rod as a rockin' 73% found its sub-thirteen grand price to be Nice Price worthy.
And to that, the Fonz says Aaaaaaay.
A whale tail may refer to a Cetacean's flukes, an insouciant woman's exposed underwear, or as in the case of this 1977 Porsche, a 930 turbo. All of those may be splendid sights to behold, but there is a certain graduated scale of pleasure involved with being inside of each.
The 930 - sold in America as the Turbo Carrera - was Porsche's attempt at taking the tricky handling characteristics of their rear weight-biased 911 and turning it into something that demanded its driving mastery to be earned like a Dairy Queen Blizzard birthday clown. In contrast, when Honda released the Acura NSX they touted its benign handling characteristics, and those who have driven one say its a super car that drives like an Accord.
Thanks, land of the rising yawn.
Porsche's 930, on the other hand, takes the 911's legendary tendency to oversteer and gives it two snaps up and a twist. Of course Ferry and the boys didn't set out simply to create a car that would - as Poe might have envisioned it - kill people. As you can see on this silver over black '77, the rear fenders have been stretched to cover a track and tires have both been widened substantially - as have the fronts - to ameliorate the tendency of the car to switch ends. Still, with its short 89-inch wheelbase and rear-biased center of gravity, the 265 horsepower 3.0-litre six can get you in lots of trouble should you choose to lift in a turn after going in hot. Finally, turbo lag was a real problem on these cars, and only exacerbated the unique driving proclivities with its on-off switch power delivery.
But does all that make it a death trap worthy of one of Poe's dark and stormy nights? Quoth the raven: oh hells no. With a zero to sixty time of around five and a half ticks and a top speed of 150 miles per hour, it has performance creds that were extraordinary back during the Carter administration, and are still pretty good today. Also driving a 930 needn't be like sharing needles with Amy Winehouse, it can be done with care, and eventually mastered, but it does require a steep learning curve.
This 47,000 mile 930 appears a hell of a lot better than Winehouse and its chrome headlight trim is a ton more subtle than the hillbilly crackhead Cleopatra look she favors. The basic 911 design is timeless, but this one channels the ‘70s with its funky TURBO decals spanning the fenders. Aside from that it's everything you would expect in a rear-engine Porsche, including black out Fuchs, the aforementioned whale tail, mail slot sunroof, and externally-mounted driving lights above a subtle rubber airdam up front.
Inside, the seller claims it's tidy but nothing spectacular, and it's going to be hot in there what with all this global warming shenanigans and the fact that the A/C doesn't work. At least the windows roll down, and the seller says that they, and everything else extant of the A/C, windshield washer and rear window wiper (who knew they had such things?), works.
The turbo also works, and should as the seller says it's reasonably new. He also notes that even with its relatively low miles, the engine has seen a rebuild in its life. That could be taken either as a good sign of future longevity, or a bad one of a questionable past. Regardless, he says it doesn't burn oil but makes no mention of upgrades such as the timing chain idler - which is a good idea if you're going to have the engine apart anyway. The rest of the body is said to show the the moderate wear of age and modest upkeep. It's not a show car, it's a driver.
The following year after this car was built, Porsche upped the ante with a 10% bump in engine displacement and an intercooler atop the flat six, giving it more than 300 bhp. That makes the ‘78 a more desirable ride, but rest assured this ‘77 should prove itself no slouch, and its capabilities should be more than enough to get your tell tale heart pumping.
Edgar Allan Poe is credited as being the first American author to subsist solely on the earnings of his writing career, and hence he didn't live a life which might have afforded such luxuries as Porsches or not suffering from consumption. This Turbo Carrera is priced at an almost Poe-friendly $19,500, and that seems to be a price that would make any 930 seeker take note. Or is it? What do you think, does that $19,500 make your pendulum swing towards Nice Price for this 930? Or, is that price the pits?
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