Porsche at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show celebrates 50 years of the 911. We take a look at one of the range’s most iconic lines, the G-Series. More specifically, this 1988 3.2 Carrera.
To many, this is the iconic shape of the Porsche 911: jutting headlights; bonnet scoop; protruding front bumper. Ironic to think that when the revised look first appeared on the 911 G-Series in 1974, purists at the time were up in arms at Porsche’s ‘ugly’ decision.
In its efforts to break further into US markets in 1974, Porsche was obliged to make some serious modifications to the G-Series (named to identify the sportscar as a 1974MY model, just as the H-Series would identify the updated 1975MY variant). In order to be eligible for US markets, the 911 had to withstand newer, tougher 8kph impact speed regulations, necessitating significant changes to the aluminium front and rear bumpers. Both were consequently extended for the purposes of soaking up dissipating impact forces rather than repelling them, thanks to the inclusion of collapsible steel tubes. Rubber bellows at each corner also meant the bumpers would move under impact, further improving occupant safety.
The new bold lines were not well received at the time, though they would eventually become an intrinsic part of the G-Series’ design up until the end of its production run. Indeed, the reflector bar between the taillamps – and the decidedly unsubtle PORSCHE lettering – today stands as an iconic 911 trait.
Fast-forward 15 years though and the journey between the last generation G-Series and the first though was anything but straightforward. In the late-1970s, Porsche questioned the validity of continuing its 911 line in favour of its new 928 model, production of which ultimately ended in 1995. Turbo, targa and convertible Porsches made their respective debuts, and a spiralling web of 911 variants – each with a slightly different engine, or design aspect – made even the most enthusiastic petrol-heads spin.
Hardly surprising then that the 3.2 which appeared in 1984 was almost identical to the naturally aspirated 911SC model it replaced, save a new front bumper with integrated headlamps and the ‘Carrera’ decal – revived by Porsche for the first time since 1975 – across the engine lid. Unlike its 1974 forebear though, the 3.2 boasted 15-inch Fuchs wheels, restyled and integrated taillamps (as of 1987 anyway), and the now famous ‘whaletail’ rear spoiler: large enough upon which to cook a fried breakfast, but a keen aerodynamic feature used on the company’s successful 911 RSR track model and incorporated for the road cars from then on.