Porsche 924 Carrera GT: review, history and specs of an icon

Built to qualify the baby Porsche for sportscar racing, including Le Mans in the early 1980s, the Carrera GT is the ultimate 924.

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A 2-litre, four-cylinder Porsche in the showroom; a 2-litre, four-cylinder Porsche racing in the Le Mans 24 Hours. How very 2017.

Or not. This little red coupe doesn’t look contemporary in the slightest: it’s as redolent of late-’70s Germany as a free-flowing autobahn or the crisp analogue bleeps and squelches of a Kraftwerk album. It actually smells of period West German industrial thoroughness, an aroma that probably boasts a terrifyingly long compound noun all of its own.
Porsche loved to link the current flat-four 718 Boxster/Cayman and the soon-to-be-defunct V4-powered 919 LMP1 programme, but back in the early ’80s it had a much more traditional homologation car, one that did indeed win at Le Mans, albeit in this case a class victory.
Its basis was the 924 Turbo, a 168bhp high- performance version of the little 924, itself the bottom rung of Porsche’s road car range. Originally a sports car project engineered for Volkswagen and designated EA425, it was canned by VW in the mid-’70s when it had a change of senior management, which left Porsche with a particularly acute headache. Eventually it bought the entire programme for a million Deutschmarks, including the use of the 2-litre Audi engine (often rather cruelly dubbed ‘a VW van engine’) and an agreement to build the car in Audi’s Neckarsulm factory. The resolutely logical, front-engined, water-cooled, 123bhp 924 and its big brother, the V8-powered 928, were the machines that then-Porsche-boss Ernst Fuhrmann intended to use to bury that smelly, noisy, rather weird car, the 911, once and for all – by 1980, in fact. Of course, it didn’t quite work out like that.

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