The most irritating thing about watching Youtube on a smart TV with a slightly clunky UI is scrolling past endless suggestions from promoted channels. Five things new motorbike riders don’t know, top five disturbing church videos, top five lowest jet fighter flypasts and so on. Porsche also latched on to top fives a while back and, while this plebeian format is not my favourite, they have buried some nuggets in there.
The last Top Five feature on the Porsche Youtube channel was Wolfgang Porsche’s Top Five Porsches. Filmed in the bright, spacious garage at Zell am See, the programme follows Ferry’s youngest son (above, with Hans Klauser and his dad at Le Mans 1956) through five of his favourites. The garage is packed with special cars, but his choices seem very authentic, rather than a list from some corporate PR type. Forgive my ever-present inner cynic.
Porsche 993 Turbo S
Dr Porsche’s first choice is a 993 Turbo S. 345 Turbo S models were built from 1997 onwards, with just 26 examples made in RHD. The Turbo S had a 450bhp twin-turbo flat-six and shot from 0-60 in 3.6 seconds. Distinguished by several features including air intakes in the rear quarters, yellow brake calipers and a unique rear wing, all Turbo S models were built by the Exclusive department. The cars feel pretty special inside and have become highly desirable.
“The 911 was the successor to the 356,” says Wolfgang. “All the diehards who drove a 356 said “How awful, what kind of a new car do you call this? This can’t be right.” The 911 has now proven itself in fifty years and has forever been undergoing further development. The diehards quietened down and there are many who now drive a 911 instead of the 356.
“My brother Ferdinand Alexander created the aesthetic design and always insisted that it should be a puristic design. He was always the one who said that cars shouldn’t have many frills. The family green was my father’s favourite colour: he had almost all his cars in green.
“The 993 Turbo S is one of the last to have an air-cooled engine. And for this reason it also has a good sound. It’s a good car in any case.”
Wolfgang’s body language when he talks about the sound – a broad emerging smile and a quick glance to the top left – speaks volumes. Big smiles are hard to fake and looking up is a sign of thinking. Looking up and left is said to show information being processed and related to a past experience or emotion. Watch for this when someone talks about a car or a bike they are trying to sell you. If they never look up and left, they really didn’t like this machine. It’s one clue that you can do some damage with your bids!
As an opening choice, the 993 was a good one. I liked the dig at the 356 crowd: socially correct Porsche banter. Hang around 356 boys long enough and you’ll learn that they all love a bit of 356 vs 911 chat: Wolfgang has clearly spent plenty of time in both camps.
The next choice is a Carrera GT and the third is a Panamera Hybrid. “My father would surely have wanted this car because he always said “the newest car is always the best.” Whenever I added an old car to my collection, he always said “why are you driving such an old car? The newer one is always the better one.””
Cars four and five get to the real meat in the sandwich. Four is the America Roadster. Finished in Stone Grey (akin to the Chalk colour chosen for the Panamera Hybrid), the 1952 America Roadster has a 70 horsepower in just 600 kilograms of aluminium bodyshell. “It’s a proper sports car from the ’50s.”
1962 Porsche 356 Carrera 2000 GS
The final car chosen is a 1962 Porsche 356 Carrera GS: Stuttgart’s ultimate performance car of the time. Fitted with the 130 bhp 2-litre four-cam engine, the Carrera 2 cost a fortune when new and just over 400 were manufactured. The cars are now highly desirable: good examples can fetch $350-400k or more at auction.
The Carrera 2 had the Type 578 engine, which had a bigger bore and stroke compared to the earlier 1.5-litre Type 547 Fuhrmann four-cam. The new engine offered more torque but it was also much larger than the earlier motor and hung down lower in the chassis.
“Underneath the skin is a proper sports car,” says Wolfgang. “The ‘Carrera’ in the name means that it’s a very sporty car from this model range. It’s got 130 hp and, in my eyes, it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing because you don’t realise how powerful it is at first sight.
“The only thing that gives it away is the low-slung exhaust and this tail piece: that’s why this car is also nicknamed ‘the pregnant cat’. This car has a fantastic sound – the exhaust is simply great and the power is great. The Irish Green is one of my favourite colours.”
The Porsche Top Five videos are a slightly off-kilter explosion of brash graphics, choppy edits and Hollywood voiceover, but there is no mistaking Wolfgang’s obvious delight in the cars and what it means to own and enjoy these things: it’s all right there in one cheeky grin when he drops the pregnant cat.
To me, it seems like the 356 Carrera might be his actual favourite. He’s used it on at least one Enstall Classic (above) and it is right at the point where the 911 kicks in. Perhaps no 911 could ever be as special to one of Ferry’s sons as the ultimate road-going expression of one of their father’s original cars. I can sort of understand that, if it’s the case.
Watch the video below and check out what else is hiding in the garage: 904, 959 and a row of 356 Roadsters. A sports car guy, for sure.