Featuring an all new, all aluminium, high-revving, 2-litre flat-six, the 911 was a truly sophisticated sports car, with a price tag to match. The rear-engined layout was carried over from the 356, however, the increased cylinder count not only produced a glorious noise, it also provided a new level of performance. Power was 130bhp and could be matched to either a four-speed or 901 five-speed gearbox. Enough for a top-speed of 130mph and 0-60mph in a whisker over 9 seconds.
It didn’t take long for the 911 legend to gain traction and a dedicated following amongst enthusiasts, helped by immediate success in motorsport and typical Porsche practicality, that unlike its more fickle Italian competition, made it remarkably easy to live with and encouraged day-to-day use. You could say that nearly 60-years on, the above traits haven’t really changed!
The base 2-litre, 130bhp 911 was joined by the 911 Targa and the more powerful 160bhp 911 S in 1966. Confusingly, perhaps, the detuned 911 T became the base 911 in 1968, with the original 130bhp 911, now designated the 911 L.
For 1969 model year, the 911 underwent a significant change with an increase in its wheelbase from 2211mm to 2268mm changing the handling characteristics of the car for ever, thus all pre 1969 911s are now commonly known as SWB (short wheelbase) cars and have a cult following with aficionados today.
Which brings us neatly to this solid early US 2-litre SWB 911. Manufactured in 1967 and supplied in Polo Red with black interior, the colour combination it is still presented in today, it features some lovely early details of the original 901/911 such as the green face dials that were replaced in 1968 and a rare factory sunroof with unique drain holes above the rear quarter light windows. It has spent the majority of its life in San Francisco, before arriving in the UK via respected Porsche dealer, Williams Crawford.
Fittingly the original buyer – Gustav Heinrich Offerman – was a German professor at the Al Sacramento University, California, who collected the 911 from the factory in 1967, on his retirement.
Gustav ran the car sparingly until selling it locally in 1985. It subsequently passed through the hands of another couple of owners who used it equally sparingly, spending much time in storage. The mileage currently stands at 37,810 which is borne out by its history file.
The engine number tallies with the chassis plate. As documented, though, it has had a replacement five-speed 901 gearbox, as evidenced from its US history file.
On arriving in the UK it has had many £1000s lavished upon it in terms of recommissioning, at Porsche Specialists Strasse and The Hookwood Stable. Amongst other work, this included removing the engine for a full detail and refresh and to re plate or replace any tin ware, plus any ancillaries and crucially oil return tubes and camshaft oil feed pipes. The Weber carburettors were stripped, blasted and reassembled and all ignition components were renewed, as was the fuel tank.
The suspension was fully overhauled and rebushed, and any other issues attended to in order to bring the car back to a fully useable state. The interior was also refreshed with reupholstered front seats. The rest of the interior is in excellent original condition.
Crucially, this early 911 SWB is very solid. However, if there is a ‘but’ then it resides with the paintwork. It has at some point been repainted and, while good from a few paces, close scrutiny reveals imperfections. It is therefore priced accordingly, which pitches this particular 911 SWB at similar money to a very well sorted 912, and a very tempting alternative for some.
ON THE ROAD
The 911 experience doesn’t get much purer and authentic than this. It may ‘only’ have 130bhp, but then it only weighs 1080kg and allied to its responsive SWB chassis, this car has all the right moves, requiring just subtle steering inputs to encourage the chassis and that rear-mounted engine to swing into action.
This little 911 SWB really does have a lot going for it. Mechanically it is really quite sweet, the engine bay is clean and detailed, the Fuchs are lovely and the body, while not pristine paint wise, it is not covered in corrosion and rust bubbles like many others. This is a realistically priced early 911 that can be enjoyed, while perhaps budgeting for a repaint in the future. Or frankly, just leave it as it is. Lastly, it’s also the perfect candidate for conversion into a 2.0 historic racing 911, where depending on final specification, could take its next custodian into a world of blue- chip motorsport events. When correctly built, these cars are not only reliable, but are great fun drive and often excel in their class too. Below is a little taster from Goodwood 2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYgl49oScUQ