911 Carrera 2.7 MFI
Eleven years after its 1963 launch, the 911 was on the receiving end of its first substantial modifications. New safety regs in the USA, demanded higher mounted bumpers, capable of withstanding an impact of 5mph without body damage. And so the ‘Impact bumper’ 911 was born, with its distinctive safety protruding bumpers and black bellows at their corners providing a solution to the problem, and paving the way for the appearance of every 911, for the next 15 years.
The US was causing others issues too, with Porsche forced to detune engines to accommodate its standard octane fuel and increase capacity of all models to 2.7-litres to partially compensate. Even the headline Carrera model had a detuned 175BHP engine to meet the stringent emission requirements.
There was still a cherry on the cake though, in the shape of the European 911 Carrera – or Carrera 2.7 MFI, as it better known.
To all intent and purpose, it was mechanically very similar to a 73 2.7RS with the same 2.7-litre, 210bhp engine and gearbox, but with the new impact bumpers and a Touring specification. It was even available with the ‘Ducktail’ rear wing, Carrera script and staggered 15in wheels, plus a selection of lurid and typically 70s colours. However, unlike the RS, it was also available in Targa form too.
This high performance normally aspirated 911 was only available for three years and somewhat overshadowed at the time by the new 911 Turbo, before being replaced by the curiously less powerful Carrera 3.0.
Equally unusual for many years, it was considered in no way particularly special and priced accordingly. More recently, the market has woken up to this anomaly and Carrera 2.7 MFI prices in line with its RS roots, have entered a new and more befitting zone. With a production run of just 1011 Coupes in 1974 (plus 423 Targas) against a production run of 1580 73 RS models, these early original G programme 2.7MFI Carreras are rarer too.
Which brings us to this frankly gorgeous example of Carrera 2.7 MFI perfection, from The Austin Collection.
A Porsche Certificate of Authenticity, states production completion on Dec 17, 1973, and its ultimate destination to Japan. Yes, it’s a LHD car in a RHD market, but for Japanese enthusiasts, LHD was a desirable import status symbol. Finished in correct, but comparatively rare for the period Guards Red, optional equipment included the iconic ‘Ducktail’ spoiler, fog lights and tinted glass. Japanese/Asia only fittings include specified driver and passenger door mirrors and orange reflectors in the front bumper.
This 2.7 MFI was imported into the UK in 2015 and was purchased by its current owner in 2016. On arrival, this new acquisition was dispatched to favoured Porsche specialists, Two Plus Two and Gantspeed for a full assessment of work needed.
From there on, as with all of his cars, the owner set out to methodically rectify any issues and anomalies to make sure this was a car that met his high standards. Typically most of these were detail, age and use related. As we’ve noted with all cars in the Austin Porsche collection, driveability is crucial. Worn suspension and drivetrain wasn’t acceptable and so a full suspension refresh was carried out, plus a clutch change and careful attention to the set up and fuel supply to and from the MFI pump.
Somewhere along the line, the interior had been retrimmed in black, rather than the Midnight blue. This was rectified and the front seats were stripped back to their frames and re-foamed before being trimmed in the correct Shetland blue fabric and dark blue vinyl. A new ivory headlining and dark blue vinyl door cards were also fitted together with dark blue carpets.
Forensic inspection of the bodywork revealed minor areas of repair, but with the paintwork now getting on for 50-years old, he took the plunge and authorised a full bare metal respray. As with all other work carried out, there is an extensive photographic record, plus a reassuring (for the next owner, at least) invoice for £15,000. The original spec indicated that the Carrera script, was a later edition, so he elected not to replace it, giving this Carrera 2.7 MFI a subtle look compared to most. As with every car in the Austin Collection, all expenditure and individual journeys have been meticulously recorded.
ON THE ROAD
It would be an exaggeration to say that the driving experience is entirely dominated by the famous 210bhp, 2.7-litre, flat-six. But then again, it’s not far from the truth. The MFI unit has its own character – a combination of throttle response, noise, elastic torque, and an eagerness to rev to the redline. It’s one of the all-time great power units.
Combine that with a well-sorted Type 915 gearbox, a kerb weight virtually identical to the 73 RS Touring, 15in Fuchs wheels shod with correct period Pirelli Cinturato tyres and this 2.7 Carrera simply dances down the road, barely troubling the tarmac. It’s the perfect B-road assassin and a firm reminder of how modern cars, Porsche or otherwise have just become too big and sanitised. Less so often means more and they are, frankly in our opinion, a world away from the pure experience this car delivers.
A cut price 73 RS? No, we like to think of the 74 Carrera 2.7 MFI as a car with its own defined niche and character. Less obvious than its 73 sibling, but no less enjoyable to drive. They don’t come much better than this one either, with its beautifully understated appearance and RS performance, it’s a true wolf in sheep’s clothing and a testimony to the owner’s desire to restore a great Porsche that can be enjoyed and most importantly driven.