It’s difficult to tell how many versions of the Porsche 911 are for sale. Every visit to the Porsche consumer site seems to yield a new variation or some special edition. At last count, there were more than two dozen on offer. But that number is always changing.
Here, we have yet another version on our hands – the Porsche 911 Sport Classic. This one, however, won’t be found on the website; the 1,250 being produced for the entire world market have already been sold.
The 911 Sport Classic comes under the Porsche Heritage Design umbrella. The idea? To promote the brand’s 75-year legacy through a small collection of models with distinct engineering and design details. The strategy calls for four limited-edition models to be produced over an indeterminate time period.
The first of these models, the Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition, was released in 2020. It sold out. The 911 Sport Classic is the second of the series. As noted, it has also sold out.
At a recent event to honour Porsche’s 75th anniversary celebrations, a few of us had the chance to drive both models before they were assigned to the Porsche Museum forever.
Arguably, the most distinct aspect of the 911 Sport Classic is the fact that it’s the only 911 Turbo model fitted with a manual transmission and rear-wheel drive. All other 911 Turbo models feature all-wheel drive and the PDK dual-clutch automatic.
The Sport Classic features a 3.7-litre twin-turbocharged flat-six engine that develops 543 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque.
The slick, seven-speed manual transmission is responsible for transmitting that engine output to the rear wheels; it performed well. When you go down a gear in Sport+ mode, the throttle automatically blips to help make the shifts smoother. The run to 100 kilometres an hour takes an estimated 4.1 seconds, leisurely compared with 911 Turbo models equipped with all-wheel drive and the PDK.
The car feels fast and light, but it’s not as easy to drive as other modern 911s. Putting all that power to the ground without sending the car sideways coming out of corners requires some finesse. The Sport Classic feels on the edge of dangerous, more ragged than typical modern 911s, which are extremely composed, even at high speeds.
There’s a throwback feeling to driving the 911 Sport Classic, so it’s appropriate that the car features design touches inspired by past models. The racing stripes on the hood, the racing number and Porsche script along the side panels, the old-school wheels and the duckbill rear spoiler – all are drawn from Porsches of the past. The spoiler in particular is a direct callback to the mythical 1972 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 and the wheels evoke the old-school designs from noted wheel-maker Fuchs. The 911 Sport Classic also has great stance, courtesy of the double-bubble roof and Turbo-style wide body.
Inside the passenger cabin, there are more retro-inspired elements: the pepita pattern on the door panels and seats, and semi-aniline leather upholstery in two-tone cognac over black and cognac lend a very 1970s feel to the cockpit.
While it was still for sale, the 2023 Porsche 911 Sport Classic retailed for US$273,750, making it the most expensive 911 in the fleet. It may not be the highest-performing 911, but it’s certainly an entertaining ride. So the rich and lucky few who managed to snap one up will surely enjoy driving the Sport Classic – and like the fact that it’s bound to become a collector’s item.
The writer was a guest of the automaker. Content was not subject to approval.