Classics World’s Paul Bussey test drives and reviews the 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 (964) Coupe…
Designed by Benjamin Dimson and introduced at the 1988 Paris Motor Show the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 (964) was produced between and 1989. The iconic bodystyling was still instantly recognisable, albeit with a rear spoiler that was raised at speeds in excess of 50mph, but the essence of this new Type ‘964’ model was in its underpinnings. There was a new all-wheel drive system, a greatly improved suspension set-up (which saw the previously-used torsion bars replaced by coil springs and dampers), not to mention a lusty 3.6-litre flat-six air-cooled engine rated at 250bhp. Indeed, it’s reckoned that the 964 was an 85% new model over the previous 911. Performance equated to a top speed of 163mph with a rapid 0-60mph time of 5.5secs. The car was available with coupe, Targa and convertible body styling. A rear wheel drive model became available six months after launch.
Our tried and tested 911 Carrera 4 is one of the first of its generation and boasts a remarkably low mileage for its year and has retained a great deal of originality. The bodywork remains in exceptional condition, with excellent panel fitment and superb Guards Red paintwork, which still gleams with an impressive radiance. It’s virtually impossible to detect that the front bumper was repainted a good many years ago, hence it’s bereft of any stone chips and there’s virtually no blemishes to be seen. The car is available with a set of replica Fuchs alloy wheels or the original Design 90 alloys (currently fitted with a set of Fulda tyres with plenty of tread remaining). We think the Design 90 alloys are a more appropriate and aesthetic fitment on a 911 of this year, but it’s very much a personal choice.
The 911s interior is light and airy and trimmed in the very attractive Linen leather seats with red piping. These are wonderfully preserved, nicely mellowed and showing only minor signs of wear on the outer bolsters and squabs. Just about the only sign of any significant wear is to the gear knob. The carpets are also remarkably clean and well preserved, with entertainment provided by a Blaupunkt Sevilla radio/CD player.
The driving position in the 911 is quite low down, the seats are extremely figure hugging and supportive. Our car is fitted with a Clifford alarm/immobiliser and there’s a set sequence to go through before the engine will start, which is fine once you get used to applying the correct sequence, otherwise that irritating alarm keeps beeping! The foot pedals are slightly offset to the left and are reasonably weighty. We manage to stall the engine twice while reversing out of the yard, prior to becoming accustomed to how much throttle is required when pulling away! Once out on the open road, we find that that gear selection requires a positive shove when changing up and down. It goes without saying that this is one fast coupe and a heavy right foot releases a really impressive smooth delivery of instant power, accompanied by that glorious howl from the flat-six engine.
The power steering is beautifully weighted, still giving plenty of feedback to the driver. But it’s the all-wheel drive that’s one of the most impressive driving aspects, making the car feel incredibly taut and stable, soaking up undulations and imperfections in the road with aplomb. The car never wavers a jot, staying glued to the road.
Huge disc brakes at all four corners ensures supreme braking effectiveness. This is a car for going places in at speed – a splendid long-distance grand tourer. The 250bhp engine is more than adequate to offer a truly spirited performance, it’s indecently quick and 60 mph is showing on the speedometer in a whisker. This 911 is definitely not the kind of car that you want to return to the dealership in a hurry. We relish its performance and optimum handling qualities – the all-wheel drive being quite a revelation.
This 911 Carrera 4 has a great many positive aspects. One of the most important is its provenance and comprehensive detailed service history file with marque specialists. These are complex cars and require regular servicing. Its low-ish mileage is also a plus point. The original transmission was replaced in 2003 and at the same time a new flywheel and clutch were fitted. It’s a car that’s clearly been cherished, had a great deal of money spent on it to keep it in tip top order and its general all-round superb condition, is a credit to its former keepers, the last residing in Switzerland and Holland. A very fine example indeed, not at all messed with, wonderfully maintained and driving superbly.
Engine: 3600cc Flat-six
Torque: 229lb ft@4800rpm
Top Speed: 163mph
Gearbox: Five-speed manual