Porsche 3.2 Carrera ~ 1984-1989
Look around the cabin and it's all strangely familiar. Which is not surprising because it's basically the same dash layout that debuted with the first 911 in 1963. And continued up to 1996 with the later 964- and 993-model cars. In black leather, it's all very cosseting and cosy. It smells right, too, with a mix of hide and engine oil â but certainly not plastics â caressing the nostrils.
Start the engine and the sound is unmistakeable 911. Blip the throttle and the flat-six roars behind your back, as only an air-cooled Porsche engine can.
The long gearstick is incongruous in a car from the late 1980s but at least the late-type G50 transmission is reasonably slick to use.
It's a nimble little car, too, with a lighter, more direct feel compared to the later 964- and 993-model 911s. Well, lighter at speed at least â the non-assisted steering is heavy when parking, having to drag those 195/65VR16 tyres across the Tarmac.
On the move, though, the steering becomes almost too light, with every bump or undulation in the road feeding back to the steering wheel. On the plus side, though, the slightest movement of the wheel translates into a change of direction. This really is seat of the pants motoring, and a lot of fun as a result.
In true 911 fashion, the front end feels somewhat light at high speed, almost as if it's trying its best to leave the ground. Which, of course, with all the weight of the engine behind the rear wheels, is not surprising. The 911 has often been criticised for its unique dynamics, but I think it simply adds to the car's appeal. After all, it makes each corner an adventure. Approach a bend right and the car will negotiate with remarkable aplomb. Get it wrong and the infamous oversteer kicks in, requiring some quick thinking to avoid an embarrassing and potentially expensive encounter with the verge.
This car gives you the classic 911 feel, but with more power, better handling and unrivalled reliability and longevity. There's something very easy and familiar about these Porsches. They're not the most exciting 911s to drive, perhaps, but they're undemanding to live with on a day-to-day basis. Now, don't take that the wrong way â I'm not saying that the cars are dull. Far from it, a 3.2 Carrera is rewarding and fun car to own and drive, but it's not extreme. It's like an old friend â faithful, reliable and always there for you. !