While the Porsche 911 series of sports cars had been fairly successful from the beginning, the company leadership made a decision to make changes that would expand its appeal. The main strategy was to trade off some of the power and speed in exchange for greater reliability. In 1978, the result was the Porsche 911 SC. While there’s some uncertainty, it’s generally believed the SC stands for Super Carrera. This new version of the 911 was originally planned to be the last year of production for this model. It was to be replaced by the Porsche 928. The public reaction to this car brought about a big change in those plans.
The biggest difference in this new release, compared to its predecessors, was a smaller 3.0 liter engine. The reason behind this move was that the engine had been used before in the Porsche 930 and had proven itself very reliable. The air-cooled flat-six motor was previously combined with a turbo charger. For this model, the turbo charger was removed. The ignition timing on the engine had been altered to give it more torque at lower revolutions. This provided a smoother ride at normal highway speeds. It also resulted in an engine that produced about 180 bhp. This was 10 percent less than the previous version. The reduction in power meant less stress on the engine and even greater reliability. Some fans of the 911 series were unhappy with this change, but the strategy worked at bringing in a new crowd of enthusiasts. In fact, the first-year sales of the new Porsche 911 SC outperformed those of any other Porsche offerings. The sales boost convinced the company to continue the series. Along the way, changes were made with each new production year.
The engine wasn’t the only new feature about this car. Other changes were made to improve both reliability and aesthetic appeal. A galvanized body was used to give it greater durability against winter road salt. Hydrovac servo brake assist improved braking capability. Various options offered with the car included a whale tail, front air dam, Fuchs wheels, power windows, power sunroof, stereo cassette player, and air conditioning. The inclusion of such additions pushed the vehicle’s weight up to 2558 lbs. In spite of this, the car still achieved 28 mpg on the highway. Changes to the engine brought it back up to 204 bhp by the release of the 1981 edition. Fortunately, this had no negative impact on its durability. In 1983, the Cabriolet was the first 911 convertible. This addition helped to push total sales up past 12,500 units for that year.
The Porsche 911 SC came to an end in 1984 with the introduction of the Porsche 911 Carrera. This name continued through 1989. The big difference between the two models was the switch to a 3.2 liter engine. This did nothing to hurt the car’s reputation at the time. Sales continued to grow during the decade. Looking back, though, this engine isn’t considered as reliable as its predecessor. Car collectors have noticed that the 3.2 liter often requires a rebuild after around 130,000 miles. The older engine has easily moved past the 200,000 mile mark without major problems. This has only added to the reputation it gained at the start.