How to Drive a Classic Air-Cooled 911 Quickly


Old 911s have a reputation for tricky handling. But master their quirks, and the rewards are endless.

Thanks to decades of careful engineering, most relatively skilled drivers can drive a new Porsche 911 quickly. Of course, it takes an expert to get the most out of these cars, but 911s are more approachable than ever. Old 911s have a perhaps exaggerated reputation for tricky handling, but they’ve definitely got some quirks you need to master.

But once you get the hang of things, an early air-cooled 911 rewards like few other cars. Just watch this video from UK’s Motor Sport magazine for proof. In it, they drive a 1973 911 Carrera 2.7 RS on track, describing its many idiosyncrasies, and how best to work around them.

Essentially, driving an old 911 quickly is all about managing its significant rear-weight bias. Because so much weight sits over the rear axle, you don’t get much front-end grip in these cars, which is disorienting at first. As a result, you have to use the 911’s excellent rear-end traction to your advantage.

It’s counterintuitive at first, but the more you drive an old 911, the more it makes sense and the better it gets. A car like a 2.7 RS requires patience and practice, but the first time you get everything right, it’ll be worth all the effort.

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