The 1995 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet That Doesn't Exist
Upon first glance this looks like a run-of-the-mill Porsche. What could be so extraordinary about a 993 chassis with a floppy roof? It doesn’t possess either the racing credentials of a GT2 or the special edition-ness of a 959. But if you did a search on its VIN you won't get any results in any database. That's because this 1995 911 Turbo Cabriolet doesn’t really exist. And that makes this car one of the most desirable Porsches in the world.
Its genesis is at the 1994 Geneva motor show where a wealthy German Porsche dealership owner named Kaspar Haberl saw a Porsche 993 Carrera Cabriolet on the showroom floor. There, he pitched his request for Porsche to make a 911 Cabriolet in Turbo form (a car they never planned to offer). Porsche said they were happy to oblige as long as Mr. Haberl ordered at least ten to reduce manufacturing and development costs. So he did.
The project was sent to Porsche’s Exclusive Department, a division of Porsche that customizes and up-rates their own vehicles to a customer’s strict taste. But the Turbo Cabriolet goes beyond adding screens and tinting tail lights like the Exclusives of today - this required a complete re-engineering of the car to fit their biggest motor in a compartment that’s already short on space from its folding soft top. Also, the Turbo coupe was not even available yet. Haberl wanted a car Porsche never intended to sell with an engine that was still a work in progress. How despondent.
Fortunately money talks and Porsche was able to pull through with some compromises. After completely reshaping the rear end, Porsche put in the 3.6-liter turbocharged flat-six engine and transmission from the previous generation 964 Turbo into the Cabriolet. This meant it had a five speed manual, 360 horsepower, 384 lb-ft of torque, and rear wheel drive. A loss of 42 horsepower, a gear, and all wheel drive compared to the hardtop Turbo 993. It also borrows the rear spoiler from the 964 Turbo S since it better fits the rear half now.
Besides its heart and wing transplant it is still a 993 body and with it comes its own list of improvements. Its suspension is composed of alloy multi-links, coil overs, and front torsion bars. Inside you’ll find a leather wrapped steering wheel, four speaker CD player, electric heated seats, climate control, anti-theft, and a button to wash the headlights. In the nineties this was top-shelf luxury.
In the end 14 were made with each one costing Haberl 264,000 deutsche marks. As DM was replaced by the euro in 1999 the closest estimation to its current price-per-car today would be $196,000 USD (184,000 euro) with an exclusive premium of $83,000 (78,000 euro) for the Turbo Cabriolet conversion. In February 2017 its estimated auction price of €925,000 renders this specific Porsche as the second most expensive non-prototype Porsche in its lot (the 959 Sport is estimated at twice as much).
Not every car has to be historically significant enough to appear in an automotive museum. The 993 Turbo Cabriolet is realistically just a rich man's plaything. But sometimes it's nice to appreciate a car for what it is - like a work of art. And now that it's on sale it's hard to resist its charms. If only I had a million euros laying around.
All photos by Remi Dargegen ©2016 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's