the Porsche 911 Weissach Edition   

The perfect escape vehicle, the Porsche 911 Weissach Edition is a beautiful limited edition model that was produced in a single model year, 1980. Only 406 were built.

I was privileged to own one of these remarkable automobiles until an unfortunate incident in which the catalytic converter became so hot it glowed bright red before igniting a rubber hose, starting a car fire that destroyed this lovely vehicle in a funeral pyre as I watched helplessly.

Since the loss of my car automatically increased the value of the remaining copies, I thought it only fair to provide a few details here about this car as a reference for Porsche enthusiasts everywhere.

History of the Weissach Coupe

Flashback to 1979. Porsche had been producing the spectacular 911 Turbo in a body style known as the 930. It was fast, beautiful and loved by car enthusiasts around the world. With fuel prices high and other factors affecting sales of performance cars, Porsche made the decision to discontinue the Turbo the following year. People were dismayed to say the least. Finally the company relented and agreed to produce a limited number of standard non-Turbo 911's using the 930 body.

Although $32,000 might seem like small potatoes today, in 1980 it was the equivalent of $180,000 making this a very expensive production car. Only 406 were produced, sold exclusively to the North American market, and they were virtually all gone before production began, making this car an instant collectors' item.

You had a choice of two colors and the wheels as well as the interior were color-matched to the car. One color choice was a kind of champagne gold called "Pongee Beige Metallic," while the other was a metallic charcoal gray. I'm not sure what it's official name was. Another unique touch was bright red carpeting and piping called "Rust." If you come across a so-called "Weissach" edition not sporting the color matched elements or red carpeting, it isn't authentic. The interior leather of the Beige model was dyed to a light tan color actually called "Doric Grey."

Fast. By 20-year-old standards.

By today's standards we don't think much of a 0-60 time of seven seconds, but in 1980 it was very fast. Not close to the speed of a Turbo Carerra, but for a standard 3.0-litre Porsche inline six, that was strong acceleration indeed. What has always set Porsche apart however, in my experience, is not the acceleration but the ability to sustain extremely high speeds for long periods of time. The car could easily sustain 150mph for hours, purring along in fifth gear well below its 7,000rpm redline.

Handles curves like Pamela Anderson

Nothing corners like a Porsche, and this car is no exception. In the years I owned this beauty, I never once failed to be amazed at the perfection Porsche engineers had managed to achieve in controlling the understeer to the point that steering pretty much became a function of the throttle. The car would practically steer itself around corners. The understeer-oversteer curve is fairly progressive as speed climbs, but becomes even more magnified as the line tightens. Porsche is never an easy car to drive and has bitten many inexperienced drivers with its sudden snakelike tendency to swap ends in a hard, fast corner. I have never encountered this myself, but I've seen it happen to other drivers (one right in front of me on a freeway onramp!).

A look at the rear of my Weissach Coupe after the devastating car fire Feb 10, 2003 that destroyed it. Much of the body came through the fire remarkably unscathed, but the smoke damage was enormous and the engine was a fused hunk of parts. There was no way to redeem this car and still call it a genuine Weissach Edition.

The car was originally shipped with Pirelli CN36 tires, but I was unable to locate any when I took ownership of my Weissach. Yokohamas are quite good in the often-wet conditions of Vancouver, but I only drove the car on sunny days so this was seldom an issue. However, on the odd occasion that I got caught in an unexpected shower I did notice it get surprisingly squirrely.

The suspension on the Weissach Coupe consists of standard 911 configuration: Independent MacPherson struts and torsion bar in front (no coil springs). The rear uses semi-trailing arms with a transverse 18mm torsion bar. Anti-roll bars were standard on all 911s by the time this model was produced.

The sweetest thing about Porsche in normal everyday driving is the brakes. Four oversized ventilated disc brakes make this beauty dig its heels into the pavement with amazing responsiveness.

No back seat action in this vehicle

The leather sports seats were very comfortable. However, after several hours on the road, such as trips to Seattle, I would get slightly fatigued. I found that the seats in one of my previous cars, a 1988 Mercedes 300E AMG, were slightly more comfortable, though the driving experience itself couldn't hold a candle to that of Porsche. The back seats in the 911 are a joke and essentially useless even if they did have seat belts which, of course, they did not.

More Weissach photos

Ed Dugan, whose incredibly maintained factory original Weissach Edition won its preservation division at the Porsche Parade in Boise, Idaho in 2002, graciously allowed me to provide some photos of his car. It is truly gorgeous, and will serve as a great guide for those of you restoring one to factory original condition.

You'll find the pictures of Ed Dugan's Weissach Coupe here

A few meaningful specs for your next trivia game

  • Wheelbase: 89.4 inches
  • Length: 168.9 inches
  • Width: 65.0 inches
  • Height: 52.0 inches
  • Track, F/R: 53.6/52.8 inches
  • Curb weight: 2,756lbs
  • Powertrain: Air cooled flat-six, rear engine, rear drive, 182.7 cubic inches/3.0 litres
  • Compression ratio: 9.3:1
  • Horsepower: 172 @ 5,500RPM
  • Torque: 175 lbs. ft. @ 4,200RPM
  • Fuel delivery: Bosch K-Tronics CIS fuel injection
  • 0-60 time: 7.0 seconds
  • Transmission: 5-speed manual (first gear 3.18:1; second 1.83:1; third 1.26:1; fourth 1.0:1; fifth 0.82:1). Final drive ratio: 3.88:1
  • Front suspension: Independent with MacPherson struts, torsion bar, anti-roll bar
  • Rear suspension: Independent with semi-trailing arms, transverse torsion bar, anti-roll bar
  • Steering type: Rack and pinion, with 3.5 turns lock-to-lock and 33.5 foot turning circle
  • Tires: Pirelli CN36 185x70 (front); 215x60 (rear). The recommended replacements are Pirelli P6000's.
  • EPA fuel economy: 26mpg (generally tested at a real-world 15mpg)

the joy of Porsche

The rare 911 Weissach edition

Ed Dugan's 911 Weissach