|The Porsche-made steering wheel is wood-rimmed,
agreeably rigid, and connects to a ZF rack-and-pinion that provides a combination of
lightness, road surface feel and freedom from shock. The latter is at least in part to the
credit of a hydraulic damper installed on the steering linkage.
The heating installation is a more elaborate evolution of traditional VW-cum-Porsche practice. Air is ducted off immediately after the cooling fan, passes through a new type of sealed heat exchanger and is blown in the passenger compartment through screen defroster slots and adjustable heater outlets below both door sills. Added to this is a gasoline burning, recirculating heater with electric blower which takes air from inside of the car through a grille ahead of the rear seats and delivers it to the ducts of the main heating system. Incidentally, Porsche has taken a leaf out of another Stuttgart manufacturer's book and arranged a slot along the upper edge of the rear window through which inside air is sucked out, to provide draft-free ventilation with the windows closed.
This reminds us to comment on the acoustics of the car. Even with all windows closed, wind noise at higher speeds is considerable. As soon as any window is opened, the noise is definitely objectionable. In spite of obvious care taken to insulate passengers from engine noise (there are even silencers in the warm air ducts!), the engine and, in particular, the cooling fan remain much too audible. At the end of a day's driving, it takes some time before the hum in the ears subsides and one can only hope that development work will proceed to further improve soundproofing.
There are disc brakes front and rear made by Ate (under license from Lockheed). To assure that the handbrake can stop the car, small drums with traditional brake shoes are incorporated in the rear wheel hubs. There is no brake booster. In spite of this, the brakes are so unobtrusively excellent that no matter what the road conditions, including undulating surfaces, the brakes pull the speed down surely, smoothly, without even the slightest trace of unbalance or uneven pulling.
|Gears are changed by a shift lever, looking and
feeling traditionally Porsche and, as expected, are very quick, with the help of
unbeatable synchromesh. The 5-speed box is similar to those installed in the racing cars
and the competition type 904 GTS and the gate requires some getting used to. Speeds 1-2-3
and reverse are arranged as in a classic 3-speed box with speeds 4-5 added on the right.
However, if one tries to execute the l-to-2 shift in the usual fashion, one is almost sure
to land in 4th instead of 2nd. To play this instrument without false notes, one has to
treat it as if the first three speeds were all in line~straight forward for 2nd and
straight back again for 3rd. Changing down from 3rd to 2nd requires guiding the lever
along a springy abutment on the left and this has to be done quite gently so that one does
not beat the spring altogether and land in reverse with a crunch. In other words, although
the box itself is superb, the present shifting mechanism is far from perfect.
The engine of the 911 is a flat 6 with a single overhead camshaft on each cylinder bank. There are eight (!) main bearings