Porsche did not invent turbocharging. It didn’t even make the first production car with a rear-mounted air-cooled turbocharged flat-six; that honor goes to the Chevrolet Corvair. But while many of the early cars that used turbocharges had them as a substitute for a bigger engine (something that is currently happening again), the Type 930 911 was given a turbocharger in order to turn what was already a very fast and capable car into something even faster. It wasn’t a replacement for displacement, it was in addition to displacement. The 930 took turbocharging to a new level of performance for road cars, one that would go unmatched for nearly a decade.

The 930 is the only turbocharged 911 model to have a number designation that is different from the rest of the generation that it is based off of, as it was seen at the time as being such a radically different product. And it must have been especially impressive to those who first saw this particular 930, as this is would be one of the first 930s imported to America. U.S.-market 930s are also the only turbos in 911 history to have been badged as a "Turbo Carrera", making it that little bit more special.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1976 Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera.


1976 Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera High Resolution Exterior
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1976 Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera High Resolution Exterior
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1976 Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera High Resolution Exterior
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There are a couple of details that the seasoned 911 nerd will spot to differentiate the two.

The styling of the 930 is based on that of the classic 911, which at the time was still in its first generation. It is easy to tell the difference between this and the regular road-going, naturally-aspirated models of the time, but it is not nearly as easy to tell the difference between it and other special 911 models. The Carrera 3.0, for example, was introduced the same year that the 930 first made it to the U.S. and it has the same wide flared wheel arches and gigantic whale tail spoiler. But there are a couple of details that the seasoned 911 nerd will spot to differentiate the two. The first is the lack of a Carrera decal down the side of the side of the 930, as those were seen as too crass for anything that wasn’t intended for the track. The other detail is that the Carrera 3.0 had an exposed oil cooler integrated into the front bumper, while the 930 did not.

So you have to look hard to spot the differences, but there is a good reason for this. The 930 was originally being developed as a replacement for the Carrera 2.7 RS. Porsche had had a lot of success with turbocharging on its race cars, especially the 917, and it wanted a 911-based turbo race car. But a rule change during the development meant that racing models would have to stay naturally aspirated, so the 930 was instead given a full interior and made into a road car, but this was an afterthought, and there is more race car in it than you might at first suspect. What this means is that the Carrera 3.0 RS is actually just a 930 without a turbocharger, as this was the easiest way to convert it into a race car that conformed to FIA regulations.


1976 Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera High Resolution Interior
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The 930 shot straight to the top of the 911 lineup, and since it had no pretensions to track use, it was given the best and most luxurious of 911 interiors. This particular 930 has what certainly appears to be the original interior, although it has held up incredibly well for a car that is nearly 40 years old and has 63,000 miles on it.

Elements of it are pretty ’70s, such as the shag carpet on the bottoms of the doors, but it manages to avoid a lot of the other ’70s pitfalls and is altogether a charming sort of ’70s. It is not a very spacious interior, and it still isn’t even in modern 911s, especially in what passes for a back seat. But the back seats can also be folded down to create a parcel shelf, which is a far more practical use for them, and also allows you to show off the “Turbo” embroidery on the back of the driver’s side seat.


1976 Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera High Resolution Drivetrain
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It produced 256 horsepower at a time when the regular road-going N/A cars were making about a hundred less than that

For most of its production run, the 930 would have a 3.3-liter turbocharged, air-cooled flat-six hanging off the back end of the car. But early models like this one used a smaller 3.0-liter version of the engine. Since the 3.0-liter version was only produced from 1975 to 1977, and the 930 would stay in production until 1989, the 3.0-liter versions make up only a small fraction of the total. Moreover, most of those are in Europe, since the 930 didn’t come to the U.S. until 1976. So to have both a 3.0-liter engine and a Carrera Turbo badge, as this car does, is very rare. But this doesn’t mean that the 3.0-liter engine isn’t incredible. It produced 256 horsepower at a time when the regular road-going N/A cars were making about a hundred less than that.

Most of the technology came from Porsche’s 917/30 CAN-AM race car, an absolute beast of a machine with a 5.0-liter turbocharged flat-12 to make it go. But the 911 platform had a slightly more difficult time dealing with all of the extra power. It had a shorter wheelbase and a rear-mounted engine rather than a mid-mounted one. That meant the oversteer the car was already prone to was an even bigger problem. That, combined with the sort of turbo lag that early turbo cars suffered from only exacerbated the problem by hitting the driver with all of that extra power at once. Still, for those that could drive it well, it was a wonderful thing.


1976 Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera High Resolution Exterior
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There are a few different varieties of 930 that are more valuable than the rest. This is one of them, thanks to the rarity of 3.0-liter U.S.-market cars. However, it isn’t quite as valuable as another variant that came a few years later. The “slantnose” 930, mechanically the same car, but with the angled front end and pop-up headlights of the 935 race car. The price of this option was a whopping 60 percent of the sticker price, so these cars remain extremely rare today. But a 3.0-liter 930 is still worth a fair amount, at about $200,000, they’ll cost you more than a new 911 Turbo.


Ferrari 308 GTB

1975 - 1985 Ferrari 308 GTB
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Introduced the same year as the 930, the 308 produced almost exactly the same horsepower from a naturally-aspirated V-8. This made for a more linear power application, and an altogether easier car to drive. And contemporary street racing accounts suggest the 930 was no match for the 308 above 100 mph. The Ferrari was obviously more expensive at the time, but the 308 isn’t especially rare for a Ferrari, and today you can probably get one for less than the price of a 3.0-liter U.S.-market 930.

Read more about the Ferrari 308 GTB here.

Porsche 928

1978 - 1995 Porsche 928
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It’s not often that a car company will compete with itself, but that’s exactly what Porsche did when it released the 928 in 1977. This was Porsche’s first V-8 model, and was intended to be a replacement for the 911. The 911 purists didn’t like it though, and Porsche decided to let the models battle it out in the marketplace until one was a clear winner. The 911 was almost retired in 1985, with the 928 clearly out ahead in sales. But it didn’t quite happen, and ten years later, the 928 was retired, while the 911 continues on.

Read more about the Porsche 928 here.


1976 Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera High Resolution Exterior
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With the simple act of adding a turbocharger, the Porsche 911 went from being a sports car to being a supercar. Within a few years, horsepower ratings were up to 330, and the 930 was able to easily outrun much more expensive and exotic machines. The 930 would give birth to the 959, and from there we would have twin-turbo 911s. The 911 Turbos today now have more than double the power of the 3.0 and scarcely any more weight. The 930 took the 911 into a whole new realm of performance, and it did so in a way that very few manufacturers could replicate for some time.

  • Leave it
    • Only the biggest Porsche geeks will know it’s something special
    • When the turbo kicks in, the oversteer will kill you
    • Still not nearly rare enough to break 7 digits

Source: RM Sothebys

Jacob Joseph
About the author

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