A true historical icon

The Porsche 930 Turbo was a turning point for the German manufacturer as it debuted turbocharging for the public rich enough to afford it. Debuting in the mid-‘70s, it took a turn towards flamboyance in the ‘80s with the Slant Nose version which, in its rarity, is as era-defining as the Ferrari Testarossa or the Lamborghini Countach. Early turbo-lag freights never looked this wacky!

The 930 Turbo, or rather the Turbo Carerra as it was sold in the US, was Porsche’s first stab at turbocharging a car for the public roads. Sure, they weren’t the first of the European manufacturers to do it, with BMW launching the 2002 Turbo three years prior in 1972, but the Turbo from Stuttgart had substantially more grunt which made it a bit of a menace.

From the get-go, a Turbo’ed 911 had over 250 horsepower making it the fastest car Germany could offer. It also had an unmistakable look with the black graphics on the lower sides and the enlarged whaletail wing that aided in both cooling and downforce. The German manufacturer had loads of experience with turbocharging on the racing front, debuting the 917/10-TC in 1972 and sweeping the Can-Am title with it. Then came the 917/30 which was even more dominant, to the point that it killed off the series, and then the 911 Carerra RSR Turbo which was based on a road-going 911 albeit with countless modifications.

That purpose-built prototype that looked like your streetwise 911 is the father of the 1975 930 Turbo which was unveiled at the Paris Auto Show in October 1974. For 1975, Porsche put out just 400 Turbos to meet homologation requirements for their next racecar, the 934. Unlike the previous homologation special, the Carerra RS 2.7, the Turbo really caught on, and by 1976 it became available in the United States.

The one-off, road-going 935 replica ordered by McLaren backer Mansour Ojjeh, then president of TAG, sparked an interest among well-to-do Porsche customers for a 930 with the nose flattened. The German manufacturer duly listened to the wishes of its customers and the Slant Nose – Flachbau in German – was born.

The design proved polarizing, and with an MSRP in the period of $29,000, which increased the cost of a 930 Turbo by almost 60%, less than 1,000 Slant Noses were made beginning in 1981. This special optional extra was also available in the US under the 930 S moniker.

After its production had ended, the 930 Turbo remained a cult classic with the Slant Nose the rarest version of them all. It’s a testament of the times and quite a bit more than that, as the racing-inspired modification actually aided handling and acceleration.

Keep reading to learn the full story of the Porsche 930 Turbo Coupe

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe Exterior

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe
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The exterior of the 930 Turbo was a massive departure in comparison with the 1973 Carerra RS. Where the RS was a much smaller, svelte car, the 930 Turbo was bigger all around. Its hips were larger, hiding fat rear tires to help traction off the line and on the exit of corners, bumpers had rubber add-ons to save your Porsche from getting scratched in low-speed bumps and the subtle ducktail was replaced by a generous whaletail – which grew to the size of a coffee table later on during the production cycle – with more rubber to underline its size.

Some purists were critical of the size of the wing, arguing that it ruined the car’s legendary line.

You can imagine, then, how upset they must’ve been in the early 1980s when the Slant Nose became available. Gone were the fixed dual headlights, the hood now running seamlessly down from the A-pillars all the way to the front bumper. Similar to the 924 and 944, the headlights were now pop-ups which went up and down when needed. The parking lights, however, we kept in plain sight in the bottom part of the front bumper. The extensive amount of modifications needed to turn a normal 930 into a Slant Nose were carried out by hand, each bumper and wheel arch being shaped by skilled workers which is a part of the answer to why it cost so much in the first place.

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe
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The grille, somewhat enlarged on the Slant Nose, sits in between the lower lights while most of the rubber add-ons have been kept, including the vertically-louvered elements just before the indicators on either side of the car. Other than the headlights, a number of louvered holes pierce the wing for added cooling of the radiator.

Watching the car from the side gives you an eerie sensation because you’re so used with seeing the wings go up as they incorporate the headlights, and not down to meet the edge of the bumper.

With the headlights down, the 930 Turbo Slant Nose (or 930 S) has the appearance of a really sleepy beast that shouldn’t be disturbed.

The Porsche 930 evolved quite a lot during its 14-year-long production cycle, and this is also notable when looking at the side skirts which protrude forward, no longer following the profile of the doors. Another update was the addition of air inlets on the rear wheel arches that suck air in as the car drives about at speed. Obviously, they are covered by a trifecta of Testarossa-inspired louvers. Really, louvers were a defining design element of the mid-‘70s all the way to the late ‘80s that makes little sense now, but you got to judge it according to its times.

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe
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When the 930 Turbo first hit the showrooms, it power met the pavement via Pirelli-shod Fuchs wheels.

The car in the images, though, boasts the optional BBS E50 multi-piece rims which unquestionably add to the aesthetic value.

The Racing Porsches at the time also ran on BBS wheels.

The business end is dominated by that wing we’ve been talking about all day. It is large for the standards of a ‘70s/’80s road car, but almost a joke when compared to the sky-scraper-high wing on the racing 935 which was the ultimate evolution of the race-going 934 Turbo. As with any US-spec 911 of that era, it has chunky rubber shock absorbers and the extra fog light dangling dangerously close to the dual exhaust. The car in the images, whose significance is not to be brushed aside, only has the word `Turbo` below the spoiler, but it is a genuine Flat Nose from the factory.

According to auction house Russo&Steele where this car hit the block, the example was used between 1984 and 1985 as a show car, and as such it toured numerous Porsche dealerships to lure in customers. They also claim it to be the lowest mileage Slant Nose in the world with a certificate to prove its authenticity.

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe
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It’s interesting to point out that, due to emission laws, the Slant Nose model was the only 930 available Stateside between 1981 and 1986 when a new engine was introduced to meet emission requirements.

That engine was less powerful than the European-spec one, the Americans having to make do with 22 less horsepower.

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe Exterior Dimensions

Height 51.57 in
Length 168.94 in
Width 69.88 in
Wheelbase 89.45 in

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe Interior

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe
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With all the modifications that went on to create a Slant Nose, you’d think that Porsche would take that extra bit of time to also spice up the interior, but you’d be wrong.

The interior of the 930 Turbo S is, by and large, identical to any other turbo of the era.

The dash is fairly straightforward, something we don’t get to say often enough about modern cars. You’ve got five dials in the instrument cluster with the tachometer in the middle, so you know when to brace for the turbo boost which begins at around 4,000 rpm and lasts up until 6,000 rpm. The lag, until it spools up, is – as expected – big, but you can view it as some time offered to you by the car to contemplate your choice.

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe
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The center console has the A/C controls, air vents, and a radio while the steering wheel was either the four-spoke horizontal one seen on earlier models or a new, rather better looking, three-spoke one.

Another improvement is the introduction with the 930 of some proper seats with side support and built-in headrests.

It’s a genuine leap from the tiny bucket seats of the 911 Carerra RS 2.7 although one can argue that those were put in place for the sake of weight saving on the early homologation models. Oh, and, by the way, if you ever make your way in the driver’s seat of a 930 Turbo beware of the offset pedals – they can cause havoc.

The gear shifter sticks right up from in between the seats in an unceremonious way, lacking any sporty credentials in the looks department. Originally, it helped you make your way through the car’s four-speed manual transmission which became a five-speed in the latter part of the production cycle. To illustrate how far we’ve come, the PDK gearbox was barely being tested on a racing Porsche 962 in 1987, 12 years after the 930 was first put into mass production.

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe Drivetrain

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe
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Improvements came aplenty with the 930 Turbo over its predecessor. Uprated brakes, suspension, and dampers, as well as the wider track with bigger tires and rims, were put in place in an effort to keep that engine from killing you. The engine in question was a modified version of the powerplant found on the Carerra RS, enlarged from 2.7-liter to 3.0-liter.

The initial power output was 256 horsepower at 5,500 rpm with 243 pound-feet of torque available at 4,000 rpm.

All that power came thanks to a single KKK turbocharger which received an air-to-air intercooler in 1978. That’s when the engine capacity grew further to 3.3-liter, and the wing was also modified to house the intercooler. By that time, the engine was producing in excess of 300 horsepower. It could go as far as 325 horsepower with a performance package in 1983. With that much horsepower, the Turbo could go above and beyond 165 mph, which is unnerving for a car that has a propensity for losing traction when put through its paces.

Now, given initial scares and crashes due to customers not knowing how to manage the turbo, you’d think giving it even more power wouldn’t be advisable, but Porsche reckoned its clients were clever enough to get up to speed with their fastest creation.

Early Slant Nose models came with a 3.1-liter version of the overhead cam flat-six which was rated at roughly 280 horsepower.

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe Drivetrain Specifications

Engine Type Flat 6
Induction Turbocharged
Cooling Air/oil-cooled
Valvetrain Single overhead camshaft
Injection Port injection
Bore x Stroke 3.82 in x 2.93 in
Displacement 3.299-liter
Max power 282 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
Max torque 289 pound-feet @ 4000 rpm
Max rpm 7200
Compression ratio 7.0:1
Top Speed 162 mph
Transmission 4-speed speed manual
Chassis type rear-engined, rear-wheel drive
Curb weight 2,976 pounds.
Brakes Fixed 4-piston ventilated and cross-drilled discs all around

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe Prices

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe
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The value of the Porsche 930 Turbo, as with most other classic Porsches, has been on a steady incline in the past decade and a half. Having said that, the prices for a 930 Turbo vary a lot as they are dependent on condition, year of manufacture, specification, and any interesting or rare optional extras.

Earlier models tend to be more expensive with the prices ranging anywhere between $105,000 and over $220,000.

The prices for an original Slant Nose – there are many replicas out there made after the fact – range from anywhere between $220,000 and as much as $350,000 for one of the few convertibles.

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe Competition

Ferrari 328 GTS

1985 - 1989 Ferrari 328 GTS
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The 328 was the follow-up to the classic 308 and arrived fitted with a larger 3.2-liter transverse naturally-aspirated V8 mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The Tipo F105CB engine produced 270 horsepower at 7,000 rpm which is a bit tame even when compared to a 1986 US-spec 930 Turbo, but the Ferrari had better weight distribution due to the mid-engine configuration as well as being lighter by 200 pounds.

The 328 was produced in both GT Berlinetta and GT Spider body styles, but lived its life in the shadow of the bigger, more potent Testarossa which starred in the ‘80s cult classic Miami Vice. Even its predecessor got plenty of screen time in Magnum P.I., so we forgive the 328 for sometimes feeling left out. At least it looked and sounded better than the Porsche 930 Turbo. But you could only carry one passenger in the Ferrari whereas the Porsche had a rear bench, regardless of how minuscule it was.

Read our full review on the 1985 - 1989 Ferrari 328 GTS.

Lamborghini Jalpa

1981 - 1988 Lamborghini Jalpa High Resolution Exterior
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Just like the 328, the Jalpa learned from the mistakes of the car it replaced, the Silhouette, and became the second highest selling V8 Lamborghini at the time. What that meant is that little over 400 units were shipped from the Sant’Agata Bolognese factory, but that was something back then.

The Jalpa was covered in plastic elements and carried over some aesthetic elements from the Silhouette. Nobody noticed that, though, when it hit the screen alongside Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV. Something else that people tended not to notice was that, for a Lamborghini, the Jalpa was sluggish: the 3.5-liter mid-mounted V8 put out only 255 horsepower at 7,000 rpm which were good enough to propel the car forward to just 145 mph. There really was, back then, a quantum leap between the budget Lamborghini and the king of the fleet, the Countach.

Read our full review on the 1981 - 1988 Lamborghini Jalpa.

Conclusion

1985 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe
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The Porsche 930 Turbo is an emblematic car in Porsche’s repertoire as well as a sign of things to come. Nowadays, when almost any Porsche is turbocharged, it’s amazing to think that, little over 40 years ago, the first one was rolling out of the factory. The car became a classic among the brand’s aficionados, and the model in the pictures with its ‘Fluchbau’ nose is the most infamous of them all.

Away from the radical looks, the 930 Slant Nose, just like a normal Turbo, is a true driver’s machine that requires your full attention and dedication for it to go fast safely. However, when you do try and push it, you’ll realize words like infotainment and creature comforts pale to insignificance when a car goes as good as the 930 Turbo.

  • Leave it
    • Not everyone can control the archaic turbo lag and snap-oversteer of the 930 Turbo
    • The Slant Nose version is the design equivalent of the water-cooled models in the eyes of a purist: a no-go area
    • If, in turn, you want to have a 911 Turbo with pop-ups, you gotta pay big money
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