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Porsche Carrera GTS and Cayman GTS in the driving report: Two GTS 50 years apart

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Porsche Carrera GTS and Cayman GTS in the driving report
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You can argue about whether a big ship like the P orsche Cayenne earned the title of GTS. Also whether the rear-engined 911 carries it rightly. But one cannot deny the relationship to the eponymous Porsche Carrera GTS: the Cayman GTS - at least when it comes as a manual switch and sports suspension. About 50 years after the legend appeared, we want to find out how close they are to each other at a meeting. In 1964, Porsche brought a mid-engine coupe onto the market for the first time. A racing car for private drivers, initially only as a four-cylinder, of which there were also easily tamed street versions. And only four of them received the six-cylinder boxer from the 911. Just like this copy that Porsche entrusts to us on a cool morning.

How it almost disappears at the roadside in the shadow of the Cayman GTS it looks like the racing version of a bobby car: small, cute and innocent. As if someone pulled the plug and let the air out. The flounder has it all behind its ears.

Many consider it the most timeless, hardly less the most beautiful Porsche ever built. The plastic body, like a tight-fitting cocktail dress, simply covers the substructure and the box frame weighing 50 kilograms. This flow, which is barely interrupted by joints and folds, increases the charm of the hidden and draws attention to the essentials. There are no decorative and thus distracting accessories on the Carrera GTS.

There is also no help such as a removable steering wheel. The question arises even for slim people: How do you best thread your legs past the information steering wheel into the footwell? It can only be achieved by curiously bending the extremities. The interior is so small that you can easily operate the front passenger sliding window made of Makrolon plastic with your right hand from the driver's seat without stretching excessively.

If you are lucky, your dimensions correspond to in about the first owner; the seat shells are screwed tight. The customer of the popularly 904 GTS The racing car came to the plant in 1964 for a seat test, expressed its wishes, the shellwas installed - and there it is still at a mileage of (only!) 12,343 in 2015.

We want to start and reach into the void. As usual, we assume the ignition key is typically Porsche on the left, but in the Carrera GTS it is on the right. The dashboard also houses switches for auxiliary heating and wipers as well as for lights, hazard lights and fog lights. An immobilizer was retrofitted. Displays provide information on oil temperature and oil pressure. According to the rev counter, we are allowed to turn up to 6,500 rpm today; In racing, it was over 8,000 rpm.

Carrera GTS with a penchant for the dramatic

The two-liter coughs its way through the day like a heavy smoker, chuckles, splatters, then bumps in a saw Idle to yourself. In 1964, soundproofing was apparently largely dispensable even for a street version: the Boxer seems to be mounted on the passenger seat, it crawls so loudly.

The first gear is extremely far back on the left, just next to the driver's seat , and wants to be found first; the gearshift lever pokes into nothing until it barely noticeably clicks into place. There is no alley in today's sense. Now comes the moment when a car tester can really make a fool of himself - the first time a racing car like the Carrera GTS is driven off. So don't stall. But also don't start like a beginner with excessive throttle and slip clutch. Feel the pressure point with feeling, hold the speed, feed lightly and off you go.

Contrary to what was feared, starting off works without any problems: the clutch grips tight, but a slightly increased idle is enough to set the Carrera GTS in motion. You have to keep the six-cylinder happy. Below 2,000 rpm it jerks unwillingly with too much mixture; the carburettors are optimized for high speeds.

The two-liter only bites from 4,000 rpm and then blares the heartbreaking cacophony of howls, saws and grinding noises, which for every boxer fan combine to create a penetrating echo. And this barely tamed rumble, which doesn't really fit the theory of the balanced six-cylinder boxer in the Carrera GTS.

The 3.4-liter in the Cayman, on the other hand, runs smoothly. It also sounds rough and hearty, but doesn't add the individual sounds to an inferno. The Cayman GTS comes with a sports exhaust as standard - it emphasizes the slightly overdriven overtones at high engine speeds and adds more bass.

Get in, start, shift into gear, drive off, everything almost slips by itself. Nevertheless, there is to feel these GTS family ties. You immediately feel part of the system, sitting perfectly centered in the sports shell. And when it comes to driving: order - deliver. Command - feedback. Directly and without delay. As if a cable pull promptly actuated the throttle valve and no potentiometer had to ask a computer for approval. It takes a lot today, ato make digitized car look analog. The developers managed to do that perfectly - including the handiness, by the way.

It cleverly conceals the fact that the Cayman GTS weighs over 1.3 tons. The sports suspension naturally contributes a lot to the maneuverability: the center of gravity is around 20 millimeters lower and the harder springs hardly allow any body movements. The GTS reacts to pressure on the thighs and is Porsche's country road king.

Similarities despite age difference

The two Porsches are similar here again: Even the Carrera GTS should have driven everything into the ground in its time. If he met an opponent at all. But mostly it was more of a lonely ride before mass motorization when the country roads were still almost empty. And unlimited.

A lot has happened since then. Also at Porsche, see model range. What used to be the rule is now an exception: a car like the Cayman GTS that is only committed to driving pleasure. One can only hope that Porsche will continue to commit to sports cars in the future.

Carrera GTS as a racing car

Porsche designed the racing car with the internal type number 904 for the GT class of sports cars -World Championship. Among other things, a Carrera GTS used by the factory won the 1964 Targa Florio. Incidentally, the mid-engine racing car also competed in the European hill climb championship: in a visually significantly different form as the 904 Bergspyder.


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