∙One of just 179 RHD examples ∙Unusual Maritime Blue, recently repainted ∙Ex-Porsche GB press car ∙Excellent runner with large history file ∙Featured in the 1993 Performance Car Magazine
The 968 represented the last of the line of transaxle Porsches, the front-engined, rear-drive models dating back to the 924’s launch way back in 1976. It replaced the 944 although, while looking similar, the 968 actually only shared about 20% of its components; the basic ethos was that of a grand tourer, with a 3.0-litre four-pot offering great waves of torque, ideal for crossing continents in comfort. 1993’s Club Sport, however, was a different kettle of fish entirely. Sure, it was mechanically similar, but it had all sorts of unnecessary luxuries stripped out of it, and this made it sharper, more agile, and more aggressive. Among the Club Sport’s benefits were lightweight Recaro seats, an absence of rear seats, body-colour 17” Cup wheels, and a digital stopwatch for your lap times. The list of things removed was impressively extensive, and included the electric windows, heated mirrors, sound deadening, central locking, alarm, rear wiper, under bonnet and boot lights, and the headlight washers. What few parts remained were stripped down to the bare bones – the battery was smaller, the loom simplified, the radiator only had one fan instead of two, the alternator was smaller, there were fewer plastic trim pieces in the engine bay… this was a comprehensive gutting. All of this meant that the Club Sport was around 100 kg lighter than a regular 968 – half-a-second quicker to 62mph, with much more focused handling. Built between 1993-95 in extremely limited numbers, this is a truly rare treat: a track-biased road car, a proper thoroughbred, and a bona fide collectible.
It's particularly unusual to find a UK-spec right-hand-drive model. Just 1,923 Club Sports were built, and that’s a figure for all markets combined; there were only 179 right-hand-drive cars built for the UK market. (The data suggests that today there are around 60 of them actually running in the UK, with a further 90 or so on SORN.) And there are two key elements to this car that make it even more unusual: first of all, there’s the colour. Five colour options were available for the Club Sport, and the majority of buyers went for the ostentatious Speed Yellow – but this car, in its tasteful Maritime Blue, is a seldom-seen spec. And secondly, there’s the fact that this was originally an official Porsche GB press car, doing the PR rounds for the world’s eyes and camera lenses at motor shows. It featured in various magazine tests, including a group test with a BMW M3 and Audi S2 in the September 1993 issue of Performance Car. As such, it’s got an interesting spec: the original order sheet in the history file shows that this car was ordered in British Specification, with option 550 – the removable sunroof (£625) – and option P10, the Blaupunkt radio package (£295). Today, the spec is all correct and original, and the car has recently had a full glass-out respray in Maritime Blue, so it looks as sharp as a new pin.
There’s a substantial file of paperwork with this car, including the original order sheet from Porsche Cars GB Ltd in Reading listing the options. The service book is present, positively brimming with service stamps from new up until 2013 – at that time the mileage was recorded as 80,515, and the car was evidently in storage until 2018; it’s covered a mere 400 miles in the last eight years. Also in the file we find a paper copy of every MOT from throughout the car’s life, and the seller will put a new MOT on the car before sale. The folder also contains a large sheaf of receipts and invoices, painstakingly chronicling all of the servicing and maintenance that’s been carried out over the years. Every chapter of this Porsche’s life is well documented.
The interior of the Club Sport is pared back and simple, but don’t go thinking it’s spartan. Yes, all of the unnecessary stuff went in the bin, so no-one can sit in the back and you have to wind your own windows down… but it’s still a comfortable and pleasant place to be. It’s not a stripped-out track car, but instead something thoughtfully specced for functionality. The factory bucket seats are minimalist, but sufficiently padded to be comfortable, and it’s a wonderful detail that the rear shells of the seats were colour-coded in Maritime Blue. The person who originally specced this car ticked the option 550 box, so it’s fitted with a removable sunroof, and option P10 which includes the fitment of a stereo head unit, two speakers and a roof aerial. The dash is in great condition with no cracks, and all of the dials are working correctly. There’s a little wear to the gearknob, as is to be expected, but on the whole this is a remarkably well-kept interior: the seats are excellent, the carpets are in good condition, and all of the controls appear to be functioning as they should. In the boot, the carpets are in good order and the teeny-tiny space-saver spare wheel is present and seemingly unused. The original tool roll is also in the boot, with no pieces missing.
The bodywork of this car is absolutely stunning, it’s almost hard to believe that it’s twenty-eight years old. This is thanks in part to the recent glass-out respray in the correct Maritime Blue, which was carried out to an extremely high standard and has a beautiful finish – there’s no evidence of any stone-chips, scuffs or scratches, it looks outstanding. The panel fit is spot-on throughout too, with even shutlines. You can’t have failed to spot the Club Sport emblems down the sides – these were standard-fit and could be a delete option, but it’s much cooler to have them isn’t it? The 17” Cup wheels are colour-coded, as they should be, and wear Toyo Proxes T1-R tyres in the proper staggered sizes – 225/45 at the front, 255/40 out back. The correct badges are in place, and all of the light lenses and window glass are in good condition. There’s a lovely feeling of quality throughout the car; it’s evidently a lightweight and performance-oriented machine – kerb weight was pared back to about 1,300kg, and the doors are light enough to swing closed with one finger – and yet it all feels distinctly Porsche-esque. A performance machine for the discerning enthusiast.
The drivetrain in this car is very well engineered, with a vital element that gets aficionados so fired up being the transaxle layout: having the gearbox at the back is key to the car’s excellent weight distribution and superlative handling. The engine is a mighty thing too – three litres is a huge displacement for a four-cylinder engine, and in this application it’s offering a very decent 240bhp. This gives it a power-to-weight ratio similar to a modern VW Golf GTI Club Sport, or a Porsche Cayman 2.7, so the performance is just as vivid as you’d imagine. The car has been kept in fine fettle, and on our test drive it behaved impeccably – firing up on the first twist of the key, idling correctly, and pulling strongly through the gears. There are no troubling noises from the transmission, the suspension is behaving as it should, the brakes are strong, it all feels very taut and proper, and the seller assures us that there are no mechanical issues to worry about.
One of the most appealing elements of this car is that it isn’t the obvious Porsche. To some enthusiasts, it’s not proper Stuttgart unless the engine’s air-cooled and hanging over the back axle, but of course there’s far more to the oeuvre than that. Indeed, the transaxle Porsches are really enjoying their time in the sun today, enthusiasm for the 924, 944 and 968 being stronger than ever. The jewel in the crown of the transaxle Porsche era is what you see here, the Club Sport: it’s lithe, agile, playful, beautifully engineered, extremely attractive to behold, and utterly beguiling to drive. And of course, this isn’t just any Club Sport – it’s a super-rare UK-spec car, in an unusual colour, with an intriguing past and a thoroughly robust history. Obviously you want a 968 Club Sport in your life, you’re only human… and what you really want is this extraordinary and unusual example. It’ll be hilarious fun to own, and you’ll always have tales to tell.
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