Stories abound that McQueen did everything he could to use the car as it was intended, and in that way, I imagine he had great fun with it
In 1976, Porsche unveiled what was to be the first production 911 Turbo, known internally as a 930 and externally as the Turbo Carrera. Their success in recent racing had been achieved with turbocharged engines, and for the first time, Porsche applied this racing technology to a production road car.
When introduced, the Turbo Carrera garnered much attention, not only for its thrilling performance but also for its avant-garde styling, which included wide fender flares and a distinctive rear spoiler.
This example of a 1976 Turbo Carrera is unusual, being one of only 530 originally imported to the U.S. that year. However, this one has the more important distinction of being specially ordered and originally owned by film star Steve McQueen. By that time, the King of Cool had already owned, driven, and raced several Porsches, including a 356 Speedster, a 917, and several 911s. His affinity for the German marque was well known. McQueen ordered his Turbo in Slate Gray, the color of the early 911S he drove on location and on screen during the filming of "Le Mans."
McQueen's son Chad recalls his father's time with the Turbo, saying fondly, "That car really hauled." A family friend, Dean Martin Jr., was equally enthralled by the 930 and continually pursued McQueen to sell him the car, which he did in 1978, to Martin and his fiancée, Dorothy Hamill.
This important 930 Turbo Carrera was featured in the November 2007 Porsche Panorama and in the recent book McQueen's Machines by Matt Stone, in which Chad McQueen tells the story of his father coming home from a trip a day early and catching him driving the Turbo. While Steve wasn't too upset by his son practicing his shifting techniques down the neighborhood streets, he nonetheless sent Chad to his room to think about his actions behind the wheel of a car capable of staggering performance, a true supercar.
A full restoration was completed in 1995, and McQueen's Turbo remains in outstanding mechanical and cosmetic condition. The car is equipped with its original engine, limited-slip differential, the original 15-inch Fuchs alloy wheels, and period-correct tires, as well as a sunroof. McQueen also fitted a switch on the dashboard that disabled the tail and brake lights so as to reduce the chance of detection by police.
Steve McQueen is widely regarded as an important automotive enthusiast and race car driver who used his on-screen talent to support racing ambitions. This 1976 Porsche 930 affords the rare opportunity to acquire an important piece of McQueen and Porsche history.
|Vehicle:||1976 Porsche 930 Turbo|
|Number Produced:||23,217 (Coupes, Targas and Cabrios)|
|Original List Price:||$24,500 (1976)|
|Tune Up Cost:||$700|
|Chassis Number Location:||Horizontal bulkhead under front hood|
|Engine Number Location:||Stamped into block near right side of cooling fan|
|Club Info:||Porsche Club of America 5530 Edgemont Dr. Alexandria, VA 22310|
|Investment Grade:||All 911 Turbos, C; this car, A|
This unusual 1976 930 Turbo Carrera sold for $137,500 at the Gooding & Company auction in Pebble Beach, California, on August 16, 2008. I judge this staggering sum to be market correct or perhaps a modest bargain, having little to do with the fact it is a Turbo and everything to do with its documented previous owner.
Steve McQueen was every man’s car hero, and the cars he owned and drove hold a unique spot in the
aspirational dreams of all Porsche enthusiasts. It makes perfect sense that after McQueen’s Slate Gray 2.2-liter 911S-at the time, the top of Porsche’s production car line-up and in many ways the most “sporting” of all the early 911S road cars because of its high-rpm power band-he would order the new “911S,” because to Porsche folks, there were no “true 911S” cars produced for the U.S. after 1973, due to the difficulties posed by emissions controls.
But in 1976, in the midst of a major oil crisis, Porsche went forward and launched their attempt at a better 911S-as defined by the explosion of high rpm power-with the Turbo. It was an audacious car, and unlike earlier S models, it used an engine different in size from other 1976 911 models. It also had very clear changes to the body to accompany the ferocious power. How fitting that a sincere enthusiast would purchase this model the first time it was available in the U.S. as a smog-certified road car.
High speeds on open roads
Turbos were always intended for very high-speed motoring on open roads, so they are frustrating to drive for most law-abiding enthusiasts. Stories abound how McQueen did everything he could to use the car as it was intended, and in that way, I’d imagine he had great fun with it. For the rest of us driving Turbos on the street, it’s hard to feel like you are using much of the car’s tremendous capabilities.
The price achieved here was influenced in a very significant way by the car’s provenance. When McQueen’s Ferrari Lusso sold, it brought about four times what an average Lusso would sell for. The same ratio is true here, so for now, that’s what the “cool” factor costs.
It seems a very big spread, from an “ordinary” Turbo Carrera to McQueen’s car, but the reason why I call this one well bought is that ordinary Turbo Carreras haven’t been appreciating quickly like 356s and early 911 cars (1965-73) of all types. Perhaps the Turbos are a bit too new; perhaps there are too many available. But if Turbos do have room to run up the price scale, this car at this price may look like a savvy buy one of these days.
And in the meantime, you have Steve McQueen’s one and only personal 930 Turbo Carrera, and that’s a ticket that will get you into car events at almost every level-from the Indiana State Fair to the next Porsche Parade.