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1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe
The quintessential German sports car had a bit of a problem in the mid-1970s. Dwindling sales convinced the higher-ups at Porsche that something had to change. Big kahuna Ernst Fuhrmann, best known for developing the Type 547 engine, advocated for a replacement with a water-cooled engine up front. This replacement, which materialized in the guise of the 928, would be more of a luxurious grand tourer instead of a corner-carving thriller. However, sales of the 928 were abysmal at best.

Porsche 911 SC: The Neunelfer's Closest Brush With the Chopping Block

1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe
Porsche lost money for the first time in its history as an automaker in 1980, prompting the board to oust Fuhrmann in favor of 12 potential candidates. Personally invited to apply for this position by Ferry Porsche, a gentleman by the name of Peter Schutz would be anointed chief executive officer.

Three weeks into his new role, Schutz noticed a graph on the office wall of lead engineer Helmuth Bott. The line for the Neunelfer stopped in 1981, which angered Schutz because he understood that the 911 and 928 are very different vehicles that serve very different purposes. “I grabbed a marker off Professor Bott’s desk,” Schutz wrote in an article for Road & Track back in May 2013, “and extended the 911 line across the page, onto the wall, and out the door.” Indeed, this dude saved the Neunelfer from extinction.

Born in Berlin to Jewish parents who fled Germany for Cuba in 1937 due to the rise of the Nazi party under that unsavory guy with a silly mustache, Schutz championed the continuous development of the 911. He also masterminded the 959 all-wheel-drive supercar, and he also improved sales to 53,000 units in 1986. However, Schutz would be replaced by Heinz Branitzki in 1987 due to an economic downturn and the 959 project costing way too much money for a specialized automaker as small as Porsche.

Before Schutz made it clear that the 911 wouldn't be canned, Fuhrmann instructed the engineers to update the Neunelfer one last time. Bott’s team came up with the K series for the 1978 model year, better known as the 911 SC, with SC standing for Super Carrera. The Stuttgart-based automaker started making this variant in August 1977. Five more iterations would follow: the L, A, B, C, and D series, covering the 1979 through 1983 model years.

1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe
To understand how little faith Fuhrmann had in the 911, the K series was offered in a single tune. Codenamed 930/03, the six-cylinder boxer in the Super Carrera was – in essence – a detuned version of the 930/02 from the I and J series. The 930 prefix shouldn’t come as a surprise given that the all-alloy engine is based on the 3.0-liter unit found in the Widowmaker.

The 03 differs from the 02 by means of larger main and connecting rod bearings, the switch from magnesium to aluminum for the crankcase, milder camshafts, and the 11-blade cooling fan compared to five blades for the I and J series. Porsche also sweetened the deal with contactless ignition and redesigned chain guides. Gifted with a 95-millimeter bore and 70.4-millimeter stroke, the 3.0-liter sixer runs an 8.5:1 compression ratio.

Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection also needs to be mentioned, along with a five-speed manual or the semi-automatic transmission advertised under the Sportomatic moniker. The Euro-spec 911 SC was originally rated at 180 ps (178 hp) and 195 lb-ft (265 Nm) of torque. Over in the United States, where restrictive emission regulations prompted the adoption of a two-way catalytic converter, the 3.0-liter engine is codenamed 930/04 or 930/06. To whom it may concern, 05 was used solely for the Japanese market.

K-series updates included a 7,000-rpm tacho. Made from steel with the sole exception of the aluminum bumpers, the 1978 model year 911 SC ended production with 5,178 coupes and 4,308 targas under its belt. Come August 1978, the L series entered the scene with revised gear ratios and the so-called Tuning Kit option. 5,705 coupes and 5,284 targas were built.

1978 Porsche 911 SC Coupe
The 1980 model year A series introduced the 930/09 engine, which bumped up the net horsepower rating to 188 ps (185 hp) at 5,500 rpm. The U.S. version soldiered on with 180 ps (178 hp), although Porsche improved the U.S.-market 930/07 with a higher compression ratio and a three-way catalytic converter. Rather than an option, the Black Look became standard. Also worthy of note, the A series birthed the Weissach Special Edition, of which 400 examples were made in either black or platinum metallic.

For the B-series 911 SC, the rear-engined sports car gained a bit more horsepower and torque with the introduction of the 930/10 engine. It cranks out 204 ps (201 hp) and 267 Nm (197 lb-ft), but as expected, this engine wasn’t meant for North America. From a visual standpoint, the 1981 model stands out with the help of front-fender rectangular side repeaters.

Neunelfer enthusiasts didn’t have much to celebrate for the 1982 model year. C-series updates can only be described as minor at best, coming in the form of a better heating system and a different rear spoiler. The Ferry Porsche Special Edition was offered to the tune of 200 units finished in metallic gray with burgundy leather and the 930 Turbo’s big-boy spoiler.

Last but certainly not least, the D series signaled the last hurrah of the 3.0-liter 911 SC. It was the first 911 SC to be offered as a convertible, the third body style after the fixed-head Coupe and removable-top Targa. Just under 60,300 examples of the Porsche 911 SC were delivered in total.

 
 
 
 
 

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