The 40 Jahre 911 Story

Introduction

 

In late 2003, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its 911 model, Porsche introduced a highly optioned special-edition model limited to 1963 numbered copies, each bearing the anniversary slogan “40 Jahre” representing “40 Fast Years”.  The “40 Jahre 911” is a normally-aspirated, rear-wheel drive, narrow-body Carrera with myriad of aesthetic and performance enhancements, including the vaunted X51 engine package, GT Silver exterior paint, natural grey full-leather interior, limited-slip differential, shot-blasted and polished 18” Carrera II lightweight wheels, turbo front bumper with painted air-inlets, aluminum-trim rings on the instrument cluster, and M030 suspension (in North America – ROW030, which was lower, outside North America).  While many of the 40 Jahre 911 owners have left their cars unmodified, others have personalized them. The most common exterior modification by owners of North American 40 Jahre 911 cars was replacing the orange side markers (“pumpkins”) with clear markers like European 40 Jahre 911 cars.  Others owners have added a fixed rear wing, blacked out the painted grill inlets, or changed or refinished the wheels (which often suffer corrosion in harsh weather environments).  From a performance standpoint, one of the common misconceptions about the 40 Jahre 911 cars is that PSE (Porsche Sport Exhaust) was a factory available option.  In reality, PSE was a dealer-installed option. In fact, the only available options from the factory were natural grey floormats, comfort seats with power package, rear window wiper, Bose high-end sound system, remote 6-disc CD changer, and Porsche Communications Management (navigation system – “PCM”), although buyers outside of North America could also choose two additional options:  GT3 seats and telephone handset.  After-market performance modifications by some owners included installation of cold-air intake, various exhaust modifications (Porsche PSE and other aftermarket brands), and suspension changes (such as PSS9 coilover kit, ROW030, etc.). Preventive (or in some cases corrective) modifications included replacement of the legendary intermediate shaft bearing (IMS) and the rear main seal (RMS). The 40 Jahre 911, with its 3.6L engine, was not immune from the catastrophic engine failure due to failed IMS, although there is no research to indicate whether the 40 Jahre 911 cars were any more or less likely to suffer from that problem.

Here are some more notable facts about the 40 Jahre 911:

 

1. The 40 Jahre 911 was introduced at the International Automobilausstellung (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany on September 12, 1963 (the “Frankfurt Auto Show”).

 

 

 

 

2.  As of 2012, there were about 70 40 Jahre 911 cars in Germany (based on data of the German central street register and model code 996 x51).  Approximately 800 made it to North America, and roughly 125 right-hand-drive 40 Jahre 911 cars were sold in the UK (see this site for current numbers of 40 Jahre 911 cars registered in the UK:  http://www.howmanyleft.co.uk/vehicle/porsche_911_40_years).

 

 

 

3.  Not all of the 40 Jahre 911 cars remain.  For example, cars Nr. 0829 and 1366 were damaged beyond repair and were being parted out as of March 2014, and one burned due to an engine fire that consumed the whole car (Nr. 0941).

 

 

 

 

4.  The exterior paint on the 40 Jahre 911 is the exclusive GT Silver metallic as used for the Carrera GT.  GT Silver was not available as an optional color on any other 996.

 

 

 

 

5.  A four-piece luggage set made from the same leather as the car’s interior was delivered with each new 40 Jahre 911. This luggage has become quite sought after because many of the original owners, and unfortunately many original dealers, kept the luggage when selling the cars.  In addition, of the four pieces (large and small suitcases, large wallet and small key pouch), normally only the suitcases are found for resale – the wallet and key pouch are rarely found.

 

 

 

 

6. The anniversary wheels were the second most expensive in the Porsche AG program (based on December 2012 research in Germany).

 

 

 

 

The Engine

 

The 40 Jahre 911 came standard with the 996 X51 engine (type designation M96/03S), which has historical importance and pure engineering at its heart. For two years this was the second most powerful naturally aspirated engine in the range of 911 before market introduction of the 997 Carrera S.  Of significance, this engine package provided lubrication upgrades (high-G sump baffles, additional pump and oil lines) although, for the 40 Jahre 911, it did not provide a third (center) radiator (a common misconception). The lubrication upgrades alone were significant because 996 cylinder failures almost always involve the overheating and under lubrication of cylinder number 6, and these modifications helped to mitigate the seizures.  The M96/01S (precursor to M96/03S) engine was the sister model to the GT3 (M96/76) during development.  Porsche Motorsport Division in parallel developed the narrow body C2 with C4 strengthened front chassis/body structure, track suspension and roll cage and even the aerodynamic Cup AeroKit (note: its note even officially called the GT3 kit), but with different engines. The GT3 3.6 (M96/76) and X51 PowerKit 3.4 M96/01S engines were both developed together, in case what became the actual GT3 3.6 (GT1 derived block) failed racing regulations and/or reliability requirements for a successful homologation (according to the book "Porsche 996 The Essential Companion: Supreme Porsche" by Adrian Streather).  In the guise of a 2WD (but C4 chassis), 3.6 X51 with Cup Aerokit was an additional model in its own right called the "Carrera Cup" in Germany and the oddly named "PowerUp" edition for Japan. When they were released in the UK, the Cup AeroKit and PowerKit were separated as options (XAA and X51 respectively). Some have said that the X51 was given only an additional 20 BHP for "political" reasons because the much more expensive GT3 996.1 3.6 M96/76 only developed 360 BHP.  In 2000, the X51PowerKit cost £8,725 from the factory. Expensive as it was (and with on-paper low absolute power enhancement), at least the 996 PowerKit had extra lubrication efficacy (via a larger alloy racing sump baffle with valved apertures, dual chamber oil pump and additional lubrication plumbing on cylinders 4-6), additional third cooling radiator (in 996 cars that had this engine package ordered as an option), high lift valves, revised camshaft and optimized (machined and polished) exhaust ducts. Here is a short summary of what is added/modified in the M96/03S engine:

 

Intake air manifold with modified cross section

Adapted intake manifold pipes

Exhaust manifold with larger cross section and optimized flow characteristics

Cylinder heads with optimized inlet ports 

Camshafts with greater valve stroke on inlet side and modified inlet/exhaust valve timing

Inlet valve springs adapted to increased valve stroke

Modified bulkhead box in oil pan

Additional radiator

Modified map for the DME control unit

 

The following diagram illustrates the different characteristics of the M96/03 and the M96/03S (X51) engines.

 

 

 

The Interior

 

Upon entering the cockpit of a 40 Jahre 911 for the first time, one immediately senses the highly-quality materials of the hand-made interior that makes one feel both confident and comfortable.  The car´s interior has a distinctive and exclusive look thanks to details like the aluminum finish instrument dial ring, the console plate bearing the car’s limited edition number, and the "911" logo on the door sills.  The soft, dark grey natural leather of the full leather interior is rich and luxurious. The Alcantara roofliner shows modern elements which could be found in the 997 GT3.  The 40 Jahre 911 came standard with silver-painted, hard-backed heated sport seats, although many buyers chose the optional comfort seats with memory function. As an alternative outside of North America, buyers could choose the bucket seats of the GT3 model.  The rings on the instrument cluster, the center console, the backs of the front seats (only sport seats), and other interior items were finished in GT Silver to match the exterior paint.  Many of the cars were delivered with the Porsche Communication Management (“PCM”) system and the BOSE sound system.  In addition, a telephone module was available outside of North America with a hands-free phone function which at that time was seen as very progressive.  A detailed description of the interior terms and conditions can be obtained from manual WVK 207 710 04 D/WW (constituted as of 05/03) for Germany and LGB 200 102 41 (status 10/03) for the UK published by Porsche AG.

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