The 968 was the final iteration of Porsches four-cylinder lineage to roll out of the Stuttgart factory, developed as a stopgap between the aging 944 and the forthcoming Porsche Boxster replacement. For many, the 968 was just an updated 944, which the shape itself was over two decades old. Furthermore, the 968 arrived just after a global recession at a time when Porsche’s sales were dwindling fast.
Enter the 968 Club Sport. A sports car that became one of the most highly revered Porsches of the 90s. More importantly, the car that helped to bolster sales of the 968.
Porsche unveiled the 968 Club Sport at the Paris Motor Show in 1992. The Club Sport edition was a tailor-made version of the 968, a lightweight driver-focused machine with a striking appearance, which immediately caught the public imagination. Its three-year production was short-lived, which ran from 1992 to 1995. Arguably, the best front-engine, four-cylinder sports car developed by Porsche.
Porsche demonstrated with the 968 Club Sport that they were not only good at producing rear-engine, air-cooled sports cars but more than capable front-engine performance machines too. What’s more, the lightweight Porsche was a little cheaper than the standard 968. However, the Club Sport versions were only officially available in the UK, Europe, Japan, and Australia.
The 968 CS received praise from the motoring press for its driving characteristics. Indeed, the Club Sport variant achieved countless awards. Moreover, the rally legend, Walter Rohrl, endorsed the Club Sport as the ‘best handling car that Porsche made’. He is a Porsche ambassador and their test driver after all, but his words were backed by others who weren’t.
With less than 2,000 examples produced worldwide, the 968 is certainly a rare sight on the road and much sought after. From a driving perspective, it’s regarded as a true masterpiece from the 90s.
The 968 Club Sport Was A Lightweight Track Weapon
The 968 CS was the final installment of Porsche’s legendary transaxle era. At the time, the 968 had the most powerful naturally aspirated four-cylinder in the world and fast became the purist’s favorite.
Thanks to its rear-mounted transmission set-up, the track-focused 968 delivered ideal weight distribution providing predictable handling. Moreover, under the long hood, the power output of the tough 3-liter, M44 power plant, delivered 240 horses and 225 lb-ft of torque, the same as the standard car. Paired with a glorious six-speed transmission, the Club Sport’s acceleration was punchier than the standard model. Due to shedding around 100 kg of weight, the Club Sport was lighter and more agile. As a result, the 0 to 60 mph sprint had dropped to under six seconds. What’s more, the top speed had also been slightly raised to 162 mph.
With bigger brakes and stiffer dampers reducing the ride height by 0.7-inches, the 968 CS adopted a firmer ride, though remained beautifully balanced. The communicative steering was sharper and the more capable lightweight chassis encouraged the driver to push the car to its limits. The lighter Porsche provided a connection between the driver, the car, and the road.
The 968 Club Sport Offered ‘Less Is More’ Interior Approach
Adopting the philosophy of ‘less is more’, Porsche stripped out most of the luxury equipment from the 968 CS. The rear seats, power windows, air conditioning, and sound deadening were all removed. In addition, a three-spoke steering wheel with no airbag replaced the conventional wheel, for weight saving.
Porsche opted for gorgeous, manually adjustable lightweight Recaro racing seats with body-colored seat backs. However, all CS models came with black interiors similar to the 944 S2.
Furthermore, Porsche also redesigned the front end of the 968, which now accommodated 928 style round pop-up headlights, which was the company’s design language at the time. More importantly, the CS still retained Porsche’s bulletproof build quality.
The lowered suspension gave the 968 Club Sport an athletic stance. Moreover, the 968 acquired 17-inch body-colored alloy wheels, which were wider than the standard 16-inch, and added to the exclusive appearance. In addition to the wheels, the lightweight 968 came with ‘Club Sport’ decals on each flank of the car. The style of the Club Sport model was certainly distinctive and was only available in a few selected but desirable colors – Grand Prix White, Black, Speed Yellow, Guards Red, or Maritime Blue.
The Porsche 968 Club Sport Was For An Exclusive Bunch
The 968 Club Sport is fast becoming recognized as a cult classic. It’s true to say, front-engine Porsches, in general, are having somewhat of a renaissance. However, the Club Sport is still regarded, as one of the best.
After 30 years, the value of the 968 CS continue to rise, exceeding that of the standard car. According to classic.com, the average price of a used 968 CS is around $50,000, commanding more bragging rights than the standard 968 due to its handling characteristics and rarity. As we mentioned before, just under 2000 examples rolled out of the Porsche factory. Good, pristine examples are becoming hard to find as many, no doubt, often used as track day racers.
However, with used values of the Club Sport rising and the comparatively low maintenance costs, make the iconic 968 Club Sport a desirable investment. No doubt, one of the best driver’s cars from the 90s!
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