Porsche 930 by Matchbox #3

Porsche 930 by Maisto

Porsche 930 by King Star

Porsche 930 by Tomica

Porsche 930 by CF #303

Porsche 930 by Ertl

Porsche 930 by unknown (Tomica copy?)

Porsche 930 by Majorette #209

Porsche 930 by Majorette (Deluxe)

Porsche 930 by Racing Champions #3

Porsche 930 by Siku #1059

Porsche 930 by Blue Box #3536

Porsche 930 by Hot Wheels

Porsche 930 by Hot Wheels
(Collector's Edition)

Spoilered Sports
The Porsche 930 Turbo in Miniature

by Brian Willoughby

Although somewhat rare in the automotive world, some cars do improve markedly with age. One such automobile is Porsche's legendary 911. Introduced during 1964, the 911 further distanced these Stuttgart-produced wonders from a certain people's car manufactured slightly Northward in Wolfsburg, through the performance delivered by its new, overhead cam, flat six and its uniquely enduring and instantly recognizable styling. While the fast and beautiful 911 was (and for that matter still is) a great sports car, it was never truly a supercar capable of taking on the likes of the thoroughbreds emanating from Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati.

All that changed in 1975 with the arrival of the Turbo Carrera. A significantly re-engineered version of the timeless 911, the Turbo Carrera's factory developmental number was 930 and it featured a turbocharged 3.0 litre flat-six based on the same classic air-cooled engine used in down-market 911s. After only two years, Porsche introduced an even more refined car which it now simply called the "Turbo". A sadly generic name for such a car, most people continued to refer to the car by its assigned platform number of 930 even though it sported several new styling cues such as black rock guards on the rear fenders, an intercooler and the largest Porsche flat-six ever produced up to that point at 3.3 litres. Withdrawn from the American market for several years, the 930 reappeared during the late 1980s as the 911 Turbo and in its absence, it had only improved. To honor this legendary German rocket, several diecast manufacturers produced a number of outstanding miniatures. Let's take a look at what constitutes a complete collection of Porsche's Turbo.

When discussing diecast models of the 930, it first becomes necessary to categorized them according to which variant of the car they represent. Of all the miniatures available, three main types exist: A.) models of the original 3.0 litre, B.) models of the up-rated 3.3 litre and C.) models of the distinctive "Slant-nose" body shell.

Produced for several years, Matchbox's "Porsche Turbo" represented the earliest 3.0 litre version of the car as identified by its smaller rear spoiler. Featuring opening doors, Lesney's model of this mighty Porsche was both accurate and well made although some paint color choices were questionable. However, by far the most amusing aspect of this model is the fact that it was equipped with a trailer hitch! Really, has any 930 owner ever towed anything with their car?

As the Matchbox miniature was a good model, so should have been Maisto's: after all, it was a very straight-ahead copy. Nonetheless, a few differences do exist that distinguish the look-alike Matchbox and Maisto versions: the Maisto model does not have opening doors and (thankfully) it dispenses with the rather absurd trailer hitch Lesney installed. Still in production, this miniature makes an excellent place to begin a collection of turbocharged 911s for its low retail price of about 50 cents.

Although little is known about the South Korean-based King Star, it did produce an apparently short-lived line of 1:60 scale models during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Of course, one of the obligatory cars of the day to produce in miniature was Porsche's 930. As with its other models, King Star, especially for an upstart, did a respectable job of presenting the 3.0 litre 930 in a scale model. Offered with opening doors and a slightly oversized exhaust pipe, a particularly nice touch on this model was the separate, plastic headlamp moldings as opposed to the more typical diecast-and-painted-over lamps seen on many competitor's versions.

By far the best model of the early 930 was produced by Japan's toy-making giant, Tomica. Featuring opening doors and superb paint work, many models made using this die were painted to look like the later 3.3 litre cars with black rock guards on the flared rear fenders. Although some might fault this minor infraction, it is difficult to be too harsh on a model that tries so hard to get everything just right. After all, how many other models were ever produced that actually had larger diameter wheels at the rear and smaller diameter wheels at the front? Certainly, no one was concurrently producing anything like this Japanese gem. While still in production, it is best to seek out earlier, Japanese-made versions of this model with the wide, racing-style wheels: only these models feature the correct small front/large rear tire diameters with black (not silver) wheel centers.

Speaking of mystery models, Hong Kong's CF cast another nice model of the 3.0 litre car that featured rubber tires mounted on separate chrome-plated wheels and a friction motor that could propel the model at high scale speeds. While black wheels would have been more accurate, it is difficult to fault a model packed with such a high level of unique details so many years before anyone else ever thought of offering such things. CF also produced a non-friction model with black, plastic tires (shown left).

Also attempting to make its mark in the world of 1:64 scale diecast cars at this time was the well-known toy tractor manufacturer of Ertl. While many of the models offered by Ertl in its "Cars of the World" series of the late 1970s were acceptable, their rendition of the 3.0 litre 930 was somewhat spoiled by the used of undersized wheels that gave the model a most awkward stance compared to the actual cars. Produced in both street and racing variations, Ertl's 930 is, in spite of its wheel problems, still a decent miniature that is most worthy of sharing a spot on the shelf with its brethren.

Finally, it is rare that a generic model is of high enough quality to rank an honorable mention with the big names of the marketplace; however, one such model of the 3.0 litre 930 does just that. Obviously inspired by the outstanding Tomica 930, the model pictured above originates from somewhere in the Orient and was produced by an unknown die caster whose work, at least on this model, deserves recognition.

After a relatively short production run, Porsche retired the original 3.0 litre 930 in 1977 and replaced it with an even more potent inter-cooled 3.3 litre version. Miniature car manufacturers that had waited about offering a model of this top-of-the-line Porsche now no longer had an excuse for not producing one. In fact, some model makers, in responding to this formidable machine, chose to offer more than one scale version.

Of those companies to produce multiple 930s, Majorette deserves special note with its two separate models that were intended to give both kids and collectors something to get excited about. Majorette's 200-series model of the 930 is a textbook Majorette: well-made and accurate, it offers no fanciful gimmicks other than a high level of play value at a relatively low retail price. Nevertheless, don't dismiss this model as a mere toy car--it's an excellent casting that with certain wheel styles is very accurate. However, for accuracy Majorette's "Deluxe" series model of the 3.3 930 is difficult to better. While Majorette's were made in France up until a few years ago (production has since been moved to Thailand), the Deluxe series was made in Portugal and featured molded plastic bodies mounted on diecast bases. Introduced during the early 1990s, the series featured a number of super-detailed European supercars and that were perhaps just a bit too expensive to sell well. The 930 offered in this series is simply one of the very best models of this car ever produced and the only real fault with the miniature is an oversized Porsche badge on the trunk lid. A minor, and somewhat novel aspect of this model is its headlamps: as per French regulation, the lenses, even on this miniature, are yellow rather than clear.

Proving that a great car never dies, Racing Champions has only recently introduced another miniature of the 3.3 930 as part of its Classified Classics series. As collectors have come to expect from this company, it is an outstanding, scale model of this car. However, it would have been nice if Racing Champions had taken the time to make just one more paint application and printed the black trim pieces and rock guards missing from the sides of the model.

As might be expected, Siku would not remain dormant for long when it came to honoring a great car emanating from its home country. Siku had long produced an accurate model of the non-turbo 911 and it was only fitting that it should bring a 930 into its lineup of models. As with all Sikus, the 3.3 930, which is still in production, is a heavy yet delicate miniature and apparently the only one to offer the correct quarter lights in the doors that are a 911/930 trademark. While street versions are a welcome addition to any collection, the Polizei variation of this model offers the ultimate homage to the old adage of "if you can't beat them, join them."

Of course, not every 3.3 930 was produced by one of the big names in the diecast world. Blue Box, another obscure brand from the Orient, offered a rather crude 930 model with a somewhat distorted body shape, blanked-off rear window and overly large wheels. Obviously designed as a toy, this casting was later reworked into a Targa with a retracting roof that is controlled by a sliding knob on the base. While perhaps necessary for completists, this model should not be a high priority item for most collectors.

To conclude our discussion of the 3.3, let's turn our attention to another manufacturer that has marketed multiple 930 miniatures: Mattel's Hot Wheels. Arriving late on the scene with a 930 miniature, Hot Wheels selected to model a 930 variant that no one else had offered in 1:64 scale before: the "Slant-nose". Painted in a variety of colors, countless wheel variations and sometimes presented with loud tampos, the Hot Wheels Slant-nose is a mandatory addition to a 930 collection if for no other reason than it is the only one available. Moving up market, Mattel has honored the legendary 930 once more within it "Collectibles" range. A high quality miniature with an equally high selling price, this model features an opening hood and nicely detailed engine yet unfortunately, the wheels are chrome plated. At $8, one expects perfection though Mattel fails; perhaps a price reduction would make collectors a bit more generous in their assessments of these otherwise nice models.

And here we end our survey of the car that has simply come to be know as the Porsche 930. With a promised turbo version of the new 996-chassis 911 forthcoming from Zuffenhausen, we can rest assured that Porsche will deliver another great road car and that the world's diecast manufacturers will award collectors with another bountiful crop of miniatures.

The list below provides a overview of the models discussed and pictured to the left. In spite of the variety of names applied to these models by their manufacturers, they are all miniature representations of Porsche project number 930.

Blue Box 3536 Porsche 930 Turbo
CF 303 Porsche 911 Turbo
Ertl 1674 Porsche 930 Turbo
Hot Wheels [various numbers] Porsche 930S
Hot Wheels Collectibles 23402 Porsche 930 Turbo
King Star 201 Porsche 930 Turbo
Maisto/MC Toys 8444 Porsche 911 Turbo
Majorette 209 Porsche Turbo
Majorette Deluxe 1003 Porsche 911 Turbo
Matchbox 3 Porsche Turbo
Siku 1059 Porsche 911 Turbo
Tomica F1 Porsche 930 Turbo
Racing Champions Classified Classics 3 Porsche 911 Turbo

References: Batchelor, Dean, et al. The Great Book of Sports Cars. New York: Portland House, 1988.