The name, Randy Leffingwell, will be familiar to most Porsche enthusiasts. Leffingwell worked in Kansas City, Chicago and for the LA Times as a photographer and writer for more than two decades. In ‘95 he began a career as a full-time author and has since then published more than 50 books on most car makes. I have several books by this author covering the Porsche 911 so I jumped at the opportunity to review this new title covering every model since 1964.
The first twenty-odd pages of the book cover the 911’s predecessors and prototypes which is handy for the reader, as it sets the scene for the forthcoming 901/911 model. Thereafter, the author launches into the vast 911 family tree providing the reader with an in-depth coverage of both the air-cooled cars (from 1963 to 1998), and their water-cooled siblings right up to the latest 992-generation 911.
Leffingwell has divided the 911 model history into easy to follow chapters that are organised by model generation, providing a year-by-year overview of the entire 911 family within each chapter. Each model is given a comprehensive write up with its own technical specification panel, providing the reader with an easy reference and comparison tool. Interestingly, the author has included, where appropriate, a description of those prototypes that led to the final 911 version, giving the reader a useful insight into those ideas that fell onto the cutting room floor.
It is not possible to talk about Porsche without some reference to the 911’s legendary motorsport achievements. But it is all too easy to slip into the exciting world of motor racing and lose the core theme of the book. Here the author has used the introduction of a new model, again where appropriate, to explain the development of a race car. For example, he uses the introduction of the 930 Turbo (introduced in Europe in March 1975), that benefitted from turbo experience gained from the mighty 917/10 and 917/30 racing cars, to expand on the development of the turbocharged 934 and 935 models in 1976 and 1977. The author has skilfully avoided getting drawn into the vast history of those two revolutionary GT race cars, the subject no doubt of another book.
The author has also delved into the intoxicating world of the 959 and the 911 GT1 models, the exciting and technologically advanced GT2 and GT3 models with their potent RS versions as well. All of these models of course have a connection to Porsche’s motorsport heritage. With Leffingwell’s vast experience in writing about sports cars, and Porsche in particular, he has enjoyed access over the years to the engineers who developed, tested and drove these cars in competition. This lends much credibility to the text, as he has included numerous quotes from those interviews in relevant places in the text.
The book is 344 pages in length, and with generous dimensions, it means the book is quite sizeable thereby giving the reader good value for money. The style and presentation of the book is pleasing to the reader as the publisher has used the design and layout of the text and images in a manner which is easy to read, leaving just the right amount of white space to as to produce an uncluttered layout. Here too, the author’s skill as a photographer comes into its own, as he has used a clever combination of both Porsche press images and those provided by his own and other private photographer’s imagery.
This publication should be welcomed by Porsche enthusiasts as it is a reasonably priced and very comprehensive book. There are other books covering the 911’s history, and still others that focus just on specifications and statistics. Leffingwell has combined both of these attributes in a single volume, making this a really convenient source of 911 history and model specs.
So, the question arises again, do you need another book on the 911 on your bookshelf? There will always be new converts and Porsche enthusiasts coming into the family, and this book would be an excellent source of model history and information for those new to the marque, but also for those familiar with the brand. It is a well-produced and reasonably priced book, and we heartily recommend getting a copy.
|Title||The Complete Book of Porsche 911|
|Sub-title||Every Model Since 1964|
|Published||30 July 2019|
|Page count||344 pages|
|Image count||450 colour & B/W photos|
|Format||245 mm x 280 mm portrait, hardback with dust jacket|
|Price||£35.00 UK; $50.00 US|
|Available||www.quartoknows.com, and any good bookshop|
Written by: Glen Smale