The route to Spean Bridge is, like so much of Scotland’s roads, glorious, mixing sweeping, sensational vistas with complex topography and fine, quiet tarmac. The temptation is too great for Andrew ahead in the 911 GT1, a car that needs to run quickly to run well. It’d be rude not to join him, particularly as having passed the lead photographer’s vehicle he’s unsure of the way. I am technically local, after all. There’s a 959 filling my mirrors as Simon gives chase, the sight of a GT1 in front of me and a 959 behind being one that’s tattooed on my memory forever. With those photographers left in our wake, this insane three-car convoy forges a fast path en route to Loch Donan and Eilean Donan Castle at the Kyle of Lochalsh.
Doing so means we miss the gathering together of the convoy at Spean, but we’re all the better for it, enjoying clear roads for the duration of our long drive. With that GT1 effectively driving blind to the route ahead, I stretch the RS’s 4.0-litre unit to squeeze past the GT1 when the road’s wide enough to do so, leading these two hyper 911s to our destination courtesy of the satnav that predates the cars now following me. Nobody’s looking at the Donan Castle when we arrive, the sight of these three Porsches turning heads from the other historical view.
We’re early thanks to our, ahem, ‘enthusiastic’ pace en route. Rain arrives as the remaining cars do. I swap into a standard Carrera 4 for the drive back to our overnight stop, all the way back to Pitlochry. Rain tempers the drive back, at a more moderate pace, yet not without its thrills, Scotland’s terrain never anything but sensational to look at, even when the view is punctuated by the sweep of windscreen wipers. Fonab Castle is where bed eventually lies, the car park awash with the celebratory convoy, the participants all buzzing from the experience. There’s more tomorrow, Knockhill Circuit being our eventual destination, but not before an evening of conversation and reflection over what’s been an incredible day. Thus far the Millionth car has alluded me, but I’ll be driving it tomorrow. Not before a revisit of the Gen2 991 GT3, which on familiar roads to Knockhill gives me a 9,000rpm thrill-ride that underlines my position that it’s the best 911 that I’ve ever driven. Until the next one, of course.
The Millionth car is now mine for a moment, and I’m immediately seduced. The specification is basically that of a GTS, the S’s unit featuring the same Powerkit that increases its power to 450hp – that increased output driving the rear wheels only. Sitting in the houndstooth-covered seats, with the warmth of the wooden steering wheel, it’s a shame the gearknob’s not similarly covered. A manual at least, which might be a retrospective nod in these big-selling PDK times, but it’s the correct one. There’s little over 940 miles on the odometer when I get in it, and all I can think is I hope the previous occupant had the presence of mind to take a picture of it as it ticked over the 911 marker. It’s all familiar, all 911, though the significance of its build number isn’t lost on me.
More irreplaceable than any other 911 I’ve been lucky enough to drive, I’m initially circumspect with it as I take it out on familiar roads around the Knockhill Racing Circuit. That caution quickly dissipates, the historical significance of the car forgotten as I just revel in driving it. It feels very like the GTS, standard chassis aside here. It effectively is so, which is to say perhaps the most rounded, capable 911 you can buy. Or can’t when specifically applied to this car. The steering is light, feelsome, the throttle immediate and the performance unerring, it being very much a modern 911. The 911 today epitomises the evolution of the car, any car, and the Millionth underlines that.
The original was an agile, fast engaging and usable sports car at genesis, and today it remains so, only the march of modernity has brought with it refinements, more comfort, economy, greater performance and a huge advance in technology. For all of that, though, it remains utterly identifiable as a 911. Jumping from the Millionth into the early Targa here reveals that as much as anything else, and identifying that the wood trim of the Millionth car isn’t necessarily representative of the early cars – that Targa not having a splinter of the stuff inside. No other car is so recognisable, so interesting, so unique, which is why it’s endured so effectively, and seduced so many. One million, then, and counting…
Engine Capacity 2,981cc
Compression ratio 10.0:1
Maximum power 450bhp @ 6,500rpm
Maximum torque 550Nm @ 2,150-5,000rpm
Transmission Seven-speed manual; rear-wheel drive
Exclusive Powerkit (+30bhp)
Front Independent; MacPherson strut; PASM; anti-roll bar
Rear Independent; Multi-link; PASM; anti-roll bar
Wheels & tyres
Front 9×20 inch; 245/35/ZR20
Rear 12×20 inch; 305/30/ZR20
Length 4,528mm Width 1,852mm Weight 1,450kg
Performance 0-62mph 4.1 sec
Top speed 194mph