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11 Jan 2024

Photos by Rich Pearce

A priceless piece of Porsche’s history

The 993 marked the end of the air cooled 911 and this Turbo lays claim to being the last to leave the factory  

The collectability and value of old 911s has been a hot and occasionally terrifying topic for several years now. Tech-bro billionaires entering bidding wars for ultra-rare examples at high-profile public auctions and the cult-like movements of outlawing and resto-modding have artificially inflated prices of air-cooled 911s in all forms to an almost comical degree. 
Greatest value is nevertheless still placed on scarcity and individuality, the holy grail being a car with a provenance and significance that no other can match. Where, then, in the pantheon of collectible Porsches, do you place the last ever road-registered air-cooled 911?
The full story of the last 993 is a convoluted one. Chassis 70750 came off the assembly line in Zuffenhausen on 27 March 1998, some four days before production was scheduled to end. The very last car off the line, on the last day of that same month, was a Mexico Blue Carrera 4S that was sold to comedian and serial Porsche collector Jerry Seinfeld. Officially, then, the last air-cooled 911 ever made is surely Seinfeld’s car. However, chassis 70750, an Ocean Blue Turbo ordered in 1997 by noted German author Clauss Vanderborg, had yet to leave the factory. In fact, it had only just embarked on a near-six-month stay in the nearby Sonderwunsch (or ‘special wishes’) department.

Part of what makes this car’s story so interesting is that 27 March 1998 was also the day when Ferry Porsche died at the age of 88 at the family home in Zell am See. Vanderborg is understood to have been a friend of Ferry Porsche and he would go on to dedicate his car to the company’s founding father, creating a unique and poignant epitaph to one of engineering’s most influential figures in the 20th century.
Vanderborg’s Turbo was already somewhat special, even before it was delivered to what we now know as Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur. The widebody coupé chassis was fitted with a ‘WLS 2’ uprated M64.60 engine making 450PS, the same peak power as the contemporary Turbo S. A subtle but extensive options list included a strut brace, twin pipe exhausts, additional oil cooler and 92-litre fuel tank, while the wheels and Brembo calipers were painted in matching Ocean Blue. Once in the Sonderwunsch department, the interior was fully trimmed in Night Blue leather, covering everything from rotary switches and door latches to heater controls and even the instrument rings, the dials of which were finished in a complementary shade of blue. The result is a monochrome masterpiece, still as-new today and an exemplar of Porsche’s peerless hand-built past. 
Vanderborg also deleted both the in-car telephone and the rear wiper, clearly a man with the right priorities. He evidently also had no small amount of sentimentality. The dashboard bears a rectangular metal plaque, inscribed with ‘In memoriam Prof Ferry Porsche’ and a quote in German from the popular wartime film Die Feuerzangenbowle: “Only the memories we carry with us are real, the dreams we spin and the desires that drive us true. But with that we can be satisfied”. The car was also fitted with sill covers bearing the inscription ‘The Last Waltz’, a slightly mawkish moniker repeated on a sticker on the rear window that has become Chassis 70750’s calling card ever since.

The car was completed and handed over without any of the fanfare enjoyed by the last-of-the-line Carrera 4S. Vanderborg took delivery of the car on 25 September 1998 from Porsche Centre Altötting, making it comfortably the last 993 to leave the factory in period. Porsche would make the ‘Project Gold’ 993 Turbo from OEM parts 20 years later, but this was a one-off built for a charity auction that could not be road-registered – leaving ‘The Last Waltz’ as the final true customer car to leave Zuffenhausen in the era of air-cooling. Altötting saw fit to mark the significance of the occasion with a secondary plaque of its own, fitted to the door reveal and reading ‘Clauss Vanderborg today received the last classic Porsche 911 (993 Turbo) with an air-cooled Boxer engine. The beat is yours forever!’
…or not quite, as it turned out. Less than a year later, Vanderborg sold the car and it was promptly exported to Japan, where it remained for the next 16 years. In 2015, ‘The Last Waltz’ was bought by Belgian dealers Nijsmans Classic Cars, who exhibited it in Europe for two years before selling it to its current owner in 2018. The odometer has recorded a little over 11,000km in all that time.
One of three cars with a technical claim to being Porsche’s final air-cooled 911, ‘The Last Waltz’ is certainly the most interesting. Its desirable powertrain and unique finish make it highly collectible, regardless of its historical significance.

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