The Twist is In The Tail: rear spoiler issues

Very often I get asked about the correct specification of the whaletails on the Carrera 3 and Turbo 3 litre models.

As is often the case with Porsche, there is The Principle and then The Practice.

First: the principle is simple, as illustrated by the following pictures and their correct part numbers

1. Model year 1976 (running September 1975 until July 1976) runs a whaletail. 

2. Model Year 1977 (running September 1976 until July 1977) runs a black polyurethane -a slightly flexible rubber- version of the whaletail, screwed onto the metal engine lid


However, The Practice was different. I interviewed a number of period Official Porsche Dealer mechanics, who told me that the “sport package” was a UK specific selection of M-codes. The cars arrived at the dealers without the front-and-rear spoilers fitted: these had to be fitted after the car arrived. Porsche AG must have had difficulties with the supply of the spoilers and the quality of the final product as the dealer was never sure whether a Turbo 3 or a Carrera 3 version of the whaletail would arrive.

Furthermore, From Model year 1976 the Turbo 3 spoiler was available in two versions

a) with the small secondary grille, used for feeding air to the cooling blower and to help with with cooling the engine compartment when at standstill

b) with a larger secondary grille

Customers who didn’t like the black polyurethane version of their Model Year 1977 could still obtain a body coloured Turbo spoiler, “whatever was available on the shelf.”

To make matters worse, in the book “the Original Porsche 911″ by Peter Morgan (ISBN 1 901 432 16 5), Mr Morgan elaborates a bit further by stating that “the whaletail could be specified in conjunction with a rear wiper”. And again, it is a case of Principle vs Practice.

What we DO know, from a diverse sample of Carrera 3′s on the register and by interviewing period Porsche dealer mechanics, is that for RHD models, the rear wiper spindle was orientated right for model year 1976 on the whaletail, whereas the spindle was left for model year 1977. But if the customer did order a wiper, then the dealer would simply adapt the spoiler and wiper to what the factory delivered.

There is further confusion between the full GRP whaletail and a motorsport derived version that carry a metal frame onto which the GRP spoiler is bonded onto. We find original cars delivered in late 1975 with a full GRP spoiler, yet we find a January 1977 delivered coupe with a metal framed right spindle rear wiper and no secondary grille.

Parts supply was not an exact science at Porsche in the 1970-ties and it provides a real mine field for enthusiasts to establish the real delivery condition of their car. Only period photographs of  a specific car or interviews with the original owner might provide further information.

Finally: the rubber lip of the 1976 GRP whaletail  is affixed to the main spoiler body by a number of metal screws. These screws have a tendency to corrode, making it difficult to re-affix. The only way is to bond stainless screws into the rubber. Look after it: it is no longer available at Porsche.


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