Tale of the first pre-production Porsche 3.0 turbo

I believe some of the most fun I've had in a car is when I've had passengers who can experience and appreciate what I'm doing to control the car; and one of my most fun weeks was when I was given the exclusive job of demonstrating the brand new 1974 pre-production 3 litre turbo to the world's press. I was informed by John Aldington (CEO of Porsche GB) that this car, which was shown at the Earls Court Motor Show, was the only one running outside factory on the public roads. Nobody but yours truly was allowed to drive the car because it was too precious, and they could not risk anybody from the press or potential customers damaging it. So you can understand the responsibility I was given to demonstrate the amazing performance of the car to all the dignatories of the press and chosen customers in order to bring out the best of the car and show the world what a sensational piece of machinery it was, and yet bring it home every time in one piece.
Each individual dealer around the UK would set up a course, on testing public roads starting from their showroom, which I could then take the poor unsuspecting customer out on and show off the car to its full potential. The most important thing at the beginning of the day was to take the local chief of police out around this course and impress him with the capabilities of the car and the capabilities of the driver!! After that we were always given "carte blanche" for the day. It was quite a tiring exercise, especially in the knowledge that everybody was back at base enjoying the canapes, drinks, and a film while I slaved over the wheel time after time non-stop throughout the day. At the Swinford Motors branch near Birmingham one of my passengers was Richard Attwood, who had then recently won Le Mans and then retired. So there was I the new Porsche star turn on the block, driving a Le Mans winner out in the new Turbo, he quietly mentioned that he did not want me to try to impress him or frighten him, but I'm happy to report that the car was so capable at high speed and the stopping power was sensational by the standards of 1974 that he told me that he had really enjoyed the experience. It was only many years later that I had the pleasure of sharing a drive with Richard in the magnificent ex works Equipe Endeavour (Tommy Sopwith) Aston Martin DB4GT lightweight in the TT at the Goodwood Revival. The full circle for me, another ambition fulfilled with one of my childhood heroes.
There was as real "wow" factor about this new 911 Turbo, and the reactions given to me mixed with awe and amazement gave me a real buzz. I remember that with this new dimension in speed I needed to not just demonstrate the car but demonstrate the need to look so much further ahead to build up a picture of any long distant hazards; in the seventies there was much lighter traffic than now so bursts of high speeds were much more achievable and did not upset other drivers like it would today; and there were no speed cameras! This car had the biggest effect on the Porsche market since the introduction of the first 911, but this particular pre-production Porsche 3.0 Turbo was a very special car and unknown to Porsche Cars GB this prototype had been blessed with 1.2 atmospheres of turbo boost as opposed to the planned 0.8 pressure for the following production cars. We were all very innocent about the new turbo technology and to the dramatic difference this would make to the standard production car. Anyway as a result of my week of hard work all over the UK, Porsche signed up many new customers for the 1975 version which was then priced at a massive £12,500. Unfortunately when their new cars arrived the lasting memory of the sensational ride with me, indelibly imprinted on their minds, being blasted around the country, made them understand that the new car was grossly underpowered and the turbo lag was like pulling the trigger and waiting for 3 seconds for the gun to go off! There were a few disappointed big time customers! I have a friend whose father bought a silver one of the first 3.0 turbos and he still owns this special piece of Porsche history!
One of my things that I demonstrated was that if you just rested your right foot lightly on the accelerator not depressing it any more than the weight of your foot, the turbo would just cut in of its own accord, and before you knew it a massive surge of power was seemingly coming from within your own right foot without doing a thing!! At the end of the week of demos and staying in many different places we decided to drive home after a full day of work and took the direct route back to London down the M1. I knew that I was tired and looking across at my passenger, Colin Richards who was sales manager for Porsche GB, I could see that he was enjoying some sleep. It really appealed to me too and I remember driving down the middle lane religiously doing the national speed limit, I suddenly woke up with a start to realise that with the weight of my foot on the throttle (as I had previously been demonstrating) the car had doubled in speed and I was catching the car in front as if it was coming the other way! I had no time except to swerve out to the outside lane or I would have collided with the car in front at some enormous speed. This I achieved and dear Colin woke up with a start and exclaimed what was happening, to which I replied "nothing, nothing!!. Certainly one of the biggest heart stopping moments in my driving career.
I remember that on one demo run down the Marlow by-pass where I was demonstrating the car all day from the Temple Golf Club, I managed regularly to achieve a speedo reading of 175mph with 3 unsuspecting passengers on board.
When the new demonstrator arrived for 1975 it was initially registered "222 HOT" but the police and the DVLA withdrew the number citing it as being too provocative; so "2 GOO" it became, but the performance was never as dramatic as the first preproduction car "GLP 870N"