After a little negotiating, the new manual GT3 will be sold in The Golden State.
Porsche introduced the impressive 911 GT3 Touring last week, giving the GT3 the manual we all want, but it dropped with a bombshell: it couldn't be sold in California with the manual transmission because it was just too damn loud. Now, after discussions with the California DMV and California Highway Patrol, a three-pedal 911 will go on sale as planned.
In a statement made to the media Porsche said that "following consultations with California authorities, Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) is pleased to confirm that its dealers will be able to sell the new 911 GT3 with a six-speed manual gearbox - meaning that, when the first cars arrive in the fall, they can be legally registered and driven in all 50 states. The work in the past week by the California DMV and California Highway Patrol to find a solution has been appreciated and helped to identify an appropriate regulatory path forward."
The statement continues:
"On June 11, Porsche Cars North America received a notification from California Highway Patrol outlining that their existing test procedure (SAE J1470, from March 1992) was obsolete but it could not identify a procedural process to allow Porsche to test the new 911 GT3 equipped with a manual transmission through the modern test procedure (SAE J2805, from May 2020)."
"Discussions with the regulators continued but without visibility to a solution we took the difficult decision to inform dealers that the manual option would no longer be available in California, since there would be no way to legally register the cars in the state. We communicated this on June 15th, coinciding with the planned announcement of the 911 GT3 Touring package."
"PCNA thanks California DMV and California Highway for their responsiveness and helping quickly to identify the appropriate regulatory path forward. The 911 GT3 arrives in the US in the fall, and will join 16 other model variants in the Porsche range that can be specified with three pedals."
As we'd hoped, it was a regulatory snafu, but it was resolved surprisingly quickly. If you need a quick refresher, the 911 GT3 Touring is a slightly more streetable version of the GT3. Like that standard model, you'll still pay $163,450, but in doing so you lose the fixed rear wing in favor of a more subtle adaptive rear spoiler so the GT3 Touring can fly under the radar. You still get the same 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six with 502 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque at your disposal, but there's one more key difference in that this can be equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The decision to allow the sale of the car in California comes as a big win for Porsche, and for the motor industry as a whole, as it means that the regulatory authorities are willing to see past nonsensical legislation when the matter is handled appropriately.