Classic Porsche Reborn: The Gullwing-America P/904 Carrera

March 5, 2012

The original Porsche 904 GTS Carrera of 1964/65 arrived at the tail-end of Porsche’s exiting from Formula 1 (in ’62) and set the stage for their ensuing dominance in subsequent road-racing efforts (take a long, well-deserved bow, Porsche 917). For homologation purposes, Porsche built 106 street-legal versions of the original 904, of which instantly deemed it a rather rare occurance to see one in-the-metal over the years…

The iconic 1964 Porsche 904 GTS

Since then, the 904 has gathered an almost legendary plume of respect and admiration amongst Porsche enthusiasts, collectors and race fans the world over. To own an original 904 would be a dream come true… To drive one would be a treat unlike any other, as the driving-legend himself, Walter Rohrl, found out last year…

Now though, Gullwing-America has unwrapped its modern-day take on the iconic 904 with its retro P/904 Carrera. Based on the 987 (’05-’11) Boxster platform, the P/904 retains the same 3.4L engine (rated at 295 bhp) and also borrows the same slick 6-speed manual transmission, the ABS and the power-steering unit to aid in the updating of a classic design flourished with modern-day familiarities.

Those modern-day ‘updates’ include a full instrument panel and center console with Sat-nav (GPS) and an iPod dock along with air conditioning as well. Bespoke seats, dashboard and steering wheel are also part of the unique 904 re-creation process. Outside, you’re treated to LED lights, a retractable rear-spoiler, a lowered ride-height and tasty 18″ Fuchs design wheels…

Cost for the total conversion comes in at a hefty 70,000 euros (approx $91,000) not including the donor porsche Boxster… but if you already own an ’05-’11 Boxster and you’re looking to ‘upgrade’ to something utterly unique, sexy and forever desireable then this might just be what you’re looking for… I mean c’mon…. Look at it…!!

-Blake J.

The Porsche 911: Which One Is The Ultimate…?

October 31, 2011

If you were given the task of choosing just one Porsche 911 to own and enjoy for the rest of your motoring days, which one would you choose..?

That’s a fairly heavy question, I’ll admit, seeing as how the 911 range spreads across a broad stretch of time drawing in on nearly 50 years. But by simply aiming at the core values of why we love 911’s (handling, lightness, feedback, steering, various precisional attributes, that Flat-6 engine of unparalled awesomeness, etc…) and thereby focusing on those specific models that accentuated these well-honed and beloved 911 characteristics, the whittled-down choices tend to become a bit more clear…

997-series GT3

Starting with the most recent of 911s  and moving backwards in time, I’d easily nominate the 997-series GT3 (’06-’09)…and to some extent, its 996 predecessor. Some would point to the more hardcore RS derivative of the 997 GT3 but despite the hike in power and slightly sharper steering, I’m not sure I’d want (or need) the flashy RS paint schemes (bright orange or green with black accents, only), roll cage and generally bone-crackingly stiff ride to navigate on a daily basis.

The ‘regular’ GT3 has always been more than enough sportscar for your driving needs anyways. Subtle, classy, comfortable and it handles like nothing you’ve ever driven before. Plus, that phenomenal, naturally-aspirated Metzger Flat-6 howls (and shoves) with a deep, metallic tinge that urges you to press farther and further into the car’s plethora of impressive capabilities. Even better with an Akrapovic exhaust fitted (video above). A truly sublime 911.

993-series GT2

Next up, I’d like to nominate the plastic-fender-flared, massively be-winged 993-series GT2 (’95). The last of the Air-Cooled 911s, this homologation special (built to meet motorsport requirements) featured a 3.6L twin-turbo variation of the bullet-proof flat-6 churning out 430 bhp and nearly 400 lbs/ft of torque (upped to 450/430 in the ’98 model).

What makes this particular 911 so dangerously appealing is the fact that it retains a rear-wheel drive layout. The (safe) 4WD layout of the regular Turbo was ditched for the lairy GT2 and as a result, it was dubbed the ‘widowmaker’ within 911/motoring circles for very real and applicable reasons… That much power and torque all driven through the rear wheels within the relatively short wheelbase 911 chassis… Brilliantly insane.

964-series RS

Jump backwards a few years to ’92 and you’d find me drooling all over any 964-series RS model. Basically what we had was a stripped-out, lightweight, lower and more powerful (260 bhp) 911 that was based on Porsche’s Carrera Cup racecar. You had manual windows and seats, no air-conditioning nor rear seats, no stereo or sound damping materials… or power-steering – truly raw.

What you did get was a 911 that was obviously inspired by the legendary 2.7 RS of the early-70’s and updated with sports seats, limited-slip diff, lightened flywheel and other suspension-related goodies that turned the 964 RS into one of the most beguiling road cars Porsche ever produced.

The 959 Supercar

When the technological tour-de-force AWD 959 came about in 1986 (originally built for Group B Rally and homolgated as such) it broke loads of performance records, among them being the world’s fastest production car (that was, until a certain be-winged Italian blew onto the scene one year later). To this very day, the 959 is hailed as genesis for the advancements in the evolution of the 911 and its subsequent supercars.

It came with a twin-turbo 2.9L version of the flat-6 and bragged a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds along with a top speed of 197 mph. And while I’m not usually one to be attracted to cars that are jam-packed with all of the latest high-tech gadgetry and wizardry, this particular ‘ultimate’ version of the 911 from the impressive minds working in Stuttgart of the era has always been at the forefront of my performance-minded curiosity… despite its dodgy looks.

When new, each car cost approx 150K GBP to purchase, yet Porsche themselves state that each car cost the company upwards of 300K GBP to produce… when you factor in all of the long-term developmental costs and expensive tech, etc… Still though, it remains a dream to one day have-a-go.

Carrera RS 2.7 – 1972

While there are various 911 models throughout the 80’s that whet the ‘ultimate 911’ appetite of this exercise (The mighty Turbo of the 80’s comes to mind), there can be no doubt that the iconic and now-legendary Carrera RS 2.7 of 1972 set a milestone within 911 circles that subsequent models often struggled to match the sheer brilliance and breadth of its intimate idiosyncrasies. Porsche themselves must have thought that they had reached a peak with the 2.7 RS of ’72.

Weighing-in at a paltry 1075 kg, the RS (which stands for RennSport) was no ordinary 911. It was an incredible blend of lightweight manageability, the best steering of any road car available and imbued with a willing sharpness that would often find you hunting out the best driving roads just to feel the pleasure of the forces that build-up within that sublime chassis.

It was strong, reliable, agile, compact, practical (4 seats) and powerful enough (0-60 in 5.8 sec) without being over-bearing. Quite an impressive blend, not to mention that it was also derived from a competitive background. Sleek, sexy, simple and adorned with that complimentary ‘ducktail’ rear spoiler to accentuate its motorsport heritage (and assistance in planting those rear tires into the tarmac), the 2.7 Carrera RS of ’72 forever remains a tantalising favourite of the 911 range.

>>>>>>….Yet, what if you crave something a bit different… perhaps something more personal. Something that ticks all of the essential 911 boxes but marries the past, with the present…? Well, there are companies out there that take that logic and, well, build upon it… for you, specifically.

There’s the American company, Singer, who’s “work involves taking a customer’s existing 911 and performing both restorative work and cutting-edge modifications to update the car’s performance, aesthetics and modern day useability in an attempt to optimize its strengths while preserving the essence and magic os the original” Oh-so tempting…

Then there’s also AutoFarm in the UK who will perform roughly the same set of ideals upon your old-school 911 without compromising or altering the classic looks.

Or, you could just go ahead like Mr. Harris did, and spend a good chunk of your earnings on creating your own ‘ultimate 911’ with the help of various specialists that will assist in building your own bespoke, dream 911…

If it were my wish..? Hmm… I think I’d be sorely tempted to recreate the wonderful, yet terrifically limited (only 55) 2.7 RSR of the early-70’s within the shell of a 964-based RS… which would look something akin to this….

-Blake J.

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