Getting down to it with a duo of modified 993s, both starting from Carrera 2 underpinnings and rocking a colourful outlook
Fashion is an odd thing. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is defined as ‘a popular or the latest style of clothing, hair, decoration, or behaviour…’ There’s no mention of the colour of cars but we’re all aware of how some hues seem to dip in and out of fashion throughout the years. Henry Ford immortalised black, of course, but that was chosen for reasons of efficiency – black paint dried quicker than other colours, thus speeding up the Model T’s build process.
In the 1960s and ’70s, we went through a spell of both drab hues and wild ’n’ crazy ‘safety’ colours. Porsche got in on the act with the Viper Greens and Blood Oranges in stark contrast to the more stately hues we’d been used to seeing in the past. They were intended to make a splash, to make your speeding vehicle visible from a distance. To get you noticed.
And then along came silver, black, anthracite greys, white… Excuse me while I stifle a yawn. These are today’s ‘safe’ colours – not ‘safety’ colours, note – chosen by owners and fleet managers alike as they are good safe bets when it comes time to sell. But they show so little imagination, don’t you agree?
However, the same cannot be said of our two heroes, the Home Counties’ own Jake and Elwood, Paul Madden and Mike Moore. For them, the very prospect of owning an anonymous Porsche wasn’t on the cards. After all, their respective backgrounds clearly indicate that boring is not an option…
Let’s start with Jake, I mean, Paul Madden. Paul currently also owns a couple of rather desirable Porkers in the form of a Midnight Blue 993 RS and a very special 1974 Carrera 2.7. He’s also previously owned a very nice 911ST replica which achieved a lot of notoriety among the modified Porsche fraternity thanks to the level of detailing and its vibrant turquoise. The ’74 Carrera? That’s Lime Green.
The ST went to a new owner some time ago, making way for the Carrera project, but there was a gap in Paul’s garage that needed to be filled by something modern yet more usable than the 993 RS. Something his wife Lyn could enjoy, in fact. The search began for a ‘regular’ 993 – but even a nonRS or non-turbo example had to be something special to meet his demands.
Paul takes up the tale: ‘You may decide you want a 993, yet the spread of prices seems wildly wide. You can find them for sale for £35K or so, but then if you decide – as I did – you must have a Uk-delivered, RHD coupé (no convertible, no Targa, thank you) with manual gearbox, and preferably a C2 rather than a C4, things start to change. I also wanted a car with less than 100K on the clock, and most definitely not a Cat C or D write off. A detailed service history would be a bonus, too.’
Not surprisingly, Paul also had views on his ideal colour: ‘Aventura Green is a bit dull, and the dark greys don’t really do it for me. Ideally I wanted a black interior, too.
Hardback seats would be nice, and maybe air-conditioning…’
The car Paul ended up buying was a manual C2 coupé with what he describes as quite low mileage for a 23-year-old car, but what the market considers to be unacceptable high mileage (120,000). He bought it a couple of years ago now, and paid just £29K for it. The colour? Silver with grey interior…
Breaking the news to his fellow DDK subscribers, he admitted that he was planning to give the car a colour change. ‘Now if you ask around on the forums, everyone will tell you not to colour change a 993,’ says Paul. ‘For the most part, 993 owners are an unusual crowd and originality is valued over everything else. You don’t “hot-rod” a 993…
‘Fans of the early cars are all fascinated by modified 911s and no one minds stamping their individuality on 911Ts, Es or even Ss. And as for 3.2s, SCS, even 964s, well, they become track-day toys, replicas of this and that, or simply transformed with wide arches, lightweight interiors, etc. But not with a 993. It's just not done.
‘If I’d carried out a survey, I’m sure that 98 per cent of those asked would have advised “don’t colour change the car”. One per cent would probably say “wrap it”. But, hopefully, the last one per cent who might entertain a change of colour will say “well, if you’re going to do it, then do it thoroughly”. Therefore I chose to do it properly,’ says Paul.
The car was built late in 1993 and for sale having been used as a daily driver for many years. It had also evidently seen action at track days and had undergone one respray back in 2007. It now rolled on a set of 17in Boxster rims.
Paul laughs when he thinks about the day he went to see the car. ‘The seller had planned a 30-minute test drive, which included minor roads, dual carriageway and city traffic. As it happened, I drove out of his road, up to the next roundabout and back before telling him I’d have it! I could tell straight away that it was a good one.’
The plan was to strip the car as soon as it was home, but then Paul discovered that he rather liked it as it was. And so did wife Lyn, who adopted it as ‘her’ car. In the meantime, Paul began formulating plans for the project, starting unsurprisingly with the overall look – and the colour.
‘I said from the off that this wasn’t going to turn into an RS replica,’ says Paul, ‘as I wanted to retain the narrow bodywork. There’d be no wings and spoilers, no deep front bumper, no side skirts. I wanted to retain the full interior but also wanted to clean up the lines, by deleting such items as the headlamp washers, badging and rear wiper. I also planned a change of wheels.’
But what about the colour? Paul quite liked blue and began looking at the Porsche colour palette for inspiration. Paul again: ‘A factory blue for the 993 was Riviera, while another was Turquoise Blue. I’d already discounted the recent Miami Blue, which is nice but I considered it a fashion colour that hadn’t yet proved itself with longevity.
‘Turquoise Blue might look good in California, but under our dreary skies I felt it looked too dark. Riviera Blue is wonderful, but paler, with plenty of white in the mix. But Mexico Blue is a fantastic Porsche colour, with history in abundance! It works well on all generations of Porsche. I decided to go with Mexico Blue…’
In the meantime, Paul and Lyn had been enjoying the car as it stood and began to
question the wisdom of tearing it apart. But everything changed in an instant when driving along the M4 motorway the engine blew up with a resounding ‘Bang!’
Now everyone knows that 993 engines don’t go bang, except this one did. The RAC duly delivered the car back to the Madden driveway, leaving Paul little option but to get stuck in – and sort out the engine.
With the help of Nick Moss, the engine was pulled and sent off to Nick Fulljames at Redtek. It didn’t take long to discover the problem: a broken con-rod that had punched through the case! Close examination of the offending rod (or rather the two remaining parts) suggested that there had been a casting fault since day one, a situation that Paul describes as driving around in a grenade with the pin pulled out. Amazingly, the rod had lasted 120,000 miles before letting go.
A donor engine was sourced as there was no way the original could be saved, and at this point Paul decided that it would be rebuilt to factory-original specification. After all, he had a 993 RS for occasions when he felt the need for real speed. The gearbox, too, was treated to a stock rebuild, both units returning to Paul looking just as if they’d been collected from the factory back in 1993.
And so the repaint…or rather the complete strip down to a bare shell. This was not going to be a quick mask everything up and blow it over colour change, but a full-on tear down, repair what needed to be repaired, blast what needed to be blasted, replace what needed to be replaced colour change.
Removing the bonded-in front and rear screens showed there had been some repair work carried out previously to the front screen surround, and there was some corrosion at the rear, which needed to be fixed.
Rear chassis legs are the biggest cause for rust concerns on a 993 as it appears that Porsche bolted the inner wing support panels to the body before it was painted, leaving the jointing surfaces unprotected. As Paul soon discovered, accessing these problem areas is difficult and repair means a major strip down.
Paul takes up the story once again: ‘My reckoning was that for a colour change I’d want it done thoroughly. So, obviously there could be no sign of the original colour in the door shuts or the engine compartment, front trunk, under wheel arches, etc. That meant a lot of work – much more work than I realised. These cars are much more complex than an early 911.
‘My aspiration was to completely restore the car to as new, so each component I removed was cleaned, repainted, reconditioned or refurbished. In some cases that meant replacing it with new.
‘As I dismantled the car I took photos. After
all, I needed to remember how it went back together. I ended up with over 1500 images and I could have done with more. I also took care to bag and label everything as I went, having bought 500 grip-seal bags on ebay and a load of cheap storage boxes from Ikea. Believe me, a 911 takes up a lot of room when it’s dismantled.’
Porsche’s pricing policy left Paul’s wallet reeling during the build – he’d chosen to use OEM parts wherever possible, and was prepared to pay the price. Even then, he was shocked at some bills at his local PC. ‘I nearly baulked at £320+VAT for a headliner, plus an extra £170+VAT for the lining for the sunroof panel. Porsche door seals were something like £335 per side…’ But that was only the beginning as he waded into rebuilding the electrically-operated rear wing and other areas of the car that many would be tempted to overlook during a repaint.
With the strip down complete – don’t ask him about the plastic undertrays fitted to a 993. It seems like there are dozens of them – the bodyshell was almost ready for paint, while Paul turned his attention to the interior trim. If you remember, it was grey, but he wanted black. He also wanted RS hardback seats... The former is rare, the latter rare and expensive, but he had to have them.
He tracked down a pair of seats from the owner of an RS who had opted to swap them for a pair Recaro racing buckets. They had reputedly only covered 7000km and the condition backed that up. However, like all such seats, they came with grey backs and Paul wanted them colour-coded, so they were stripped down and given a dose of Mexico Blue. The seat runners to install them came direct from Porsche – at a price…
Most of the components for the black interior came from a car that was being parted out after an accident, while other parts such as carpets and rear seats came from ebay or Porsche breakers. Removing the original carpet proved to be a chore as they had been glued in place so effectively. The only way Paul could get them out was to resort to a highly potent chemical called Xylene... As Paul jokes, ‘It’s the sort of thing you’d expect to find at Porton Down secret weapons facility, but it did the trick.’
One of his aims with the car, as we alluded to earlier, was to ‘clean it up’, doing away with superfluous details such as the rear wiper. That of course meant a new rear screen – he could have simply filled the hole in the glass
Porsche’s pricing policy left Paul’s wallet reeling during the build…
vacated by the wiper with a bung but that would have been letting the side down. He also decided to install clear lenses at the front – and change the side repeaters for round ones that better suited the 993’s curves.
Wheels. They make or break any project, and there was no way the Boxster rims that came with the car would do. Paul tracked down some 18in Cup 2 wheels but decided it needed something better. Something like a set of Speedlines. Ironically, he used to have a set, but sold them. He even tried to buy them back, but to no avail. In the end he shelled out something in the region of £5000 to acquire a new set as part of a deal with his PC. These were then shod with Pirelli P-zero Rosso N4s, 225/40s up front, 265/35s at the rear. And then there was the suspension. Close examination of the car showed that it had been fitted with an RS rear anti-roll bar that had been installed with the wrong drop-links. That meant it had damaged the lower control arms on both sides, necessitating more unplanned expense. But what of the dampers/springs themselves? After looking into the numerous options available, Paul ultimately opted for a set of Bilstein PSS10S –
they’reThe total even cost blue of to refurbishingmatch the bodywork…the suspension was around £6500, and that didn’t include brakes as they had been largely replaced by the previous owner at some expense. Paul reckons that to go through the entire suspension of a 993 that’s completely shot, you’d need to spend close to £10,000. A soberingyou next contemplatethought worth that bearing bargainin mindon ebay…when And so, with every component, every nook and cranny detailed, everything bolted back together with more care than a production-line worker could ever show, the Mexico Blue 993 was ready for the road. The total cost was, shall we say, eye-watering. The result, though, is what amounts to a brand new 993, one which has been personalised to a standard that would do Porsche’s special wishes department proud.
993 But on it’s the not block.the only Enter tastefullythe second modded Blue(s) blue Brother, not Elwood but Mike Moore. In the past, Mike had owned a pretty accurate replica of a Carrera RS, which was eventually sold to make way for one of the greatest tours de force on the UK Porsche scene: the recreation of the missing sixth-placed 1973 Targa Florio RSR. Accurate down to the very last detail, it marked the end of a six-year journey from inception to completion. It came as a bit of a shock to some when Mike announced he had decided to buy a Ferrari. Of course, knowing Mike it wouldn’t just be any old Ferrari, and indeed it wasn’t. It
Paul ultimately opted for a set of Bilstein PSS10S…
was the most perfect example of a ’glass-bodied 308 GTB you could wish for. It looked great, and even better after Mike worked his magic, but it wasn’t too long before he made the announcement that ‘The affair with the redhead is over. We shared wonderful times together, mainly to and from the mechanic, but the time has come to get back in a Porsche!’ Hoorah!
Once again, we knew it wouldn’t just be any old Porsche, but after both RS and RSR reps, it came as a bit of surprise to some when he opted for a 993. Mike takes up the tale: ‘The overwhelming point was that it had to be a driver, something I could jump in and take to the south of France or the Porsche museum in Stuttgart without a moment’s thought, so something completely opposite to the Ferrari then...
‘I’d done my ’72 and ’73 cars and anything earlier didn’t really appeal from a design point of view, not that I could afford one anyway. A trip to Italy and back in a friend’s 964 was an eye opener – it’s a great car and ideal continental tourer. Sadly 964RSS are long gone price-wise but the other problem is those big bumpers, which to me only work on the 964 Turbo, where the big arches draw the eye away from the bulbous front and rear. It all sort of blends in and looks great, but again even crap Turbos are over £100K.’
Noting that Mike had neatly skirted round the question of impact-bumper cars, we arrived at his next announcement: ‘So then we came to the 993. The problem is it had to be RHD with black interior, and I’m pretty fussy about exterior colour, too – no red, yellow or greens for instance, so now we’re really narrowing it down!
‘Obviously someone at Porsche in the early ’90s thought that light grey/beige/blue interiors were the way forward as black ones are like hen’s teeth! Then there’s the narrow body or wide body debate. Personally, I love wide bodies on Turbos but wide bodies on standard cars to me seem pointless, rather like on a Carrera 3.2 Super Sport for instance… The two- or four-wheel drive decision was made for me by Neil Bainbridge...it had to be two-wheel drive!
‘So there we have it: had to be a narrowbodied 993 Carrera, RHD, manual, blue or black – or at a push silver – black interior, not rocketship mileage, and well looked after. That shouldn’t be difficult to find, should it!’
Mike had been keeping a close eye on Paul Madden’s build thread on DDK, and although he found it inspiring in one way, it also served as a reminder of how quickly costs can escalate. The solution? Try to find a car that somebody else had already done.
He’d seen a Riviera Blue C2 coupé for sale at Dick Lovett’s PC in Swindon, and while the spec was pretty much everything he could wish for, the price was eye-watering. Friend and RS owner, Nigel Mitchell, sent Mike a bunch of photos of the car. ‘Dick Lovett’s claimed it was the only original RHD Riviera C2 coupé in the UK, but I think there’s at least one more. Porsche in Stuttgart say they don’t keep records of how many cars in particular colours go to which territories, while Porsche
in Reading maintain they have no records of how many cars in particular colours they bring in,’ he recounts.
The colour was certainly striking but after that the wheels are the next thing you notice. Mike again: ‘Sacrilege I know but I’ve never been a great fan of the Cups, so these modern Fuchs are great for me, and I love the black retro look it gives the car.
‘But it was the interior which really clinched it for me. Originally the car came with marble grey leather, a strange combination with the blue I have to say. Fortunately the discerning owner had it all stripped out and redone in black nappa, with a beautiful light blue stitching detail, the handiwork of Dave Nunn at Southbound. It was gorgeous, brand new and complete with the hardback Recaros.’
The only trouble was, it turned out the car was now sold. Mike checked out another couple of possibilities, but neither met his criteria and settled in for the long slog searching for the right car. A black C2 with excellent provenance looked promising but was overpriced – and then serendipity came knocking at Mike’s door.
A few months later, while scanning through ads on the internet, much to his surprise up popped the same Riviera Blue C2. It was now for sale at a Mclaren dealership at what Mike describes as a more sensible price. He turned up the very next morning and gave the car the once over – it was in fact the first time he’d seen it in real life!
‘I said hello to the salesman,’ recalls Mike, ‘walked around the car to the passenger door to pop the engine lid. I walked to the back and glanced in the engine bay, then looked in the driver’s door at the interior. It was at that point I handed my credit card to the guy and said I’d take it. It was going to be the easiest sale he’d had for a while!’
Following a lengthy PPI by the crew at BS Motorsport, the deal was done. The inspection showed that an enormous amount of time and money had been spent on the car, with new brakes, bushes and wishbones, along with a very thorough engine out repaint. The engine itself had been detailed beautifully, too. It also came with the most amazing portfolio of photographs and invoices, detailing all the work that had been carried out over the years. It had definitely been worth waiting for.
Mike again: ‘The only part I wanted to replace at this stage was the horrible Parrot radio thing that was in there. I treated the car to one of the new Porsche Classic radio sat navs, more from a design point of view than anything, and so far it’s brilliant.
‘The other thing I had to do was change the blue seat belts, and although the GT2 had them it’s just a little too blingy for me. Then there was the steering wheel, which I think was a 996 version. I’m guessing it was used as it was the only three-spoke wheel with an air-bag you can get. I wanted to try a Clubsport wheel I’d acquired and had Garry at Classicfx recover it to match the rest of the interior.’
One of the main things that strikes you about this car, though, is the exhaust note. ‘After the Ferrari it was a bit quiet and boring,’ says Mike, ‘but with a nice burble on start up turning into that normal air-cooled whine as you drive. Obviously I didn’t want a dreadful bass rumble through the car, but felt there must be a good halfway house. The Cup exhaust, which loses the side boxes completely had been suggested, but it may be too loud. Then there was the RSR option but I wasn’t entirely sure what that sounded like.’
In the end, he opted for the sports cat: ‘I’d read all the bumpf on-line about the sports cats mod, so thought I’d give them a go. Have to say I couldn’t believe the difference, as I pulled away from the workshop the car immediately felt more responsive – never felt a transformation like it. As for the noise, it was just what I wanted. A little deeper tone on idle, a little more rasp when blipped, but no real difference in the cabin at cruising speed. It’s perfect really.’
So, how do the two cars compare out on the road? The first thing that struck me was how much more free-revving and ‘alive’ Mike Moore’s car felt, the extra miles on the engine compared to Paul’s freshly-built unit making a huge difference. And then there was the handling – here the situation was reversed, with Paul’s Bilstein-equipped coupé feeling sharper, more planted and begging you to push it harder. Aside from that, the two cars were remarkably wellmatched. It would be a hard decision to have to choose between them.
Seeing the two cars out on the road, so similar yet so individual, you can’t help feeling that it would be great to make a break for the south of France. Or maybe that should be Chicago. After all, it’s only 106 miles away, and we have got that full tank of gas and a six pack of cigarettes… PW
them…“It would be a hard decision to have to choose between
Above: Paul preferred to go the clear lens route on the front of his car, along with new oval-shaped side repeaters. Speedline wheels look good
Below left: Badge or no badge? That is the question. Paul went for the no badge, no wiper look, unlike Mike’s more stocklooking rear end Below: Stitching detail on Mike’s car is simply beautiful
Above: Mike Moore opted to retain the amber front turn signals but couldn’t resist the temptation to run a suitable licence plate…
Below: Paul Madden’s 993 runs a Dansk exhaust, which is a little boomier than stock, but not offensively so
Above: Paul Madden is a glutton for punishment when it comes to long-term, no holds barred rebuilds. It’s a brave man who tackles a full colour change on a 993…
Below: There’s not a lot to choose between the two engines, but Mike Moore’s (left) feels more freerevving, probably due to its higher mileage
Below: Mike Moore’s car sounds (and looks) more aggressive, the sport cat conversion giving it a throaty growl, while black-centred Fuchs make for a purposeful look
Above: Both cars run ‘hardback’ Recaros and black interior trim – Mike Moore’s (left) was the handiwork of Southbound, while Paul Madden’s was tracked down the hard way through breakers and ebay…
Above: Awardwinning press photographer Mike Moore had firm views on what his ideal 993 should look like, starting with that black interior…
Below: Speedlines give Paul’s car more of an ‘RS’ character, while modern Fuchs add a touch of retro cool to Mike’s coupé. We love the Fuchs!