Thomas Schmitz has always operated at the high end of the 964 RS and 993 RS market, and he has stuck resolutely to his principles, to the exclusion of most modern Porsche bolides. ‘To me, water-cooled Porsche cars are not 911s anymore; they are still Porsches, but the 911 era ended after the 993. This is my personal opinion, don’t get me wrong – the 996, 997, they are still Porsches, but they are not 911s. Obviously I look to the future as much as I can, but I am not really a fan of the water-cooled cars. They drive very nicely, they are very quick, but my heart is with the air-cooled cars. The cars from the ’90s combine the best of two worlds. You still have the classic 911 feel like you have with the earlier 911s, and you have the nice shape, and they are small cars, which I like very much, and everything about them is very high quality; they are well-made and robust, and you don’t have the problems the cars from the ’60s and ’70s suffer from; there’s very little corrosion, very good brakes, very good suspension. You don’t have modern comfort levels like air conditioning and power windows, but who needs that, as a hobby car? As a daily driver, if you’re running in good car to drive, and reasonably priced.’
Is that so? Well, we can’t drive a car like this and avoid touching on the question of its value. In 2012 at RM Auctions in London a road-going GT2 went for £324,000, and a Club Sport model from the Trundle family collection went for $357K (£228K). By autumn that year one was on offer at £620K – though it may not have reached that. Then, in 2013 at Gooding & Co’s Pebble Beach auction a GT2 Club Sport sold for $506K; so, in three years they have trebled in price. It’s not as if buyers are few and far between at these sorts of prices; at Sotheby’s in 2016 a low miles GT2 made £1.8m; three competing buyers pushed it to £1m over estimate. Any discussion on price has to be with Thomas Schmitz, but being extremely rare and in top class condition, it will be expensive.
Given his dedication to the latter day aircooled 911s, does Thomas have a personal preference for the 964 or 993? ‘If it comes down to the RS models, I personally love the 964 RS more than the 993 RS, and I felt that strongly ten years ago. Since then the gap gets narrower as I get older, because the 993 is more comfortable, but I still prefer the 964 RS. The 993 RS is very nice, but if I had to choose a 993, then for me the GT2 is the one to have. Of course, it’s much more expensive but it’s so much more exciting and so much more powerful, and so much rarer of course. So, it is the 964 RS and the 993 GT2. Some people say the 964 Turbo S is the ultimate 964, and it’s a very nice car, but to drive, the 964 RS is more fun than a 964 Turbo S. Of course, the 964 Turbo 3.6 is a very good car to drive, relatively rare,
and much better than a normal 964 Turbo 3.3 – a totally different car, while the last of the 993 Turbos with 450bhp is a very interesting car; too comfortable for me, or the 993 Turbo S, which is more or less a limited luxury version of the Turbo, also a great car, but in the 993 range, nothing compares with the GT2 from my point of view. And that also applies to the race cars, the 993 GT2 race car was such a competitive car, and they won their class at Le Mans several times, though they are expensive to run.’
Its race-bred heritage doesn’t necessarily compromise on-road usability though. ‘On a long run you can drive it with or without the turbo boost, depending whether you want to go really quickly or not. And what I like so much about it is that it is a very light car and a relatively simple car. You don’t have the Mickey Mouse four-wheel drive that you have in the normal 993 Turbo: it feels light, and it behaves like a lightweight car and if you want a comfortable ride coast to coast it can give you that, and if you want to go seriously quick you can do that, too, and you can also go on track if you want to, apart from the high value these days. A lot of modern supercars have a very harsh ride, but this 993’s suspension is reasonably comfortable.’
That’s absolutely true. As I motor away from Telgte into the rural woodlands it is completely compliant, docile, apart from that clutch, which, till I put my foot down, is the only sharp reminder that this is not a normal 993. The seats are wonderfully supportive, and the belts are simply lap-and-diagonal, in matching blue, along with the Rs-style door pulls, while the wheel is agreeably Alcantara rimmed. Considering its spec, it hides its light under a bushel, presenting as a mildmannered car, sharpish on the clutch but responsive on the throttle, and easy to drive. That is, until I apply pressure with my Pilotis, and it takes off like a startled stallion! Woah there…! Now, we knew that was going to happen, didn’t we? Like horse sh*t off a shovel! So, a little more deference with the accelerator, and we’ll build up to this. On these forested by-ways there are long enough straights to experience the seriously rapid acceleration, and doing posed turnarounds for my cameraman I’ve learned the lines through the corners enough to appreciate how much power to apply, getting bolder with every one. There’s no turbo lag – it’s instant forward motion once the throttle’s pressed. Turn-in is sharp and accurate, aided by negative camber and despite the size of the front tyres. The slightest steering input and it goes where I point it. When it’s revved up there’s an amazing release of power and the front end seems to want to wash away – as in understeer – so it’s got to be handled very circumspectly under power in fast bends.
Ironically, it’s real-life horses that brings us back to reality: as I say, the Telgte and Warendorf area is equine heaven, and we encounter a posse of riders, reining in our back-road bash to walking pace. Horsepower assumes a different slant as the Gg-forces take over. Still, this is one 993 I wouldn’t mind being saddled with. PW
Its race bred heritage doesn’t compromise on-road useability
that is one of the natural and undeniably valuable perks of their jobs (it makes the photography a great deal easier, too), but it is entirely feasible to tackle the work on axle-stands if you have to. Needless to say, always make absolutely sure that any car you are working on is adequately and safely supported before you even think about venturing beneath it.
Essentially, you will be removing and later refitting the two lower suspension arms and the single transverse anti-roll bar, together with the so-called drop links securing the ends of the bar to said arms. (We shall be covering the necessarily rather more complicated rearsuspension overhaul, again with Powerflex bushes, within the next few months.) Few, if any, special tools are required, although extracting certain of the original metal-and- rubber bushes does require the seemingly rather brutal use of some pretty basic weaponry. The good news is that the new bushes are by design fitted by hand alone – and if necessary subsequently removed in entirely the same way.
We did, however, encounter one or two minor ‘issues’ during the job – and knowing in advance about those should make your own experience of it quite a lot easier.
First, one of the four M8 hex-head screws securing the anti-roll bar’s two ‘L’-shaped mounting brackets to the longitudinal chassis rails quickly snapped when Rob Hayers attempted to undo it – and the other three almost went the same way.
‘I always very slightly tighten screws like these, before I try to unscrew them,’ he said, ‘and then work them backwards and forwards, undoing them just a little bit further each time. That first stage sounds counter-intuitive, but in my experience it helps to break the grip of the corrosion on the threads far more effectively than penetrating oil – which in this case would have served no purpose anyway, because the screws’ exposed threads are completely inaccessible, inside the box-section chassis members. Sometimes, though, they will just break, whatever you do!’
Luckily, such is Rob’s long-practised, worldclass accuracy that he was able successfully to drill out the remains of the broken screw, and then to clean out the existing thread in the chassis with a tap, thereby avoiding the
it, anyway) do not yet make any to this precise figure; their next size down is 26.8mm, for the alternative Porsche anti-roll bar of that diameter.
For the sake of the photographs on the day, then, the two Robs fitted the oversize Powerflex bushes, and shortly afterwards replaced them with some new standard Porsche items – which, unsurprisingly, do have the required 28.5mm internal diameter. (For this reason it is always a good idea to measure your own anti-roll bar’s diameter with an accurate caliper before you order any new bushes. You don’t necessarily know what someone else might previously have done to an otherwise standard-looking vehicle.)
Whether or not you need any other parts will depend to a large extent on the condition of the vehicle to start with, and the level to which you are preparing it. This one, for instance, with around 300,000 doubtless hard miles on the clock, could also do with some new circular brackets for the anti-roll bar’s mounting rubbers – the old ones were plainly suffering from corrosion, but will do for the time being – and likewise Rob Nugent replaced the worst-preserved of the drop-links ‘from stock’ before shot-blasting and repainting both. (Another benefit of working for a pre-eminent Porsche specialist with such extensive facilities.) Various other items, not directly connected to the job in hand, were visibly past their best, too (the cold-air ducting for the alternator, for instance, plus sundry nuts and bolts), but again these will all be dealt with in due course.
It was interesting to note, too, that one of the lower suspension arms appeared to have been fitted with a replacement outer ball-joint, evidenced by the resin that had been applied to the underside of the recess in the arm, presumably to help seal the body of the joint tightly in position. In theory these components cannot be renewed individually, without the entire arm, but back in the late 1990s a number of specialists – Hartech among them, before it became so heavily involved with M96 and M97 water-cooled engines – were offering re-engineered alternatives, and we presume this might be one of them. Whether it stays on the car in the longer term remains to be decided, but for the time being it seems OK, and the two Robs will have to play that one by ear – and not least their budget. PW