911 Porsche World - - 993 Gt2 Drive -

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

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