SOUNDS OF THE SEVENTIES
Cargraphic has loaded a bunch of its exhaust and tuning goodies onto this 3.2 Carrera – and turned it into a 2.7 RS lookalike. We crank up the volume
Cargraphic’s RS replica serves as the demonstrator for their exhausts
When your business is producing performance exhausts and other tuning kits for Porsches you need a show-off car to showcase it, and thatʼs just what Cargraphic have done with a 1987 3.2 Carrera. And because principal Thomas Schnarrʼs favourite 911 is the 2.7 RS, thatʼs how the car is presented. We called in at his Landau base for the full aural effect.
Landau is a medium-sized German town in the heart of the hilly Pfalz region to the north east of the Black Forest, surrounded by prolific vineyards producing wonderful Dornfelder and Riesling among other delicious wines. That, of course, has nothing to do with our visit; although it does provide a fabulous backdrop for our photoshoot.
Before we get to the car, a bit of background is in order. Cargraphic has been producing Porsche replacement exhaust systems for 21 years, since Thomas went into partnership with Simon Young, whoʼs based in Cullompton, Devon, in a business owned 50-50, refining and upgrading exhaust systems for modern as well as classic Porsches – from 911s and 991s to Macans and Caymans. Thereʼs a certain standing beneath a 911 thatʼs up on a ramp in southwest Germany, knowing that its exhaust system was handcrafted in equally picturesque south west England. Coincidentally, both regions have vineyards…
Thomas Schnarr has been involved with Porsches most of his life, and the 2.7RS was always the goal: ʻI like the Fprogramme models, and back in 1982 I had seven original ones which I bought here in Germany – cheap at 25,000 DM at the time (around £11,000), and sold them to France for between 30 and 35,000 DM. I even had a tangerine 911 back then, but it was horrid to drive; the gearshift was wobbly and the mechanical fuel-injection was always giving trouble.ʼ
There are no such issues with the new car. ʻI wanted a rustfree black American late G50 car to start with, and this is what I got three years ago: no accidents, no rust, and since then weʼve completely done it up.ʼ From front to back, the revised bodywork consists of carbon front wings and long front lid, steel doors, pert carbon ducktail and carbon rear bumper panel, the whole package weighing in at 1025kg. Trad Carrera graphics emblazon the lower flanks.
The 3.2 Carrera-based flat-six is Cargraphicʼs ʻRSC 3.2 power kitʼ unit, rated at 283bhp with top speed calculated at 267Km/h, and contains Cargraphicʼs own modified 964 cams and head porting. Itʼs running a big mass airflow sensor and BMC air filter, which forms a very neat arrangement, having been installed by Cargraphicʼs in-house technicians. Thereʼs no getting away from its huge compressor, actuating full air conditioning, an anachronism on a 2.7RS but no less welcome in the modern world.
The suspension features Bilstein Clubsport dampers with Weltmeister bushes, and retains the 3.2ʼs torsion-bar set up.
“THOMAS SCHNARR’S FAVOURITE 911 IS THE 2.7 RS”
Thomas points out that itʼs running Michelin TB15 classic racing tyres on 15in Fuchs wheels, and comments that, ʻthese are super for the road, and they even work when itʼs wet. We fitted 9in wheels on the back and 7in wheels on the front, and we slightly broadened the wheelarches so they covered the wheels.ʼ Brakes are four-pot calipers front and rear with drilled discs.
Itʼs a great looking car, but its pièce-de-resistance is surely the sparkling exhaust system, the Cargraphic GT exhaust with EURO2 catalytic converters and integrated flaps. There are three different grades of internal baffling for a Cargraphic 911 silencer, producing three different variations of sound, effectively, so you could have what would be considered an OE sound, which is identified as an ET, and then the TÜV box which is a little louder than standard and called an ETR, and then the nonTÜV export version which is an ETS.
The orange carʼs comprehensive pipework includes the ET flap system, but fitted with special normally closed flaps, with the advantage that the car always starts in ʻquietʼ mode; itʼs controlled by a vacuum that will open the flaps so the car can be driven quietly at low revs, and, as Thomas Schnarr explains, ʻWhen you feel like it, you can open the flaps with a vacuum, which routes the gases directly from the catalytic converters to the tail pipe.ʼ Two further configurations can be specified for classic 911s. ʻWe have built this system with two versions for the earlier cars, with a modified heat exchanger when people want this system thatʼs fitted on the orange car, or with our full GT system, which has the heat exchangers over the catalytic converter, so it works just as well.
ʻBut you have more variations with the inlet pipe diameter so you can go bigger than the heat exchangers, so itʼs more powerful. In fact we actually sell more GT systems than heat exchangers. People like the look of the manifolds, and they do look a bit fancier. The other practical reason for having the heat exchangers over the catalysts rather than the headers is mainly that you can have bigger pipes for the headers because youʼre not constrained by the dimensions of the heat exchanger.ʼ
Theyʼve done a convincing job on the interior, too. I ease into the classic houndʼs-tooth seats and get snug with the period four-spoke wheel. Itʼs largely a black cabin with red pinstriping around the door cards, and a Cargraphic logo in the rev counter.
inexorably and insouciantly from 1500rpm in fifth. The bigger brakes are confidence-inspiring, and I indulge in trail-braking into some corners, carrying speed through them, power on and with more throttle at the apex, steering through the bends and playing with oversteer induced by on-off throttle to make the front end tuck in. Itʼs a great car, rewarding to drive, especially with the window down – all the better to drown in the addictive roar of the exhaust.
Iʼm sure that exhaust notes sell cars: they certainly score as far as sensory appreciation goes. Cargraphic even make a system for V6 diesel Macans which incorporates a pair of speakers just before the tail pipes which is programmed to emit a petrol V8 rumble – and you can modulate it to high or low pitch V8 via a smartphone app(!). But thatʼs the exception. As Thomas says, ʻWe try to make our systems fit with OE parts, whereas other makes often donʼt, and in some cases you canʼt just replace the tail pipes or rear box because their systems wonʼt match with the existing parts. Design-wise, with the Cargraphic products, we always try to maximise flow, maximise power while still keeping it within a respectable – and legal – sound level.
ʻBecause of the constraints with TÜV in Germany we canʼt have a system thatʼs absolutely unfettered, so there has to be a compromise between the level of sound and the performance that can be gained. But our systems do tend to be more driveable and more user friendly as a result. You donʼt have that horrible droning in the back of your head over long distances.ʼ
How they gauge whether a particular configuration of silencer and header and tailpipes, plus catalytic converter and
heat exchangers is going to enhance the carʼs performance is, according to Thomas, ʻvery much an experience-based thing. We have a decibel meter and we measure the car as standard and then we can do our own work and then measure the car.ʼ
Thatʼs done static and drive-by, rather than rolling road. Increasing bhp is also down to past experience: ʻItʼs what weʼve learned over the years; we can work out primary diameters, primary lengths, and cats we know always give an improvement with the modern 200-cell, tri-coated T38 platinum, rhodium, palladium Cargraphic exclusive cats, and thereʼs an immediate gain to be had in fitting those when the factory parts are usually 600-cell, so immediately youʼve increased the flow by a factor of three. If youʼre going for maximum power you should consider those, as a lot of the factory headers are particularly restrictive. And there are good gains to be made in replacing the stock headers with our free-flowing versions.ʼ
Cargraphic exhausts are fabricated from 304L lightweight stainless-steel, which is an austenite or gamma-iron, so itʼs nonmagnetic, whereas cheaper grades of stainless-steel like 409, which is a steel with a high chromium content and not much nickel, but which is magnetic, and over a period of time it will rust. As Thomas says, ʻIt will probably last ten years, and thatʼs the gamble; most stainless manufacturers offer a lifetime guarantee to the original purchaser, but the likelihood that somebody keeps their car more than ten years is not that great. It depends if itʼs somebodyʼs everyday runner or whether itʼs just a high days and holidays car, in which case it will last equally as long as 304.ʼ
Thought silencers were just steel cylinders with baffles inside? Thomas will put you right! ʻAll our silencers are assembled in the same way, wrapping two or three layers of stainless steel wire-wool around the baffle, we put a layer of needle mat which is a blanket glassfibre around the inside of the case to the insulator case, and then we fill the void with material which is called glass robing which is like glassfibre in a continuous filament, so it doesnʼt break down.
ʻThis will then get pushed into the silencer under pressure by this machine, and these machines will squash the case to the right shape for the baffle and then the internals will retain the shape.ʼ Variations on the theme include the vacuum flap silencer, which enables the driver to modulate the volume of sound the car is making at the press of a switch.
ʻWhen the vacuum flaps are open the gases can go straight to the tail pipe, and when the vacuum flaps are closed the gases are forced down into the long run on the silencer so they then go into the centre, return and then drop back in onto the tail pipe
outlet. Strengthened brackets, as well as the olive-and-slide system ensure an exact adjustment, which guarantees a stressfree installation.
ʻWhere possible, all parts are mounted with Aeroquip fittings to provide perfect sealing combined with flexibility.ʼ Some systems employ spring attachments: ʻwhere thereʼs a risk of fracture, the springs allow the system to expand and absorb vibrations, and when the springs are attached it gives the system a tremendous amount of flexibility and the ability for the system to expand when it gets very hot without the risk of fracture. Theyʼre important on our race and trackday systems.ʼ
All parts are test-fitted, dyno-tested and TÜV approved in Germany once developed. The way it works is, Cargraphic receives an order in Landau, the parts are made in Devon then shipped back to Landau and dispatched to the customer from there, ʻto anywhere in the world,ʼ says Thomas.
The timescale for manufacturing a complete exhaust system is difficult to quantify because everything is produced to order in small batches. ʻFor instance, we are currently developing the cat sections for the 991 gen 2 Carrera 3.0 turbo, and it will probably take us about a week to produce a working set and a pattern set. The process is to jig the original parts and then to build our part in that jig, so our part will then fit with an OE rear silencer, but if we were producing manifolds, cat sections, centre section, rear boxes and tail pipes, that could be three to four weeksʼ work, particularly if weʼre building it on the car, because by the time weʼve built our patterns and then jigged our patterns and then produced one out of the jigs to make sure it fits the car, that could be as much as a monthʼs work. It may need refining, but hopefully itʼs perfect first time.ʼ
Which system does Thomas regard as the most impressive exhaust system that Cargraphic produces? ʻProbably our 911 flat-six system for the earlier cars, the 3.2 Carrera maybe, and I also like our 996 GT3 race system, or our 991 Turbo system that features on the Cargraphic video with flames coming out of the tail pipes.ʼ
Cargraphicʼs next project car is a 964: ʻitʼs a factory Turbolook America Roadster, one of 326 built, with all our goodies on it, including air-lift and the new flap system for the 964.ʼ This, as much as the orange 3.2 backdate, reflects where Thomas sees the trend going in 911 ownership: ʻI see the direction as classic, especially as new cars become more and more tightly regulated. We have so many classic parts in store on the first and second floors of the main building so this is in addition to our range of exhausts and tuning equipment.ʼ
And that is a healthy line-up of goodies, many of them fitted to our our test car and, providing youʼre of the persuasion that believes Porsches are for playing with, all the better for it. CP Contact: Cargraphic Thomas Schnarr Gmbh Wieslauterstraße 20 D-76829 Landau Germany Tel.: (+49) 63 41 968 911-0 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cargraphic.com www.cargraphic.de
Above: Thomas Schnarr admits that the area showing most growth in interest is the classic Porsche scene, hence the decision to create a classic showcase for his company’s latest products
Below, left and right: Hound’s-tooth-trimmed retrostyled seats and early steering wheel help transform the 1980s interior
Bellow from the exhaust is a sound to put a smile on any classic Porsche owner’s face. Tüv-friendly system can run in both ‘quiet’ and ‘open’ modes…
What started life as a 3.2 Carrera now looks like a pretty convincing homage to the Carrera RS. However, the car’s primary role is as a demonstrator for Cargraphic’s exhaust systems
Above: Tipler aims and pulls the trigger, soaking up the sound as the exhaust goes into free-flow mode…
Above centre and right: bossman Thomas Schnarr enthuses about the new stainless systems, and admits the original RS is his favourite Porsche
Above: Cargraphic exhaust systems are manufactured in the UK, but sold worldwide from the German HQ
Below, left to right: Michelin TB15 tyres, backed up by Bilstein suspension, give the Carrera superb roadholding. 3.2-litre engine runs modified 964 cams and breathes easy with the Cargraphic exhaust