It’s credited with reviving the Outlaw movement on UK shores, but what do we really know about this mystical 3.2 Carrera? Total 911 uncovers its spiritual journey from stock to stanced
Lee takes a closer look at this 3.2 Carrera, and the owner's spiritual journey behind its build
For as long as the 911 has been in existence, people have sought to modify it. It is the reason Porsche’s Exclusiv department was created, it being an official approach in tending to the bespoke requests of customers. Away from Stuttgart, a Porsche tuning scene has always thrived, most notably in California, where the ‘Outlaw’ style has long been prevalent.
There are many reasons for this. While other factions of style from within the Porsche tuning fraternity, such as backdating, forward-dating or even the Singer-inspired cars are fairly rigid by definition of their appearance, an Outlaw car can take on many forms, for each build is distinctly personal to its owner. Each has its own unique story to tell.
It’s more than that, though. In our contemporary Porsche world where matching numbers and absolute originality are coveted by collectors, causing many owners of classics to adhere as closely to stock spec as possible, the Outlaw cars are perhaps more ‘Outlaw’ than ever, palpably going against the grain in a crusade for individualism. That message arguably rings louder than ever, too: as more and more reverse their tuned car back to stock spec to protect its value, Outlaw cars appear to be shrinking in number. They’ve become ‘one percenters’ of their culture, to coin a phrase borrowed from our two-wheeled Outlaw cousins. Owners of Outlaw cars are proud of that; they aren’t remotely concerned about the value of their classic 911s, electing to modify, drive and enjoy their experience from behind the wheel rather than park the car and cultivate retirement plans.
Of course, the Outlaw scene has had numerous dignitaries keeping its metaphorical crank spinning over the years, including members of the R Gruppe or, more recently, one Magnus Walker. The Urban Outlaw himself has hand-crafted a sizeable collection of Outlaw Porsches over the years, ranging from an early short-wheelbase 911 (dubbed the ’67R and later sold to Prodigy frontman, Liam Howlett), right up to a water-cooled 996 GT3. However, Magnus’ favourite Outlaw Porsche of the moment wasn’t built by himself, nor was it ever resident in California for that matter. No, the Urban Outlaw’s current most admired 911 lurks in the shadows of dense moorland around the UK’S Shropshire borders.
Dubbed the ‘Ghost Outlaw’, in part a reference to ’s wish for the car to remain nebulous among wider Porsche culture, it has already achieved notoriety online, in part thanks to that high appraisal from Magnus. Not so much a phantom car any longer, but nevertheless a 911 with plenty of soul, the Ghost Outlaw name aptly depicts the spiritual journey encountered by right from the day of purchase. Here is the car’s tale.
Originally a period-correct 3.2 Carrera Sport from MY 1984, the car came replete with whale tail rear wing (wide-bodied cars got the tea tray), front chin spoiler and wider Fuchs wheels borrowed from the 930 Turbo. purchased the car from the north of the UK and, though it was a solid 911 example, it was always destined for the dark side by way of an Outlaw build.
“I took my time in finding a specialist to create the car with me,” the car’s recondite owner says. “There are many Porsche specialists out there that can build you anything for a price, but I wanted to find someone I could properly connect with – for me that’s all part of the journey. They had to be as interested in the build as I was.”
That specialist turned out to be Halesowen-based Club Autosport, themselves dedicated to Porsche since 1971. “They saw I wanted to instil a bit of myself into this car, and believed in the project as much as
I did. It was genuinely a pleasure to work with them,” says.
Ditching the G-series impact bumpers with rubber bellows, the Ghost Outlaw’s most distinctive visual feature is its change to one-piece bumpers utilised on Porsche’s earlier IROC cars. And as for their contrasting hue? “The red is a match for an old Porsche bumper found in the store rooms at Club Autosport and it took a lot of experimentation to get the colour and understated satin finish I wanted just right” says . Those IROC bumpers (with custom fibreglass front splitter) shave weight as part of a paring-back programme estimated to have removed around 15kg from the 3.2 Carrera’s stock mass. Likewise, the car’s original whale tail spoiler has been removed in favour of a flat-back fibreglass decklid, while the 911’s outer sills have been removed, those exposed oil pipes screaming pure RSR. Louvred rear quarter lights add a racing edge, complementing an aggressive stance which has seen the original rear Fuchs moved to the front, with new, wider Fuchs sitting at the rear (this switch made possible thanks to the use of Turbo arms and rolling of all arches). “I was very particular about the stance, it’s such a crucial element of an Outlaw car’s personality, and fortunately they knew how to get that exactly spot on,” the car’s mystery owner tells us.
But there’s far more to the Ghost Outlaw’s repertoire than a racy look. In true Outlaw style, this 911 is decorated with a host of far more personal embellishments which make it unique to its current custodian. As such, there’s a definitive punk-rock edge to the Ghost Outlaw, a reflection of musical taste from , who’s grown up listening to the melodies of Prodigy as well as the Grebo scene of the nearby West Midlands town of Stourbridge. You should therefore take note of the circular cutaway motifs on the decklid and front bumper, or the presence of various badges and logos adorning the car. The 4/44 badge on the Ghost Outlaw’s decklid, however, carries much greater significance than any musical influence. “That’s from a Wolseley 4/44 that my late and much missed father spent years restoring when I was a kid,” says . “He had very little money, so it was often a case of ‘earn enough one month for a spare part, put it on the car one piece at a time.’ The original nose badge is now on my keyring.” Erring back on the quirky side, those with a keen eye will spot the full chassis number of the Millennium Falcon on the Carrera’s offside front quarter, as well as the logo of Skywalker’s Rebellion on the windshield.
Inside, the Ghost’s simplicity is reminiscent of a proper Outlaw build. Sparco bucket seats have been fitted up front to provide better lateral grip through corners, though we notice the driver’s seat says ‘Harco’ on its headrest. Cue another heartwarming anecdote: “My late father ran a small engineering unit called Harco, so the driver’s bucket seat headrest logo has been re-stitched with that company name, by way of a tribute to him,” says. The 911’s rear seats have been retrimmed to match the
“In a world where matching numbers and absolute originality is coveted by collectors, Outlaw cars are perhaps more ‘Outlaw’ than ever”
buckets too. There are racing foot plates, while the driver’s physical connectivity to those front Fuchs is administered via an Urban Outlaw Momo wheel.
Make no mistake, this is a very personal build, but does it drive any differently to a stock 3.2 Carrera? Admittedly, any modifications in the performance stakes have been kept light, arguing that the standard 3.2 is a terrific 911 to drive right out of the box. Its dual-mass flywheel has been given a lighter feel through the pedal, ensuring it remains palatable for everyday use, and a Dansk exhaust has been fitted to better broadcast that thumping beat of a flat six in operation, but otherwise any work has been remedial. Braided brake lines feature, the callipers have been rebuilt, and new bushes are in place all round. So, how often is it used?
“Well it regularly gets licked by sheep on the path, if that’s what you mean,” jokes, in reference to its usual surroundings. “I don’t worry if the car gets muddy or battered by Shropshire weather, and I enjoy driving it all the time, to any location.” There’s proof of that today, the weather less than amicable by the turn of the afternoon (perhaps the work of dark forces around us?), and the 911 quickly gets mud whipped down its sides from those chunky Fuchs wheels.
Reborn in its new guise, this revenant 3.2 Carrera blends rather acrimoniously into the misty moorland encompassing much of the Shire’s topography today. However, snapper Ali, positioned at the roadside for some moving shots, is given due warning of the car’s imminent arrival thanks to a guttural burble supplied by that Dansk exhaust system. Its drive is otherwise typical 3.2 Carrera but perhaps a little sharper, a little more raw. The 915 gearbox appears slick in its operation, aiding a smooth delivery of power from the 230hp flat six out back.
However, the point here isn’t to judge the drive of this lovely little car, but to understand its significance – its connection – with , as we investigate what makes an Outlaw so appealing. As we’ve seen, too many 911 owners today are frightened to modify their car for fear of negatively impacting on its value. This car counters that rather splendidly: not overdone, these series of minor, personal tweaks combine to deviate positively from the norm. This is the very ideology behind what makes a Porsche 911 so special in the first place. We can, therefore, assume with some conviction that one Ferry ‘Butzi’ Porsche would be as proud of an Outlaw car as the one which he created himself some 54 years ago.
I ask if the Ghost Outlaw is a finished project or if its legend is still being written. “I love it the way it is now,” comes the response, though a pondering over new external mirrors half an hour later suggests, like any build conceived from home, that minor tweaks may be a perpetual occurrence.
The Ghost Outlaw is a special 911, not for what its spec has or even hasn’t got, but for the journey encountered by both man and machine to get to this point. Its very concept is why Outlaw cars are Total 911’s preferred modified project. The Ghost Outlaw represents the last vestige of a classic 911 that dares to be different, where the journey is as important as the result.
In a world where too many people are too scared to tinker, or frightened to add miles to the clock, we need more owners like that of this deviant 3.2 Carrera. Let’s hope the Ghost Outlaw isn’t a mere apparition, more like the springboard to inspire others to get out and drive, as Magnus himself might say.
thanks The Ghost Outlaw would like to thank Club Autosport of Halesowen, vision Upholstery of Shropshire and Waterman Graphics of Bicester.
BELOW Cutaways in Iroc-stlye front bumper are one of many discreet modifications installed on this Outlawed 3.2 Carrera