Ghost Out­law

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

Total 911 - - Contents - Writ­ten by Lee Si­b­ley Pho­tog­ra­phy by Ali Cu­sick

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

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