Backdates may be today’s popular modification of choice, but Total 911 rewinds to a time when forward-dating was all the rage…
Think backdates are all the rage? We remind you of a time when forward-dating was firmly in fashion
The road ahead is deserted, its twisting Tarmac totally bereft of traffic. A thick wall of trees lines the roadside, their density willing us to keep moving our 991 towards the setting sun. A look in the rear-view mirror reveals much the same story behind us. The highway is empty, save for two hazy yellow lights in the far distance. However, as the minutes tick by, those lights become more prominent. Glancing briefly at the road ahead, my eyes return to the 991’s rear-view mirror, fixated on those yellow lights coming quickly towards us. There’s a red hue visible between them now. A bonnet. A roof. A windscreen. It’s a car.
The rate at which this car is closing in on us is astonishing. It surges up the stretch of road behind us, revealing more detail with each passing second as its features become ever larger in our mirrors. A 964, I think to myself, catching its chunky front PU with integrated side lights. Then, roaring up behind us, the 964 pulls out and shoots past, gliding back in line and charging up the road ahead. Now the confusion sets in: replete with one-piece bumper, full-width rear reflector with clear ‘Porsche’ script, a distinctive tea tray spoiler and wheels with the lip and profile of Cup-spec alloys, the visual cues give this car away as a 964 3.3 Turbo. However, the mechanical howl of that flat six as it shot past certainly wasn’t akin to the noise of a 911 with an exhaust turbocharger bolted on. So, what on earth has just overtaken us on this rural stretch of Swedish asphalt?
Luckily, we don’t have to wait too long to find out. Not 20 minutes later we pull into a gas station and there, sitting by the pumps in front, is our mystery Porsche 911, being fuelled by its joint owner, Andreas. Originally a 1982 SC, the car was converted to a 964look of sorts before Andreas and co-owner Lennart bought the car, though closer inspection of that one-piece Strosek front PU shows it to be more 944 than 911. We’re also told the rear bumper mimics that of a 3.0 RS. A peek inside reveals the car’s true age, its Pasha interior an obvious giveaway. Not that this car is trying to hide anything: Andreas and Lennart have even left the ‘SC’ lettering on the car’s decklid.
In our contemporary world where backdating a
911 is all the rage, the idea of a forward-dated 911 makes for an odd concept, but one which, in a bygone era, was a popular conversion. Due to the large spectrum of interchangeable parts on air-cooled 911s, many found favour with the idea of swapping a few panels to make an older model look just like one which had only just rolled off the production line at Zuffenhausen. Much like backdating, how convincing the car looked depended largely on how far you were willing to go, or how much you were willing to spend. So what of the car we’ve caught up with?
Andreas tells me he and Lennart bought the car in its current guise, complete with ‘teardrop’ wing mirrors commonly found on later 964s. “We found favour with how different it was compared to other SCS, and especially liked how it drove,” Andreas tells me as he replaces the fuel hose and tightens the 911’s filler cap. So did Andreas and Lennart ever consider converting the car back to standard, or backdating it – as is currently in vogue – to a longhood, preimpact bumper 911? “No, because a lot of work had gone into converting it to 964 spec. For example, the rear reflector on a 964 sits at a slightly different angle to the G-series cars, so getting this to fit required the previous owner to make some modifications to the rear wings. We believe this is part of the history of the car and shouldn’t be changed,” comes Andreas’ reply.
The somewhat unique look of this SC will quite obviously not be to everybody’s taste, but it has to be said, we quite like it. Its charm is that it’s so different from what you’ll otherwise see in Porsche circles today and, kudos to the previous owner, it’s been done well. Aside from the rear reflector panel, the SC’S front and rear impact bumpers have been replaced with one-piece PUS, while its 16-inch
Fuchs alloys have been replaced with 17-inch ‘Cup 1’ wheels. A tea tray wing has been sourced to sit atop the Guards red decklid, and matte-black wheel arch protectors give the narrow-bodied car a wider, Turbo-style appearance. Aside from the 964’s ‘teardrop’ mirrors, which Andreas and Lennart did swap out in favour of the SC’S original electric ‘elephant’ mirrors, that’s all that was needed to update and upgrade this 1982 SC into a 964 Turbo-esque 911 of a decade or so later.
Fuelled up and ready to go, Andreas and Lennart reveal they know a disused airfield nearby, if we’d like to test out this SC’S performance credentials. Recalling how the car had rip-roared past us so impressively on the highway not half an hour ago, it doesn’t take too long to offer a positive response.
We hop back in the 991 and follow its flat six forefather for ten or so miles to the disused airfield deep in northern Sweden’s countryside, before parking up at its base. “As you may have guessed, it’s no standard SC to look at and it’s no standard SC to drive,” Andreas says with a smile as he lifts the decklid. The Typ 930 flat six’s 11-blade, red-painted fan meets our eyes first, though it is the SC’S factory induction which is most noticeable by its absence.
It’s been replaced with RSR intakes and an Autronic (or electronic) fuel injection system, allowing for better control of the car’s ignition, fuelling and engine management, this before the arrival of the Motronic systems Porsche fitted to the 3.2-litre 911 Carrera from 1984 onwards.
The engine has also been uprated to a capacity of 3.2 litres and boasts high-compression pistons and high-performance cams. We’d better drive it and decide how all of these modifications stack up.
Taking my place at the wheel, any 964 Turbo connotations previously attached to the car are gone. It’s pure SC in here, its crazy Pasha interior a glorious reminder of the psychedelic 1970s.
Turning the key in the SC’S ignition, I’m surprised by how quickly the engine catches and the flat six fires into life. Sure, it’s already been suitably warmed by Andreas’ earlier antics, but I still expect the same whirring and spluttering usually associated with trying to get a 930/10 flat six to catch. There’s a slightly more raucous note to the car, exacerbated with a press or two of the throttle. Pushing the clutch pedal in and slotting the SC’S kinked shifter into first, I bring in the gas and let go of the clutch and, easy enough, we’re away.
Left-hand-drive 911s just feel more natural to drive, even for a Brit. The pedals are dead ahead of the seat, with no funny offsets that you have to get used to with right-hand-drive cars. It takes moments to settle into the car and, with nothing but a mile of beautifully crisp, straight blacktop ahead, I decide it’s time to turn this SC up to 11.
Blip-shifting back from third to second, I bury the accelerator and the car takes off, raking backwards onto its rear wheels. There’s certainly no lag here, normally associated with the car it’s intended to mimic, its engine unwinding energetically the moment that far-right organ pedal is pushed to the floor. It pulls so well, with noticeably more pick-up from lower down the rev range. That middle band on the tacho is impressively strong, which has always been premium territory for the SC’S powerband, but now there’s more of an urgency to the top end of this Frankenstein flat six too. The SC’S traditionally long gearing hasn’t been changed here, but so quick is that needle to whip round the tacho that I’m changing up in no time. The throw going up the ’box is fluid, aiding a quick shift before I can get back on the gas and head for what feels like terminal velocity down this sprawling runway. It’s an absolute hoot to pilot.
On this long, flat surface there’s little chance to really put the SC’S suspension to the test, but it rides well nevertheless, its steer heavy yet typically excellent from an unassisted system, providing telepathic feedback. It feels stable too, no doubt helped by those wider, Turbo-spec Cup 1 wheels wrapped in chunkier tyres. And it sounds absolutely marvellous, a throaty exhaust note underpinned by a wonderful mechanical thrum from the naturally aspirated 930 flat six.
It’s a brilliant little car to drive. Andreas and Lennart aren’t sure of the true horsepower figure of their Guards red rocket, but this SC unquestionably has more punch than the 3.2 Carrera which replaced it at Zuffenhausen.
As great as the engine is in this SC, its appearance is undoubtedly the prime source of its charm. 911s just don’t look like this anymore; in an age where everybody is clambering for a backdate, a forward-date build makes for a striking, if somewhat ironic throwback, to a time when Porsche trends were quite literally in reverse. Who knows, maybe like the best trends, forward-dating will one day come back into fashion, but it’s only possible on these G-series and 964 generations – imagine the fabrication work required to make a 996 look like a 991, for example!
Test drive over, I return the keys to Andreas and Lennart, who offer their goodbyes before continuing their journey in the SC. We follow its tea tray out of the airfield before the car disappears off into the distance once more, leaving us to our own devices in our 991. Back to the future? Absolutely, though the past wasn’t so bad at all.
RIGHT Original Pasha interior is retained, albeit with MOMO Prototipo wheel
RIGHT Cup wheels, tea tray rear wing, and wheel arch protector: could this be a 964 Turbo?