The devil’s in the detail. Total 911 examines Porsche Classic’s one-off build and speaks to the creators behind it
We speak to the creators and designers behind Porsche’s special build of an all-new, air-cooled 911 at Rennsport Reunion
It’s a fascinating venture which has stirred up sizeable interest, partly because we never thought this could happen: we’re in the year 2018 and Porsche has just built an air-cooled 911, some two decades after its last. Okay, so it’s a remake of the 993 Turbo rather than a brand-new model, Porsche giving Project Gold, as it’s been dubbed, a chassis number following directly on from the last 993 Turbo rolling off the production line in 1998. Finished in Golden metallic, the car is modelled as an air-cooled version of the 991 Turbo S Exclusive Edition, this 993 built by Porsche Classic using its enviable itinerary of some 52,000 genuine Porsche Classic parts.
There is an air of cynicism surrounding this project, though. Porsche says the car was built from the last remaining 993 Turbo shell it had ‘laying around’; emissions regulations mean it can’t be registered and thus driven on public roads, and those same reasons are precisely why the car won’t be present at its own auction lot at RM Sotheby’s Porsche sale at PEC Atlanta – in fact, it won’t be in the US at all. Then there’s the spec: Porsche states the Turbo’s flat six produces 450hp, which means it comes with the coveted Powerkit, standard on the Exclusive-built 993 Turbo S. The optional side air intakes are Turbo S-spec, as is the carbon dashboard.
In fact, Project Gold is a set of yellow calipers away from being a fully loaded 993 Turbo S rather than a mere Turbo. However, Porsche has opted against branding it as such, likely because that would have left the 345 owners worldwide of the
993 Turbo S extremely upset that their investmentgrade collectible had lost a modicum of rarity. It certainly smacks of marketing fanfare, but is this fair? Uwe Makrutzki, manager at Porsche AG’S Classic factory restoration team, and Philipp Salm, sales and marketing manager at Porsche Classic, have joined us at Rennsport Reunion to dispel the myths.
We ask first about that lone spare shell. “It’s not unusual to have spare parts when you change from one generation to another. In the case of the
993 to 996 we had a spare 993 Turbo shell – only one – which was stored in an outdoor hall in a town called Möglingen,” Uwe tells us matter-of-factly.
“We’d known about the shell for years but didn’t have the desire to do anything with it. Then we were asked to do something for the 70 years of Porsche celebrations. My colleagues from Porsche Exclusive showed us the prototype of the 991 Turbo S Exclusive Edition, and then we had the idea to mimic it with
“We’d known about the shell for years but didn’t have the desire to do anything with it. Then we were asked to do something for the 70 years of Porsche celebrations”
an air-cooled project,” he says, his passion for the car clear as he stands proudly next to it.
So why not call it a Turbo S, even if it is so in all but name? “We wanted to build a Turbo car but with upgrades. We discussed each point many times over and the Turbo versus Turbo S discussion was included in that,” Uwe says, reflecting on what has been an arduous process involving over 2,500 hours of combined manual labour. He then hints at other ideas mooted during the planning stage: “We could have put GT2 parts on it, had 600hp easy, but then it wouldn’t have been a 993 Turbo. We have many parts for the 993 Turbo via Porsche Classic available and so our technicians put in an order for the parts they needed, and not long after that we had them.”
We still think it could – and should – have been labelled a Turbo S, but what can’t be denied is the level of detail and craftsmanship that’s gone into Project Gold. The Metallic gold paintwork might better suit the more aggressive lines of the 991 next to it, but the colour matches perfectly, as does the gold detailing on the 993 seats, dashboard and tacho. There’s a better quality of leather used than what you’d find even in the original 993
Turbos, and the heavily tinted front and rear lights are a direct consequence of the car not being street legal, affording Porsche the room to deviate from legislative constraints.
And to the elephant in the room: Porsche knows it’s built a car which can’t really be driven, so what does it expect the winning bidder will do with
Project Gold? “It depends on what country the car goes to,” says Philipp. “We will deliver the car out of the factory at Zuffenhausen, so from there it will be up to the customer what he or she wants to do with it. We will have the car at the venue before the auction for interested parties to inspect the car, but we will then put it to the airport to the logistics company so that it’s legally gone.” An excited Uwe interjects: “If it were my car, I have two solutions which would allow me to drive this everyday as my daily driver in Germany, but we at Porsche AG can’t offer it.”
The car will be sold at RM Sotheby’s Porsche sale by the time you read this, but here at Rennsport there is much speculation as to what the car will be sold for. “The estimate is $174,564.40, which translates to 307,300 Deutsche Marks – this was the price of a Turbo S in 1998,” quips Philipp, another reply which suggests even Porsche thinks of this as a Turbo S in all but name. The reality is we can expect the car to achieve a seven-figure sum, with the proceeds going to the Ferry Porsche foundation. It’s a noble gesture and a fitting way for Porsche to celebrate 70 years of existence, undertaking a new project which very much looks back on its rich history. Crucial elements may still feel a little awry in terms of the project’s genuine integrity, but whether a mere marketing ploy or not, it really is 2018, and Porsche really has built another air-cooled 911.
left Uwe Makrutzki shows the Editor around Project Gold. While craftmanship on the car is impressive overall, fitting of the boot carpet isn’t on par with the efforts of Singer