Project Gold

The devil’s in the de­tail. To­tal 911 ex­am­ines Porsche Clas­sic’s one-off build and speaks to the cre­ators be­hind it

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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

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