Porsche may be celebrating 70 years of existence, but there’s only one 911 in the world which incorporates the entirety of that rich heritage in its design. Total 911 takes a closer look at a special 964…
Magnus Walker’s Slate grey 964 incorporates 70 years of Porsche engineering. We take a look at it up close
It’s been some year for the Porsche brand. Not only have we seen a plethora of exhilarating new releases, including the 991.2 GT3 RS and all-new 992, we’ve also been treated to glorious revivals of traditional models including the 911 Speedster and legendary Moby Dick. Hell, we even witnessed an air-cooled 993 Turbo roll right off the production line all over again!
It’s certainly no coincidence that these special cars are proving strong on the nostalgia front: 2018 has marked 70 years of Porsche, and Zuffenhausen has been keen to celebrate the milestone with its customers. We too wanted to pay homage to Porsche’s special 70th year of existence as, simply put, without the sustained presence of Zuffenhausen there’d be no car in your garage, and no magazine in front of you right now. We certainly wouldn’t be writing this very article!
To honour that milestone though, we needed to look outside of Werk II, because although the 911s mentioned above all have one or two key design elements evoking the company’s rich history, we wanted to find a car – a single car – which best offers a design paying the ultimate homage to Porsche’s entire lifespan, from 1948 right through to today.
We soon found the perfect 911. Residing in Downtown Los Angeles, this special 964 became a passion project to deliver something truly unique, the heritage behind its modifications timely, the finished article truly timeless. The owner? One Magnus Walker.
The Urban Outlaw is no stranger to Total 911’s pages, having been a former ‘Living the Legend’ columnist and guest editor of our own 100th special issue. Magnus’ modified cars have garnered a keen worldwide following for their streetable sportspurpose style and, by his own admission, this 964 build is his most comprehensive yet.
“As you know, my goal is to have one of every Porsche model, including every generation of 911,” Magnus says as he pulls open the sliding door to his sprawling garage in DTLA, the morning sunshine illuminating the dozen or so cars currently sitting in his collection. “I’d already built short-wheelbase cars like my ’67 SRT; long-wheelbase cars like ‘277’ [originally a ’71 T] and the ’78 SC, which was my first G-series build, so the 964 was a natural progression of what comes next. It wasn’t like I was looking for one, but it came at the right time and at the right price.”
Magnus acquired the 1990 964 Carrera 2 back in 2015 from a friend who’d scored a stash of cars from up north. Previously it had been used as a track day car by a hobbyist racer and gone off the circuit
backwards, so it was at best a basket case when it finally rocked up with Magnus in DTLA. “When I got it the front fender had been changed, the hood had been changed, the driver’s side left-rear quarter panel had a fender bender and the car had been gutted. It did have a cage and a pre-varioram 993 engine in it, but it also had some pretty Mickey Mouse wiring to it. It ran, but not properly. It was like a blank canvas for me to be able to do with it what I like. The goal for me, therefore, was to re-interpret the 964, but change everything.”
We fire up the car and climb in, Magnus rolling the 911 out into the bright LA sunshine. Before long we’re zipping through the concrete streets of downtown. Magnus isn’t hanging around as usual, holding on to the revs in each gear, the 964 tracking purposefully over the less-than-perfect road surface.
The Sheffield-born ex-pat says he knows just the spot for some photographs, which turns out to be a gritty, industrial stretch of Tarmac by a railroad. The LA cityscape rises dramatically in the background, but as Magnus kills the car and we hop out, our focus is drawn to the profusion of details hidden within the smooth, Slate grey paintwork of the 964 in front of us.
Clearly an extensive modification programme has taken place, and the design influence of other notable Porsche from throughout the company’s 70 years of existence is immediately obvious. Take the ’67 ‘R’-style rear quarter window louvres and rear turn signals, for example, or the chrome trim around the windows and headlights, reminiscent of the pre-impact-bumper-era 911. Positioning of the twin-exit tailpipes is evocative of the 904 racer from the 1960s, the whaletail a clear nod to the beginning of the turbocharged era in the mid-1970s – though among all of that, the original 964 bumpers remain, albeit with a smoothing out of the licence plate recess on the front. It’s a glorious blend of heritage and craftmanship, exquisitely executed, which transports you right through Porsche’s sports car history.
“I wanted to do something which hadn’t been done to the 964,” Magnus continues, letting me ingest the car’s every detail. “A lot of people backdate the cars and completely change the DNA of the 964 or, like RWB, go full widebody. Nobody’s really done what I’ve done – keep that 964 DNA – because when you look at it, the only thing which separates the 964, visually, from a ’74 all the way up through ’89 is big rockers and big bumpers. So I wanted to address that, visually, and then make a few changes.”
The first thing to notice is that new roof profile, which from the front has a ‘double bubble’ appearance first trailblazed on the 911 with the
997 Sport Classic of 2010, now also a staple of the 991-generation GT3 RS. That’s from the front, though… walk round to the side and you’ll see its appearance morph unmistakably into pure
Porsche 356, its rounded roof profile like that of an American football helmet. By comparison, a stock Porsche roof is much, much flatter. So was the 356 look serendipitous in its materialisation? “This was originally a sunroof car, and I don’t like sunroofs. Usually when people do a sunroof delete on a 964 they just go down the route of an RS Lightweight and strip it down. My goal was something completely different,” comes the reply. It’s a whole new roof section on the 964, rather than a carbon insert, with three pieces of steel cut to around an inch all the way around and dropped in, giving the car its channelled profile. The rain gutters were then deleted in a nod to 1980s flat six icons in the 959 and Ruf Yellowbird. It really changes the look of the car. As Magnus says, “It becomes fluid. There’s not a square edge on it – and you also don’t see a screw on it.” Inside, a subtle lining allows the unique profile of the roof to still be seen.
But there’s more. “Look at the front hood,” Magnus says, stepping back to allow us a clear view of the car. Then I spot it: as well as the roof being channelled, the hood is too, its recess no longer the factory 22-inches wide, but matching the narrow appearance from the channelled roof. “It’s a bit different to a boyracer stripe,” Magnus jokes, clearly loving our fixation with the modifications. “Instead, I channelled the hood, channelled the roof and, if you walk around to the back of the car…” he points to the whaletail, which has the same channelling on it. “It runs right through the car. And to think, if the car didn’t have a sunroof then I may never have channelled the roof in the first place.”
Of that rear wing, Magnus admits he couldn’t figure out what to use for the build at first. A modified Carrera 2 decklid was tried, then a flatback style evoking the pre-impact-bumper cars was trialled without success. A ducktail was mooted but readily dismissed due to its popularity on 964s. “I thought about the RS America’s whaletail,” Magnus begins, “but I just find it way too wide – it overpowers the car because it’s not widebodied. So in the end I went for this.
This is an early Turbo teatray tail with the rubber deleted. It’s easy to take the rubber off, but then you have to reprofile the lip.” Bending down to assess its side profile, there’s a neat flick at the end of the wing, akin to that of a Gurney flap. “You can’t buy that tail anywhere; it is unique,” Magnus says proudly.
ABOVE Pared-back interior is in keeping with Magnus’ streetready style