Time-hop­ping 964

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…

Total 911 - - Contents -

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

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