A budget-beating OEM+ 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera 993
More for less. Is it possible to radically change the appearance and performance of an aircooled 911 without shelling out vast sums of money on engine upgrades and extravagant bodywork enhancements? Thanks to carefully considered, budget-friendly cosmetic updates and a refresh of factory parts, this gorgeous Guards Red 993 Carrera proves the answer is in the affirmative....
Words Dan Furr
Photography Rich Pearce
RED ALERT! NO FUSS, OEM PLUS 993 CARRERA
THE MODERN CLASSIC PROVING LESS IS MORE A budget-beating OEM+ 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera 993
Bigger. Bolder. Faster. Louder. During the past decade, Porsche fans have been treated to a near constant output of super-wide, super-powerful 911s from companies reimagining Zuffenhausen’s air-cooled classics. Singer Vehicle Design is arguably the most famous of these firms, delivering increasingly outlandish (and increasingly expensive) 964-based builds to a permanently gobsmacked audience. Critics of these cars — yes, even 911s reimagined by Singer have their detractors — argue they stray too far from the original 911 concept, diluting the DNA running through every generation of aircooled Neunelfer, from the unveiling of the 901 in 1963 through to the discontinuation of the 993 in 1998. Even Porsche has raised an eyebrow, indicating it is keen to ensure its branding is kept to a minimum on Singer’s output — hit the Californian company’s website or social media channels and you’ll find no mention of the brand’s recent All-terrain Competition Study (ACS), despite a widespread promotional campaign when build of the resulting 964-onstilts was completed. Porsche’s lawyers, so it has been reported, were less than thrilled about the prominence and presentation of the Stuttgart concern’s logos on the car’s bodywork. This isn’t a Porsche product, after all. Photographs of the ACS were subsequently reissued to media outlets, complete with digitally removed Porsche logos. Less, so it seems, is more.
In fairness, Singer stresses “out of respect for Porsche, and to respect Porsche’s trademark rights,” its 964 builds “should never under any circumstances be referred to or described as a Singer, Singer 911, Singer Porsche 911 or Porsche Singer 911.” Furthermore, it ensures all its press materials highlight the fact “Singer is not sponsored, associated, approved, endorsed nor, in any way affiliated with Porsche.” Loud and clear, though with these statements in mind, it’s obvious the ACS debacle is even more of a PR own goal than it initially appears.
While Porsche enjoys the right to exercise stiff control in the way its branding is used by third parties, it remains fairly relaxed about its name and logos being incorporated into the activities of others, especially when one uses the obvious example of Ferrari as a comparison — the big-wigs in Maranello fiercely guard Ferrari’s corporate identity and are known to send threatening cease and desist orders to anyone using the company name without prior authorisation. “We continually try to reach a fair and balanced compromise,” is the official Porsche line. Even so, “we have a responsibility to our customers to ensure Porsche products — designed and engineered by us — can be and easily identified.” In a not particularly well veiled reference to the ACS complaint, Porsche added, “now and again, reminders are needed.” Needless to say, this was an embarrassing and very public knuckle wrap for Singer. Little wonder it has eliminated all mentioned of the ACS from its recent round of media materials.
What has any of this got to do with the Guards Red 993 Carrera splashed across these pages? Well, Porsche’s intervention suggests there’s a line not to be crossed. An invisible boundary marking where a Porsche product becomes too far removed from what makes it recognisable as, well, a Porsche product. This train of thought is shared far and wide among fans of the brand and can be best demonstrated by the widespread adoption of an approach to Porsche personalisation where minor modification creates major impact. You’re looking at the results on this page — no fuss, OEM-plus.
A THIN-FILM PROTECTIVE CERAMIC FORMULA PROMISING DURABILITY, HARDNESS AND RESISTANCE TO SCRATCHING
With a build date of 5th October 1994, this pre-Varioram 993 rolled off the production line with desirable specification, as demonstrated by a build sheet highlighting air-conditioning, no sunroof, cruise control, a trip computer and limited-slip differential with forty percent lock. Guards Red over a black interior is, of course, quintessentially 911. Little wonder, then, this superbly kitted Carrera remained with Porsche in Stuttgart until June 1996.
MORE DIRECT DRIVING FEEL THROUGH REDUCED MOVEMENT OF THE 3.6-LITRE POWERPLANT
“I believe it to have been used as a press demonstrator,” says current custodian, Andy Brookes. “When the car was purchased from Porsche by Lother Wegner, a marque enthusiast living in Moers, near Duisburg in Germany, it had covered fifty-one thousand kilometres.” Lother, who was kind enough to furnish Andy with period photographs of the car awaiting collection from the factory, kept the radiant red 911 until August 2000, adding thirty-seven thousand kilometres to the scoreboard during his four years of ownership. He passed the car to a local car dealer in Moers, who had no trouble finding a new home for the Porsche. “Within a few days, it made its way to London, whereupon it was registered to a lady named Valeria Detori,” Andy continues. “She enjoyed the car for a couple of years before it was acquired by Porsche dealer, Nick Faure.”
Faure, a renowned Porsche devotee, achieved fame through racing 356s in the 1960s. He would go on to compete at Le Mans eleven times between 1975 and 1985, racing the Carrera RSR 3.0 alongside John Cooper, as well as strutting his stuff for Kremer Racing in the 935 K2, with none other than John Fitzpatrick serving as co-driver. Faure even bought a stake in GVB 911D, the two-litre 1966 911 campaigned by Vic Elford in the televised inaugural rallycross event at Lydden Hill on 4th February 1966 and used by the Peckham-born speed merchant to win the two-litre class of the 1967 British Saloon Car Championship, a competition the 911 was eligible for due to its 2+2 cabin layout. The car’s specification, however, was significantly altered — at the close of March 1967, GVB was kitted out with a 906-derived two-litre flat-six in more or less Le Mans specification, including titanium connecting rods, lightweight cam drive, Weber carburettors (in place of the standard Solex units) and many prototype parts besides.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Elford scored a third-place finish at both of the championship’s Brands Hatch outings, a second-place finish at Silverstone and other impressive placings contributing to the two-litre class win come season end. It’s worth noting Elford’s on-track rivals included Graham Hill, Jackie Oliver, Tony Lanfranchi, the aforementioned John Fitzpatrick and championship winner, Frank Gardner. Faure entered the car into various races at the back end of 1968, before competing with GVB in most rounds of the 1969 British Saloon Car Championship. Away from the track, he’s known for selling high-quality 356s and 911s, as discovered by Colin Quarrington, a Petersfield-based Porsche fan who bought Andy’s 993 from Nick’s dealership in August 2003. By this point in time, the car had covered 114,000 kilometres. “Colin entrusted Porsche indie, Marque 21, to look after the car throughout his sixteen years of ownership,” Andy tells us. “During this time, the Porsche was fastidiously maintained and some fantastic modifications were carried out.” Indeed, the car’s history file indicates tens of thousands of pounds were spent at the Bridport-located specialist. The updates to specification Andy is referring to include the appointment of an RS steering wheel, red seat belts, lowering springs, a Motorsound air filter housing, larger oval tailpipes, an ECU tuning chip and Comfort seats updated to Sport spec by the team at Southbound Trimmers. Additionally, the spokes of the Cup 2 wheels were colour-coded to the body and the speedo was replaced with a new unit registering miles per hour. “Colin drove the car all over mainland Europe, but in September 2018, he decided to sell up owing to a knee operation, which made it difficult for him to drive a 911 with a manual gearbox and a heavy clutch.”
Enter Andy, who bought the car after commissioning Marque 21 to carry out a pre-purchase inspection. Why a 993? “I’d always wanted a 911,” he beams. “I regularly flicked through Porsche magazines and, through a friend with a link to someone who works at a Porsche Centre, I managed to get a test drive of a 997 GTS equipped with PDK. Consequently, my intention was to buy a 997, but everything changed when Luftgekühlt landed in the UK in July 2018.”
Cast your mind back to little more than half-decade ago, and Luftgekühlt (literally translated from German as air-cooled) was a little-known gathering of air-cooled Porsches hosted by Le Mans winner, Patrick Long, and his business partner, Howie Idelson, on the West Coast of America. Fast-forward to the present day, and the event has grown massively, both in size and reputation. Showcasing many of the greatest aircooled Porsches of all time — from legendary motorsport machines to the rarest of road cars — and presenting a star-studded line up of special guests (previous Porsche personalities appearing at Luftgekühlt events include Alois Ruf Jr, Chad McQueen, Rod Emory, Jeff Zwart, Bruce Meyer, Patrick Dempsey and Hurley Haywood), this annual gathering of likeminded enthusiasts has become a hot ticket in and around southern California.
One rainy day at the close of July four years ago, however, Luftgekühlt made its way to Bicester Heritage, the UK’s first business campus dedicated to historic motoring excellence and an established national centre for the industry. Andy was in attendance.
“It was an amazing day,” he recalls. “I was immediately taken by the idea of owning an air-cooled Porsche. Not specifically a 993, but definitely a classic 911. I toyed with the idea of buying a Carrera 3.2 and came close to acquiring a low-mileage example finished in Slate Grey and offered for sale by Porsche sales and restoration specialist, Canford Classics, which is located close to where I live in Dorset. I was stopped in my tracks by this 993, which popped up on eBay and was being advertised for sale by Marque 21. Initially, I wasn’t a fan of the red paintwork, but the rare factory options ticked a lot of boxes on my 911 wish list and I liked the modifications Colin had instructed the team at Marque 21 to carry out during his time in charge of the car.” Well, he liked most of the modifications — Andy didn’t wait long before having the wheels refurbished and painted Satin Platinum. So long, red centres.
When designing the 993, Porsche’s inhouse stylists, Richard Soderberg and Tony Hatter, re-vamped the 911 body to the extent only the roof was carried over from the 964. The trademark 911 upright headlamps made way for reclined poly ellipsoid units, which, in turn, enabled lower-set, broader and more rotund front wings in place of the ‘torpedo’ design of yore. Between them, the bonnet was set slightly higher (to provide marginally greater load space), merging with a correspondingly bulbous front bumper, all of which gave the 993 a far softer front end than that of the 964. This wasn’t lost on Andy, who set about fitting RS intake ducts as way of adding a little aggression to the nose of his new Porsche.
The bumper itself was smoothed, including the removal of the number plate holes. “While the work was being carried out,” Andy continues, “I took the opportunity to refurbish the engine bay and the areas usually hidden when the bumpers are in place. I didn’t find anything untoward, but I wanted everything to be perfect, which is why I refreshed the oil and air-conditioning radiator mounts, had all underbody brackets and fixings re-plated or replaced with stainless steel items, plus I installed new front undertrays.”
He also commissioned Next Level Detailing in Poole to carry out polishing of the car’s paintwork and had the engine fan and its housing refurbished. As you’ll see in our pictures, the former is colour-matched to the wheels.
Due to the car occasionally switching to limp mode when driven at high revs, Andy has removed the previously mentioned tuning chip, returning the ECU to its factory specification. Problem solved. Mechanically, the engine remains as it left the Porsche factory. “I’m thinking about a rebuild, simply as a way of refreshing the flat-six and futureproofing it for the rest of my time as owner of this 911,” he reveals. “It’s plenty quick enough as it is — I’m not interested in spending money on power upgrades, although I’m open to the idea of increasing displacement to 3.8 litres if the condition of the pistons and barrels proves to be bad. I have no reason to believe this will be the case, though.”
Supporting hardware has, however, been updated. For example, WEVO engine mounts have been installed, delivering more direct driving feel through reduced movement of the 3.6-litre powerplant. An RS single fan pulley conversion has also been added, as have valved bypass pipes to the stock exhaust mufflers. These are subtle changes making a big difference to the car, but Andy wasn’t always so restrained — for a time, the headlights were covered in yellow film and, as is plain to see, a ducktail grew from the rear. Already painted Guards Red by its previous owner, the forum-found part bolted straight on and looks great, though it made the Carrera’s soft front end look even tamer.
The solution was to balance the exaggerated back end with further aesthetic updates at the front. Porsche Centre Bournemouth supplied new TechArt Aerokit front bumper extensions, which were subsequently painted and installed, while eBay once again came up trumps, this time with a TechArt inlet deflector bumper grille insert. Finished in black and installed after deletion of the standard centre bumper bar, the effect is one of an altogether more menacing front end. It’s certainly difficult to believe we’re looking at the same standard Carrera bumper the car was wearing when it left the factory, such is the dramatic difference these minor changes have made to the overall look of Andy’s 993.
Of course, one of the biggest updates you can make to the appearance of a sports car with the minimum of effort is a change of wheels. It can also be an expensive mistake if you select a design which looks good in product catalogues, but sits awkwardly when offered up to your pride and joy. Add the fragile nature of classic wheels made from magnesium to the mix and you’ve got a potential recipe for disaster, as Andy quickly discovered. “I was determined to buy a set of magnesium rims previously fitted to a BMW E28, the second generation of 5 Series,” he grins, sheepishly. “People wiser than I told me old magnesium wheels are prone to cracking. Moreover, they warned me I might have trouble fitting BMW wheels to a Porsche, but I didn’t listen.”
Sure enough, close inspection of the wheels after purchase revealed hairline cracks. Ouch. “Thankfully, the seller was happy to reimburse me, but I could have ended up seriously out of pocket.” Lesson learned.
The wheels his 993 ended up rolling on are a Rotiform offering named NFN, the American brand’s nod to the 959, which provided inspiration for the look of the smooth five-spoke design. Perfect for an air-cooled 911, then?! The eighteen-inchers are wrapped in fat Michelin Pilot Sport 5 black circles, which necessitated rolling of the wheel arches.
We should also talk about the body stripes. Another example of a minor update having major impact, they’re inspired by the livery of DP Motorsport 935s and a G-series Targa affectionately known as Pablo. “It’s a relatively famous 911 in the US,” Andy explains. The semi-open- top 911 features a gradient of sunset stripes along its flanks. “The DP cars wore similar stripes running along the tops of their doors, wings and around the edges of their bonnets. I wanted something comparable, but needed to make the design work on the more curvaceous body of the 993. In the end, I combined straight-line stripes with the shape of ‘shark fin’ protective film found ahead of a 911’s rear wheels.” The result is a triumph, giving his 993 a unique look, though Andy is already toying with the idea of changing to a different design in advance of the 2023 show season.
Step inside this sublime 911 and the changes are subtle, but have updated the cabin to great effect. The seats, converted to Sport spec and retrimmed in soft black leather with red stitching, are about as OEM-plus as it gets, while the Built by Basil gear knob pays tribute to the legendary 917 race car. The wooden part is the finishing touch to a revised shifting system making use of an RS gear lever, RS-style rods and a gear lever shaft all designed to Andy’s exacting specification. Elsewhere in the cockpit, a 996 head unit delete cubby panel has been fitted, as has a 993 RS centre console. The dashboard is punctuated by a CarBone rev counter face with the redline positioned at twelve o’clock.
Things have been happening underneath the car, too. This summer, from the comfort of his garage at home — and with the assistance of a nifty Strongman scissor lift — Andy has installed KW Variant 3 coilovers, Rennline solid rear subframe mounts, Powerflex polyurethane transmission mount inserts, GT2 sold inner track rod ends and has refurbished all aluminium suspension components, which have been treated to a coating of Cerakote, a thin-film protective ceramic formula promising durability, hardness and resistance to scratching. Take it from us, this 911 looks just as good underneath as it does on top. It goes just as well is it looks, too. Colin clearly took huge care of the car during the many years his name was printed on its logbook, meaning the engine and transmission perform faultlessly, but it’s the changes Andy has made to the chassis which make this 993 feel far more responsive than it did at the point it came into his life. You see, a frustrating number of sports car owners get hung up on big-number power figures they can shout about to their mates, rather than concentrating attention on the stuff that makes a difference in the real world — increased power is useless without the ability for the host vehicle to handle well and stop effectively. Races are often won in corners, not on the straights, after all.
With this in mind, this superb 993’s anchors have been overhauled, including a full rebuild of the calipers. Braided hoses and stainless fluid transfer lines have been added, the brake pedal’s feel hugely improved as a result. As you’d expect, alignment, ride height and geometry have also been fined tuned, leaving Andy with a 911 super-compliant on the road. “There’s no chance the engine can outrun the chassis following these changes,” he says. “The car is so much more capable than it was before. I can explore the power of this 911 in total confidence it will stick to the road and obey every input. The steering is super-responsive and there’s far less movement in the suspension following dismissal of rubber bushes and installation of the polyurethane parts.”
Considering he’s done so much of the work himself, we’re curious to know his thoughts on how DIY-friendly the 993 is. “I’ve been very lucky,” he answers. “Marque 21 looked after this car so well that I only encountered two stuck bolts when dismantling its underside. One was an ABS sensor fastener, the other a steering rack support fitting. I appreciate other 911 owners might not be so fortunate, but I absolutely regard aircooled Porsches as far more appealing to a home mechanic than any water-cooled model, even one as early as the 996.”
With its extraordinary looks and magnificent roadholding, it’s easy to assume this 993 has been subject to a barrage of major modifications. In truth, save for the fitting of those Rotiforms and ducktail, Andy has spent most of his time restoring factory componentry and introducing subtle flourishes — the more you look, the more you’ll see. There’s no big engine, no wide bodywork, no eccentric interior, and yet, the end result is one of the most distinctive 993s we’ve seen in recent times, proving the argument less can often be more. Take note, Singer fans.
Above and below Big impact through a series of straightforward, budget-friendly updates — no wonder Andy looks pleased! Above and below TechArt bumper extensions and grille insert were ordered direct from Porsche.
Above Ducktail was a low-cost forum find and had already been painted Guards Red. Above Pre-Varioram 3.6-litre flat-six was making use of an ECU chip causing limp mode to be activated at high revs.
Above Colour-coded CarBone rev counter fascia looks fantastic Below The seats were given bigger bolsters by Southbound Trimmers during the previous owner’s time in charge of the car.
Above and below The OEM-plus vibe is evident throughout the cabin, which features a Built by Basil 917-inspired wooden gear knob, a 996 head unit delete panel and a 993 RS centre console.
Above and below Rotiform NFN wheels take their inspiration from the mighty 959, while Kremer-style side stripes flick up the rear quarters and continue along the inside of the ducktail.
Since sitting down to write the introduction to last month’s issue of 911 & Porsche World, a scarcely believable string of own goals by the British government has seen billions wiped off the UK economy and the pound sink to its lowest level against the dollar since Blighty went decimal in 1971. At the time of stringing these words together, it’s unclear what the full impact of this market turbulence and subsequent interventions by the Bank of England will be, but I’ll wager these events are sure to have many of you keeping a keener eye on your pennies than ever before.
In response to what’s been happening, and away from scheduled servicing, perhaps you’ll be holding back on spending money on your Porsche over the winter months, a time many enthusiasts take to retire their cars from the road and carry out a series of upgrades and modifications in readiness for a return to action in spring? If you’re nodding your head right now, I urge you to read our cover story, showcasing the stunning 993 Carrera seen on this page. Through a series of carefully considered, budget-conscious updates, including a smattering of parts sourced through forums and eBay, not to mention a willingness to get his hands dirty, the radiant red air-cooled classic’s owner, Andy Brookes, has utterly transformed the look and handling of the car without breaking the bank. Even those 959-inspired Rotiform wheels were purchased second-hand. Awesome, aren’t they?!
We’re used to being bombarded with gazillion-pound Porsche restomods from all angles, but Andy’s 993 proves you don’t need to spend big to achieve serious ‘wow factor’ — less can indeed be more. With this in mind, I’m heading to the garage. Maybe I’ll hop online and visit eBay first, though.