Secondly a ‚Colin Chapmanesque‘ approach was taken to weight saving and distribution. His famous quote ‘simplify and then add lightness’ was very much the approach, an example being the use of a webastos heater being placed in the front bulkhead, doing away with the heavy heat exchangers, that weigh up the rear and constrict the exhaust. This reduces weight, gives better balance and is more efficient.
The aim here was not to create a one trick wonder hard riding Sunday morning special. As with a production 911 the car had to a pleasure to use and excel in all conditions from the daily commute to the long-distance tour whilst being the perfect companion on tight mountain switchbacks with the odd track day thrown in.
An exhaustive search produced the right 1982 UK RHD 911 SC coupe as the start point. The car had to be very straight and accident free with minimal corrosion and original specification. A surprisingly hard find. This car was delivered to Porsche specialists Canford Classics, chosen to collaborate in the design process and deliver the project. Their engineering excellence, artisanal approach, focus on quality and detail and ability to deal with every aspect of the cars build in house were perfectly aligned with the no compromise ethic of the owner.
A complete strip down of the body shell began in 2020 and pleasingly the car proved to be as good as hoped for. Having reached bare metal it was time to introduce some unique features. A hand shaped profile for the sunroof delete with a very subtle curve was made for the roof line, hardly noticeable but most satisfying when viewed next to the flatted off look of on normal sunroof deleted using stock panels. Reducing the profile of the rain gutters accentuates the coupe profile. A whole week was spent on the horn grilles, their height and curve and mesh covers perfectly matching the hand formed intake in the S type front spoiler crafted by Canford in steel and again linking to the intake below the windscreen. At the rear an original 1972 S aluminium engine lid was used for authenticity and lightness along with a bespoke front slam panel, catch and latch to give the car the look of period correctness. The ST like fibreglass rear bumper is again light and was bespoke to match perfectly to the hand shaped rear arches. Incidentally both front and rear arches have a lovely and again subtle hand rolled curve, determined only after the height and wheel/tyre choice had been confirmed.
Next came the difficult choice of colour. Alan Drayson and the long suffering Canford team sprayed out 26 frogs in variations of different colours, with seven different shades of blue, before the final shade, a Glasurit milky grey/blue paint made for SL Mercedes in the 1950’s was chosen. The owner even embarked on an eleven hour return drive having happened upon the only car in the UK at the time in this colour in order to confirm his choice.
The build-up and choice of componentry continued to be painstaking. The owner’s hatred of chrome led to the use of Cerakote, a mat and durable ceramic coating used for door handles, headlight surrounds, window frames, screen inserts and mirror casing. This continues through to the interior handmade switchgear and gives a lovely mat anodised finish and provides a lovely touch point, important to the owner and featuring in his architectural projects, important in human interaction with the subject.
Once the correct type and shade of Nappa leather had been chosen it was sent to a specialist in Germany, the only trimmer able to stamp the leather in the correct 1972 S basket weave style before being expertly applied to the sports seats. The dashboard was trimmed in black Nappa leather with a lovely Alcantara detail on the dash top, banishing windscreen reflection and again a nice touch point. Note the single piece leather knee roll, this not only looks so harmonious it also banishes the usual rattles, squeaks and ill-fitting ashtray section. The open glovebox featuring two hidden USB sockets is lined in Perlon, a lovely soft weave and this continues over the highly sound deadened interior from footwells to rear compartment into the headlining, all inspired by the rarest of Porsches – the T/R. Two small rear squabs were designed and trimmed in the same Nappa leather, required for short trips with children.
Further lovely detail abounds inside. Witness the single dash trim strip and invisible magnetised dash centre section to secure a smart phone. Matching coloured seat belts custom made by Safety Belt Services in the U.S. The square topped Nappa leather gear knob is designed to fit perfectly the palm of the hand, the feel of the embossed numbers and hand stitching adding further texture and then the cool to touch aluminium base for the fingertips. The simply Nappa trimmed door panels feature the most minimal of furniture, two plain but inevitably beautifully crafted ST style door pulls with further leather and stitching treatment for enjoyment of touch. Of course the window switches are hidden under dash, why electric you may ask? Well, they are lighter than manual winders, every Lotus has them…..
The instruments were all stripped and rebuilt by the only man who knows how to achieve the level of quality require, in Poland, and all but essential markings and numerals were removed. The tachometer was rebuilt to show max revs at 12 o’clock and the clock was discarded and replaced with a more informative volt gauge and a max torque/power change up light that also doubles to as a cylinder head heat warning.
The steering wheel is almost a story in itself. One of only 59 limited examples designed by Glenn Cordle and built by Tactico Racing Atelier it would never have seen the light of day had it not been spotted by Porsche enthusiast Sung Kang, the character Han in The Fast And Furious who helped bring the project to fruition. The Viceroy is certainly a lovely thing and at 380mm diameter like a 2.7 RS wheel, it allows a perfect view of the instruments. A laminated Ash wood back is applied to the steel frame whilst the leather rim has thumb grooves around the circumference, lovely to look at and to hold. A handmade boss allows removal of the wheel, great for security and a nice momento when not in the car, adding to the overall racing theatre.
Now here’s where the fun begins, the drivetrain. The original 3.0 SC engine was stripped and bored to 3.5 litres by Canfords master engine builder who spent over four months on the project. Power with usability being of the essence the twin plug, short stroke EFI unit produces 350 bhp at 7,200 rpm, the red line being 7,800 rpm, 287ib-ft torque comes at 4,800 rpm. The key components to produce these numbers include; 10:5:1 J and E
pistons from LN Engineering, Carrillo connecting rods, Carrera 3.2 oil pump, Borla EFi throttle bodies, K&N filters, Magnecor ignition leads, ARP fasteners and a Sytec adjustable fuel pressure regulator with a DTA standalone ECU. A handmade bespoke twin outlet exhaust gives enhanced gas flow. Meanwhile a 100-litre fuel tank provides for hours of cruising between fill ups.
The original 915 gearbox was retained, not only is it much lighter than the later G50 unit it also gives a more authentic period 911 textured feel to changes. It was of course rebuilt and an uprated clutch, 911 Turbo side plate and Quaife ATB 40% limited slip diff fitted.
Brakes are courtesy of the highly rated Carbon 12 discs (300mm front, 280mm rear) with Ferodo fast road pads and Carbon 12 RSR callipers, six pot front and four pot rear. Eschewing ABS and servo the brakes provide a wonderful feel and exceptional stopping power, more than capable of hauling the 1002kg (1/4 tank of fuel) coupe down from high speeds.
Various suspension options were experimented with but simply using the original Bilstein albeit fully rebuilt provided the best all-purpose option. However, the wheel/ tyre choice was not so simple with four different options making the shortlist. Eventually the original Clover Leaf Fuchs wheels painted in a bespoke shade of white with 185/70 front and 225/65 rear profiles were chosen as the best balance between on road behaviour and stance. This importantly allowed the car to retain the much-desired narrow body profile.
The project eventually reached completion in the middle of 2022, well over 750 man hours later. Following a short snagging programme the owner embarked on a 1,500 mile running in tour taking in Germanys Black Forest. The car did not malfunction in any way and it truly met, maybe even exceeded expectations. As the owner reports the ability of the car to cruise at motorway speeds through Europe was astonishing and then upon reaching the forest roads the character of the engine comes to play. Up to 3,900 rpm the engine remains benign with all the needed power and torque however as the tacho needle swings past 4,000 rpm a new character emerges, higher revs giving a visceral competition 911 wail and the hard push of acceleration continues to the red line.
So, one man’s dream has definitely been delivered here, every demand of the project has been more than fulfilled but beyond that the car has its own personality and presence. Now in our showroom I notice a new detail or nuance each time I re visit the CS. I had to get in and hold that lovely steering wheel again recently and upon leaving noticed that even the door bolts and fixings are 1972 correct for example, a so subtle touch that only the geekiest of porschaphiles would have spotted.
Needless to say a very full project file and illustrated build book accompany the car giving further detail and specification. A great car that does everything so well, any 911 enthusiast who has become rather jaded with the standard production range should come and see this car. Ideally, before I work out a way of keeping it myself!
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