Thanks to American and Japanese influence, the Porsche culture has evolved over the past few years. Modifying your Porsche is no longer a taboo, it’s almost en vogue now to build your very own 911 Backdate. In a little town in the Black Forest, there is a workshop, called GS Manufaktur, where father and son build very individual Porsches for their customers. With their Porsche 911 Backdate, which they call 964 GS “The Apparatus”, they offer a very special example of the 911 Backdate section. Philipp Göller talked to us about the special father-and-son-project.
Hey Philipp, thank you for taking the time to talk with us about your 911 Backdate. First things first: Why do you call your 964 GS “Apparatus”?
The Term “Apparatus” is used for technical machines in the Black Forest area. We gave our Porsche 964 GS that very name, because the history background fits the car quite well. An apparatus needs an expert hand to be operated as it was designed. Our “Apparatus” needs just that. It is a car, that doesn’t take away too much of the liability from the driver. It requires certain abilities to be enjoyed to the fullest.
An apparatus needs an expert hand to be operated as it was designed. Our “Apparatus” needs just that. – Philipp Göller
What was your inspiration for building a 911 Backdate? When did you start to work on it?
I think it was around 2013. Our master technician at the workshop had a Singer Porsche 911 Backdate as a wallpaper on his computer. This may sound strange now, but back in the day, Singer wasn’t that famous, even among Porsche enthusiasts. We immediately fell in love with the idea. Roughly three years later, i finished my title of master craftsmen and came back to the workshop. We then decided: “We should build a Porsche, as we want it to be, as well!”
Back in the day, know-how and parts for backdating were limited. So we decided to build every thing on our own. We started clay-designing the bodywork. In that process, you apply clay paste to the car’s body and model it as you like. This model is then used as a template for producing the panels. Whereas the first prototypes were made of fiber-reinforced plastic, we now make everything out of carbon fiber.
As the name of your 964 GS already tells, we all know, which model your 911 Backdate is based on. But why the 964?
From the very beginning, there was only one direction: The Porsche 964. For us, the 993 is a bit too modern and sophisticated. 911 Backdates, based on the G-model are fairly easy to build, but lacking the advantages of the 964’s more modern chassis, which provides more driving pleasure from our point of view. As we were looking for a real challenge, the Porsche 964 quickly became the car of choice. It offers modern technology like anti-lock brakes, power steering, better front and rear axles and the bigger 3.6 litre engine. Furthermore, with the 964 you could use an all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 as a starting point as well.
Do you follow a certain philosophy with your builds? What is your main goal?
Of course, there are countless requests from customers, but we insist on some specific solutions. You know, the finished product will bear our name and we want to be sure, that our quality requirements will be met. Therefore, no 964 GS will be delivered without a complete engine overhaul. Some parts of the design are fixed as well, so every example can unmistakably be recognized as a Porsche 964 GS. That’s the reason why the gauges are always painted to match the exterior color. We only use Fuchs wheels and the lettering is the same for every car, except the color.
Our Porsche 964 GS isn’t meant to be a race car – even though it would perform quite well, without a doubt. But for us, the main goal is a sporty but first and foremost fun driving experience. Sound and individuality is more important for us than performance figures. If you compare the Apparatus with a 991 Turbo S for example, you feel much more connected to our car. From a subjective point of view, it doesn’t feel much slower either. Modern cars tend to be a bit too perfect, if you ask me. With our Apparatus, we want to highlight the snotty and cheeky facets of the car, as we call it in the Baden area.
But in the most other areas, customers can have an impact on how their own Porsche 964 GS will look like?
At first, you could choose from a variety of different engine specs. Suspension setup, color and interior can be build just as the customer desires. We always go through the details with our customers in person, to get to know them and offer individual advice for every single one of them. We want to build the perfect car for every customer, so we have to stand behind every idea. That’s why we preserve a very specific style. If you order a Porsche 964 GS, the car should fit like a tailor-made suit. It has to be so good, so perfect, that no customer should think about selling the car, ever.
At first, you could choose from a variety of different engine specs. Suspension setup, color and interior can be build just as the customer desires.
Engine-wise, there are three options to choose from. All have a complete overhaul in common, where we disassemble the engine to its last screw and measure everything. Afterwards, the power plant will be built to the customer’s requirements. We offer three power stages from a mild hp increase to almost hot rod performance. In combination with less weight than the base 964 Carrera, that offers more than sufficient performance.
What makes your Porsche 911 Backdate so special compared to other builds?
That’s easy: The design! My dad crafted everything by hand and every single line has a swoop, that goes through the whole car. We use more than 100 parts, that we designed and developed ourselves. Every 964 GS has a purpose built center console, a unique spoiler and CNC milled air vents, just to name a few of them. We are especially proud of our self-made Bi-LED-headlamps, which are exclusively used in our cars. We even redesigned the trunk. To complement the exterior and interior, every car gets an individual boot, with a fitting set of suitcases.
We use more than 100 parts, that we designed and developed ourselves.
In many other Backdates, the seats are mass produced and then newly upholstered or the dash is just painted or wrapped. We continue, where other builds stopped. That’s the reason why we use so many parts, we developed ourselves. Same goes for the exhaust. Suspension-wise we do cooperate with Bilstein and use a specially tweaked B16 setup. Of course, our customers could decide to use maybe Öhlins or KW components as well. By the way, all our own parts are 100 per cent Made in Germany!
So, your Porsche 964 GS is a multigenerational project. Who brings in which influence?
From my point of view, the car shows, that we have a very special father-and-son-relationship. Our characters are sort of united in the car. I am responsible for the modern parts with innovative technical solutions. My dad on the other hand brought in his ideas of car design with various different details of the 70’s and 80’s. He restored Porsches for decades and that experience shows. We think, it’s a successful symbiosis.
And I think, many Porsche enthusiasts will think about it the same way… Thank you very much for the insights to that fantastic father-son-project!
It was my pleasure!
© Images: Autohaus Stefan & GS Manufaktur