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Porsche 993 Turbo Re-tuned by 9ff Test Drive

 :: Volkswagen Group :: Porsche :: 993

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Porsche 993 Turbo Re-tuned by 9ff Test Drive

Post by LhYnxz on Fri May 23, 2008 4:01 pm


Modern cars have evolved to such a point that delicacies and nuances
of handling get lost in an ocean of grip. To actually have fun in a new
Porsche 911 and overcome the slabs of rubber that pass for rear tyres
you need to drive at speeds that normally attract a helicopter escort.

An abundance of older cars now on the road, too, thanks to the magic of
galvanised steel that resists the onset of rust, the classic car scene
has never been stronger and sports car fans that really want to enjoy
themselves are often picking up the specialist press rather than the
latest brochure.

With all the money theyíve saved paying for the salesmanís hair gel,
and the kind of depreciation that only the US dollar can understand,
theyíre taking their new old toy to the tuners, too. And that can
result in real monsters, like this Porsche 993 Turbo with a simply
mental 600bhp.

Jan Fatthauer made his name with the headline-grabbing Vf400 and followed up with the GT9,
which should be the fastest production car in the world soon enough as
soon as he can find the right track on the right day and breeze through
the 258mph mark. But a visit to his mighty Dortmund workshop reveals a
collection of 996s, a 944 Twin Turbo and even a GT2-powered classic
camper van. The public face of the company does not convey the sheer
madness of the projects behind closed doors.

It often starts with a simple restoration for a valued customer, but
when youíre dealing with a man who has created an 1100bhp 911 Turbo
Cabriolet then a few tweaks are inevitable. Blessed with hindsight Jan
can improve upon the originals and then just keep going to an
inordinate, dangerous level. As he has hereÖ

Because a simple shove on the throttle elicited the kind of fearsome
response you might expect from walking up to a sleeping lion and
kicking it squarely in the testicles. Even the most savage modern car
sounds smooth, honed, tuned, this thing sounded like it was firing
nails through the block and would probably bite your face off in a bar
fight.

There are whole forums devoted the air-cooled vs water-cooled 911
debate and this, the 993, was the last of those regulated by simple
cold air. That means itís about as refined as a Tasmanian Devil and has
a deep growl that is somehow more dangerous than anything we could come
up with today.

Then there was the open road, a set path that 9ff describes as its
ďtest routeĒ. In fact itís the road next to the airport, a place I have
wiled away many an afternoon in deep discussion with the local police
about what constitutes a safe speed. In a car like this, another little
chat seemed more than inevitable.

Because although the Turbo remains eminently drivable and simple
beneath 4000rpm, with just the long throw of the gearshift, the stiff
pedals, the gruff bark from the Flat Six and the funky dials to remind
that this is a throwback to olden days, it goes absolutely,
window-licking mental in the final 2000rpm.

This is where it all happens and I had to grab the next gear fast and
hard to avoid running out of revs as the car blasted through the 60mph
mark in around 4.5s and on to a top speed in excess of 175mph. You can
get faster with a modern 997 Turbo, but it wonít have nearly the sense
of occasion and with no traction control or major electronic safety
nets.

After fitting the GT2-style bodykit and refurbing the BBS period-look
wheels, Fatthauerís boys retrimmed the sports seats and set about
producing a perfect yet authentic interior. It truly looks the part and
while itís neither a perfect GT2 or Turbo, but a hybrid of the pair,
only a true expert, or anorak, would care about such things.

Inside itís a beautiful dissertation in 90s design, with bright orange
needles playing freely round the backlit dials and chunky plastics that
were the peak of automotive couture just a decade ago but wouldnít make
it past the drawing board at Tata right now. Even the key, a
bog-standard, unblippable metal cylinder reminds us just how far cars
have come.

Of course if they opened the engine cover they would probably run for
the hills, as the Flat Six Twin Turbo is now completely invisible
thanks to the intrusion of an epic, simply stupid intercooler that is
as big as Physics allows and runs right to all four corners of the bay.
Obviously cooling was an issue when they tuned this mid-90s powerplant
to the max and lowering the charge pressure was just about the hardest
step in a car that relied on simple, cold air to stop the engine
melting.

From there itís the usual story of new pistons, air intake, sports
exhaust and the usual accoutrements that go with a big power
conversion. And that results in the kind of horsepower figures that
would have the international press drooling all over Ferrariís stand at
Geneva, in a car that hit the market in 1995. But the power is only
half the story, itís the way itís delivered that sells the whole
classic car market and when a tuner with the balls-out approach of 9ff
gets involved then the character can go to a whole new, dangerous level.

And 9ff fitted its own fully adjustable suspension kit to the car,
which at 1500kg isnít much lighter than its modern counterparts but
still manages to give that pin-sharp feeling thanks to a lack of power
assistance and smaller dimensions than the relatively huge 997. A lack
of feel is the problem in a modern car, thanks to a combination of
monster tyres and electronic interference, but thereís none of that
here. The car takes an armful of muscle to throw in, but the wheel
feels connected to those alloys in a way that most of us could never
imagine.

It might not be as fast as the modern equivalent and in this state of
tune it costs about the same, but I climbed out the 993 with a big
smile and a healthier respect of what could be achieved with cars from
years gone by. For those with the luxury of choice, a modified classic
is an interesting proposition.

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