It was good to hear from many R Gruppe friends after my recent post on the late Cris Huergas. One name that popped up in my inbox was Hayden Burvill at WEVO, who is about to put his 1972 Porsche 911 up for sale.
The car in question is Kenny: a 1972 911T built in May of that year and finished in rare Gulf Orange. The ‘oil klapper’ side oil-flap 911 now runs a 2.4S engine, rebuilt by Jerry Woods, but the matching numbers engine comes with the car.
Kenny has been owned by a handful Porsche enthusiasts in San Francisco’s Bay Area since it was new in 1972. It’s the car that inspired the Aussie engineer and product designer to begin modifying 911s – initially for autocross competitions – and develop a range of chassis and drivetrain products to sharpen the air-cooled 911 driving experience.
Products developed on Kenny include the famous WEVO shifters, engine and transmission mounts, anti-roll bars and suspension parts. Kenny is also fitted with several prototype parts that never went into production, such as the WEVO brakes that I vaguely attempted to buy several times but could never convince him to sell.
The WEVO brakes remained in prototype due to projected retail price against the value of air-cooled cars at the time. The numbers would probably make more sense nowadays, but life has moved on and there are other products out there. Hayden instead developed his 5-speed conversion for Porsche 356 models and that has been going well since launch.
Kenny has been part of my world since 2008, when I took my first trip out to San Carlos to meet Hayden and Tracey at WEVO. They could not have been more welcoming and our friendship continued when Twinspark Racing became WEVO’s official European distributors. I was a partner in Twinspark at the time, along with my friends Leonard Stolk and Lex Proper, so we did a fair amount of business together.
Hayden’s exploits in historic rallying on events like the Peking to Paris alongside Steven Harris and more recent rallies with Alastair Caldwell have kept us in touch. Our last time together in person was when Ciara and I joined H and the EB Motorsport guys for dinner on the beach at Zandvoort after the Masters Historic Grand Prix in 2018. Great times.
The world has turned on its head in two years and the pandemic has shifted life goals for both of us. Hayden’s responding by selling some cars and doubling down on a sustainable lifestyle. His 993 daily driver has already departed and Kenny is next on the block. The cool blue 912 is also likely to go.
Long-time followers will remember our feature on Kenny, which ran in one of the Porsche magazines back in the day. Jamie and I took the car to Pacific Grove near Monterey before sunrise and shot it on the coast as the sun came up. It was an unforgettable experience.
I’ve driven a lot of miles in this car, incuding down through the redwoods from San Francisco to Laguna Seca (above), where the car has seen many great days on track. As Hayden was an early R Gruppe member, Kenny was one of the earliest R Gruppe cars, attending all sorts of group events over the years. There is an air of authenticity about this one that later R Gruppe creations can’t hope to match. The aim is to place it with someone who will appreciate the history and keep piling the miles on, enjoying the car while we are still allowed to drive them.
Hayden wrote up a great spec on the 911 and you can download a pdf of that here. I’ll put the main points below. This is a special 911 with room for cosmetic detailing if you want to go that way. I would probably just run it as-is (with one of Jonny’s electric air conditioning kits, of course).
1972 Porsche 911 for sale – Specification
That original engine was replaced by the current engine, a 2.4-litre MFI engine from a 911S that was dressed using the original yellow “T” fan shroud and a combination of 2.4S intake system, recalibrated MFI pump and the highly regarded Elgin “Mod-S” camshaft grind. The engine made ~195hp at 6750rpm on the Jerry woods dyno with airbox, filter and Abarth muffler installed.
The engine was detailed when it was installed in 2004 and the installation is otherwise stock. There is no external oil cooler, it has the stock MFI fuel pump mounted in stock location, stock fuel filter and fuel cut-off valve all mounted and functioning.
WEVO SS engine mounts are fitted. The current exhaust is stock MFI heat exchangers (cabin heat connected) and a stock MFI muffler with the period correct ribbed outlet. The accessory package that comes with this car includes a rare Abarth 4-outlet muffler, an equally rare and unique 6-outlet muffler (for when 4 is not enough!) and a rare, unused 2 x 2 muffler with a pair of chrome outlets exiting wide; one on each corner of the rear bumper.
The engine has a WEVO 915 Streetlite Clutch kit using a spring-centre friction disc. The low inertia and added performance of this clutch kit is especially noticeable at full throttle in second and third gears.
As one would expect given WEVO’s unique expertise, the transmission has been through a variety of revisions, at times running a WEVO super lightweight spool instead of an open differential. It currently has a Porsche factory ZF limited slip differential. It has a very deliberate build suited for easy street driving, or aggressive track driving. 80% build configuration giving the maximum friction surfaces, then carefully shimmed to have a very light pre-load of only 10 ft/lbs.
This configuration gives a high locking action during aggressive driving and easy rolling and steering at low speeds. The transmission has a suite of WEVO products, including XT 100 Side Cover, WEVO 915 GateShift kit and XT 032 bearing retainer plate. The gearbox is in great operating condition and needs no repairs.
Hayden’s interior spec goes into quite a lot of detail but, in short:
Fitted factory sports seats
Abarth 360mm sports steering wheel
WEVO 915 shifter with +40mm lever (my 911 also has this: perfect mod)
WEVO PSJ shift coupler and XT 147 clamp
Accessories package includes bespoke carbon fibre seats with custom rear cage
Again H has added a lot of detail to the bodywork section. In summary:
Sunroof 911 finished in original Gulf Orange
Rust-free car that has lived in California for almost fifty years
Distinctive WEVO-logo graphics
Presented as RS with SC/Carrera rear arches
Fibreglass bumpers and ducktail
Bespoke front brake cooling ducts
H1 headlights with Euro rear lenses
Accessories package includes original steel rear bumper and deck lid, and an early S steel front bumper
See the full pdf for details of this. One could hardly ask for a better suspension setup on a sports-purpose early car:
21/26 torsion bars
RSR raised-spindle front struts with Bilstein inserts
WEVO Camberking top mounts with Teflon monoballs and carbon fibre cross tube/strut brace
Weltmeister 19mm front ARB
WEVO Spring Plate system rear end (now unobtanium)
’76 trailing arms with SRP monoballs and WEVO E-Z pins
Designed to fit inside 6×15 wheels with a nod to 930 brake performance
315 x 28mm front brake disc
standard 930 rear disc with handbrake bell
930 pads for ease of replacement
Accessory package includes set of new discs and all brake servicing literature
Wheels and Tyres
Kenny runs on nicely restored 7 & 8×15″ Fuchs, with Avon CR6ZZ Classic 185/70 front and 215/60 rear tyres. The spare is a 6 x 15″ Fuchs with a 185/70 tyre.
Enquiries and Price
It can be difficult to price cars like this and would be all too easy to get that wrong. Setting the mods aside, we have a low-owner ’72 oil flap 911T with sunroof in a relatively rare colour with a matching numbers engine and the original panels ready to be refitted. The only major change is the SC arches.
Adding in the mods we have a Jerry Woods 2.4S MFI engine making circa 200 horsepower, custom WEVO transmission with pretty much everything you could pick from the catalogue, custom suspension, custom brakes, simple but desirable period trim that one could improve and so on. It also comes with a ton of additional parts, including the original engine.
The key to this car for me is that it is not fake. It is not a poser. It was forged at the centre of air-cooled 911 culture and has been driven and developed over twenty years of ownership. What was created specifically for this car may now be found on thousands of 911s all over the world. But there is only one original. Does that story add any value? Well, the buyers will decide. What price romance nowadays?!
So to the price. Hayden is open to offers circa $150,000, which is £114,000 or €126,000. To find a similar rust-free 1972 911 and fit it with an S engine with the WEVO bits one can still buy would easily exceed this. And that car would not be built by WEVO. Add in the unobtanium, the spares bits and who knows what else the boss will include and you have a unique piece of air-cooled history.
The car is located in San Francisco, but can of course be shipped anywhere in the world. I am helping out with this one should it make its way across the pond to the UK or Europe, so you can contact Hayden via WEVO.com or drop me a line – firstname.lastname@example.org – or give me a call on +44 7565 348453.
The cool thing would perhaps be to quote Groucho Marx (“I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member”) but, when the late Cris Huergas sent me an email in 2007 to ask if I wanted to join the R Gruppe, it caught my attention.
Founding R Gruppe member, Gib Bosworth, owned several air-cooled 911s including a very original Carrera 3.0 (super rare in America as never sold new there) and found my 1976 Carrera 3.0 through impactbumpers.com. He liked the community spirit I was building on the impact bumpers forum, with a focus on driving the cars, learning more about them and doing one’s own maintenance.
Gib’s view of what worked carried weight, and impactbumpers presented by Gib resonated with Cris. The fact that I was writing for pretty much all of the British Porsche magazines at the time didn’t hurt my case either, as Cris was into his car magazines. He overlooked the minor technicality that, although I did own a ’71 project bought from the Gruppe’s ‘Dutch chapter’, my ’76 was not a longhood – a membership must at the time. In any case, I got the email, paid my dues and was member number 466.
I remained with the Gruppe for more than ten years and spent lots of time with Cris on our California visits. He was a working guy who’d been through a few ups and downs, so 911 ownership was behind him by the time we hooked up but, as the Gruppemeister he always had shotgun, and many friends would happily lend him cars on events.
He also loved to come out on shoots: the energy around these things was ridiculously infectious and Cris loved being in the thick of it. He usually knew much of the story behind the cars we were shooting, so period voice recordings invariably feature a high-pitched Huergas prompting the owner on something they forgot.
Our first meeting was at the Fogcatcher Inn on the Pacific Coast Highway in Cambria, California in 2008. Jamie (James Lipman) and I made our first trip from the UK to CA to see what went on at an R Gruppe Treffen and I decided we should shoot Bob Tilton and Chris Nielsen’s SWB 911s.
It is difficult to explain to recent arrivals to air-cooled Porsches just how unloved short-wheelbase cars were at the time. Super cheap and often scrapped, here were two guys who had invested heavily in two SWB 911s, spending well over market value to realise their individual visions in very different, but equally convincing ways.
Tilton and Nielsen were more than just 911 guys; they were tastemakers. Tilt was fastidious about every tiny detail and Nielsen matched his microscopic focus to the miligram. What I found within each of them was that they looked back for inspiration, but were not driven to mimic. They interpreted their influences rather than imitating them. This is what made their cars special and the two we had to shoot on that first trip to America.
In the years that followed, 911 prices took off into the stratosphere and R Gruppe became quite the sensation. Cris loved grass roots enthusiasts and would make an effort to talk to new faces. Someone with a cool 911 who came to a few meets and showed they were not a complete pain in the arse was generally given a number, but Cris would also occasionally slip numbers to people who maybe didn’t have the grass roots background, but turned up in a serious car. Maybe they didn’t build it, but they had a vision of quality that worked for him, and they had a clue about cars. Cris also brought in the occasional trophy member – which was not a bad thing.
Huergas was a serious petrolhead and, while he liked old 911s with patchwork-quilt provenance, he also knew a proper car. He and his brothers were all into cars, and the crew around Cris was similarly knowledgeable. It’s no accident that Cris started R Gruppe (so called in a play on words around “Our Group” and the underdog history of the 911R) with Freeman Thomas, one of the most respected car designers of the 20th century. Cris could hold his own in that sort of company and his inner circle were serious geeks when it came to details on more than just Porsches.
Still, it was always the garagistes that did it for me: home builders who had a vision and didn’t really care whether it fitted what has since become a fairly prescriptive early 911 recipe book. My favourite Cris quote is “everything you do is right” – meaning that, if you liked it, then who cared what anyone else thought?
Whether it was Bob Aines’ orange E that was driven from Texas to California every Treffen, Rolly Resos’ famous red and white car, Harvey Weidman’s Martini 911 or Gib’s beautiful Tour de France recreation, the early R Gruppe cars were incredibly elegant. The cars were my air-cooled royalty and their drivers were true elder statesmen, in every sense of the word. We never wrote features on any of the cars I mention above and I do not regret that: a magazine splash would have spoiled their allure. Better to shun such vulgarity.
That’s not to say that the Gruppe 911s we did shoot were anything less than superb. With so many great cars to choose from, and only four weeks a year to gather the material, we shot what we could get to and saved a few others for later. Not all of our cars came through the R Gruppe, but it was the main portal for some wonderful times and I remember them fondly. In the centre was Cris: always on the hunt for 911 fans to add to the cocktail shaker he called R Gruppe membership.
In the same way that Tilton and Nielsen expressed their 911 visions as a unified blend of countless influences, Huergas delivered his vision of the car park dinner party everyone wanted to be at in the shape of the R Gruppe. Now that Cris has left us, things are likely to change.
It is fortunate, therefore, that German photographer, Frank Kayser, captured the last months of R Gruppe under Huergas for The R Book. A look through some of Frank’s photos shows many familiar faces, all of whom were devoted to Cris for bringing them into the fold.
“I had complete creative freedom for this book,” says Frank, “so I got to document the things that inspire me: beautiful landscapes, cool dudes and loads of awesome cars. The old air-cooled Porsche is the connecting link of it all. The book is not just another coffee table book about cars, but my statement for analogue values such as freedom, friendship and the fun of experiencing the real world together.”
The R Book website describes this as a “10 x 13” coffee-table book of 580 pages that’s filled with 840 brilliant images of awesome cars, candid visits of member’s private garages, and beautiful Californian landscapes. Well written essays about the history and the attitude towards life of America‘s cult Porsche car club”, but to those who experienced the Gruppe under Cris, it will be more than that.
Beautifully presented, the R Gruppe book is not cheap at €180, and it’s no substitute for being part of Huergas’ R Gruppe before the world went crazy for air-cooled but, for 911 fans looking for something to evoke memories of good times with friends and old Porsches, it is worth a look.
I leave the last word to my R Gruppe compadre, Guenter Kehr, who I climbed many Alpine passes with on the epic Twinspark Racing 2010 Bergmeister Tour: “More a piece of art than just a book, but great stuff for any Porsche guy and a great memory to the late Cris Huergas.”
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Eldest daughter is currently away at university and working her way through a marketing module. As much of my work involves marketing, this has led to some interesting chats; one this week was on the Employee Promise, or People Promise.
For those who haven’t been on the job market in a while, a people promise is a relatively recent appearance and may be explained as what brands put together to assure jobseekers that their personal values and the company values align. It usually includes statements on inclusivity, respect and support of diversity, career development and talent retention, environmental responsibility and sustainability goals and aims to provide fun and fulfilling work for all.
Porsche sets out the bones of a people promise in its statement of Porsche corporate culture and values. “Our culture is defined by tradition and innovation. We live in a performance-oriented corporate culture and emphasise strongly the fair treatment of fellow employees. Our employees are driven by their passion for our extraordinary products. They sometimes think in unconventional ways, and this is something Porsche supports, because we value independence and individuality.”
This sort of language is often overused (just take a look at the fashion industry), but my experience across Porsche suggests that the company is pretty effective at driving this mindset down through the ranks. The brand is veined with impressions of inherent discipline and strong moral values, and being finely attuned to this comes with the territory. One downside to teutonic efficiency is the transmission of stiffness or arrogance: something Porsche and its dealers are often accused of.
Porsche Brand Ambassadors: Discipline
Discipline is a core value at Stuttgart and that is one driving factor in the appointment of brand ambassadors. Porsche relies on a number of ambassadors: the official ones come from the world of competition, where discipline, stamina and controlled aggression are major components in success. Looking at unofficial ambassadors, Porsche has also pulled in other less disciplined influencers who offer a congenerous narrative and an extensive follower count. This spread of personalities helps Porsche’s messaging to reach many more corners.
The most widely seen Porsche ambassadors are Mark Webber and Maria Sharapova. The handsome high achievers from the world of sport have many things in common, including all-important success, astuteness and a “humble roots” narrative that mirrors the company’s origins. We see the same “humble roots” narrative in the Magnus Walker story: a self-made media sensation, crossing cultures and generations. Porsche has previously hired Walker to draw in the crowds, but stopped short of sending an ambassadorial invitation.
Porsche Brand Ambassadors: Tennis
Tennis is a fertile recruitment arena for the Porsche ambassador army and ambassador press releases in the category of tennis outnumber all other sectors more than two to one. Germany’s Angelique Kerber (below) and Julia Görges both serve as tennis brand ambassadors alongside Sharapova.
As one would expect for a car manufacturer, many ambassadorial roles come from the world of motorsport, with Walter Röhrl, Jörg Bergmeister and Timo Bernhard (below) all serving as ambassadors alongside Webber at the recent Cayman GTS launch. While this may seem quite a senior mix, most Porsche buyers are no spring chickens and it is not an easy task to identify a younger ambassador offering similar attractions to Webber and Sharapova, who would also bring cross-demographic appeal and have no pre-existing arrangements with other manufacturers.
Porsche Brand Ambassadors: Youth and YouTube
The Norwegian World Cup champion skiier, Aksel Lund Svindal, was recently appointed as a Porsche brand ambassador and currently feaures on several Porsche YouTube videos. YouTube is the online hub for so much skiing and showboarding content, so this may be one route to a (slightly) younger demographic. The Australian snowboarder, Torah Bright, is another who has enjoyed some exposure as a brand ambassador for Porsche Australia.
Porsche regional centres often bring in figures from the world of sport for local promotion and give them an ambassadorial title. Female racer, Esmee Hawkey, supported the launch of a new British Porsche centre last year and Porsche uses German actor, Richy Müller, as a regional ambassador. Former works drivers including Hans Stuck and Derek Bell often turn up at motorsport gatherings – Stuck was recently seen at the GP Ice Race – but Bell’s close associations with Bentley mean he is a more occasional appearance.
Porsche Brand Ambassadors: Celebrities
“Actors who want to go racing” has been one steady source of mainstream celebrity content and unofficial ambassadors for Porsche, including a Le Mans association with actor, Patrick Dempsey and the recent series of YouTube videos with actor, Michael Fassbender. Building a brand ambassador is a serious marketing investment, so pop stars and celebrities who may go out of fashion, vanish from the hit parade or be embroiled in a drug scandal overnight are notably less attractive for a company with core values of integrity and sustainability.
That said, scandals may not spell the end for Porsche brand ambassadors: Sharapova’s drug issues did not preclude a continued association with Stuttgart. Sharapova’s recent retirement announcement includes her intention to continue as a Porsche ambassador and her popularity in Russian and global high society is an important consideration. When it comes to brand ambassadors, some things rank higher than others (and we all make mistakes).
While its true that Porsche products are the company’s greatest ambassadors, the use of human brand ambassadors extends the reach of its media output. However, it is also worth remembering that everyone who drives a Porsche plays some small part in promoting the brand. Using confident, high achieving brand ambassadors may be one way to override any negative impression left by the guy in a Porsche who cut you up yesterday.
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Ten years ago today, photographer Jamie Lipman and I drove 60 miles from Ventura in California to Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles. It was my first trip to LA and I was driving my own 911: an SC Coupe that I had bought on Craigslist a few months before.
Our destination was the Bel Air Presbyterian Church: a vast structure built in the mid-fifties on a ridge overlooking Burbank Airport, the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood. The view was entirely appropriate, as we were en route to meet a new star.
RGruppe hot rodder and owner of what was then the world’s coolest early 911, Rob Dickinson, had emailed a few weeks previously, asking if Jamie and I would do the first story on his brand new creation, presenting it to Porsche enthusiasts before it was launched to a wider audience. I was well up for that and arranged a magazine cover. I found some space in the schedule for a run to LA and waited for the day to arrive.
We spent a few days shooting various Porsches in and around San Francisco before driving to Ventura for the Porsche show there. The hotel and showground was packed out with RGruppe friends and family, and everyone wanted to talk about our date with Singer. Most people had an opinion and it was not all complimentary. But they all loved Rob.
The Zuffenhaus boys (who had supplied the wheels) and Harvey Weidman (master wheel refinisher) were also in town showing their RSR brakes and steering wheels. They shared great insight on the attention to detail that went in to getting the stance just right.
The designer had put a lot of thought into his creation and I was looking forward to seeing it. I was also excited that we’d been given the first proper feature: many big-name journos have covered it since, but we had been covering the underground in an interesting way and Rob was one of the taste makers. So getting this story was cool.
How to shift a culture
If you want to shift a cultural mindset, the best place to start is where people are open to shifts. I’m Irish, Jamie’s English and we expressed our ideas in an anglocentric way. We did sell our work overseas, but the primary outlets were British titles. Rob is obviously British and was steeped in the culture. The country that had birthed Monty Python and Punk was likely to click with where he was coming from.
Selling my output across the world, I’ve found that there’s a big difference in how ‘British’ car writers are regarded: look at Chris Harris and Henry Catchpole’s subscriber counts and read the feedback on their work to see the evidence of this. A lot of the people around Singer are British or some way Anglophile and the latest cars have had a lot of engineering in Britain. We will revisit this another time, but, to me, there is a clear public perception of a link between British creatives and a taste for new things.
From 2008-2012, our work covered (mainly RGruppe) modified cars in what up to then had been a sea of conservative content. RGruppe was widely regarded as mould breaking and this marked us out as a fit for Rob’s work. We didn’t have the reach of the big boys – it took me very little time to reject that path – but we were exploring and reporting the fringes of Porsche culture in an authentic way, had an idea of market tastes at a certain level and were likely to provide a warm welcome for the mould-breaking 911.
Three Types of People
In a Seth Godin podcasts called “Anthems, Pledges and Change”, the marketing thought leader explores how there has been substantial pushback over the years in response to certain interpretations of the American national anthem. Seth cites the examples of Aretha Franklin and Jose Feliciano: popular stars of their day who were vilified when they took the national anthem off piste. His podcast gets right to the heart of it.
“There are three kinds of people in every community: three kinds of people in every area of interest: at every event. One kind of person doesn’t want things to change. They’ve been sitting in the same seat at Yankee Stadium since it was built. They go to the baseball game because baseball doesn’t change.
“The second kind of person – the masses – they want to do what everybody else is doing. And the third kind of person is the early adopter: the neophyte, the neophiliac. They’re looking for something that’s new. One way we can define a cultural touchstone – a place, an event – is by the percentage of the three that are in the room.
“So, if you go to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it is filled to the top with people who want to know what’s new. But if you listen to America’s Top 40 on the radio, or watch CBS, you’re probably going to see a programme director who is obsessed with the masses. The reason you are listening or watching is to see what everybody else is seeing.
“And then you’ve got events and organisations and moments where most of the people there are laggards: they want it to stay the same. And it turns out that anthems and pledges are a really good place to find this sort of person.”
Anthems and pledges play a big part in American society, and in mainstream Porsche culture. The fear that what one is doing will be regarded by so-called peers as freakish or culturally unacceptable is what paralyses so many potential cultural shifts. Things that are initially mould breaking are often later paralysed by rampant conservatism as the masses move in.
Control of the Narrative
When Aretha Franklin was scorned for her rendition of the American national anthem, it was laggard-linked masses dictating the narrative. Those people did not want change. A fearful percentage wanted the status quo to prevail, their noise via letters and phone calls was interpreted as a majority and fear of destruction within media platforms dictated the coverage.
The same thing playa out on a grand scale in mass media coverage of social upheavals. Fearful masses swing towards the way it has always been and the mass media coverage follows accordingly. Defence against all discourse that might force social change begins with control of the narrative: look at 1930s Germany, what is happening in Turkey or the tone of mainstream British media in recent years. Look at how racism or oppression in parts of a country can be perpetuated by parents and grandparents: control of the narrative is key.
The interesting thing I see in Singer ten years ago – and I think a large part of how it turned the Porsche world on its head – was not its philosophy or styling, but the founder’s awareness of narrative. This was before he ever had media professionals involved. Nowadays, Singer feels carefully manicured, but this was just Rob on his own.
An early career in creativity – writing and recording music – and an understanding of how his work had been reported and reviewed gave Rob a valuable media consciousness. He placed his first product where he felt the change would be received impartially and given a chance. Starting at the fringes, it worked towards the centre. Building support amongst neophytes first, it infiltrated modified consciousness and became the masses’ gold standard.
At the core of the “we do it like this – we have always done it like this” Porsche sensibility, the arrival of Singer was controversial. Ten years later, it’s still a bit thorny. A lengthy disclaimer at the foot of the Singer home page testifies to some of the grief it went through at launch. But, as with anything that fights to exist for a decade, the brand has become a default.
For some, it is the default aesthetic for a hot rod Porsche: not amongst diehard enthusiasts, but without doubt for swathes of the masses. The cultural energy unleashed by Singer proved more than enough to power a movement and turned a culture on its head, shifting the way people looked at air-cooled 911s.
Singer: the catalyst
In 2009, the idea that Porsche would wrap its arms around a backstreet hot rodder like Magnus was highly unlikely. Thoughts that an £8k 911 SC would one day be worth five or six times that would have been ludicrous. When the 4-litre RS was launched in 2009, a tripling in price after launch was something that no one could imagine. Certainly I couldn’t see it and I was up to my neck in this stuff.
An awful lot changed in a short space of time. The bank crash put asset investment back on the map and classic Porsches were interesting. They were increasingly marketed as hand-built, time-warp artefacts. Now part of Volkswagen, Porsche was selling mostly SUVs, but the marketing value of the origin story and passion amongst grassroots enthusiasts began to materialise. If you had an interesting origin story, the media wanted to hear it and masses began to lean into it. Porsche began to lever grassroots passions to remind SUV buyers of sports car traditions and associated characters reinforcing that story became more important.
If one looks back at how this trend developed, it is impossible to discount Singer as a significant part of the catalyst. As the cultural shift began to take hold, partly centred on what Singer was doing, people who came to the brand with some media experience took over its origin story, designers amped up the style, the builders eventually sorted the dynamics. All these combined to deliver a compelling narrative. The confluence of its ingredients told a unique story and so it remains.
If you want to own a Singer (or, as legals prefer to call it, a Porsche 911 reimagined by Singer), you can’t build one in your shed: either you buy one or have something else. Only Aretha could sing the anthem like that and only Singer can build you a Singer. Today, that sounds obvious, but it took ten years to get here. Where will we be in another ten years?
A quick surf through eBay last night showed some cheap classic Porsches for sale including this 1984 Porsche 911 Turbo (930) for under £50k at £47,500. There were several more expensive cars, and dearer ones often make more sense based on the cost to professionally restore rough examples, but if you’re a DIY restorer looking for an apparently complete example to play with, this one may be worth a look.
While there is no real detail in the ad other than it is an American import of an originally German-market Porsche 930 from January 1984, and some of the pics show it needs cosmetic assistance at the very least, it seems a complete car in running order with an MOT, the correct Recaro sports seats and all the right bits apparently intact.
Porsche 930 asking prices soared well over the £100k mark for cars like this in good condition during the market boom of 2012-2015, but they have eased in recent years. Of course, a spotless and unrestored 930 in original condition still commands serious money and is a wonderful thing, but the perception that a 4-speed 3.3-litre 930 in honest condition should command a price equivalent to several similarly well preserved standard 911s of the same vintage was a bit of a worry at the time. It’s good to see prices edging back towards reality and keeping these cars accessible for people to use and enjoy.
Having driven many standard and modified 930s over the years, I lean towards the upgraded cars, as a modern turbocharger, new CDI box and updated fuel injection with the right changes to the chassis and running gear bring the car to life. That said, getting a 930 or later 964 Turbo running properly is really the key to maximum enjoyment, so it is critical to get these cars to a K-Jet expert.
Only those with a detailed knowledge of this system who have the specialist equipment required to properly diagnose K-Jet injection should adjust the system on a 930 or 911 SC of the period, where the running condition is critical to avoid engine issues. I don’t work for JZM Porsche, but, if K-Jet was a concern, I would send my car to Steve McHale at JZM. Steve’s expertise on K-Jet systems and the workshop diagnostics going back to the early days of Bosch injection is second to none.
Anyone looking for a spotless 930 with mega provenance to cherish for posterity is not going to be interested in something like this. But, at under £50k and assuming the shell is not a disaster, this Porsche 911 Turbo for sale on eBay could be the base for something special without paying silly premiums for a car you ultimately want to chop and change.
The price, LHD and current GBP exchange rates may make this attractive to European buyers, but we will see how long the ad lasts before coming down. The ad text is below – I have nothing whatsoever to do with this other than it popped up on my radar and was worth a mention. The car is in Preston, UK.
1984 Porsche 911 930 Turbo for sale
Guards Red with black leather. Electric windows, sunroof. Registered January 1984. US import originally built to German spec. MOT until September 2019. US CarFax report available. Porsche spec printout available. Very solid car which requires some cosmetic attention. Trade Sale.
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