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2019 5 February

Precious Metal

By George Woodward 05/02/2019

Porsche celebrated its 70th anniversary with a little bit of automotive alchemy.
 
Words: Matt Master
Photos: Porsche AG

Visitors to the NEC’s most recent Classic Motor Show won’t have missed an unusual line-up of modern classics on the Porsche stand, created as a final memento of the marque’s 70th anniversary year. A striking selection of immaculately restored cars, uniform in colour and trim, combining classic lines with a distinctly contemporary twist.
 
In total, 20 cars from Zuffenhausen’s back catalogue were acquired by Porsche Cars GB for this surprise project, and all of them were put through an extensive and highly exclusive restoration process. The collection is impressively eclectic, spanning almost half a century of innovative Porsche production, with everything from early transaxle cars to water-cooled Turbos in the mix.
 
In partnership with Porsche Centres and Porsche Recommended Repairers, each car has been painstakingly worked through, including full engine rebuilds, with new ‘short blocks’ in the more modern cars, and in each case a full bare metal respray.
 
The final finish is what marks these cars out as unique collectors’ items. Each car is painted in Liquid Metal silver, which was developed especially for the 918 Spyder. The interiors have been retrimmed in black leather, meanwhile, and their wheels shot-blasted and painted black. And in a determined nod to Porsche’s driver-oriented philosophy, every car sourced has a manual gearbox.
 
The finish on all the cars is superb, the attention to detail second to none. From the outset Porsche’s intention was to keep them as original as possible, in line with the approach of the Classic department, while adding various bespoke touches such as a ‘70 years of Porsche’ graphic, bespoke seat trimming in original Porsche-branded cloth and a ‘70 years of Porsche’ commemorative plaque.
 
Despite their rarity, Porsche has created these cars to be driven and enjoyed, so they all showcase selected Classic Parts, from the new transaxle and water-cooled classic Motoroils to the Classic Satellite Navigation System and the Classic Vehicle Tracking System. Each car comes with a commemorative presentation folder that documents what work has been carried out and lists the new feature parts.
 
While it’s an interesting endeavour in its own right, part of the reason for the project is to underline just how much official support there is from the factory for the remarkable number of older Porsches still on the road. It’s thought that more than 70 per cent of Porsche cars ever sold are still going, now supported by more than 1000 Classic suppliers and an inventory of around 52,000 Classic Genuine parts.
 
The cars that have passed through the process are many and varied. The oldest is a 914 from 1970, while the oldest air-cooled 911 is an early 1980s SC coupe, complete with period whale tail and impact bumpers. One of the most striking cars is certainly the 964, a 3.6-litre Carrera 4 from 1990. Its timeless design wears the contemporary/classic juxtaposition exceptionally well. As does the 993, for that matter, also a Carrera 4 Coupe.
 
But while the sight of restomod air-cooled 911s is almost too familiar these days, it’s a comparative rarity to see anyone putting similar time and energy into a water-cooled car, let alone a transaxle. But Porsche has sprinkled the Liquid Metal fairy dust over one of each, from both 924 and 944 Turbo models to the highly sought-after 968 Sport and a very rare 928 GT, still with that all-important manual ’box.
 
Moving into the modern era, the 996 is represented with both a standard C2 and a beautiful example of the 400bhp all-wheel drive Turbo flagship. And in a nod to the recent and hugely successful Restoracing series that saw national Porsche Centres restore and race early Boxsters as part of the Club Championship, the team at Porsche Classic commissioned no fewer than 10 986 Boxsters in 3.2-litre S guise to receive the same treatment.
 
Jonathan Mannell, Manager, Owner Services, Porsche Cars GB, explained the thinking behind this latest venture: “Following the success of previous restoration projects, we were keen to find another initiative to tie in with celebrations of 70 years of Porsche sports cars. The customer feedback from our Centres participating in the previous restoration competitions indicated that there was demand for authentic restorations of Porsche models across the spectrum.
 
“Bringing our history and tradition alive in this manner is also a great way to help celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first Porsche sports car and to highlight the passion for Porsche Classic at both Porsche Cars GB and our Centres.”
 
There’s no denying that as remarkable as these cars look online, there is something special about their unique finish that only seeing one in the metal can do justice to. Hopefully their new owners will attend some of our events and we’ll all have a chance to do just that.
 

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