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24 Apr 2024

Photos by Rich Pearce

The rough road to 911 perfection

How Tuthill Porsche’s extensive rallying history helped craft the ultimate air-cooled creation

Every so often, a car comes along that seems so perfect in philosophy and execution that you run the risk of losing interest in anything else. A bit like love, perhaps; irrational, expensive and all-consuming, but ultimately unarguable. Enter the latest Tuthill build inspired by the original SCRS.
Not yet a quarter of the way through the 21st century, the 911 has evolved through eight generations, each an improvement on the last but missing something enjoyed by its predecessor. After 40 years of developing and campaigning 911s for and in the toughest of sporting environments, Oxfordshire-based Tuthill Porsche is as well-placed as any to know what the best bits really are, how to make the most of them or how to make them even better.
Back in 2022, PCGB member Christian Jones, a friend of Richard Tuthill’s from their university days, was offered an early slot for the company’s first series build. It was to be a limited edition of 15 highly evolved road cars inspired by Porsche’s early 1980s works rally entrant, the SC/RS. Tuthill formally announced the car in September of that year, revealing an intriguing vision that drew on several different sources and eras of 911. Despite its ’70s/’80s competition silhouette, the SCRS was to use a 993 as its base. Body panels were inspired by the original 911 Turbo, while front and rear bumpers were direct copies of the original SC/RS. But, with the 993 at its heart, it would enjoy the superior levels of NVH and trick rear suspension that the final air-cooled car offers, as well as its 3.6-litre engine, taken out to 3.8 litres to extract an ample 320BHP and 370Nm of torque.

Christian had grown up around Porsches. His father was an avid hillclimber who duked it out with Josh Sadler of Autofarm fame for several seasons in various RS 911s and “always had something interesting in the garage”. However, the 46-year-old property developer had never owned a 911 until his old friend came calling. “I finally decided to take the plunge when Richard said they were going to do some road cars,” Christian says. “With their race and rally pedigree, it was always going to be pretty good. I reasoned that, if Tuthill’s cars could survive Kenya and win regularly (see P10), they should be okay around the Cotswolds. Then Richard came to visit us one morning on a pre-delivery shakedown of car number one and said it was the first car they’d done that he wanted to keep. I had to take notice then. And what they’ve achieved with the SCRS is truly remarkable.”
Tuthill’s connection with the original SCRS is not widely known. When Porsche decided to build a short run of 911-based rally cars that would allow the factory to compete in Group B in the early 1980s, the extensive reworking of the contemporary SC fell to Dave Richards, owner of DR Autosport, later Prodrive. Richards turned to fellow rallying aficionado and air-cooled expert Francis Tuthill to prepare a show car based upon Francis’ own 911 Carrera 3 which was presented to Richards by Rothmans, who subsequently built five factory cars for Porsche. Tuthill was tasked with repairing these and the brutal business of international rallying kept Francis and his small team very busy. It was the start of a journey that would see the company become the last word in rally-bred 911s, its know-how and rigour such that in more recent years, while dominating the East African Safari Classic, even the venerated Singer has turned to Tuthill for the development and preparation of its cars.
Tuthill’s SCRS seems to have found the middle ground between the uncompromising focus of those all-conquering rally cars and the road-biased performance and luxury of Singer. Using the 993 as its canvas, Tuthill has sought out the ideal balance between drivability and usability; a wild and capable all-season sports car that you can still drive long distances in comparative comfort. It would be an unlikely wish list in any other hands.

“The 993 is a great base car,” Richard explains. “It gives you A/C, a six-speed ’box, a 3.6-litre engine, better NVH and better suspension, so you don’t have to add anything. And there’s nothing clever about the SCRS. We’ve taken some weight out and changed the brakes, wheels, tyres and dampers. Its power-to-weight ratio is very nicely matched and feels a little more like an early car. It’s still very stable, like a 993, but now it rotates unbelievably well.”
Tuthill is typically modest about the development of the SCRS, but the enlarged 3.8-litre engine now features a MoTeC ECU and bespoke intake system inspired by the one used by Prodrive on the works cars. The bodywork is a seamless, perfectly proportioned revision of the wide body G-series, the 16-inch wheels Tuthill’s own creation to mirror those of the original. Callipers are also Tuthill’s own, as are the two-way adjustable dampers that went through four iterations before the team was satisfied. 
Each Tuthill SCRS is finished in colours inspired by the RSRs that raced in IROC in the mid-’70s. Number four off the line, Christian’s car is Mexico Blue with seats trimmed in Spirit of Le Mans tartan. Inside, familiar elements of 993 blend with modern, bespoke toggle switches, Carrera Clubsport-style door cards, Tuthill’s own carbon sports seat and a deep-dished flax fibre wheel that is as good to hold as it is to behold.

Richard admits to a degree of surprise at the success of the finished product. On the road, the Tuthill SCRS pulls with the same fathomless force as a modern GT3, but rides with a poise and compliance those cars can only dream of. The steering is instant and communicative without the heaviness and fidget that often brings with it. The guttural induction and exhaust noise are a constant companion, but not so intrusive as to be unwelcome. Point to point, across fast, undulating and broken B-roads, there is no car in the current Porsche stable that could stay in touch. They would simply be spat off the surface. The four decades of inter-generational learning that have brought this car about are immediately in evidence, its combination of the right amount of power, inherent and enhanced lightness, traction and grip all heightened to otherworldly degrees by a preternatural ride quality. Simple, in relative terms, but simply perfect. 
With only a small handful of Tuthill SCRSs in the wild, Christian’s own example has already scooped up several awards at concours events and recently won the admiration of Dr Wolfgang Porsche himself during a family invitational on the Grossglockner. But in truth, a lack of profile is at the heart of these cars. It’s an integral part of what makes them quite so special. To the untrained eye, this is a G-series 911. To those in the know, to anyone lucky enough to drive one, it is very possibly the greatest 911 of all time.
Huge thanks to Christian Jones and Richard Tuthill. For more information on the SCRS and Tuthill Porsche, please visit
You can enjoy more photos from this article using the link below.


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