For help, Smith called his mother — who is an interior decorator. She flipped through his books of original Porsche color samples, stopped at the 1955-65 Signal Red sample, and said, “That’s the only color that will work on this car! I know that you don’t want to hear this, but red will look great with all of the brightwork on this car.” Most bright red 911s have black trim accents, so the combination of the deep red paint and stainless trim turned out just like Mom said it would — perfect!
Once the paint and bodywork was finished, Smith installed the glass and other trim. For the most part, the glass is run-of-the-mill early 911 stuff. However, the rear quarter windows are a little different. Instead of the standard pop-out glass, Smith fitted lightweight fixed glass and hand-fabricated his own versions of the no longer available (NLA) lightweight Carrera RS/RSR window trim.
The interior compartments are where the detail freak in Smith came out to play. Let’s start with the steering wheel. As per an original RS, Smith found an unmolested leather-wrapped “appearance package” 380-mm steering wheel from a 914-6. He carefully massaged the leather back to its original supple texture with leather treatment and then applied a thin coating of black dye to restore the original color. The 914-6 horn center was discarded and replaced by an early 912 horn center as used in original S-Ts and RSRs. This horn center was also restored; its chrome bezel was replated while the leather center was refinished.
Moving further into the interior, you will find the aforementioned pair of RSR lightweight Recaro racing buckets. The original door panels and pockets have been swapped for RS panels while the door tops have been discarded completely, a la RSR. Keeping with the lightweight theme, the radio and glovebox door have been deleted, as well. A combination of rubber mats and lightweight felt covers the floors. The rear seats are gone and the back half of the interior has been carefully wallpapered with thin felt. The attention to detail in this car is especially apparent when you look at the perfectly restored seat brackets and hardware, as well as the pristine 1973 Euro seatbelts with subtle orange striping woven through their centers.
The trunk area offers more lessons in detail and nuance. Before coating everything in Signal Red, Smith removed the factory hood struts and fabricated a manual hood strut that hinges on the passenger-side strut tower. Smith drilled a small hole in the inner structure of the hood and then rosette-welded two small washers to the inner structure for the new strut to fit into when the hood is raised.
In place of the car’s original fuel tank is the tank from a late-model 911, chosen for its compatibility with the Motronic fuel-injection system. Throughout the trunk, Smith fabricated small hooks so the spare tire and tools could be fastened by leather straps. When asked where he found the straps, Smith says his father showed him how to make them using supplies purchased at the local tack store!
This 911 would merit coverage if it still had its stock 2.4-liter 911E motor in it, but, of course, it doesn’t. As previously discussed, a 3.8-liter 993 RSR-spec VarioRam engine has been shoe-horned into the E’s engine cavity. The VarioRam induction system was Porsche’s ingenious variable-length intake manifold introduced for the 1995 model year on the Euro 993 Carrera RS and then applied to all normally-aspirated 1996-98 993 Carreras.
The 3.8-liter Carrera RS was worth 300 hp according to the factory, but, on paper, VarioRam only boosted horsepower from 270 to 282 in the 3.6-liter 993s. Its contribution to overall performance, however, is greater than the numbers imply. Histor-ically, intake systems have been a compromise, sacrificing power and torque at one end of the rpm range to improve power and torque at the other.