Okay, maybe you’ve heard about or even experienced the oversteer associated with short-wheelbase 911s and with early 930s coming on boost. Well, compared to Princeton Wong’s 993, those cars are sunset walks on the beach. My “Are you freaking kidding me?!” as the rear steps out is immediately followed by “Wheeeeee!”
Self-preservation instincts quickly kick in, though. What surprised me in the last corner demands subsequent respect. While rear-end traction might be improved by softening the rear suspension relative to the front, it’s possible that the car’s owner likes it this way! Either way, I’m left with a stupid grin on my face, blathering something to Jason about this being the most brutally raw street 911 I’ve driven.
“Yeah, it’s funny,” he replies. “Princeton’s personality is nothing like the car he built. He’s a really laid-back, easygoing guy.”
“Yeah, that’s pretty much true,” chuckles Princeton when I talk to him a few weeks later. “I’m pretty quiet. Usually, anyway.” In 2002, as a University of Houston sophomore, Princeton began looking for a 911 as an afterschool project. He had just sold a tea/smoothie shop in Austin and was seeking something to fill his free time and satiate an interest in things mechanical.
“At first, I looked for a pre-1975 911 chassis to completely rebuild myself, so I wouldn’t have to worry about emissions as much. But, somehow I ended up with a ’96.” Since he was starting with a 35,000-mile 993 Carrera, he altered his plans: “It was a really good example, so I thought I should keep it relatively stock and not mess up one of the last air-cooled 911s.” Weekend jaunts through the Hill Country west of Austin and the occasional track day kept the 993 well exercised. “I drove it mostly as-is for not quite a year. I put in small modifications — racing seats, steering wheel, harnesses — pretty mild stuff.”
A minor fender bender led to a rethink. He had already been hanging around the shop that Jason co-owned at the time, Autologic. Peer pressure soon overwhelmed Princeton: “I kept seeing these super-modified Hondas and NSXs, and I started thinking about that for my car.”
His first step was to ditch the mufflers in favor of straight pipes coming off stock headers, exiting on either side of the license plate. Inspiration there came from Porsche 935s, Kremer examples in particular. Says Princeton: “I love the raw look of all the mechanicals hanging in plain view (from the rear of) those race cars.”