Sledgehammer

Also from Issue 198

  • Driving the base Boxster
  • Rennsport Reunion IV
  • Johannes van Overbeek drives a 935 at RRIV
  • 1958 356 Speedster
  • 1967 911R
  • 1984 Carrera Cabriolet Turbo Look
  • Brumos' Grand-Am Champs 2011
  • Track Day 101
  • Five Lugs or Bust
Buy Excellence-198-cover
Sledgehammer 1
Sledgehammer 2
Sledgehammer 3
Sledgehammer 4
Sledgehammer 5
Sledgehammer 6
Sledgehammer 7
Sledgehammer 8
Sledgehammer 9
Sledgehammer 10

All said, the 934 — also known as the Turbo RSR — lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife 15 seconds faster than the normally-aspirated Carrera RSR 3.0. Not that it was an easy drive. Derek Bell called the 934 “a nasty little beast.” Others were less charitable. Revered in diehard Porsche circles as one of the last road racers to retain its road-going roots, the 934’s shocking yet superlative styling and supreme hammerability leaves minds agape.

Recreating such factory idols provides an attainable outlet to the nostalgic, as a real factory 934 will run you into something approaching seven figures — assuming you can find one. North Carolina physician Justin Broughton’s affinity for motorsport classics has left him surrounded by vintage Italian motorcycles and assorted purpose-built Por­sches. His 930 was born in 1979 in special-order Kiln Red, which he says may be limited to a handful of cars.

Broughton had other ideas for his 930, and they didn’t include standard specifications. Tony Miller of Noir Tech in Whittier, California rebuilt the 3.3-liter flat six up with flame-ringed 935 pistons on shot-peened and nitrited connecting rods. 934 cam­shafts and 934 headers were installed, as were titanium valve springs and retainers. The latter reside in single-plug, ported, and polished Carrera 3.2 cylinder heads.

A Carrera 3.2 intake manifold, an Aero­motive fuel-pressure regulator, and a TEC GT electronic fuel-injection system handle induction duties, with crank-triggered ignition firing Electromotive coil packs. In the spirit of old-school, lag-tastic turbos, an IKS/Garrett hybrid turbocharger was fitted, its custom-machined housing aimed at a KKK 33 equivalent. The turbo­charger feeds a massive Protomotive intercooler, and boost is regulated by a cockpit-adjustable knob and TiAL wastegate.

The sum, says Broughton, is 535 rear-wheel horsepower and 490 rear-wheel lb-ft of torque at 1.0 bar of boost pressure. That’s transferred to the original 930 four-speed transmission through a Tilton racing clutch before it’s sent to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential.

With 100-octane gasoline and a skewed sense of sanity, Broughton says he can dial the in-cockpit boost controller — which he affectionately calls “Dial-a-Death” — safely to 1.2 bar for north of 600 rear-wheel horsepower. Stock front torsion bars and coil-over rear suspension help control the movements of the 17×10 and 17×13 Fikse wheels, which are shod in 245/35R17 front tires and 335/30R17 rears.

Brough­ton uses his 930/934 hard and often. He’s driven it cross country but, living in North Carolina, he runs the car more frequently on the infamous Tail of the Dragon and surrounding switchbacks. His view: The car represents all that made Porsche’s Turbos so amazingly great in the first place — a single-minded pursuit of speed with a take-no-prisoners, unholy rawness born of a win-at-all-costs attitude and built around those incredulous, turbo­charged flat sixes.

To him, his creation is sheer Porsche sensory-overload, and he confesses to feeling a bit like Derek Bell at Le Mans every time he drives the car to work. Which takes us back to Al Holbert again, who once proclaimed, “With the Turbo, it always seems like I am out of control in the damn thing. That’s the only way it goes fast. Slide it into a corner, get it pointed in the direction you want to go — which lets you get on the power much earlier.”

Flooring the gas pedal pre-apex to account for turbo lag and to initiate throttle steer, I’m slingshotted off each apex of Carolina Motorsports Park with a thunderous surge as cars behind us are still braking. I’d like to think Holbert would be smiling. Entering the paddock, an indelible Cheshire grin is inscribed across my face, which feels as though it’s been distorted by accelerative, decelerative, and cornering g.

Those abnormalities will subside, but the effect on my soul is perspective-altering. Devoid of sensor this and driver-aid that, this old Porsche is a sledgehammer-shaped tool that reminds you that this is the way it is supposed to be…

Connect with Excellence:   Facebook Twitter