914-6: Transformer

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  • Carbon fiber and 3.6 liters of power
  • A unique take on the Outlaw Porsche
  • A showcase of Porsche's dual personality
  • Updating done the right way
  • Not powerful, but well balanced
  • Built for the rough stuff by Tuthill
  • Courage, defined
  • The ears have it: Yes, it's worth it.
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An 80-percent limited-slip differential was added, along with a short-shift linkage made up by Bobby Graham (a fabricator who worked near Danny McLoughlin’s shop), and special axles with what JT terms “big velocity joints.” That pretty much took care of the driveline; now all that was left was to find suspension that could handle the massively expanded potential of this newly super-endowed 914.

With mechanical commonality on his side, JT could look for available Porsche suspension and brake pieces, so that’s what he did. Discarding the front torsion bar springs of the original 914s, he opted for coil-over struts from the 3.0-liter 911 RSR in front, and double-adjustable Koni coilovers in the rear—essentially a copy of the setup he’d raced with at Sebring in what he describes as a “914-6 home-made”.

To slow all this race-derived action down, JT chose 917/30 brakes up front with Porsche ventilated cross drilled and rotationally vented rotors. On the back went vented and cross-drilled 911 rear rotors and Hurst Airheart calipers with a smaller piston to keep brake force in balance.

He explains: “I did a lot of work with Porsche with this particular part of the car so that I was sure the brakes worked right. I didn’t care what brake I used so long as we did not run a proportioning valve on the brakes like the original 914-6 did. I thought that I could do a lot better by using a bigger front brake and a smaller rear brake.

“What I was looking for was basically 70/30 front-to-rear brake force. So, I went with a caliper that provided the same amount of piston area that I wanted. And this is the combination I came up with. In front I used a 917/30 setup that is basically the same as the one on a Porsche 935.”

The hubs JT chose have 72mm quick-change studs in them for fast wheel changes, a decision that involves turning down the studs for fast acceptance of wheel-gun driven wheel nuts. As JT notes, “All the trick stuff took tons of time.”

For wheels JT turned to Centerline, acquiring 11×15-in. fronts and 15×15-in. rears, but admits he also likes Gotti wheels because he had once raced a 935 with them. The car’s current owner, Franklin Wong, will continue to run with the wheels he has fitted now.

In fact, Wong bought the car from JT before the project was ever completed, planning to finish the assembly project in short order. After setting the car up as a runner, fate interjected in the form of Wong’s first child, which, as he freely admits, changed his priorities. Playing with cars and risking injury or worse during motorsport activities suddenly seemed inappropriate. And so the 914-6 was put into storage, and any ongoing restoration took a back seat.

A great deal ot time was spent authenticating the chain of custody of the car and the Ginther Sponsor DNA…but one thing we were not able to clarify until lately was the #34. In the end, we were told by an insider that this was simply “Richie’s number.” And yet there’s an amusing contradiction in the car’s present form. The car never actually raced in IMSA or any other events in its current iteration, and it is now no longer in its race-winning SCCA configuration.

So we can probably expect the purists to argue that the car’s real historical significance has been obscured by its remarkable new ultra-high performance identity—a form in which the car accomplished nothing more than a metamorphosis, a radical mutation of what we expect to see in a 914-6.

Is it better now? Unquestionably. Does it turn heads in its new supercar incarnation? You bet it does. And finally, will the serious Porschephiles care? That, friends, is entirely up to you.

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