“At one point in the process, Rich suggested a long-wheelbase 911 R clone,” Morrissey mentions, noting the prevalence of R-inspired bits, “But, I really felt strongly that I didn’t want to do a clone. I wanted influences of the different cars I’d come to respect, to make it my car, my statement.”
The SC’s rear fender flares remained, though ROCS gave them a subtly rounder look. “We hammered off the crease in the SC flare, we rolled it, we body-filed, and we filled with lead to get the current curvature,” Goncalves says. Providing further aesthetic distance from the R, four Cibie Pallas lamps were mounted, rally style, along the front of the 911. For the headlights, short-wheelbase assemblies were sourced, and filling those out are something you could find on a 911 R—vintage Cibie Biode lamps. Furthering this theme, the two-in, three-out rally reproduction muffler added raciness. Notes Morrissey, “It has caps. The idea was that, if you’re doing a stage in a residential area, you could cap the two center pipes and leave one open.”
The Weber 40 IDA 3C carbs were placed atop a 3.0 that was rebuilt prior to acquisition by ROCS. Goncalves and his team port-matched the manifolds, completely resealed and detailed the powerplant, and installed Wevo engine mounts. Per Morrissey’s request, the fan was left in its raw state rather than ceramic coated. A Sachs aluminum sport clutch replaced the original. Morrissey opted for an MSD ignition box and coil, noting, “I’m not completely sold on having everything look period. I’ve never really been afraid to throw a more modern piece in, here and there.”
Turning to the transmission, Morrissey continues, “It’s the stock 915 box, but I really wanted to beef it up a little bit, so we sent it off to Wevo,” he says, referring to that company’s maincase reinforcement insert modification. Wevo supplied new transmission mounts as well. ROCS then rebuilt the gearbox in-house and substituted a 7:31 ring and pinion (as seen in early 915 gearboxes) for the stock 8:31, thus shortening the gearing without the significantly greater expense of replacing each gear set. ROCS also installed and adjusted a Quaife torque-biasing differential to suit Morrissey’s sporty desires.
A recent addition to the existing Bilstein Sport shocks and Turbo tie rods is a new Tarret suspension, including polybronze bushing sets, front and rear RSR-style swaybars and drop links, adjustable spring plates from Elephant Racing, and front monoball camber plates. ROCS re-indexed the stock torsion bars and lowered the car to complete this work. “The car doesn’t really need much else. Its dynamics are good, the car is really light, and it handles great,” notes Goncalves.
Budget considerations also came into play when attention shifted to the 911’s interior. “I had the opportunity to purchase an original 10,000-rpm tachometer, but it was $900. I was able to save money by having the gauges done at North Hollywood Speedometer and Clock,” mentions Morrissey, also pointing out the 180-mph speedometer.
Original Recaros were likewise not in the budget, so Morrissey called Stefan Schleissing at GTS Classics for a pair of ST reproduction seats. Says Goncalves, “The seats are mounted lower. When we tried the stock (mount points), they sat too tall. Mark’s head was on the roof, and his knees were on the steering wheel. We removed the factory mounting points and made new ones.”
ROCS stripped the dash and wrapped it with black microsuede, shielding off the vents and deleting the glovebox door. Black Perlon felt from Appbiz replaced the stock carpeting, and a simple white perforated headliner was installed. A nearly cabin-wide, multi-panel rearview mirror took the place of the stock mirror, greatly enhancing rear visibility. RSR door panels also came from Appbiz, and Goncalves replaced the power window mechanism in both doors with manual cranks. Plastic 911 R door handles were sourced and reinforced on the backside to avoid inevitable breaking. The stock clock location was modified to house a battery cutoff switch.
Finally, ROCS backdated the steering column to accommodate an early solid Momo hub. In the car now is a rare, 1968-vintage 370mm Momo Prototipo steering wheel. Earlier in the build, a Formula 1 Enterprises Real Wheel made by Momo came from Goncalves’ own car and helped provide impetus for Morrissey’s fascination with early Momo wheels (Excellence #206).
The final product tips the scales at 2,180 lb with a quarter tank of fuel. Given the preponderance of weight removed from the front of the car, weight distribution remains a surprising 37/63, front/rear. While that’s more rearward-biased than a stock SC’s roughly 40/60 numbers, it remains marginally “forward” of a 964’s or 993’s weight distribution. One thing’s for sure: On a back road, with some space to run, this 911 will be precisely the spirited handful it looks to be….precisely the spirited handful it should be.
“It wasn’t a fully-conceived concept right from the beginning. It was really a process; ideas came and went and changed during the years I’ve had it,” admits Morrissey of the project. And since he’s not limited by clone adherence, there remains plenty of room for future development as his concept continues to evolve.