Speedball 964

An air-cooled Speedster with turbo power

July 24, 2014
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If it weren’t for a crying two-year-old and a mild case of insomnia, Todd Dakarmen wouldn’t have been up at 3:00 am scrolling through car listings like he was counting sheep. His initial searches for collectible ’89 and ’94 Turbos came up empty. Undaunted, he modified his search to 1994 911s. What came up sent a jolt of adrenaline through his arteries because it seemed to be a case of too good to be true: a ’94 Speedster with 100,000 miles on the clock and a “Buy It Now” price of $30,000. He pressed “Buy” and then actually managed to get to sleep.

When Dakarmen woke up a few hours later, he got a call from the seller asking him he if he’d been drinking the night before, when he bought the car at 3:00 am. It turned out that the two knew each other: Dakarmen is the owner of LA Dismantler, one of the largest Porsche dismantlers in the country, and he had been selling parts to the owner of the Speedster, a car dealer, for many years.

Dakarmen went to look at the car and found it checked out as a numbers-matching car with a well-documented service history. The body and interior showed a little wear, but that didn’t concern him because, at the time, he already owned a ’94 Speedster with 4,000 miles and an ’89 Speedster with 3,000 miles. This one, he figured, would be enjoyed on a regular basis, with less concern about its preservation and resale value.

Over the next two years that he owned the car, which became known internally as the “Speedball,” one of Dakarmen’s friends constantly hounded him to sell it. He would always turn him down, until one day he gave in. From there, it didn’t take long for new owner Bob Wake to put his touches on the car.

Wake removed the soft top and installed a Strosek hardtop. Then came a set of made-to-spec H&R coil overs, brakes from a 993 Turbo, a set of 18-inch Ruf wheels and front uprights from a 993 GT2 Evo.

As the car moved further and further away from stock, the two talked about what was needed to give it some much-needed edge. That, of course, was more power. The thought of swapping in a VarioRam engine from a 993 was tossed around. That idea changed when Dakarmen acquired a wrecked 993 Turbo. In exchange for the Speedster’s engine, gearbox, and some cash, Dakarmen sold Wake the Turbo’s engine and a six-speed, two-wheel drive gearbox.

Installing the Turbo’s engine meant the original decklid had to go in order to make room for the new engine’s intercooler. Instead of using a decklid from an earlier or later Turbo, Wake decided to design and build one himself. While that may seem like a daunting exercise, for Wake it’s literally something he does every day as a Design, Color and Fabrication consultant at the VW/Audi Design Studio California in Santa Monica. Wake said he put on a ducktail from the mid-’70s and scanned it with a 3D camera to get the base dimensions. After some fine-tuning on the computer, Wake created a one-of-a-kind, fiberglass, ducktail spoiler that looks like it could’ve come from the factory.

Also from Issue 222

  • TechArt 991 Turbo S
  • A 1957 356 A Coupe with gunslinger DNA
  • Porsche Parade 2014
  • Rite of Passage Turbo-look 911
  • Porsche’s surprising role in Formula Vee
  • A 993 RSR gets a second lease on life
  • A 1977 911 becomes a Driver Education gem
  • Studiotorino Cayman
  • The father of the 993 speaks
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