Civilized Misfit

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Modern electronic fuel injection managed by a Megasquirt Pro with EDIS ignition control was chosen in the interest of both reliability and performance. The exhaust system consists of SSI heat exchangers and a modified stainless Dansk 2-in 2-out muffler with custom pipes and a magnetic anti-drone valve in the left outlet. This flat six puts its 270 hp to the ground through a magnesium-case 915 five-speed transmission from a 1975 911.

Inside, the interior consists of a 911 ST driver’s seat, a 911 RS passenger seat, a wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel, an iPod compatible retro radio with four speakers, chrome-trimmed gauges, a St. Christophorus medal on dash, door nets from a marine supply store, retractable Schroth harnesses attached to a reinforced firewall, and a shift knob—randomly enough—from a tractor parts box.

Even with all these modifications, this custom-built 911 was fully sorted when it was finished. Wynne is thrilled with the work that Troiani did: “This guy was fastidious. Who goes through an extensive seven-year build like this, and then when it comes out everything works perfectly? It’s amazing. All I’ve had to do was a clutch cable adjustment because it stretched. That’s it!”

But what makes this ride the one that Wynne had been looking for? “What makes this the ‘perfect’ Porsche is that it is a true daily driver,” he says. “It has power windows, air conditioning that works, a heater, and fuel injection.”

Need final proof? Even Wynne’s mother-in-law loves this 911. She gleefully enlisted her minivan and piloted it around as our camera chase car near Mission Inn in Riverside, California. “It’s a lovely Porsche with a nice color and disposition,” she coos. Even the most jaded of R Gruppe members would agree.

On the Road

An early 911 finished in Metallic Blue looks relatively subdued—like something that wouldn’t hurt a fly. Then you open the door, climb inside, twist the key, bring the 3.2-liter six to life with a roar, and realize that this car is a comfy-yet-race-track-ready machine in a nicely tailored suit. Grabbing second gear and pinning the throttle to the floor has you blazing across the asphalt and enjoying the scream of a perfectly tuned flat-six engine.

One of the most enjoyable things about this 911 is its shifter. It feels more like a slick G50 five-speed from a 1987 911 Carrera 3.2 than it does a classic 915 gearbox. It slots home in short defined throws. And it’s in exactly the right location. The new position seems like it should have been this way from when the car left the assembly line! And the expertly appointed interior and seats provide a civilized cocoon in which to nestle into.

The driving experience in this machine is a lot like many high-end, custom-built early 911s I’ve driven because the spirited engine’s torque curve is so linear and the suspension is so capable. Of course, there are 3.2-liter short-stroke engines that have more to give at redline. This one doesn’t rev to 8,000 rpm, either. But it has a flat power curve with pulling power virtually wherever and whenever you want it. You can pull away from a level stop in second gear if you wish. And when you push it through the bends, it corners flat with plenty of compliance. This is a car that’s meant to be driven easily anywhere. It’s just the right blend of grand tourer and track terror.

Some observers have commented that this R Gruppe car resembles something created by some expensive early 911 builders in both its focus and build quality. Indeed, it is like those cars in many ways, but it’s still very much an early 911. It’s not trying to be something it’s not. It’s not a car with huge fender flares. It doesn’t have wheels that look too big. Sure, it lacks the sculpted panels and bespoke amenities of some higher-end restorations. But what it does have is the same attention to detail and a genuine flair for the innovative.

Also from Issue 242

  • 2017 911 Targa 4S
  • 2017 Panamera Turbo
  • Market Update: 911 Turbos
  • Revived 914-6 Racer
  • Kussmaul recalls Le Mans 1983
  • The Story Behind the First Open 911
  • Porsche Parade 2016
  • 1957 Denzel
  • Porsche Ignitions
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