Chimera

Dissecting a monster of a wide-body 964

January 21, 2016
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Call it the Weissach Wiggle—that momentary sidewise shimmy to which rear-drive 911s are famously susceptible when accelerating or cornering full bore over fractured pavement. Sometimes it simply furnishes a quaint reminder of the Porsche’s long-serving driveline configuration, while on other occasions—such as now, somewhere north of 130 on a cursorily maintained airport feeder road—it’s just eye-buggingly, pant-loadingly terrifying. Fortunately our driver, car owner Otto Bergés, is an old hand at this sort of thing, and we make it back to the site of our photo shoot to savor the ticking of hot metal and the faint whiff of oil on exhaust as the South Florida sun slips below the distant pines.

For a tyro Porsche-phile like your author, on loan from Excellence sister pub Corvette Magazine, Bergés’ 1991 Turbo Coupe can only be viewed as a true trial-by-fire introduction to the marque. For while the nose-mounted Cibies and tumescent wheel flares may suggest the famous 911 race machines of the 1970s, this is no half-baked tribute or slavishly rendered “clone” car. Rather, it represents nothing less than the radical reimagining of the 964 platform, as interpreted by one unrelentingly creative enthusiast.

Conception

Our journey to decode the genesis of this project takes us on an oversea voyage, albeit it a rather more limited one than you might expect. Instead of the Swabian foothills of Baden-Württemberg, we alight on the sultry Caribbean island of Hispaniola, where Bergés spent his formative years.

“When I was five, my father bought his first Porsche, a white 1973 911 Targa,” says Bergés, now an attorney in the tony SoFla city of Fort Lauderdale. “I thought it was the coolest, nicest, fastest, sportiest car around. [I’d] been going to the races since I could walk because my father headed the organization behind motorsports in the Dominican Republic for many years…[so] I grew up very close to racing.

“The local racing hero, Luis Mendez, always drove to the track in a white 911 Turbo,” he continues. “I saw that car at least once a week during my childhood years, since he always parked it in front of his speed shop in the middle of the city. When it came time for me to [buy] a Porsche, I wanted it to be white because of [those two cars].”

That time would not arrive until much later, after Bergés had served stints in a variety of lesser European machines that even included one of Maserati’s notoriously unreliable (and occasionally self-immolating) Biturbo coupes. When it did, in March 2010, he quickly narrowed his field of candidates to include the one 911 model that encompassed his desired blend of classic looks and modern functionality: the 1990-1994 964 Turbo.

Also from Issue 235

  • 2016 Cayman GT4 & 911 GT3 RS at Road Atlanta
  • A very special 1973 911 Carrera 2.7 RS
  • Market Update: 911 GT2 & GT3
  • A 968 Turbo RS and a 968 Club Sport meet up
  • Carrera 3.2-powered 1973 914
  • The Porsche-Behra
  • Ferry, Butzi & Bott
  • The former Formula One star talks Porsches
  • Mission E
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