The first thing to go out of fashion is fashion, and the passage of time is seldom kind to so-called trendsetters. But when a design looks just as good ten years later as the day it was minted, you know it’s a winner. And if it still looks good 30+ years later, you have a classic on your hands. On that score, the elegant 964-gen 911 is a modern classic, and the smooth organic lines of renowned German car designer Vittorio Strosek’s 964 conversion of 1989 and the follow-on wide-body Mega version of 1991 have not dated despite the passage of over three decades.
Strosek is the designer whose creations put renowned tuners such as Koenig Specials, FAB Design, and Novitec Rosso on the world stage. A 1970 graduate of the famous Wuppertal design school, Vittorio worked for the legendary Luigi Colani before starting Strosek Autodesign in 1982. Within a year, he had created the wide-body style for the Koenig Specials Ferrari 365 GT4 BB that quickly became its signature style and the inspiration for many other auto styling companies of this era, such as Rieger and Kerscher Tuning.
Strosek developed his own Porsche tuning program that debuted with the 928 in 1983 and added the 944 in 1986. He then embraced the 964 after its 1989 debut. Today, we look at one of Strosek’s most remarkable creations that also happens to be an update on a modern classic: the 964-based Mega 30.
Vittorio Strosek created the Strosek Mega 30 in 2021 to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of his wide-body 964 conversion that first broke cover in 1991. However, due to the Covid pandemic, it took some time until we could get behind the wheel. While paying homage to the smooth original, the latest version also benefits from the intervening years that gave Strosek time to think about how it could be further finessed.
The original Mega used automotive-grade glass reinforced plastic (GRP) for the wider front and rear arches bolted and bonded to the steel shell, respectively. Customers can now have the Mega conversion with the same material or stronger and lighter (albeit costlier) carbon fiber.
“As the 964 is now a classic, I did not want to change the character of the car or my original conversion, just update and improve it,” Strosek explained. The optional Strosek flat-nose version that features small Hella DE-style lights has also moved on and now uses LED technology. While Strosek has subtly updated the looks of his Mega, the “go to match the show” consists of period tweaks with a sprinkling of modern ECU tech on top.
When you apply period hardware tuning methods like high-lift camshafts, a sports exhaust, and an uprated clutch, you both feel and hear the difference in more ways than the mere increase in power and torque that re-writing a few lines of code offers today. Those were the early days of the advanced technology age, where electronic fuel injection and fully-mapped ignition could take most of the sting out of big cams with significant overlap.
For the engine work, Strosek called on Christian Paintmayer, a highly respected Porsche road and race engine specialist located east of Munich and about 60 miles from Strosek’s headquarters by the Ammersee lake. Paintmayer’s team completely rebuilt the flat-six, increasing its displacement from 3.6 to 3.8 liters. Then the cylinder heads were CNC machined to optimize gas flow and combustion chamber volume, and a three-angle grind was applied to the valves and their seats.
The engine’s breathing was enhanced with 993 VarioRam intake manifolds, and the bigger lungs were matched with uprated Bosch fuel injectors. Schrick high-lift camshafts make full use of the extra fuel and air, while at the other end of the combustion process, a set of headers and a sports exhaust extract the spent gases more efficiently to the tune of a deeper, more inspirational soundtrack.
Tucked neatly inside the OE Bosch Motronic ECU housing, Paintmayer’s own programmable engine control electronic suite looks after the bespoke fuelling and spark curves. Dialed in to perfection on the dyno, their hand-built 3.8-liter engine showed a healthy 350 hp, an impressive 100 hp more than the stock 3.6 when it left the factory in 1991.
Back in 1990, the stock 17-inch and 18-inch Porsche wheels were a big deal. Strosek used 18-inch three-piece OZ Racing Futura alloys, which look small by today’s standards. However, what you have to remember is that the factory suspension was designed for particular wheel and tire sizes, and the rapid development in tire technology, sizes, and profiles is not always suitable for older cars.
The wide arch flares undoubtedly need uprated suspension and big wheels and tires to fill them out properly and give the car its wide, purposeful stance. Strosek pushes the boat out with 9.0J x 19-inch and 11.0J x 19-inch wheels shod with the latest Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber in 245/30ZR19 and 295/25ZR19 sizes, which make extra room for big Brembo brakes. The ET31 and ET3 offsets place the wheels perfectly in the arches, so no spacers are necessary.
Made exclusively for Strosek, these five-hole deep dish wheels are a 21st century re-imagining of his original 1990 design. At a glance, they appear to be one-piece monoblock wheels, but they are actually three-pieces and feature a center CNC-milled out of a single block of alloy, married to the main barrel and outer rim by hidden fastenings. Polished to a chrome-like finish, these outer rims help to give the simple and elegant wheels their strong visual definition.
The original Strosek cars from the early 1990s chased better handling with H&R springs, Bilstein dampers, and H&R anti-roll bars. But suspension technology has moved on a long way in three decades. The new car uses KW V3 coil-overs that feature race-style height adjustable spring pans and variable bounce and rebound settings. The front suspension is also fitted with KW adjustable top mounts and a carbon-fiber strut brace.
With such a wide range of adjustment, the KW V3 allows the driver to go from comfortable everyday road use to track-day set-up with one suspension system. Set up for the former, it exhibits a decent secondary ride around town despite the big wheels and tires, with rock-solid control on fast country roads.
Behind the Wheel
First things first, and basic cabin ergonomics are a big deal for me. For example, while modern 911s offer a rake and reach adjustable steering column, that is not the case with the F, G, 964, and 993-gen 911 models. Thus, I really appreciate the classic deep-dish Momo sports steering wheel on this car, whose Alcantara-clad rim sits a good three inches further back than the stock wheel. This is particularly critical for achieving the correct driving position with the lightweight bucket seats whose one-piece construction imposes a fixed backrest angle. Passive safety is enhanced by the half roll-cage dominating the rear compartment.
Thanks to the sports exhaust, the big flat-six engine starts with a throaty bark that amplifies the distinctive note of this M64 version. Within the first few feet, the sounds and sensations from the engine, and indeed the messages reaching your fingertips and seat of the pants from the steering and chassis take you right back to a time when a tuner’s work unleashed the wilder, more visceral side of a base car. The lightened, single-mass flywheel significantly enhances throttle response. I tentatively explore the line between clutch take-up point and metering in the required amount of accelerator pressure for a clean step off.
Once we are on the move, everything falls into place, and the car feels all of a piece as I shift up through the gears. Round shifter knobs are the best shape as they work from every angle. Aided here by a crisp short-shift mechanism it operates the G50 gearbox like a well-oiled rifle bolt. Uprated engine mounts also help with gearshift precision under load.
Thanks to the displacement bump, low-end torque is strong despite the hot cams, and past 2,500 rpm, you are really cooking with gas. Power builds strongly, and you don’t need more than 4,500 rpm in everyday driving on the street to make rapid progress. However, today we are out in the open country with minimal traffic and good sight lines through the bends, so I open the taps and explore the redline in second and third gears. With 102 mm pistons and a short 76.4 mm stroke, this engine is very over-square, hence its propensity for high revs. It sings round to the redline with alacrity, the strong push from the potent engine underpinned by the mellifluous growl behind your head.
While turning 964’s into Strosek Mega 30 Anniversary models may seem like a crime to some purists, each car will also have provenance as one of the 30 limited edition continuations of the limited run Vittorio Strosek built when the 964 was new. This it is a remarkable machine in many ways, and its impressive 3.8-liter engine is the icing on the cake.