The Gunther Werks 400R is a half-million-dollar vision of the ultimate air-cooled Porsche 911

SEMA Gunther Werks 400R

Why make yet another Porsche 911-based recreation? To quote Amjad Ali, Sales and Technical Director of Gunther Werks, “This is the ultimate version of the ultimate air-cooled Porsche.”

“This” is the Gunther Werks 400R. What Emory Outlaws are to the 356 and Singer is to the 964, Gunther Werks is to the 993-Series Carrera. As is customary in this corner of the tuning world, nearly everything on the car is modified. Gunther Werks first showed the 400R at this year’s Quail Lodge Motorsports gathering, where it announced a limited run of 25 cars. We met up with Ali and took a closer look at the car during the 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.

Gunther Werks is an offshoot of Vorsteiner, which specializes in carbon-fiber bodywork for European cars. True to the company’s expertise, every body panel on the 400R is molded in carbon fiber except for the doors, which are kept stock to retain the original side impact structure.

Gunther Werks 400R
Gunther Werks 400R rear

The 400R looks comically wide in person (we mean that in a good way), with a 63-inch track front and rear. That’s 2.3 inches wider that the front track on the current 911 Turbo. Ali explains that such a stretch wasn’t actually that difficult, as all 993-generation cars have a second set of suspension mounts, outboard of the stock location that was used for racing variants. All of the rubber in the suspension is removed, which should offer some combination of direct handling response and, well, very little compliance. The vision for the 400R was along the lines of a GT3 RS, with maximum performance as the main criterion.

Ali says 20 copies of the 400R are already spoken for, and he expects the rest to be gone by the end of the year. It’s not a simple manner of finding eligible buyers, though. “We’re vetting the owners, because we want people to drive the car,” he says. “If they’re just going to take it a thousand miles a year, that’s not why we built it.” In a nod to the practicality needed for regular driving, the 400R’s KW suspension has a hydraulic lift feature to keep the nose clean on driveways and speedbumps.

Gunther Werks 400R gauges
Gunther Werks 400R headlight detail
Gunther Werks 400R wheel
Gunther Werks 400R interior wide

As you might guess, the 400 in the name refers to the engine’s 400-horsepower estimate. It’s a 4.0-liter flat-six made by Rothsport Racing, with goodies like coil-on-plug ignition and a MoTeC engine controller. The ECU, combined with a modern GT3 RS muffler (or tailbox, in Porsche parlance), allows for a switchable exhaust mode tied to the engine map. Hit the button for the loud setting, and power increases to 431 hp. Ali says the curb weight is 2,670 pounds with a quarter-tank of gas, which works out to 6.2 pounds per horsepower. The current 911 we just mentioned has a 6.1 ratio in Turbo S form. So yes, the 400R should be quick.

In bringing up comparisons to the 400R and any factory 911, however, it’s worth discussing price. Gunther Werks will charge $525,000 (or more, depending on options) for the conversion, which means you bring them the 993 donor car. That costs bit more than anything Porsche currently offers, but not too far from current prices for a concours-level 993 Turbo S and significantly less than the $1.35 million #1-condition rating for a 993 GT2.

Then again, anybody in the wealth stratosphere to own any of these cars isn’t shopping on price. There will be fewer 400R than most of the high-performance 911s. In the current collector car market where money can buy almost anything, exclusivity is its own certain value. And if you missed out on the 400R or, like most of us, still need that lottery jackpot before you put down a deposit, fear not. This is only the beginning of what presumably will be more from Gunther Werks. Or, as Ali answers the question of what’s next, “I know I didn’t say anything, but I just winked. Stay tuned.”