Porsche just re-built the greatest 993 Turbo ever
After a month-long drip of dramatic teaser images and video clips, no one knew precisely what to expect from Porsche’s Project Gold—a painstakingly restored 993-generation 911 Turbo. Now that it’s been fully revealed, Project Gold is quite possibly the most exquisite 993 Turbo ever built.
Okay, the name is slightly hokey—it brings to mind the Neil Diamond album, or perhaps a plan to rob a Kay Jewelers—but the car’s craftsmanship, potency, attention to detail, and raw magnetism earn it some slack, as does the fact that it’s based on one of the most iconic Porsches of recent decades.
The 993 Turbo sits at a very desirable nexus on the 911’s long, many-branched timeline. It exists in a sort of suspended animation where it feels both classic and bleeding-edge, being the last air-cooled 911 Turbo and the first Turbo to feature the all-wheel drive and twin-turbocharger induction that became trademarks of its successors. It was the first production car with hollow-spoke aluminum wheels and the first 911 to feature an aluminum multilink rear suspension, and it drafted the now-common blueprint for blending violent performance with daily usability. Yet for all its advances, the 993 still boasts a shape more evocative of 1960s and ’70s 911s than those of today.
Created to celebrate the brand’s 70th anniversary, and to show off the Classic department’s restoration expertise, Project Gold 993 took roughly a year and a half and 2500 hours of work to complete. It’s based on an original 993 Turbo body-in-white that Porsche just happened to have sitting in a warehouse. The rear fenders have been punched through to accept the Turbo S air intakes, a feature the regular Turbo wouldn’t offer from the factory until the following 996 generation. Before assembly at the Porsche Classic restoration facility near Stuttgart, the body was treated to a modern corrosion-prevention and priming dip in preparation for several coats of lustrous, hand-sprayed Golden Yellow Metallic paint that is, it must be said, neither gold nor yellow. It’s really more of a burnt orange. Texas fans have to be stoked.
Most of the rest of the car was created with brand-spankin’-new parts plucked from the Porsche Classic catalog, including the all-wheel-drive system and the 3.6-liter flat-six. The latter has been juiced from the standard 400 horsepower to an S-spec 450 thanks to the WLS II powerkit upgrade, WLS standing for Werkleistungs-steigerung, or “factory performance increase.” The beastly six-cylinder and all-wheel-drive grip allowed the standard, 400-horse 993 Turbo to rocket to 60 mph in a stupefying 3.7 seconds in a 1995 Car and Driver test (that was 23 years ago), so Project Gold is plenty quick. The transmission is the correct six-speed manual and is also offered by Porsche Classic, one of 6500 parts claimed to be available for 993s.
And then there are the finer details. The idea was to build a car that’s as authentic to an original example as possible, while still allowing the Project Gold team to get creative. The interior is swathed in black hides hand-sewn with gold thread, including “Turbo” inscriptions on the front headrests, and features Porsche Classic’s period-look navigation system that incorporates a small touchscreen. Portions of the Turbo twist wheels were finished in Golden Yellow Metallic first, then the entire wheel in black; a laser was used on the wheel edges and centers to remove precisely the right amount of black to reveal the hue below. The dash is trimmed in carbon fiber and features a “911 Turbo Classic Series 001/001” plaque on the passenger’s side.
The Classic Series logo also appears on the front fenders, the carbon-fiber door sills, the tachometer, and the louvered engine cover. Black tailpipes and tinted lighting elements weren’t available in period, but the designers added them here because they look so damn good, and they also spent time making sure the colors of the badges and other interior elements were just so. The front trunklid hides a carbon-fiber chassis brace, a customized tool roll, and yards of diamond-stitched black leather. Lastly, the chassis number is hand-stamped and is just one higher than that of the final 993 Turbo that rolled off the line twenty years ago.
Porsche says that for now Project Gold is strictly a one-off, and that it does not signify in any way an intent to get into the restomod business. The car was shown privately to 200 potential customers from all over the globe this week in Monterey, but its public debut will occur at Rennsport Reunion VI on September 27. A month later, on October 27, it will hit the auction block at RM Sotheby’s “Porsche 70th Anniversary Sale” in Atlanta, home to Porsche’s North American headquarters. The proceeds from Project Gold will be exported to Germany and donated to the freshly established Ferry Porsche Foundation, while the new owner will take delivery of the car at the Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen. They’ll also get a customized package that includes a book documenting the build process, a replica chassis plate, a special pen, and a USB stick with more than 1000 photographs of the car from design to final assemble.
Unfortunately for the new owner, this particular 993 Turbo is not street-legal in most countries due to the fact that it’s technically a new 2018 model and does meet the safety regulations required of a modern car. (That said, Porsche says that a U.S.-based owner might be able to bring the car in and register it under the 25-year import rule.) Project Gold is therefore limited to track use, although it’s hard to imagine this car will ever see an apex in anger.
Market values for 993 Turbos have surged in the last five years, with near-perfect, low-mileage cars closing in on $300,000. As a brand-new, essentially zero-mile example finished to the very highest standard, there’s little doubt that Project Gold is already worth considerably more.