WESTWORLD | G-Series Porsche 911
Words Simon Jackson Photography Luke Ray.
Western Australia has become a hotbed for beautifully reworked 911s, as this custom G Series perfectly illustrates.
Australia’s custom car culture is vibrant, diverse and stylish. Much of its influences seem to fuse the best of American, European and Far Eastern tastes no matter the brand or type of vehicle canvass in question. There’s a big Stateside influence, but it’s not all big capacity motors and American iron, nor is it strictly domestic Holdens and Commodores as you might first expect – not of late anyway. In recent times it seems that anything goes on the Australian scene, even Porsches, and there’s a genuine finesse to the reworked cars emerging from down under. A case in point, so far as Porsches go at least, is Perth, Western Australia. It’s one of a growing number of places across the world offering something unique when it comes to utterly bespoke 911s. In short it has fast become a leading light in the world of customised outlaw and backdate 911s.
The latest such vehicle to fit that description is this 1976 G-Series 911, a car that started life in Australia, delivered to market as a right-hand-drive Aussie car, these days however it bears little relation to its former self. That much you will have already noticed.
The builder explains: “The car’s owner is Beau Franklin, Beau is based in Sydney on the other side of the country but he had seen some of the stuff we’d done, he liked our style and so we went from there.”
The guys were already in possession of the 911 you see here, as a rolling chassis at least, a good basis for a project if ever there was one, and so in 2015 the two – customer and car – were joined. In short order a grand plan for the car’s rebirth was hatched.
“We decided that the deadline for the build would be the Australian Porsche Rennsport Festival of 2016, which takes place in Sydney during the month of April. That gave us about 12 months to get the car together, and then we had to get it across the other side of the country!”
The concept for the build was somewhat all-encompassing, a one trick pony this car would certainly not be.
“We wanted to build a car that could be driven, one that could cruise the northern beaches of Sydney, or that could have some fun on tarmac rally events, such as the Targa Tasmania for example.”
Make no mistake from that mission statement however, this car was not to be an out-and-out racer, it would need to be useable too – though you may well have already spotted its rather racey full bolt-in rollcage. Rest assured behind that aggressive appearance though you’ll soon discover a few creature comforts tailored for use on the road.
“The brief was pretty simple. The car had to be wide, with an aggressive outlaw stance, it needed a big motor, big brakes and to sound good!”
In order to achieve the end goal, they fitted an interior functional on the circuit, yet trimmed to be comfortable during use on the street. By the same token it also mated the shell with a suspension setup supple and pliant enough to be useable on the road, yet one that could also be tuned for stiffness while driving on track.
“The build went pretty smoothly. Each step of the way we stayed in touch with Beau, between us we nutted-out the finer details of the build as the car began to take shape.”
The body was stripped back to a bare shell, the tub was media blasted, then the car was setup on a rotisserie for the next laborious stage of the restoration and reworking process.
“We went with the IROC-style body, this is a G-Series car so we didn’t want to do a complete backdate with it. The wheel arches we built in steel as fibreglass can take a beating on rally events when you’re running sticky specification tyres on loose gravel.”
When finished the bodywork was shot in a Porsche 936 silver, so we’re told, and while the interior is described as “pretty basic”, in our book it’s timeless. Comprising seats of a period aesthetic from BF Torino, retrimmed with Houndstooth cloth inserts, it ticks boxes. There are RS-style carpets and door trims inside too.
A 911 that looks like this should not be of the ‘all mouth, no trousers’ vein, and happily this one is not. For the engine the team started with the 3.6-litre air-cooled unit from the 964, from there things got more serious. The block was bored out to a 3.8-litre capacity and rebuilt with“good internals”, by that largely meaning a GT3 oil pump, JE pistons, and GE80 cams were fitted. The car presently runs PMO 50mm carburettors. “The exhaust is a pair of race headers and a muffler we fabricated in a hurry as the first set of mufflers we ran were way too noisy for road use,”
The later, and some say more user friendly, 915 gearbox was mated to the mill in conjunction with a limited slip differential and Wevo shifter. This car’s suspension largely hails from Stateside Porsche specialist, Elephant Racing, its catalogue providing Von Shocks coilovers both front and rear, adjustable anti-roll bars and a strut brace to ensure the ride and handling of Beau’s baby was on point. The brakes came from a 996 GT3 attached to the G-Series with adapters. In front of them sit Fuchs replica wheels, these are 17-inches in diameter all round but staggered in width, being nine-inches up front and 11-inches at the rear. And a machined-up set of custom ‘iron cross’ centre caps as a bit of fun. At each corner you’ll find sticky Toyo R-specification rubber.
“The car was finished with barely enough time to make the trip across the country. We set off for Sydney with only dyno time on the motor, and a quick blast down the road before loading it up on the trailer and heading East for Rennsport.”
With a cargo that was something of an unknown in terms of setup, the guys spent four days on the road (such is the vast nature of Australia), covering almost 2,500 miles in total. “We had couple of near misses with some local wildlife, but we made it to rural New South Wales to meet with Beau and shake the car down at Wakefield Park raceway,” we’re told.
Of course any number of issues might have arisen at this juncture, aside from dodging Dingo dogs the team had travelled with a car that was not fully tested, one that the client had yet to see at that.
“Meeting Beau and seeing the smile on his face after he came in from his first drive made the long drive, late nights and all the hard work worthwhile. We knew right away that the car was going to a good home!”
Tested and now a proven quantity, the team cleaned the car up and headed to the Rennsport show for what they describe as “an awesome weekend” - most certainly Aussie speak for a very good time. “We met Magnus Walker and got to see a couple of cool Porsche Museum cars up close; the Martini liveried 1977 935-77, and the LMP1 car that won the Le Mans 24-hour race in the late 1990s”.
This car is perhaps more than the sum of its parts. Not only does it clearly demonstrate what a skilled Porsche specialist is capable of, but also it does its bit for putting the breadth and talent of the Australian custom car scene as a whole on show to the rest of the world. This best of both worlds 911 won’t be the last Porsche you’ll see coming out of Perth.
This article first appeared in issue 190 of GT Porsche Magazine.