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The Volpatti GT Homage | Porsche 964 Carrera 4

The Volpatti GT Homage | Porsche 964 Carrera 4

Words Karlee Sangster Photography Luke Ray

"Boys look, a 911. That's my favourite car!" With that, Jeremy Volpatti’s father had unknowingly ignited a passion and inspired a build that would do any parent proud. The idea came to them over a coffee. Jeremy and his brothers were no strangers to ambitious projects and had owned their fair share of vehicles. “Certainly having brothers who are eight and ten years older helps. There was always something cool in the garage at Mum and Dad’s - from Monaros to Toranas, Brock Commodores and eventually 911s. If it had wheels we were into it. Over the years BMX bikes were replaced by motor cross bikes which in turn were replaced by cars once I was old enough to hold a licence.

Jeremy had always loved the 911. “It’s the definitive sports car. I’m sure most kids would have had a poster of a red 911 Turbo on their bedroom walls at some stage. The 964 is the perfect combination of the classic lines of the earlier cars and technology that was way ahead of its time; ABS, traction control and a clever AWD system derived from the 959 supercar. It has all the creature comforts too; air-con that actually works, stereo and power steering, things which the older 911s do without. I love its compact size, smaller than a VW Golf but with 3.6 litres of glorious-sounding flat six stuffed in the back.”

It had been some years since Jeremy had owned a Porsche. “I got talking to my brother over a post-ride coffee and within twenty minutes I’d come up with a plan, one that would get chins wagging. I had a clear vision and soon the hunt was on for a donor car,” Jeremy recalls. “It was April 2014 and after speaking to a few workshops about the project, I’d narrowed it down to Autohaus Hamilton. I knew they were up to the task, having dealt with them many moons ago. We teed up a meeting and by the end of it we had a spec sheet and rough sketch. Just days later I received a rendering via email...it was obvious that they were just as enthusiastic about doing the project as I was. Just one problem though, no donor car! It was just as the 911 market was starting to go nuts, so a good donor was hard to come by. People were snapping them up from the classifieds, sight-unseen. I’d heard them being referred to as “unicorns” and that description is not far off. Fortunately within a few weeks Autohaus came up with the goods courtesy of another customer of theirs who had bought another 911 and needed to shift the 964.”

Placing his full trust in the Autohaus crew, Jeremy set them to work. “The inspiration was an RS, hence the badge, but modernised,” he explains. “If Porsche had built a GT3 in 1990, this is what it’d be, not too loud, not too harsh, air conditioning, radio, something you could drive everyday.”

They had a decent starting point - the donor car was bog stock. “A Carrera 4,” he says. “It was quite a neat car, very straight. You could have just spent a few bob just fixing bits and pieces on it, but as you can see, I had other plans for it. A few things changed along the way; but the idea of a GT3 was always there. I toyed with the idea of a back-date, making it look like a ’73 RS, but it’d been done before. We had a brainstorming session with Sergio at Autohaus and sketched it up. It stayed pretty true to the pictures with just a few changes.”

“Virtually everything is either new or refurbished. The majority of work is underneath where you can’t see it; steering, brakes, suspension, drivetrain and of course a potent ITB-fed 3.6 litre engine,” Jeremy explains. “On the outside it’s been resprayed in 997 Grey Black paint, every last rubber was replaced (51 pieces at last count), a duck tail added, side indicators removed, 993 mirrors added, the brake ducts reside where the original fog lights once were and headlights, tail lights and indicators were replaced. On the inside, the original burgundy interior is gone, in its place is new carpet, a roll cage, Sparco racing buckets, Sparco steering wheel, Schroth harnesses, and hand-stitched alcantara dash, console, shift boot and door tops. A Bluetooth enabled VDO head unit provides the tunes and refurbed gauges help you keep an eye on things.” He doesn’t miss a beat. By his own admission, Jeremy spent “hours on the net, researching specs and parts, photoshopping different wheels and tracking down paint codes.” 

The research has certainly paid off, creating a car that is unlike any other. “We’ve taken inspiration from the C2 RS, C4 Lightweight, GT3, even the 918 Spyder, tweaked them and added plenty of our own,” says Jeremy. “There are a few things which I doubt have ever been seen before, such as the wheels. Sure, we could have gone down the same old path with BBS E28 (not that there's anything wrong with that) but we were looking to do something different. Skunk Works is a name associated with stealth, innovation and pushing the boundaries and that’s what we’ve tried to do with the RS-4. From the outset, the goal was to build a car that has had every aspect optimised, but no one aspect over the top. Everything has been enhanced; acceleration, braking, steering, suspension and aesthetics. The old “race car for the road” idea is not far off the mark, with a stripped interior, cage, fixed-back seats and a mean exhaust, while maintaining creature comforts such as upgraded air con, stereo, carpet and Alcantara. A GT3 version of the 964, if you like. Naturally, there has been some evolution along the way, such as the inclusion of ITBs and Brembos, but apart from that it is exactly as pictured in the initial rendering.”

The whole build took nine months, and Jeremy couldn’t be happier with the results. “It’s the complete package, no one area is over the top, it’s not too loud but makes the right noises when you want it to. It’s remarkably compliant and comfortable even on long drives. Of course, the power and sound are intoxicating, but equally important are the way it stops and turns. The Brembo brakes show no sign of fade and the Autohaus guys reckon it’s the best handling 964 they’ve ever driven; considering they have been in business for forty years it’s very reassuring. At this point the only change I want to make is to the mileage on the odometer!”

Special thanks to Autohaus and to Gary Ramsay for the paint.

Mechanical

Engine blueprinted and balanced

Custom grind Elgin cams

Titanium valve springs and retainers

Ported heads

993 head studs

993 RS valves

ARP rod bolts

JE forged pistons, high compression, moly-coated

Motec M84 ECU

Rothsport/Jenvey ITBs and plenum

GT3 oil pump

Billet rocker covers

Carbon RS heater pipe

Uprated fuel pump

Wevo semi-solid engine and trans mounts

Fabspeed RSR headers and muffler

 

Driveline

Heavy duty clutch

RS flywheel

New driveshafts

 

Suspension & Brakes

Bilstein PSS10 coilovers and rear strut tops

Corner balanced

Brembo 355mm & 328mm brakes with two piece rotors

Braided lines

993 steering rack brace

 

Wheels & Tyres

18” Victor Equipment Zehn 18x8 ET45, 18x9.5 ET49

Pirelli P-Zero 225/40/18 and 265/35/18

 

Panel Work/Exterior

993 Cup mirrors

Rolled guards

Resprayed in 997 GT3 RS Grey-Black

Ducktail

Replaced all rubbers and seals

Clear indicator lenses (front bar)

Brake ducts (front bar)

Side indicator delete

New tail lights

 

Headlight washers deleted

New headlight lenses and HID upgrade

New rear bumper for dual exhaust

New windscreen

 

Interior

Half cage

Sparco Evo seats

Sparco R-345 steering wheel

Rennline quick release

Wevo shift coupler

RS door trims

RS carpet

Dash, knee pads, door tops and centre console retrimmed in alcantara

Rennline billet gear knob and door locks

Leather gearshift boot

Carbon fibre console inserts

New sun visors

New headlining

Rennline pedal pads

Rennline floor boards

Schroth six point harnesses

Fire extinguisher

VDO headunit (CD9303UB)

Refurbished gauges

This article first appeared in Fuel Magazine issue 21.

Follow Jeremy: @jeremy.volpatti.

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