As Rob said in his recent 964 Carrera 4 Widebody post, the flared variants of the middle generation 911 can be polarizing. Even more polarizing are the extra-widebody Nakai-san Rauh-Welt Begriff creations. That Akira Nakai is an artist is unquestioned, but whether his creations are genius or blasphemous depend on your definition of art I would suppose. Nakai takes the stock 911 and turns it up to 11, with custom molded, hand crafted flares and widening the lines of the 911 to outrageous proportions. Fitted with giant wheels, lowered suspensions and custom front and rear bumpers, they are the embodiment of the Japanese tuning scene but with a decidedly European feel. Indeed, you don’t need to look far into Porsche’s own developments to find the inspiration for these models from Stuttgart’s own work. Indeed, many of Nakai’s works look a lot like the 964 Turbo S Le Mans racer and later 993 GT2 race car, with their giant gold BBS wheels, huge spoiler, vents and wide flares. Personally, I think that Nakai does an exceptional job mimicking the best of the 911 race car design whilst simultaneously introducing his own style. That becomes more obvious when you see a non-Coupe RWB such as today’s Targa model – I believe the first open-air RWB I’ve seen:
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What’s the perfect commuter car? Well, that varies by your definition of commuter, how far you need to drive and how much traffic you encounter, and what your goal is – do you want high mileage, or perhaps you want extreme comfort and isolation. But I’d like to think that a fair amount of our readership would love to have a dual purpose car. It would be something that wouldn’t be a collector-status car, but yet one that was unique and not often seen. It would combine comfort and affordability. While some would opt for automatics, I’m sure a larger percentage would choose to row-their-own boat. Fuel mileage, while gas is cheap now, would probably still be a consideration, as would maintenance. And finally, when the traffic cleared and there was a empty bit of road, most of us like to squeeze the pedal down that bit further and be rewarded by and entertaining push in the back. That’s a difficult grouping of characteristics to achieve in one package, but I’d like to suggest that this 318ti might just be the car.
The Club Sport was the answer to the question that effectively no one was asking in 1995; depending on the source, BMW sold a reported 200-300 of them in 1995 only. What the option 9530 got you was a 318ti hatchback that had been breathed upon by BMW Individual. Added were 16″ sport wheels, M3 front bumper, rocker trim and mirrors and a special rear bumper. But it was more than an appearance package, because it also received a M-tuned suspension, special steering wheel and shift knob and uniquely trimmed Millpoint M-cloth sport seats. The seller of this car has brought the performance up to M levels, though, with the addition of a PSS9 coilover suspension, double spoke M3 wheels and supercharger to the M42 inline-4:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 318ti Club Sport on eBay
Tuned cars from the 1980s were never particularly discrete, nor were they cheap or easy to come by. Tuners like Treser, in an effort to get more power out of the notoriously non-tunable CIS injection system that adorned nearly all German cars in the 1980s, got creative by taking a 928 fuel distributor for the V8 motor and sticking it on the inline-5 turbo unit. Others, like AMG, took the biggest motor they could build and stuck that into a bunch of different cars. Ruf turned up the boost on the 911 range by moving the turbocharged flat-6 into narrow-body cars. But none of this came cheaply, nor were these tuned cars always the most reliable. When it came to the period of electronic fuel injection, though, things started to change. The first chip-tuned cars also had some bad habits; my father’s chipping 944 Turbo, for example, runs quite rich and if you engage the cruise control, the computer believes you want to go 170 m.p.h. and plants the throttle wide open. But they’ve become increasingly reliable and almost a given; plus they’re cheap. On a car like my 1.8T Passat, you can get a reflash of the ECU with programmable modes for around $500; it can be done in just a few moments, and adds somewhere in the vicinity of 50 horsepower and 80 lb.ft of torque. As such, if you really want to go wild in a tuned car these days, simply changing the ECU to a hotter map isn’t enough. No, if you’re someone like Ruf, you’re still pushing the bounds – or, perhaps, compressing them:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Ruf Kompressor on eBay
What is the tipping point in modifying a car? It seems a delicate line which is easily crossed; one that once tripped over pushes the car in question into a free fall from object of desire to ridicule. Obviously, if someone opens up a J.C. Whitney catalog and orders all of the accessories available for their Monte Carlo, it’ll be a bit of a laugh. But what about when the ingredients are all top-dollar, high quality units? Let’s take this 911 for an example and break down the components: at it’s base, this is a 1977 911S Targa, or was. Now, by itself that’s an increasingly valuable commodity – so, it’s a good basis, right? Now it wears an updated 993 wardrobe; they’re a hot commodity, too. And who doesn’t love a cabriolet? Okay, so that’s a lot of people. But some people like them, right? How about the motor, a Ruf modified twin-plug turbo? Wow, put those names together today and you’ve got yourself a retirement plan. And while not the purview of these pages, if you haven’t been following auctions anything with the name Boyd Coddington attached to it has some serious value as well since his death. There has even been a spike in value of classic Recaro seats, and right now brown tones are still totally in vogue. So, with all of these individual bits added together, this car should be worth millions, right?
If you need a reminder that 1970s Porsches weren’t always worth a lot of money, look no further.