There are a few select automotive tuners who can take an impressive package and refine it into an even better entity. That group includes legends such as AMG, Alpina and Ruf – all of which are staples of this segment.
Yet they are far from alone. Given the task of improving on what is generally considered to be one of the greatest sedans ever made is no small feat, but if there was one group up to it, it was Steve Dinan’s eponymous company in California.
While just about anyone can take a turbocharged engine and crank up the boost, slap a few stickers on it and call it done, the E39 M5 didn’t come with forced induction. On top of that, it was a motor which wasn’t exactly underdeveloped before it went into production. Nor were the brakes, suspension, or any other aspect of the third gen M5. But Dinan thought they could improve upon them, and with a tremendous amount of work, did.
Dinan went to town on the S62 from start to end. Out came the factory air boxes, air meters and velocity stacks, replaced by Dinan units of larger diameter and better flow qualities, along with larger throttle bodies bored out by the company. This necessitated reprogramming of the computer controls for the engine to match the new flow characteristics. To help the exhaust side of the motor, unique tubular headers were fit to a free-flowing, lightweight exhaust system. While this sounds a bit like old-school engineering, it was successful; the result was an additional 76 horsepower and 51 lb.ft of torque – basically, this was like adding a 1980 Rabbit’s worth of power to an already powerful car.
Dinan coupled the engine mods with a shorter final drive and higher rev-limiter to reach fantastic speeds. The S2 was capable of 0-60 runs around 4 seconds flat and, in unrestricted mode, geared out around 190 mph in 6th.…
The last two weeks we’ve looked at the wilder side of the Porsche tuner world with cars from Gemballa and RWB. This week we’ll go a little more traditional with the styling and make a return to RUF. RUF likely is the most well known and highly regarded in the Porsche world, so much so that RUF is not just a tuner, but a manufacturer utilizing blank Porsche chassis for its cars. In some ways, RUF is the inverse of RWB. Where RWB goes over the top with styling and leaves the performance mostly alone, RUF keeps the styling changes somewhat minimal (at least from the perspective of how much they depart from a 911 itself) and goes over the top with performance upgrades. Over the years they’ve produced some blistering fast machines capable of competing with the best cars in the world. Even capable of competing with the likes of Porsche’s own 959.
The one we see the most often is the BTR and that’s just what we have here. However, this is not one of the very rare RUF VIN BTRs, but one of the more common converted examples, which in this case was based off of a 1984 Porsche 930. That’s a nice base with which to begin and with the RUF upgrades you get a car that can make even the prodigious 930 seem tame.
Model: 911 Turbo
Engine: 3.4 liter turbocharged flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 35,014 mi
Price: $225,000 Buy It Now
1984 Porsche 930 RUF BTR DOCUMENTED
This remarkable example has remained unrestored and original until today. Only 35k miles and 2 owners since new this 930 is in beautiful condition! Full RUF BTR conversion with letter of authenticity from RUF, this 1984 Porsche 930 is not your average 911 Turbo.
Last week: Gemballa. This week: RAUH-Welt Begriff. We might as well look at something from the two most divisive Porsche tuners in back-to-back weeks right? I said in last week’s post that I don’t mind over the top designs from tuners and along those lines I typically enjoy the work we see from RWB. While many don’t like them, Akira Nakai’s builds do follow a line that is recognizable within Porsche’s own racing designs. Of course, those are purpose built race cars and RWB builds street cars. None the less, the look itself is not necessarily off base.
And here lies the primary criticism of many RWB designs: they are all show and no go. For many, in fact most, of their builds that is true; RWB focuses much more on the appearance of the car than on making it faster. This build addresses that criticism, and it addresses it pretty significantly.
Model: 911 Carrera 4
Engine: 3.6 liter turbocharged flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 77,795 mi
Price: $149,999 Buy It Now
– The only fully branded RWB in United States signed and documented by Akira Nakai
– Most desirable model RWB 964 Street Version
– Latest Project by World Renowned Car Builder Vincent Wong
– Rebuilt Top and Bottom Motor to 0 mile spec
– Single Turbo System making 400 WHEEL HP 393 FT LB OF TORQUE ON PUMP GAS
– Painted by the World Famous LT Motorwerks in El Monte California
– One of the lowest mileage Rauh Welt RWB Cars in the World
– SEMA 2015 Booth Car Rauh Welt Begriff Booth
– SEMA 2016 Booth Car CCW Wheels Booth
– Rauh Welt 15pc widebody kit hand crafted and installed by Akira Nakai
– Full Respray to BASF Glasurit Porsche Guards Red by World Famous LT Motorwerks in El Monte California
– Porsche OEM Clear Corners
– Custom Bi Xenon HID Headlights with RWB etched in the glass housing
– Single Turbo Kit Designed by Bisimoto Engineering 400 Rear Wheel Horsepower
– AEM Infinity 6, 30-7106 ECU
– AEM Infinity 6 pin kit, 30-3704
– AEM AIT and MAP Harness, 30-3510-00
– Infinity UEGO harness, 30-3600
– 3.5 bar map sensor, 30-2130-50
– Boost control solenoid, 30-2400
– Air temp sensor, 30-2010
– LSU 4.2 wideband sensor, 30-2001
– GTX3076R with turbine part #740902-8
– Turbosmart wastegate, with red 4.35 spring
– Turbosmart 50mm blowoff valve
– Garrett Intercooler core, Part #487085-6002
– Bisimoto Custom 1000CC Injectors
– JDS Porsche SSD Lateral Acceleration Sensor
– Rebuild 964 Engine Top End by Turbo Kraft in Arizona to 0 miles
– * remove, disassemble, clean engine; spec & document all major components
– * reassemble with performance parts listed above
– * time camshafts
– 3.6 CARRERA HEAD GASKET KIT — upgraded all-Viton version
– CAMSHAFT DRIVE GEAR (large sprocket)
– TIMING CHAIN RAIL — 1-3 straight
– TIMING CHAIN RAIL — 4-6 straight
– TIMING CHAIN RAIL — (2x req’d)
– 993 ALTERNATOR (INNER) BELT, 9.5×776 (964 = both, 5sp)
– TK/JE CUSTOM TURBO PISTON SET — lightweight FSR pistons with rings, pins, locks
– PERFORMANCE COATINGS : Coat piston skirts & undersides
– Remanufacture cylinders — strip, bore, re-plate with Nikasil
– ARP RACING CYLINDER HEAD STUD SET with BILLET WASHERS & 12-pt NUTS
– Rebuild 964 Engine Bottom End by Turbo Kraft in Arizona to 0 miles
– COMPLETE MOTORSPORT ENGINE BEARING SET
– 3.6 (964) CARRERA CASE GASKET SET (Viton)
– MOTORSPORT TIMING CHAIN *WITHOUT* MASTER LINK — increased strength
– ARP RACING CONNECTING ROD BOLT SET, 9mm
– Recondition rods incl.
Gemballa has been around for quite a while. Since the early 80’s they’ve been creating designs for a wide variety of Porsches with a few Mercedes and Ferraris thrown in as well. Honestly, most of their designs I haven’t much liked. I like over the top – I mean I’m a fan of RWB – but Gemballa has always seemed over the top in a way that I found unappealing. It’s a fine line for tuners to walk and built entirely upon subjectivity; some find the right balance, some miss the mark.
Here we have one that I do like. At least for the most part. Based off the 911 RS America, this Gemballa build was to serve as a showcase car and, if we’re to believe the ad, demonstrate the more refined style they were hoping to put forth once the excesses of the ’80s were behind them. It’s still fairly over the top, but not too crazy and its likeness to the Flatnose Turbo S makes it look like something the factory may have even produced. It’s sort of a melding of the Turbo S and the 3.8 Carrera RSR, both highly sought after machines that turn the heads of just about anyone who sees one. I imagine this Gemballa will do the same.
Model: 911 RS America
Engine: 3.8 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 16,937 mi
Price: $99,500 Buy It Now
Before Singer’s amazing creations, before RWB’s wide bodies, before Magnus Walker officially made it cool to NOT be a typical Porsche guy, before TechArt, there was Uwe Gemballa.
The Gemballa’s of the 80’s were radical creations with massive body kits and interior customization. As Gemballa moved into the 90’s they evolved into a more performance focused company with more subtle streamlined body work.
Tuners all have their own unique style and personality, those aspects that let you know immediately what designer is responsible and what to expect from the build itself. Of course, even within a particular tuner’s portfolio there can be tremendous variation, but there always are identifying details. Though they can be subtle most 911 fans have little trouble recognizing a RUF 911. Such is the level at which RUF has risen over its many years.
Among Porsches RAUH-Welt Begriff perhaps is the most easily identifiable tuner and also perhaps the most divisive. The man responsible is Akira Nakai who designs each body panel for the individual car to produce some of the most head-turning 911s you will come across. They are not for everyone, especially given that – unlike a tuning house like RUF – the work is largely aesthetic with very little additional performance. As pieces of automotive art they are on another level. The one we see here has been dubbed RWB Hollywood and was based off of a 1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Coupe. It would be very hard to miss if you saw it in a crowd.
Model: 911 Carrera 2
Engine: 3.6 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 132,324 mi
Price: $149,999 Buy It Now
This beautiful Porsche 964, known as RWB Hollywood, was built by the world-renowned Akira Nakai-san of Rauh-Welt Begriff. The car is equipped with a 3.6L Air-cooled engine mated to a G50 manual gearbox. No expense was spared on this build, as you can tell by the extensive list of modifications below; Exterior: Complete strip-down repaint in it’s original color Grand Prix White, RWB 964 street kit (fenders, bumpers, rocker panels), Sunroof delete, RSR brake ducts, Clear turn signals, 993 aero mirrors, 993 door handles, Ducktail decklid, H4 headlights, New taillights, New body seals and window seals.
If Sunday’s A4 represented the new wave of Audi products, the C4 S6 was the end of the decade and a half dominance of the turbocharged inline-5 in the brand’s marketing. True, it continued on in other parts of the world a bit longer, but the writing was on the wall and the 1995 model year was the last in the American market. There’d be a big gap until the next S model launched in the U.S., which helped to solidify the legendary status of these stealthy super-sedans. Since there was no immediate replacement for half a decade, the S6 maintained its top-trump status among four-ring fans for longer than it probably would have been expected to.
The result of that was that they retained a strong fan base of owners and many more who wished, but could not afford, to grab one. As soon as they were out of warranty (if not before, in some cases), the wick began to be turned up – and those that know the AAN know that there’s a lot of wick there to burn. In recent years, the wave of electronic fuel injection tuning and aftermarket support has not waned but grown for these cars; like German Supra Turbos, they’re the evergreen forced-induction chassis you just never tire of seeing. Today’s example is no exception to the rule, and with 500 horsepower and a host of high-dollar upgrades, it’s ready to embarrass much newer metal.
A fair majority of our “roll the dice” features have been cars with high mileage, dubious modifications, or poor maintenance. The question marks are exchanged for, generally speaking, a budget price relative to the rest of the market.
This Porsche has none of that.
What we have here is a 1985 Porsche 930. Even if the air is cooling slightly in the 911 Turbo market, and while there’s probably only a premium on really original early and late examples, one from the middle of production like this isn’t to be shooed away immediately. Second, this car has really quite low mileage reported at under 15,000. Condition looks to be very good, and the car is marketed to be an originally Ruf-modified example. The price is certainly not budget-friendly for most outside of Wall Street. So where’s the rolling of dice to be seen?
In a strange comparison to earlier’s 500SL 412, here’s another matte black car. It, too, is German. Outside of that, the two share little in common.
That’s because unlike the Mercedes-Benz which was primarily a piece of marketing, this is from the workshop of Alois Ruf. And Ruf’s cars are all about performance. So even though this 997-based turbocharged RUF RT12S is over a decade old, it still produces more power than the current 911 Turbo. Over 100 more. It’s faster, too – get the launch just right and mash the gas, and RUF claimed you’ll hit 60 m.p.h. in 2.8 seconds. When Road and Track tested it, the R12 did a standing mile in 28 seconds at 187.5 mph. In the time it’s probably taken you to read this first paragraph (35 seconds), the RT would be past 200 on its way to the 224 mph top speed. Yet it wasn’t just about raw speed; like all RUFs, it was beautifully built and full of exquisite detail work on par with leading manufacturers.
But while the speed is certainly impressive, it’s not the reason why I decided to feature this car…
For me, the perfect counterpoint to the questionably presented C2 from a few days ago is today’s B7 Turbo. Just about everything in the B7 was taken up a few notches over a standard E28 (or even an M5), and this example exemplifies that perfectly in comparison to that E30.
The B7 Turbo models were, quite simply, some of the fastest BMWs made to that point. More to the point, they were some of the fastest cars in the world in the 1980s; Alpina claimed the E12 B7 Turbo was the fastest sedan in the world, for example. The B7S had bumped up to the 3.5 liter M30. Strapping their special injection system along with a KKK turbocharger and a host of internal modifications, the B7S produced 911 Turbo levels of power which made it (unsurprisingly) 911 Turbo fast. The model continued after the changeover to E28 model, but with some differences. Instead of the bespoke injection on the early model, Alpina instead reprogrammed the Motronic in the E28 to work with the turbocharged M30. The B7 was available in both catalyst (/3) and non-catalyst (/1), both producing 300 or more horsepower. Alpina claims they ultimately made 236 of these beasts by the end of production, but the catalyst version – a large chuck of which ended up in Japan – was the more rare of the two. Today, one of these mega sedans is available, and while a high percentage of the Japanese-destined B7s ended up with automatics, this one has a manual:
Alpina mania continues unabated on these pages. And why not? Rather than hastily assembled montages of aftermarket accessories or tasteless timepieces of a bygone era, Alpinas were artfully crafted bits of perfection. They were intended to be, and often were, as good as a BMW could get. The market has recognized this in their value, which when correctly presented far outstrips that of a normal – or even special – model from Munich. But that’s led to a variety of half-baked, poorly presented or just plain questionable examples that pop up on a regular basis. Is today’s ultra-rare C1 2.3/1 a case of the former, or the latter?