I would like to make an argument for subtlety and I will use this 911 as my cue. Granted this is still a 911 so it’s not like we’re talking about a sleeper sedan or something of that sort. But within the realm of backdated 911 builds I do think this one has taken a much more subtle approach and the result might just be my favorite of the bunch. There are no decals, there is no ducktail spoiler, there are no fancy Recaro seats in the interior. It isn’t crazy wide or a wild color. This 911 is built in such a way that those with only passing familiarity with the car might not even realize it has been modified at all. I think there is appeal in that.
The 911 design is a beautiful design on its own even when stripped of many of its more aggressive cues. These are performance cars, there’s no doubt about that, but that pedigree doesn’t always need to be shouted. Sometimes simply letting an attractive design look its best is enough to stop observers in their tracks. And I do think this 911 accomplishes that quite well. It’s well balanced, appearing both elegant and sporty, maximizing the better parts of the long-hood 911 and the 3.2 Carrera to produce something that might be better than either one on its own.
I’ve featured a decent number of these backdated 911s and they always come in a wide range of quality and design. Mostly they’re good-looking 911s and I think we can understand the desire to produce such a build. They combine the beautiful and highly desirable aesthetics of the early long-hood 911 with a more modern and higher performance drivetrain of a Carrera or later 911. They also tend to be a good bit lighter than the original donor.
The consistent problem with these builds is price. Or, to put it more specifically, price relative to the performance gains. Many of these builds retain the engine and transmission of the donor – usually either a 911SC or 3.2 Carrera. In itself that’s fine; those are good engines and with the reduced weight of the build the performance gains and aesthetic improvements are worthwhile. However, this all might cost a decent bit of money, especially if the donor car itself needs some work, and as a buyer you’re only going to pay so much for what ultimately are aesthetic changes.
The way to solve the price problem is with a better engine. The 964 and 993 are both there waiting, it just isn’t as easy to get a hold of what you need. At that point we’re really getting the performance improvements and the higher price begins to make sense. Singer, of course, has made its name using bespoke 964s and can sell them for half-a-million dollars. That’s not at all what this car is. It has, however, chosen to eschew the usual 911SC engine and moved up the chain: a 1997 3.6 liter from the 993. Now we’re talking!