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Old looks for later Porsches

Quick, what year Porsche is featured here? A lot of enthusiasts wouldn’t hesitate before answering: It’s a 1973—although not a stock one.

Not so fast, partner.

Back in the old days, people updated their 911s to make them appear newer. Today, it’s the opposite. Want to marry those classic, early 911 looks with galvanized bodies, increased engine displacements and perhaps even air conditioning? It’s all possible. Thank Porsche for retaining the same basic 911 shell for more than 30 years.

The car shown here is, in fact, a 1990 Porsche Carrera 4—a model commonly known by its 964 chassis code. As the inset photo shows, this model came from the factory sporting a more aero-friendly look. Don Ramsay of Aircooled Classics in Knoxville, Tennessee, added some retro style. Regular GRM contributor Zachary Mayne knows this particular car. He’s also the photographer behind these photos.

“The original bumpers were removed and RSR-style fiberglass bum- pers and ducktail engine lid/spoiler from GT Racing were installed. The steel fender flares are 911 Turbo style and were sourced from Restoration Designs.

“Keep in mind that the hand-formed fender flares on the original ’73 RSR had a slightly different contour from the newer 911 Turbo flares. The front fenders, hood, turn signals and lights are all early 911 parts. The wheels are Lindsey Racing 17x9.5-inch and 17x11-inch Fuchs made from 16-inch cores.

“Overall, this is a relatively straightforward conversion for a body shop that is experienced in working on Porsches. On a 964, the taillights angle backward rather than up and down, so SC taillight buckets were installed and the sheet metal on the car was modified. The sideskirts were removed and the holes where they were installed were filled in.

“The front-end conversion is quite a bit of work. The latch panel from an early car has to be welded in to allow the longer hood of the early cars to be installed. Alternately, some companies are now offering an earlier-style hood that mates up to the later latch.

“Since this is a Carrera 4, the pump that controls the four-wheel drive had to be relocated, since the sheet metal where it normally goes was removed. Also, the a/c system and brackets had to be modified and relocated. Including the car, the parts and bodywork, there’s probably $50K to $60K in this car.”

Do It Yourself

For those going the DIY route, TRE’s website lists the following costs for the main fiberglass parts needed to backdate a 1974-’89 Porsche 911 to the look popularized by the 1973 Carrera RS:

front fenders: $1000/pair
front hood: $575
RS-style front bumper: $449
RS-style rear bumper: $449
ducktail: $449
front turn signals: $165 each
front headlight lenses: $65 each
horn grilles: $50/pair
miscellaneous seals: approx. $110
total: approx. $3650

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