It’s a sad fact that Tiff Needell isn’t at the forefront of automotive journalism like he once was. Still, even pushing seventy years, Mr. Needell hasn’t lost that boyish enthusiasm and exuberance behind the wheel that made him a legend. Perhaps there’s not a more fitting car for this man to review than an old Porsche that’s been modernized to keep it fresh, stylish, and fulfilling.
New entrant to the Porsche restomod world Theon Design “reckon you can have your cake and eat it too,” Tiff repeats. This outfit focuses on the stiffer successor to the 911 SC so popular in this world of top-tier restoration. This is because the 964 also offers a much stiffer chassis than the SC and the running gear is much further technologically advanced, making it a much better starting point.
Theon Design then retrofits the car with better brakes, suspension, a fully rebuilt engine, and even electric air conditioning. The usual assortment of Fuchs-style wheels, wider fender flares, a longer hood, a subtle ducktail, four noticeable exhaust tips, a low-slung lip, and modern headlights add that beloved retro muscularity seen in Gunther Werks’ designs.
Carbon bumpers and interior trim pieces, as well as the removal of the four-wheel drive system, help bring this 964’s weight down by 600 pounds. Combine that with the 370-odd horsepower from the 3.8-liter engine, and this ‘vintage’ 911 is quick, even compared to the modern opposition.
True, a $400,000 boutique item isn’t going to sway too many people when there are cheaper, faster alternatives around with smaller panel gaps, but there is a definite draw with builds like this. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is both an exercise in restraint as well as a demonstration of Gatsbyesque extravagance. That strange blend, improved by a double-dose of exclusivity, gives the Theon Design 964 a distinct appeal all its own.