Recently Porsche partnered with the Porsche Club of America to create a one-off car to not only commemorate the relationship between everyone’s favorite German sports car brand and the world’s largest single-make owner’s club, but as an exercise to show off the capabilities of Porsche Classic’s special wishes program. The resulting car, a 996-generation re-vamp in the vein of the limited-to-250-units 997-generation Sport Classic, is called Porsche 911 Classic Club Coupe. It’s an extremely cool version of the brand’s least desirable 911 generation.That, in itself, makes this perhaps one of the coolest things Porsche has ever done.
The 2009 Sport Classic itself takes inspiration from Porsche’s iconic 1973 911 2.7 RS, making this a multi-generational throwback. The one-of-one Classic Club Coupe started life as a standard 1998 Carrera 2, but after leading a normal life as a normal sports car, this chassis was transformed into something totally special. Like the 997 Sport Classic, this 996 received a special “double bubble” roof, a ducktail spoiler, Fuchs-style 18-inch wheels, and special finished touches to the interior and exterior that have never been seen on a 996 before.
“We wanted to take a different route – to base this unique project on a car less obvious – a modern classic – that would appeal to a slightly different group of enthusiasts,” said Tom Gorsuch, President of the Porsche Club of America (PCA). “The fact that the finished Porsche 911 Classic Club Coupe looks so cohesive, with the changes appearing so natural, is what’s really incredible about this challenging project.”
Pretty much everything from the original 996 Carrera 2 was ditched in favor of 996 GT3 componentry. The suspension, brakes, and drivetrain have all been built up from scratch for this monster project, meaning the original 295-horsepower 3.4-liter M96 engine was pushed into duty as a boat anchor while the engine bay of this car was filled with 3.6-liters of Mezger-based fury pumping out 381 screaming horses. In a way, without the original winged aero, this ducktailed GT3 is sort of the Touring package that the 996 GT3 never got.
“The Type 996 is unjustly overshadowed by the other 911 ranges. That’s why we were happy to choose it as the basis for demonstrating all the things we can do with Porsche Classic and the recently expanded Sonderwunsch program of Porsche AG,” says Alexander Fabig, Head of Individualization and Classic. “In 2009, the 911 Sport Classic, a limited series of 250, had already generated worldwide interest. However, this special model was not sold in the U.S. With this one-off, we’ve now managed to bring a similarly exciting vehicle concept to the U.S. as well.”
The biggest difference you might notice as a driver is found in the interior. The 996-generation didn’t really get the best of interiors when it was new. The car was built to a price point,and that was obvious by looking at it. In the case of the Classic Club Coupe, however, Porsche revamped the whole thing from top to bottom. The interior of the car is primarily upholstered in black leather, but features slate grey accents and a perforated Alcantara headliner. The seat centers and door panels have been hand-woven from black and grey leather strips to form a “pepita” pattern. The stitching in many of the seams is PCA’s signature club blue.
In order to prove that the car would be viable dynamically, Porsche actually built a second test vehicle to run at the Weissach test track, as well as high-speed runs at Nardo in Italy, and Idiada in Spain. The car was put through its paces in endurance runs, top speed runs, and wind tunnel testing to verify aero balance. Not only that, but the car was modified in a way that it still passes all U.S. legal regulations. This is, in effect, a brand new 996 built in a way that maintains full legality, and full Porsche quality and longevity standards.
Oh, and don’t worry about that test mule, Porsche completely dismantled it when they were finished with it so that this car would remain a true one-off.