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Retro

This one-off Porsche 911 is a GT3-engined love letter to the 996

Behold: the 911 Classic Club Coupe built specially for the Porsche Club of America

Published: 21 Mar 2022

Fair to say the 996 generation Porsche 911 isn’t as venerated as others, despite its many talents. Even Porsche knows this, because it said as much. “The Type 996 is unjustly overshadowed by the other 911 ranges,” said Porsche’s Alexander Fabig.

He’s the boss of the company’s classic and individualisation division, and together with the Porsche Club of America, is responsible for this: the 911 Classic Club Coupe, a fully restored 996 that now offers more power and more spoiler.

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‘Project Grey’ as it was known internally, began life as a 1998 911 Carrera, parked up at a dealership in Columbia “neglected and in poor condition”. It was found and flown to Porsche Classic’s workshop in Germany to begin its new life.

As with all these factory Porsche restorations, it was stripped down to its base, and the shell was rebuilt and strengthened. The original Carrera drivetrain was junked in favour of something really rather special: the engine and gearbox from a 996.2 GT3.

The Mezger 3.6-litre naturally aspirated, water-cooled sixer from that GT3 develops 381bhp (at 8,200rpm), and, hooked up to a six-speed manual, is able to propel the 996 from 0-60mph in 4.3secs. Glacially slow by modern Porsche standards, but out in the so-called ‘real world’? Yeah, still hugely fast.

This Classic Club Coupe also gets the “chassis and brakes” from the 996.2 GT3 – carbon ceramics for the latter – while externally, the biggest visual clues stem from the double-dome roof (to allow for helmeted racers to sit comfortably inside) and the excellent ‘ducktail’ spoiler. That latter feature is one that stretches back to 911s from the Seventies.

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The whole thing is painted metallic grey, features a pair of stripes running right down the middle (surely adding many horsepowers in the process), gets delightful 18in forged Fuchs rims, and a unique interior. There’s houndstooth woven leather, some fancy stitching, and an infotainment setup that gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Oh, and badge number 001/001; Porsche built a test mule for top speed and trial runs, but later dismantled it to ensure this Classic Club Coupe’s exclusivity. A GT3-engined special brings a little more sparkle to the 996, but then the 996 GT3 was always a sparkling car…

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