Is this Paul Stephens Porsche 911 the best 993 restomod ever? | Top Gear
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Is this Paul Stephens Porsche 911 the best 993 restomod ever?

The 993R proves Porsche restomods don’t need to start with 964s

Published: 02 Aug 2022
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You ever notice how there are average car questions and then there are... well, distinctly not average car questions? Basically, we’re talking about the difference between ‘How cool does that C63 AMG sound?’ and ‘How do I replicate the AMG Power Pack for the Cosworth 2.3-16?’.

Because this Paul Stephens Autoart 993R got us wondering two things – one, are Porsche 993 restomods the new Porsche 964 restomods, and two, just how much of a car nerd question was that to ask? Then again, how much of a car nerd was the Autoart customer who asked for a 993 with “a 25 per cent improvement in every area”, and how many areas do you think a car nerd of that magnitude would consider an exhaustive list?

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Luckily, Autoart’s not exactly new to this game, so this somehow vague and yet hyper-specific brief was translated into what you see here – a narrow-body 993 Carrera 2 with a whole band’s worth of weight stripped out, a curated list of top-tier parts and a finished product that nails that nigh-on inimitable Porsche thing: subtle design with entirely unsubtle performance.

As little of the story as raw figures ever tell, with the 993R, you can at least get a sense of the narrative – the wet weight’s down from 1,370kg to 1,220kg, power’s up from 272bhp to your choice of 330 or 360, and the power-to-weight ratio ranges from ‘about 996 GT3’ to ‘about 997 GT3’. And that feels like plenty.

Keeping this out of the Welsh countryside (because you just know its new home away from home is Snowdonia) is electrically controlled, five-way adjustable suspension, a Wavetrac limited-slip diff and the brakes from the exquisite 993 RS.

And that really exemplifies the choices made for the 993R: you get the feeling that Paul and his team took its time, picking the absolute best from the extensive history of the 911, of its huge aftermarket scene and of Autoart itself, which is rounding 30 years in the business.

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So the wheels are from a 996 GT3, the lightweight glass and bonnet are from Porsche Motorsport, but the engine lid is a custom composite job from Autoart. Mechanically, the standard 3.6-litre 993 engine gets 993 RSR pistons, a 997 GT3 crankshaft and Porsche Motorsport lifters, before heading aftermarket again for Pauter conrods and custom cams of Paul Stephens’ own design.

And it’s that attention to detail that makes the finished product something of a mathematical impossibility. The customer may have asked for a car that’s 25 per cent better in every way, but even after achieving that mathematically, the 993R feels like much more than a 25 per cent improvement on a regular 993. Call it synergy, the ten tenths rule or just a bit of automotive magic, the fact is that it’s only the kind of thing you can get by asking a distinctly not average question.

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