Andy Brookes By Andy Brookes 1 month ago

My Porsche Story: Andy Brookes and 'Gustavo'

9WERKS Radio host Andy Brookes kicks off a new series where 9WERKS Members share their ownership stories, talking here about the journey and build of his 993 Carrera, 'Gustavo'

It's 1983, my first day as a paperboy at the local newsagent in Motspur Park, South London. I'm waiting outside the shop by myself at 6am for the manager to arrive; it's quiet, a milkman is delivering his goods and pulls up just in front of the shop, double parking next to a throng of Cortinas, Vivas and Allegros – all rubbish British cars of the time! A Guards red 911 with a whale tail pulls up behind the milk float, waiting for a car to pass from the other direction. For a few seconds I'm memorised by the shape and the noise. It’s the first time I have seen one in the flesh. The driver then overtakes the milk float and fully gasses it up the road, over the level crossing and up the hill into the distance, leaving me with a memory I’ll never forget. I then spent the next 35 years dreaming of owning my own 911: cue many years of searching Autotrader, throwing up a few ‘nearly’ moments along the way. I didn’t quite have the budget, or the car wasn’t right, you know the score… Then, a visit to luftgekühlt GB (on the only rainy day in the glorious summer of 2018) pushed me to start the search for that dream 911. I toyed with a G body, maybe a 964 or 993, all of which were on my radar. 

I found my 993 in Bridport on the other side of Dorset, at a Porsche specialist called Marque21. They’d looked after the 993 for the last 16 years of the-then owner’s stewardship, carrying out all services and some select modifications. The seats were converted to Sports seats by Southbound Trimmers, an RS steering wheel was fitted, along with red seat belts, lowering springs, refurbished Cup 2 wheels with red centres, a tuning chip, motorsound air filter housing, and big oval tailpipes amongst others. Colin, the owner, had completed many trips to Europe over those 16 years. In his '70s by September ’18, Colin decided to sell the car due to a knee operation that made driving a manual difficult. I made my offer and had the car inspected, which came back fine. The deal was done and the 911 was mine.

Built on 5th October 1994, my Carrera 2 is a German-specification 1995 model year car with the non-Varioram engine M64/05-635 and manual, 2 wheel drive gearbox G5021-20, with good, short gear ratios. The car came with possibly my perfect specification from the factory including aircon, no sunroof, LSD, computer, cruise control and left hand drive (for the aligned driving position and continental tours) in Guards red with black interior. The 911 was first registered in Stuttgart and owned by the Porsche factory, believed to be a press/demo car until June 1996, when it had 51,000 kilometres recorded on the clock.

It was purchased by Lother of Moers Germany from the factory demo sales location in Stuttgart (pictured above). Lother owned the car for four years until August 2000 with 86,000 kilometres recorded. He sold it to a local car dealer in Moers. Within a few days the 911 had made its way to London, was MOT’d in Slough and registered to a Valeria Detori. She owned the car in London until August 2002 with 114,000 kms. It was then purchased by Colin, the previous owner to myself.

I’ve never been one to leave a car standard, I like to add my flavour. I guess my flavour goes back to the ‘Cal-look’ days of the air-cooled Beetle and OEM Plus trend of the water-cooled VW scene. Subtle modifications that aren't in your face, modifications that can't really be identified, but add up to a resolved and usable car that sits right and drives right.

My first modification was to sort out those red wheels (shudder), which were not my bag at all. After lots of deliberation on colour, I decided on Satin Platinum as spec’d on a lot of GT cars. What a difference that made. I also fitted some 7mm spacers to the front to bring the Cup 2’s out to the arches, though it still needs more, I feel.

Christmas presents from my wife included a pair of RS ducts to replace the fog lights – this should have been a quick modification, but I managed to get a little carried away… the front bumper was a little stone chipped, and I also fancied filling the number plate holes. So the front bumper and the ducts got shipped off to my body guy Simon at Wheelworks in Poole to be smoothed and painted. With the front bumper off I found that the brackets for the oil cooler and the aircon evaporator were a tiny bit flaky on the edges, and the fixings were a little past best. So I disassembled all of those, got a quote for having bits re-powder coated, and fixings replated in a yellow zinc plate. There are minimum charges for doing these, so I decided I would work back a little further to find other items that needed a little refinish to bring them back to prime condition. I ended up removing all the underside coverings, the fan & shroud and loads of brackets and fixings from inside the engine bay.

Meanwhile, I’d spent a good amount of time with industrial wet wipes cleaning the engine bay and all the plastics. It was such a huge pleasure putting it all back together, clean and fresh with the refinished parts. The bearing in the fan was getting towards the end of its life, so I decided to make things simpler with an RS fan pulley conversion. I haven't seen any detrimental effects from this. The fan was finished in the same platinum finish as the wheels, and the fan housing in a burnt orange ceramic coat finish as per a good few Singer builds

I made a trim for the insulator pad that sits above the engine, which really neatens up this area. The engine bay really pops now. While reassembling the front bumper with those ducts I changed my indicators and side repeaters to orange from white and had the headlights wrapped in yellow film for the French-look front end. I designed and made a magnetic mount for the front number plate so that I can remove it easily for cleaning (cough cough). I also had the centre bar of the grill wrapped in black to disguise it and toughen up the appearance of the front bumper. The 993’s front end was now clean and purposeful.

My next project with the 911 was to attack its exhaust. I’d planned on going for some Fister mufflers, but my mufflers were too corroded to use for their exchange program. I had found a thread on one of the forums of a guy that had fitted valved bypass pipes to his standard mufflers, which proved too tempting to ignore. You can see where this is going… valves were duly purchased alongside a stainless tube, and the mufflers were removed and sent to a local sandblaster to see how bad they were. The standard mufflers are stainless steel, but they still corrode as they sit directly behind the rear wheels, and the blasting uncovered a few pin holes in the tubes, but otherwise they actually cleaned up quite nicely.

I set about cutting holes in the inlet and outlet tubes of the muffler, and cutting lengths of tube to have the correct shape for creating the bypass sections that I needed to mount the valves. Kitchen roll inners were used as patterns to cut the tubes. This was a long evening's work, I can tell you! I had a local welding company weld it all up for me, and then I refinished the whole muffler and some new Dansk exhaust tips in a black Ceramic coat to slow down any further corrosion. Once complete, the mufflers were heat wrapped and reassembled, a wire was run from the unused front fog light switch to open and close the values, and I now had a quiet or loud exhaust note at will. I added ‘S’ exhaust surrounds to the rear bumper, again finished in black ceramic coat, to really finish off the bumper cutouts.

I’ve changed the engine mounts of lots of my cars over the years: it's amazing the difference new engine mounts make to the handling of the car, you don't get that secondary shift of weight that soft or knackered engine mounts give you. I changed the 993 mounts to RS mounts, but I went cheap and bought non-OEM parts. That saying ‘Buy cheap buy twice’ is so true, as the no-OEM parts were shot within a few weeks. I’m now running WEVO engine mounts with the black coloured bushings, giving just the right amount of control with only a small amount more engine noise transmitting into the cabin.

The modifications I carried out in the early days are not terribly expensive or in your face, but I hope you agree that I managed to add my own flavour, giving it that OEM Plus look that I like. The next round of mods took the look to a different direction. I have always loved a ducktail spoiler and was very fortunate to find a secondhand one for sale already painted in Guards Red, that bolted straight on. 

I then started looking at wheels, the cup 2’s are a great wheel, but do look a little small in the 993 arches. A friend lent me his 18” cup 2 replicas to see if I was happy with how an 18” felt on the car. I was sold with the looks and was happy with the feel, so the search was on. I found a set of BMW E28’s in Merseyside that I took a shine too, I drove all the way up there to pick them up, ignored all the advice I had read about the need to check for cracks in the magnesium and bought them home. Upon fitting them to the car I noticed 3 cracks in one of the front wheels – oh dear, it's true what they say then! The seller of the wheels very graciously agreed to give me a refund, a close shave. I then spoke to Jay from Wheel Pros about what wheels he had available for 993's, fortunately he had just decided to sell the Rotiform NFN’s that he had been running on his 964. I snapped them up. So that was wheels sorted.

I have always found the front end of the 993 Carrera wanting, its way too soft, especially now that I had the ducktail. I needed more chin! I could have gone Turbo front bumper, but I’m in the minority of not being a fan. I’m also not that keen on the RS bumper corners, I wanted something more OEM plus. I found the Techart Aerokit bumper corners to be the perfect item, I purchased these from my local Porsche dealer undercutting all the online retailers. While finding those I also found some pictures of a bumper I hadn't seen before with a different grill feature. Lots of searching and posting on instagram allowed me to find out that it was also a Techart part that replaced the standard grill on the Carrera bumper. I called Techart, I was told it went out of production many years ago, hopes dashed, boo. A few months later a friend sent me a message to say that he had found stock of the part in Poland and the seller had them listed on eBay, woohoo! I had these parts and the wing mirrors painted by my paint guy Simon at Wheel Works Auto Refinishing.

The last modification for this year came about after seeing photos of a wonderful G-body Targa that is based on the East Coast of the US called 'Pablo'. It has stripes, yellow, orange and red, it lifts what is otherwise a plain white Targa and gives that car a fun vibe. That was the first inspiration, I then saw the logo for Radwood on a hat, Radwood is a show in the US that celebrates 80’s and 90’s cars and culture. That kick in the stripes would ape the shark fin on the rear arch. Lastly the BB Targa with the Polaroid stripes inspired the stripes across the ducktail. I set my guys at Standout Signs the task of bringing my idea to reality, and what a fine job they did. I love the 'silly stripes' as they have been termed.

You can follow Andy on Instagram: @993andy
Pictures taken by Damian @ Blades Media and Scott Paterson Photo.

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