Cars > Transform

Gunther Werks reimagines the Porsche 993

The 400R is so ready for the modern times

Modded classic Porsche 911 cars are the best. PHOTO FROM GUNTHER WERKS

Restomodding—or the art of fitting classic cars with modern components to create a timeless-looking vehicle with state-of-the-art guts—has increased in popularity over the recent years, and now produces some interesting and often breathtaking automotive creations. Case in point is the California-made Gunther Werks 400R, a beefed-up Porsche 993 currently vying for the attention of wealthy speed addicts from around the world.

The profile alone is worth the money. PHOTOS FROM GUNTHER WERKS

Despite what its name may suggest, Gunther Werks was not founded by a German guy with a penchant for cars from Zuffenhausen. Instead, the company is the brainchild of Vorsteiner founder Peter Nam, who decided to use his extensive experience from the world of high-end vehicle modification to build himself a project car like no other (or 25 project cars, to be precise, as that is how many 400Rs he is planning to release). The company name is a homage to German-born NASA engineer Günter Wendt, who was said to have been highly regarded by the astronauts of the Apollo space missions for his dedication to safety and quality—attributes Nam is trying to copy with his project.

The huge rear wing is not an eyesore. PHOTOS FROM GUNTHER WERKS

Anyone wishing to drive one of these ultra-rare restomods will need to start by bringing a Porsche 993 donor car and a check for $525,000 (P28,040,000) to the company’s workshop in Southern California. Once the order is in the book, the transformation begins with a total strip-down of the base vehicle to its bare shell. The body panels, the deck lid, the rear spoiler and even the roof are then replaced by superlight carbon-fiber versions that the company creates in-house. Adjustable KW Clubsport coilover spring/damper units are fitted, and various existing suspension components are uprated to deal with the colossus of an engine that takes pride of place at the back of the finished article.

You won’t find these materials in a stock 911. PHOTOS FROM GUNTHER WERKS

Where the stock 993 made use of 3.6-liter and 3.8-liter flat-six blocks, the 400R is sporting a 4.0-liter boxer unit that was developed and built by Rothsport in Oregon. It contains all sorts of specially crafted parts that give it a total power output of over 400hp and a maximum torque output of 450Nm, with the redline target standing at 7,800rpm. Plenty enough oomph to move the 1,225kg car forward with some gusto, with the gears changed manually via an upgraded version of the stock Getrag G50 box. Custom-made exhaust parts are paired with a 997 GT3 rear silencer to deliver the correct soundtrack for this symphony on wheels.

Because you won’t need much with this car. PHOTOS FROM GUNTHER WERKS

A bespoke interior with a lot of carbon fiber rounds out what promises to be one of the most exclusive sports cars on earth. Most metal parts visible in the cabin were milled from aluminum billets, and an optional roll cage is available to keep things stiff and safe when the driver tries to find the limits of this machine. Unlike some rough Porsche customizers, Gunther Werks has mercifully treated the original lines of the 993 with the kind of respect they deserve. The result is a slightly wider, a little lower and somewhat more modern interpretation of a true icon that still says 993 in its design, finished with utmost attention to detail and quality. Günter Wendt would probably approve.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.