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    Hidden 928 looks for new home

    LOST & FOUND #1984-Porsche-928-S2 / #Porsche-928-S2 / #Porsche-928 / #Porsche / #1984

    Lancashire-based dealer Chris McPheat has a knack of finding unusual cars. His latest is a 1984 Porsche 928 S2 with a manual ’box that has covered just 31,000 miles. In ’1986 the Porsche was not re-taxed and it has remained unused since, a recent MoT test being the first it had ever been through.

    McPheat has been unable to find out why the car was taken off the road, but a fault with the ignition ECU discovered when it was started may have been the cause.

    The 928 is otherwise virtually perfect, though the paintwork has suffered in storage. McPheat has been through the car mechanically, but is not going to tackle the paint, leaving it for a new owner to do. “The driving experience is as if you are handling a two-year-old car,” he said. “The interior is immaculate, everything works and it all feels new. I took it for a 100-mile run into West Yorkshire and it is a blast to drive.” For details, email

    “The driving experience is as if you are handling a two-year-old car, it all feels new”

    It seems this car was abandoned in 1986. The Porsche’s paint might need some TLC, but it’s mechanically sound with a good cabin The rare manual has done a mere 31k miles.
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    / #1990 / #Renault-25-Baccara / #Renault-25 / #Renault / #1990-Renault-25-Baccara

    / #Audi-100-CD / #1984-Audi-100-CD / #Audi-100-CD-C3 / #Audi-100-C3 / #Audi-100 / #Audi / #1984 / #Audi-100-Type-44

    After the two oil crises of the 70s, more efficient cars are being sought. In addition, there are concerns about the environment. Better aerodynamics is one of the ways to make cars consume less and emit less. The Audi 100 (C3-generation) and the Renault 25 are considered to be the most streamlined limousine in the world. At the same time they spoil the motorist with luxury. We contrast them.

    For the first time the streamline of cars in the 1930s was central, in the 1980s there was renewed interest among car manufacturers. Everyone is convinced after the two oil crises of 1973 and 1979 that cars really need to be more economical. In addition, one Bernhard Ulrich is warning about 1981 because entire needle forests in Central Europe, according to him, die off due to acid rain.

    To this end, the emissions of cars are held jointly responsible. In the press, a large-scale alarm is triggered, so that the car manufacturers are forced to take measures. (Incidentally, Ulrich withdraws his alarm again in 1995 due to lack of evidence, but that is not widely reported ...)

    Following the United States, the choice is made for the three-way catalyst in combination with fuel injection. This, however, entails costs, namely for the catalyst itself, in which the expensive platinum is processed, and for the conversion to unleaded petrol. A catalyst does not tolerate lead. Naturally, this switch does not go from one day to the next.
    A faster and cheaper solution is to better streamline cars to reduce consumption and thus reduce emissions. You can see that in new models of that time. Rain gutters disappear, door handles no longer protrude outside the bodywork, windows are fitted flat on the bodywork to make them completely slippery and spoilers are no longer reserved for sports cars, but they improve aerodynamics into the top segment.

    Two of those smooth guys are the Audi 100 of the third generation (internal designation Type #44 ) and the Renault 25. Both are the most streamlined series production limousine of that year, namely 1982 for the Audi and 1984 for the Renault. . Audi reaches a Cd / Cx value of 0.30, Renault even a value of 0.28. Both brands also do a throw to the top with these top models from their range. They want to compete with brands like Mercedes-Benz W124 and BMW E34/E28.

    We therefore contrast the thickest versions to see how they tried to achieve that. For the Audi this is the CD equipment, for the Renault de Baccara. Meanwhile, we know that the Audi finally succeeded in penetrating the premium segment and Renault did not. Can we see that coming here?
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    CAR: #Aston-Martin-V8-Vantage / #1984 / #1984-Aston-Martin-V8-Vantage / #Aston-Martin-V8 / #Aston-Martin / #Aston-Martin-Vantage
    Name Andrew Forret
    Age 67
    Occupation Engineer
    From Leeds
    Other cars BMW 325i E30, Land Rover Defender 110 300TDi
    Daily driver Any of the above
    Best trip Anything in the Aston Martin


    When did it all begin? The seed was sown in the ’70s when I saw a picture of a Mandarin Yellow Aston V8 Vantage on the wall of a filling station. Many years later, during a chance conversation with the late Chris Meek I mentioned what my dream car was, but that I couldn’t afford one. Chris replied: “If you really want one, you’ll get one.”

    Scroll forward a few years and I came across an ad for two Astons at an auction house specialising in bankrupt stock. Enquiries were made, and I was surprised to find that purchase was a possibility. Further research took me to Aston Martin, then the Club and finally a local specialist who knew the cars.

    I placed a bid, but was unsuccessful. I later met some Aston Martin Owners’ Club members at a show at Harewood House and was told that it was possible for non-owners to join. I became a member in 2000, my aim being to find out about the practicalities of ownership and establish which would be the most suitable model to use every day. I also took the opportunity to call in at as many Aston specialists as possible, and they were all very helpful.

    Eventually, I decided that the car for me was a V8 – the later Oscar India if possible, manual and, if I was lucky, a Vantage. In late 2002, I placed an advert in the Cars wanted section of AM News and received 14 responses. Over the next three months I looked at almost every one, and settled on an ’1984 Vantage with 32,700 miles on the clock – actually the second car I’d looked at.

    In April 1981, Motor’s headline read ‘Aston Martin Vantage – the world’s fastest production car?’ The test figures quoted were 0-60 in 5.2 secs and a top speed of 168mph – not bad for a car weighing in at 1783kg, or 35.1cwt in old money. So has my dream been fulfilled?

    Absolutely! I have used it whenever possible, and covered an additional 96,000 miles. Other than driving it to visit clients around the UK, I have been on tours to Interlaken in Switzerland, Lake Garda in Italy, Granada and the Atlantic coast of Spain, Sweden and Norway, the Le Mans Classic (six times) and Monaco (taking in the Millau bridge and Route Napoleon). My other passion is track days (in the Aston), with visits to Goodwood, Mallory Park, Kinnekulle in Sweden, Silverstone, Oulton Park, Guadix in Spain and Blyton Park.

    The AMOC organises numerous events around the country, including a spring and autumn concours, and earlier this year the car was awarded first place in the Pride of Ownership Heritage Class at the new factory in St Athan, south Wales (Your events, July).

    Has it been an expensive (albeit enjoyable) experience? As with many things, it depends how you look at it. The purchase price was no more than a new mid-range Mercedes. Had I purchased such a car and replaced it every three years, the depreciation would probably have been equivalent to that of the underbody restoration and engine rebuild that the Aston has needed.

    Service intervals are 5000 miles but most of this is oil, greasing and filters, etc, which you can do yourself. At 15mpg – better if you take it steady – fuel consumption is what you would expect from a 5340cc V8.

    Residual values are another matter, with those of older Astons going through the roof – nice but not relevant if you have no intention of selling. More modern cars (DB7, Vantage and DB9) are now much more affordable and can provide as much enjoyment. My advice is to join the AMOC, buy a car to drive, and always pay a specialist to inspect it first.

    Forret gets the Vantage airborne during a spirited run at the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power in 2013.

    Gunning the V8 at #Blyton-Park with guidance from ex-BTCC ace Mark Hales. Luxurious interior ideal for long journeys. Aston’s 5340cc #V8 provides stonking pace. Alongside Jet Provost at #AMOC concours. Taking in Spain’s Atlantic coast in 2015.
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    Conceived amid the oil crisis of the 1970s, Toyota’s brave vision for a sports car that could sip fuel but still give the driver something to think about was a stroke of genius. Text by Colin Goodwin. Photography by Gus Gregory. Icon: Toyota MR2 Mk1. The original MR2 came about because of the oil crisis of the 1970s. It also happened to be a truly captivating drivers’ car.

    When my Mate Marcus bought a new car, we’d drop everything and go round to his place at the double. It would always be something dramatic, eight-cylindered and American. His high-point was a 1973 Pontiac Trans-Am in Brewster Green. Not just any Trans- Am, but one of only 252 that left the factory fitted with the mighty Super Duty 455 engine. In the early 1980s, it felt unbelievably fast. So when, in the summer of 1985, the jungle drums rang out that Marcus had got a new car, there was the usual excitement. The car? A bloody Toyota. We couldn’t believe it. Turned out he’d bought a new MR2, which I hadn’t even heard of. Just under sixteen-hundred cubic centimetres, four cylinders and horsepower barely worth counting.

    Then, one rainy day, I had a go in this new Toyota. I couldn’t believe the car’s handling and the way the engine revved past 7000rpm. I felt like a committed atheist who had just seen someone walking on the Thames. In the wet, the Trans Am would have kept up for a few yards and then disappeared through a hedge.

    While Pontiac and other American companies were fiddling around with smog-pumps and wondering what on earth to do about the mid-’70s oil crisis, Toyota was thinking about the sort of car it could make that would be fun to drive yet economical. Many layouts were considered and prototypes mulled over until the boss of the testing department, Akio Yoshida, and his colleagues decided that a mid-engine with transverse mounting was the way to go. A prototype codenamed SA-X was built in 1976 but the aforementioned crisis put the mockers on the project until it was revived in 1980. The SA-X was then substantially reworked and a concept called SV-3 built. We’ll be dropping a name or two later, but for now all you need to know is that the prototype was tested at length at Willow Springs raceway by Dan Gurney.

    The SV-3 broke ground at the Tokyo motor show in 1983. Little would change on the journey from concept to production car, with the only obvious differences being new front and rear spoilers that were designed to improve the car’s stability in crosswinds. And a name change, of course, to MR2, for ‘Midship Runabout Two-seater’. In June 1984 the MR2 went on sale in Japan, and sixth months later in the UK. European MR2s were exclusively fitted with Toyota’s 4A-GE engine, which had already been used in the AE86 Corolla – the car that inspired today’s GT86 coupe. The engine displaced 1587cc and was fitted with Denso electronic port fuel injection. Fairly exotic to have fuel injection and a sixteen-valve head (both of which warranted special badging) in the mid-’80s, let alone multipoint injection. Toyota’s T-VIS variable intake system was also fitted and that really was advanced stuff on a small and affordable sports car. Power outputs varied market to market, but UK-spec cars (which didn’t feature a catalytic converter) produced 122bhp. Even a five-speed gearbox was a bit sexy with sports cars such as the Triumph Spitfire and MGB still warm in their graves.

    The mid-engined layout brought with it five steel bulkheads, and this in the days before high-strength steel was put into strategic positions via the wizardry of computer simulation – a combination that today sees body-in-whites shed kilograms with each new generation. All the same, the MR2 weighed 977kg (split 44:56, front to rear), making it a bit of a fatty compared to contemporary hatchbacks but still commendably light bearing in mind its semi-exotic spec.

    MacPherson struts were used at each corner with disc brakes all-round. No power-steering was required in a small and light mid-engined car, of course, so there’s just a simple rack and pinion to do the turning. All this slipped under a very distinctive body – lots of flat surfaces and a wedge profile. I challenge you to look from bumper to bumper at the Mk1 MR2 and find a detail half-inched from a rival manufacturer. It’s not something that can be said of the Mk2, which as we know can be converted into a comedy Ferrari replica.

    The reason Marcus defected from Stars & Stripes to the Rising Sun was that a new job brought with it a car allowance. There was no list of ‘allowed’ machines, but the car had to be new, which, annoyingly, ruled out a 440 Six-Pack Plymouth Superbird (this would have been my young friend’s first choice). So he went for the then-new Toyota MR2 instead. Several years later, in 1987, Jim Harrison was going through the opposite experience. He’d just been made redundant and did the only sensible thing with his redundancy cheque: ‘I bought a sports car,’ he says, standing next to his blue MR2 outside his Essex home. Harrison is a very loyal Toyota customer but not a particularly profitable one from the accountants’ point of view. Not only has he owned his MR2 from new, but five years later he bought a Carina E GTI, which he also still owns.

    And it’s not as if Harrison has spent a fortune at the parts counter buying spares for the MR2, either. ‘It’s had an alternator, a water pump and a cambelt,’ he says. You don’t get away from the tin-worm in a car built in 1987, even if over its 30 years and 120,000 miles it has been lovingly cared for by one owner. Frilly rear arches were replaced some years ago and now look perfect. Harrison warned us that his car isn’t concours but did say that it was totally original. It wouldn’t take much to bring the car up to snuff. Our friend Richard Tipper, the master detailer, could have it looking stunning with a day’s work. What would be far harder would be to find a car that hasn’t been messed about with.

    Harrison’s car is a facelifted Mk1, or an AW11B in MR2- speak. A redesigned air intake, different alloys and the availability of a T-roof are the main differences. I never liked the T-bar version, so it’s nice that this car has only the factory sunroof (which, as I am about to find out, you need on a hot day because there’s no air conditioning).

    It’s 32 years since I last sat in one of these; the Mk2 had arrived by the time I started writing about cars. The passage of time is fascinating. If you go back 32 years from the launch of the MR2, you are in 1952, before the Mini, before the E-type, and the year Lotus was born. Today, we’d probably call the MR2 a modern classic, but I’d never have referred to a Ford Prefect as a modern classic in 1985.

    I remember how the MR2 drove but I remember nothing of its interior. It takes little time to change the ergonomics from the owner’s settings to something I’m comfortable with. The steering is adjustable for height, not reach, but the seat is fully adjustable. The bliss of a simple instrument and control layout. There’s only one stalk and that’s for the indicators, and in Japanese fashion for the time, it is on the right. An extended finger from each hand can easily reach the simple knobs that sit each side of the instrument binnacle and control wipers and lights. They’re a bit Citroën, which is meant as a compliment.

    The engine starts with an immediacy that would have been astonishing to an owner coming in 1985 from a sports car with a pushrod engine, carburettor and choke. Perfectly placed pedals and a footrest in just the right place. There’s a dent in the armrest, just in front of the gearlever.

    ‘Thirty years of enthusiastic shifting, Jim?’

    ‘No, a mechanic dented it with his elbow.’

    The first thing you notice, and it takes as long as the first pothole or bump, is the Toyota’s ride. I don’t know which tyre companies supplied the OEM fitment in the day, but this car rides on 185/60 Continentals and original 14in alloys. Perfectly sized aesthetically, and for the power-to-weight ratio of the car. And, it seems, perfectly matched to the suspension. If you go to the Wikipedia page for the MR2 you will read that the suspension had the magic wand of Roger Becker, Lotus’s legendary engineer, waved over it. I wasn’t so sure about this, so did a bit of detective work. Sadly, Roger Becker died earlier this year. I spoke to his son Matt, who after a career at Lotus is now responsible for the chassis dynamics of all Astons, much to the benefit of its customers. Matt remembers projects with Toyota but can’t recall his father mentioning the original MR2.

    ‘I’d give John Miles a call,’ he suggested. Which I did. Miles, who raced in F1 for Lotus in the late-1960s before working on the firm’s road cars, confirmed that they used an MR2 as a benchmark for the front-drive Elan, but had no recollection of Becker having worked on the Toyota’s suspension. And neither is there any mention of Lotus having done so in Toyota’s records. Supra and Corolla, yes, but not the little mid-engined car. Whatever, the MR2 most definitely has a Lotus feel about it.

    The dampers, bushes and every part of this car’s suspension are original, including the track rod ends. That’s amazing. There is a little bit of vagueness in the steering in a straight line, but it’s negligible. Could be down to tyre pressures or geometry. We tend to wax on about unassisted steering from cars of this era, but many of them were good on the go yet miserable at parking speeds. I owned a 205 GTI at the time and that is a good example. Try a Griffith with manual steering for further proof. The MR2 combines light steering weight with fantastic feel.

    Even mildly sporty family cars today have deeply bolstered seats and I can’t remember the last time I drove a car whose seats didn’t offer enough support in committed corners. The MR2 is easily capable of generating forces that will have you floating out of your chair. The gearshift isn’t as smooth as a modern gearbox’s, either, but it’s precise and, if you guide the lever accurately, fast. The whole car feels in rude health, with a smooth clutch and well-weighted, firm brake pedal.

    Harrison has no idea what his cherished MR2 is worth because he has no intention of selling it. I had no idea, either, but looking in the classifieds revealed several good-looking Mk1s available for around £4000, although they might not be in as fine fettle as this one. I don’t think that there is a classic car out there that is as good to drive and as entertaining as a Mk1 MR2 for anything like that money. Series 1 Lotus Elises are at least double, and we know the ridiculous prices being asked for Peugeot 205 GTIs. Perhaps the MR2 has an image of being a bit ‘hairdresser’, or excessive customising has tainted the car. Either way, driving Jim Harrison’s example has been a revelation.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Toyota-MR2-Mk1 / #Toyota-MR2 / #Toyota / #Toyota-W10 / #Toyota-MR2-W10 / #1984

    Engine In-line 4-cyl, 1587cc
    Power 122bhp @ 6600rpm DIN
    Torque 105lb ft @ 5000rpm DIN
    Transmission Five-speed manual, rear-wheel-drive
    Front suspension MacPherson struts, coil springs, dampers
    Rear suspension MacPherson struts, coil springs, dampers
    Brakes Ventilated front discs, solid rear discs
    Wheels 5.5in x 14in front and rear
    Tyres 185/60 R14 front and rear
    Weight 977kg
    Power-to-weight 127bhp/ton
    0-60mph 8.2sec (claimed)
    Top speed 124mph (claimed)
    Price when new £9295.16 (1985)
    Price now £3000-6000
    Rating: 4+

    ‘Even a five-speed gearbox was a bit sexy with sports cars such as the Triumph Spitfire and MGB still warm in their graves’

    doesn’t have to compromise cohesion’ ‘I challenge you to look from bumper to bumper at a Mk1 MR2 and find a detail half-inched from a rival manufacturer’

    Clockwise from top left: air intakes are emblematic of the MR2’s geometrically rigid design; 1.6-litre twin-cam not pretty but good for 122bhp; interior hits the spot in terms of ergonomics, but the seats can’t match the cornering forces generated; that’s a red line that rewards driver commitment.

    Below: Harrison’s car looks superb in blue, and is equally good to drive; Goodwin reckons an original Mk1 MR2 is something of an underrated bargain.
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    A new look for the #1984 / #Lotus-Excel / #Lotus

    The Lotus Excel body shape has taken on a more aggressive look, with a carefully designed rear spoiler providing even greater stability at high cruising speeds, and four visually distinctive louvres on the bonnet. Bumpers, sills, logos and coachlining have all been colour co-ordinated to further emphasise this new look.

    In contrast, the interior exudes a feeling of calm. Lotus now offer a choice of two cloth trims (brushed or ribbed velour) as well as their top quality hide option. New rear seat styling, redesigned door pillars which give improved air extraction and reduced wind noise, and a new sports steering wheel complete the interior changes for 1984, allowing for absolute control in complete comfort.
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    CALIFORNIA DREAMING / #Porsche-911-SC / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche / #Porsche-911-RS / #Porsche-911-SC-RS /

    John Esposito loves driving his SC RS-insired 911 on SoCal’s sun-kissed roads. When youʼre a long-term Porsche addict with four decades spent working on Stuttgartʼs most desirable metal under your belt, how do you make the drive home special? John Esposito reckons heʼs found the answer, and itʼs pretty hard to argue with… Words & Photos: Andy Tipping.

    Iʼm starting to envy John Esposito. Not only does he get to make a living working on some of the most desirable Porsches ever made, but heʼs used that experience to build possibly the ultimate motorsport replica for enjoying the miles of incredible driving roads on his doorstep. Half an hour winding through the Californian countryside under the glow of an autumn sunset, and itʼs a lifestyle I could get used to pretty quickly.

    A legend of Californiaʼs world-famous classic Porsche scene, Johnʼs carved out a reputation for meticulously executed restorations, backdating and modifying Stuttgart metal at his eponymous workshop.

    A bodyshop guy with 43 years of experience under his belt, heʼs developed an infectious enthusiasm for his work which is reflected by the contents of his garage. Heʼs had 12 356s since he bought his first ʼ1958 coupé in the late 1970s, and this is one of four 911s which make up his current fleet.

    To classify it as a simple ʻreplicaʼ would be ignoring most of what makes this so special, and so personal to John. Itʼs an interpretation of the road-going 911SC RS, built as a homologation special for the Rothmans-sponsored Group B rally cars of 1984 and 1985.

    Itʼs an homage to one of the rarest Porsches ever made, and a cherry-picked selection of parts heʼs become familiar with through four decades working with the brandʼs most desirable models. This might not be a car for the purists, but a short blast on one of Johnʼs favourite local routes has shown itʼs definitely a car for the road.

    Ironically, the original SC RS was just as much of a ʻparts-binʼ car. Porsche had needed a stop-gap competitor for its Group B rally efforts while the four-wheel drive 959 was under development, so it turned to Prodrive in the UK to construct a homologation special for the #1984 season, bankrolled by main sponsor Rothmans. The 3.0-litre SC had just been replaced, but Porsche opted to base its new rally car on the outgoing car instead of the newer 3.2- litre Carrera, in turn meaning only a handful of road cars had to be built. Exterior panels and mechanical parts were based on 1970s racers, such as the 3.0 RSR, while the bodywork was a stripped, stiffened and weight-deprived version of the 930 Turbo. Only 21 were ever built.

    This car started with a helping of good luck: ʻThe idea came from a client,ʼ says John. ʻHe approached me to build him an SC RS replica, but he changed his mind at the last minute and opted for an ST in the Toad Hall livery instead, suggesting I should build an SC RS for myself.ʼ

    Delighted with his ST, that same client even donated the rolling bodyshell to get Johnʼs project moving: the rust-bitten remains of a 1975 coupé with most of the interior and all of the drivetrain missing. It was the perfect starting point.

    ʻThe ʼshell was a lucky find, but it needed extensive metalwork before it was solid enough to begin building into an SC RS replica,ʼ he recalls. ʻThere was plenty of rust and some damage from storage, so I wasnʼt starting with an immaculate, original car. We even changed the roof panel to one without a sunroof while we were restoring it.ʼ With the coupéʼs skeletal structure free from rot and strengthened ready for its extra power, John was able to seek out all of the parts needed to take it beyond its original proportions. Potentially a headache on low-volume homologation cars, the SC RS proved easier than most. The wider arches are identical to those of the 930 Turbo, a relatively easy find for someone so well connected, while the glassfibre bumpers turned up on-line.

    Chassis parts were no more of a challenge. Prodrive had used the 930 Turbo as the basis for the chassis setup on the roadgoing SC RS cars, which meant the brakes, suspension and torsion tube could be pulled from crashed donors. John even managed to find a genuine set of 930-spec Fuchs, repainting the centres white as on the original SC RS.

    A donor Turbo was also able to donate its entire black leather interior. With no roll cage to avoid when getting in and out, itʼs perhaps the most obvious sign that Johnʼs put his own stamp on the Group B rally car.

    ʻItʼs inspired by the SC RS – itʼs not an exact replica,ʼ he explains. ʻI decided early on that I wanted to be able to use it every day, which meant I could keep the audio and fit airconditioning. Itʼs built to be driven on the road.ʼ John lifts the decklid, and more signs of his own take on Prodriveʼs work live beneath. Tony Gerace of nearby Porsche specialist TLG Auto rebuilt the 964- sourced 3.6-litre engine to fast-road spec, which means this produces 290bhp.

    Thatʼs more than any cars running under the Rothmans livery, and a significant uplift on the 255bhp of the roadgoing versions – and plenty to offset the weight of the immaculate leather interior.

    Unsurprisingly, it doesnʼt spend much time sat still: ʻI donʼt think Iʼd change anything on it,ʼ says John as the flatsix barks into life for the drive back to the workshop. ʻI drive it every day – itʼs a blast. Itʼs really fast, the handling is incredible, and I know exactly what itʼs going to do.ʼ

    That bare ʼshell, which could so easily have followed the fashion for backdated early 911 projects, took an unusual twist in Johnʼs hands. Instead of a retro homage, heʼs taken the ingredients of one of the rarest motorsport Porsches ever built and modified the recipe to suit the driving heaven in his back yard.

    Fast, impeccably built and used every day, itʼs a truly enviable product of a life well lived.

    Out on the open road, at first glance itʼs hard to tell this from an original SC RS – even the licence plate will make you think again…

    Engine is 3.6-litre 964 unit built to fast-road spec by Tony Gerace at TLG Auto. It produces a cool 290bhp, more than enough to put a smile on John Espositoʼs face every time he gets behind the wheel.


    Full black leather interior was pulled from a donor Turbo – the car was designed to be a daily driver rather than a true SC RS replica, hence the desire for home comforts, such as air-con and a radio!

    Itʼs hard to imagine a better driving environment than the mountains of southern California. For Esposito, itʼs his every day driving route…

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