I have to admit, I never really understood the popularity of the 993 when compared to other 911s. Even prior to the classic car market going crazy, 993s were valued substantially higher than all its predecessors and I just didn’t get why a car that at the time was neither modern or classic, could still be so much more desirable. Well all that changed last week when I was handed the keys to this 1997 993 Carrera.
When it comes to the 993, it’s the special editions such as the Turbo, Carrera S and RS models that are some of my all time favourites. They’re much more aggressive looking than the base model Carrera which is a little conservative for my liking. So while this car is a Carrera 2, it definitely floats my boat, even if it is a mock RS. It’s aggressive stance and ridiculously big rear wing scream “I’m ready to be driven fast” but that’s not its only intended purpose.
Owner Mark McNamara had two goals for this 993. Mark wanted a car that he could use to compete in club track events but also wanted a car that he could take touring. What he has created is a great mix of track specific features while still retaining some creature comforts for a long day in the driver’s seat.
Starting with the body kit, this is a genuine Porsche RS ClubSport kit which gives the car its amazing race car look. Added to the body are two grey stripes up the middle of the car, the first hint that the 997 Sport Classic may have been a bit of inspiration.
The wheels are genuine 18” Fuchs and are wrapped in Pirelli Pzero Rosso tyres. The super low stance is achieved with Bilstein coilovers with custom valving for that perfect setup.
The engine sings through a set of Fabspeed mufflers and sports cats giving off a beautiful sound without being offensive to passers by or giving the occupants a headache.
The inside of the car is a thing of beauty. The front seats are Recaro Pole Position which have been redone in dark grey leather with houndstooth centres while the doors also received the houndstooth treatment. The steering wheel is a Porsche edition Momo Mod07 but has been re-stitched in red to match the Porsche script on the wheel spoke.
When Mark insisted I drive the car before I publish this article, I could hardly say no. Not a bad version for my first drive in a 993! Mark wasn’t going to let me drive it anywhere though. The Reefton Spur on the edge of the Victorian Alps was the ideal place to really get to know the car and its capabilities.
Sliding into the Recaros, they’re a nice fit and I already feel like I’m getting ready for a rally stage. The Momo wheel is positioned perfectly and has me thinking I might replace my Prototipo. I’m immediately struck by how cramped the pedals are for my big feet and they did take a bit of getting used to. The clutch is easy to deal with and we set off taking baby steps while I get a feel for a car which feels hugely different to the 997 I’d just stepped out of.
Even as I tip toe around the first few bends, the car feels so nimble. It feels small and corners so flat but at the same time isn’t bone jarring stiff. It doesn’t take long to get comfortable and I start giving the super responsive throttle a good squirt. There’s plenty of low down torque to shoot us out of the corners and the grip and balance of the car is just mind blowing! The smile just keeps getting bigger the further I drive it. Mark instructs me to pull over at the next opportunity so he can show me the true potential of the car but I find myself missing quite a few spots because I just want to keep driving it. Eventually I have to accept that I have to give it back and I hand over the reigns to Mark. Holy cow!!! How can a car that’s 20 years old be this good? The thing that strikes me most is how far ahead of my 3.2 Carrera it is in performance and how close it is to its younger water cooled brothers. I’m truly blown away by how this car performs.
Mark is an avid participant in club events but his track experience goes as far back as Porsche Cup in the mid 1990s where he campaigned a 3.2 Carrera for a couple seasons. Mark had been crewing for Martin Wagg in Porsche Cup and had also been involved in motorsport at club level for a number of years prior in various other marques. The Porsche bug evidently bit hard and Mark bought himself a Guards Red ’85 3.2 Carrera. Two days after picking it up, he was tearing up Sandown Raceway in it. It didn’t take long for the car to be turned into a dedicated track car with Weltmeister in Melbourne put in charge of the transformation, similar to Andrew Whyment’s car featured earlier this year. A couple years later, Mark joined the Porsche Cup championship in invitational class which saw him competing in the support category for events such as the Gold Coast Indy and the Bathurst 1,000.
The 3.2 is long gone but Mark continues to enjoy club racing in his 993. Whilst he has owned it for 18 years, it has only undergone its RS Clubsport transformation in recent years. The car had previously spent much of its life as a RS Touring replica and with plenty of enjoyable kms under the belt, was starting to look a bit tired on the inside. Inspired by others on social media sites such as the Classic Porsche Australia Facebook group, Mark set out to give the car a bit of a make over into what you see today.
Mark had already had the dedicated track car with the 3.2 Carrera. It had been stripped out with a roll cage, no sound deadener, loud exhaust etc. For the 993, he wanted a car that he could drive to Winton or Philip Island without getting a thumping headache along the way. It meant he would also be able to use the car for touring. Mark has enjoyed a number of road trips including the “Mexican Invasion” to Adelaide and a very special road trip with his son to Queensland. “For me, the racing has never been about winning the championship or being first across the line. It’s just a great way to experience the full potential of these cars in a safe environment.” That’s why there are minimal performance mods on the car and it still has creature comforts like a stereo and climate control. As a multi-purpose car, I’d say Mark has nailed it!