Story by Zach Mayne
Lee Loughridge offers a single and succinct word about the driving experience delivered by his Porsche 930 Turbo: “Analog.” Indeed, the 930’s utter lack of traction control, ABS brakes or any form of driver’s aids marks it out as a machine from a simpler era, when the connection between car and driver was unfiltered and pure. Of course, that simplicity also makes the original 930 a car that will easily bite the uninitiated. The results of Porsche’s first foray into forced induction road cars has never been a car for the fainthearted, particularly when it comes to an example like Lee’s, which has been modified for even fiercer acceleration.
Prior to the 930, Lee owned a string of classic Porsches that included a 1978 924, a 1984 911 Carrera, a 1982 European-spec 928 S, a 1985 944 and a 1969 911T. His current daily driver is a Cayenne Turbo. As a comic book artist by trade who lives in Newport Beach, CA, Lee was also drawn to the German marque's aesthetic approach to car design. “Porsches were unique and artistically spoke to me,” he says. And when it came to Porsches, it was the original 930 Turbo that had been at the very top of his wish list for as long as he could remember. “I had wanted a 930 from the moment I first saw one around 1980,” he says. “In my opinion this is the rawest, fastest air-cooled 911 ever produced. I love the fact that it is fully mechanical, no fucking computers!”
In September 2003 Lee finally acquired his 930 in the form of a 1982, European-spec example that had been imported from Germany on the grey market and then federalized for use on U.S. roads. Back then, the 930 Turbo belonged in an elite group of exotics that included cars like the Ferrari 512BB and Lamborghini Countach that weren't technically available for U.S. consumption. Luckily for enthusiasts like Lee, determined buyers imported them on the grey market. ”I spent about four or five years looking for it,” he says of the 930. “I wanted an all original fully documented car with all receipts from purchase. It wasn’t an easy task but I eventually found a Zinc Metallic, 60,000-mile car. I bought the car from a guy in Marietta Georgia. He was a car guy with lots of cool vehicles and was the perfect owner.” The seller had bought the car from his brother-in-law, and before that there had only been one owner.
When new, a Euro-spec 930 like Lee’s put out around 300-hp from its 3.3-liter turbocharged, flat-6, air-cooled motor. In its day, the 930 delivered downright startling acceleration when the engine came on boost, which when combined with tricky rear-engine driving dynamics made it a legend among serious drivers. Still, for Lee stock was never going to be enough. “I had always planned to modify it once I figured out exactly what I wanted to do,” he adds. “I just wanted the motor to run the best it could run and that entailed teaching it how to breath and breath cool.” Lee is the first to admit that the 930 had pretty horrendous turbo lag in stock form. “I first ripped the worthless air box out and replaced it with a K&N intake. I then lowered the car and put an oil cooler up front. The stock oil cooler is garbage. That helped a bunch.” After that, the installation of a Fabspeed intercooler went a long way towards reducing turbo lag. That took care of the lag.”
With the 930 set up more to his liking, Lee proceeded to drive the wheels off of the German machine. Which eventually led to the demise of the turbo. “After the stock turbo blew I took the car to Sleepers Speed shop in Costa Mesa and had Preston pull the motor and freshen up everything.” The 3.3-liter's top end was rebuilt and the motor reassembled with a larger K27 turbo with about 11-lbs of boost dialed in, which worked very well when combined with the GHL muffler the 930 already had when he bought it. “He tuned the car to perfection and the difference was amazing,” says Lee. To keep the 930 on the road, a set of sticky Toyo Proxes T1R tires were installed on the stock 16x8-inch front and 16x9-inch rear Fuchs alloys.
Other than that, the changes to the Turbo were limited to a flat grey wrap on the exterior (done by Spin Imaging in Long Beach, CA), which when combined with the black, deep dish Fuchs make for an appropriately menacing combination. Inside, Lee swapped the stock seats for a set of more aggressively bolstered cloth Recaro buckets, complimented by a grippy MOMO wheel and crisp looking, brushed aluminum gauge surrounds. Despite prices for impact bumper 911 Turbos rocketing towards the stratosphere, Lee isn’t afraid to drive his 930 the way Porsche originally intended. Which means it gets rolled out of the garage just about every weekend so it can tear up the numerous canyon roads that crisscross the hills of Southern California. “It makes you pay for your mistakes and keeps you on your toes at all times,” admits Lee. “But the reward is worth the fear.”
Check out Lee's 930 in the video below.
Sleepers Speed Shop • www.sleepersspeedshop.com • (949) 631-202