Story by Zach Mayne
When Erik Lind decided he needed to have a 911 in his life, he was also determined to find one that was painted one of those weird but wonderful colors that populate the Porsche color palette. Shades that the German company has used over the years run the gamut from bright greens and oranges to moody purples, but there are also a lot of earthy tones in the list, from light tans to dark browns. And while not all of the colors suit every Porsche model ever made, there is something very cool about seeing a late ‘70s or early ‘80s 911 painted a rich, dark brown. While there will always be naysayers when it comes to some of these polarizing aesthetics, there is no denying that these somewhat eccentric colors keep getting better looking as time goes on.
“I really wanted one of the odd colors- Green, Aubergine, etc,” says Erik. The second criteria for his ideal 911 was that it needed to be an SC variant. “SCs are still somewhat affordable, the 3.0-liter is an excellent engine and the galvanized body is a big plus,” he says of model. It didn’t take long for him to locate the perfect example. A day after telling his wife he was going to begin looking for one, an ideal candidate popped up for sale on the Pelican Parts Porsche 911 sale forum. The 911 was painted a rich shade that the factory referred to as Bitter Chocolate, so it checked the “odd color” box, and it appeared to be in very nice shape, at least as far as he could tell by looking at the photos that the seller had posted online. “The owner was a longtime PCA guy, a racer, and had two 930s he was restoring,” says Erik.
The brown 911 he was selling came with all of the records and appeared well cared for, so Erik booked a flight to Montana where the car was located. “It was almost snow time, so he had it priced accordingly. I flew up, checked out the car in airport parking lot and blasted off.” The condition of the car was even better than had been claimed, and it came with a set of comfortable Recaro XL Topline seats that were ideal for the drive from Montana back to Erik’s home in Livermore, CA. “I drove it home over two days, mostly in pouring rain and eventually snow over the Sierras.” The Porsche ran and performed flawlessly for the entire drive and by the time he arrived home, he knew he had bought the right car.
As much as he's become a fan of his 911, Erik hasn't always been into Porsches. “I’ve always been a BMW guy when it comes to sports cars,” he admits. “I never really got the whole Porsche thing.” At least he didn’t until he bought a 914. “The handling sold me,” he says of the nimble, mid-engine sports car. He restored the 914, which was a 2.0-liter example, and after that built an Outlaw-style car based on the same model but powered by a fuel-injected Buick V8.
That same impressive road holding that his 914s had impressed him with was there in spades as he got to know his new 911. “Its almost hard to define why it is the way it is, but there is something very special about the 911,” Erik says. Of course as fun as a 911SC is in stock form, he could see much more potential that could be conjured out of the car. “I’m a serial hotrodder,” he adds. “I can never leave anything alone.” While he wanted more performance, he also didn’t want to spoil the 911’s usability. “I wanted to keep it civilized enough to take my wife and daughter for rides without them hating me.”
Elsewhere though the car would become heavily modified for better acceleration and increased handling. “I went all Colin Chapman on the car and removed anything unneeded, lightened what I could and tweaked the ergonomics to suite my frame," says Erik. "The goal was a fast, reliable car that can go on a long trip, hit the autocross track or daily drive if I feel like it.” The initial stages of the build involved tweaking the chassis but leaving the 3.0-liter engine stock, which was originally rated at about 180-hp and 175 lb-ft of torque.
In order to increase the SC’s stopping ability, Boxster brakes have been installed at all four corners. The setup uses larger calipers and rotors that are bolted to the existing suspension with the use of adapter blocks. On the handling end of the equation the front struts housings have been shortened and stiffer Koni Sport shocks installed at all four corners. An Elephant Racing bump steer kit was installed to eliminate the tendency of lowered 911s to exhibit bump steer over surface undulations. Body roll around corners has been virtually eliminated with larger front and rear Tarett adjustable swaybars. There are also Tarett camber plates at the top of the front struts, Elephant Racing offset ball joints and bushings and a zero friction kit.
When he first acquired the car, Erik swapped out the stock Fuchs for a set of gold 15-inch Campagnolo replica wheels. The Campagnolos have since made way for a set of 17x7 and 17x9-inch replica Fuchs wheels made by Euromeister. The resulting combination of the rich Bitter Chocolate paint and flat gold wheels speaks for itself- in a good way. The Bridgestone RE71 tires are sized 225/40 front and 255/40 at the rear. “This put the gearing back to stock and gave a lot more rubber on the road,” adds Erik.
Though he was happy with the 911's improved handling and braking, the 3.0-engine was now seeming a little average and underwhelming. The solution came by way of a larger displacement but still air-cooled 3.6-liter engine from a 964-generation 911. The seller of the engine had already tuned it to produce 268-rear wheel horsepower with the addition of a Steve Wong chip and Fabspeed headers. Since installing the engine, Erik has fabricated a custom muffler as well. Helping to keep the engine cool is an oil cooler from BAT Inc, the North American distributor for Mocal. The original 915 5-speed gearbox is still present and traction has been enhanced with the installation of a Wavetrac limited slip differential with billet side covers and bearings from Patrick Motorsports.
The inside of the Porsche has been treated to a thorough customizing as well, with a result unlike most other 911 interiors we've seen. The comfortable suede and leather Recaro seats have been retained, but Erik added RS-style door panels, which have been re-trimmed and modified. "I had a set of the common RS style panels with the long leather strap. I got them for a song, but found that I didn’t like that opener arrangement and wanted the smaller pull tab. I also wanted to hide speakers behind them and the material was kind of crappy." The light weight theme continues with a deleted dome lights, sun visors, and rear seat delete. In an effort to further lighten the car, even the factory sound deadening was ripped out. Erik also installed a custom child seat mount so he can safely take his daughter on rides.
In place of the original steering wheel is an extremely rare, NOS (New Old Stock) Victor Interspeed steering wheel. With its unusual squared off top spoke, the wheel is a refreshing change from MOMO Prototipos that have become commonplace on vintage 911 builds. "There’s a guy in the Netherlands who collects rare wheels," says Erik. "He found three Victors, two larger black ones, and one “N” small one with the bronze center. They were new, in-the-box, but 30-40 years old." In a nice coincidence, when he received the wheel, it turned out that its color was a chestnut brown that perfectly complimented the aesthetic vibe of the rest of the car. A handmade, 917-style balsa wood shift knob was sourced from Manuel Campuzano in Mexico City.
There is also a Rebel Racing Rennshift setup, which has been relocated back and up by about 4-inches. "You have to cut up and modify the shift shaft, do some other fab work, relocate the seat belt receptacles, and do some custom work to make the e-brake work," notes Erik. "It puts the shifter in perfect placement just to the side of the steering wheel and eliminates having to reach for 3rd and 5th."
Externally, the 911 hews to its '70s roots with the addition of front and rear fiberglass IROC bumpers and a ducktail in place of the steel engine lid. Minimalist Vitaloni Sebring mirrors are perched on the end of stock 911 bases. Further setting the 911 apart are customized 911R-style taillights fitted with brighter LED bulbs, the latter of which have also been fitted to the headlights and side markers.. The reflector panel has been replaced with an aluminum panel with mesh-trimmed holes from Rockabilly Jay at Porsche Punx. Additional weight was shed by swapping the stock rear glass with a lighter Lexan unit and deleting the sunroof. "I used a sunroof delete panel from Fenn Lane Motorsport in England and we bonded it in with 3M PanelBond," Erik explains. "My painter then resprayed the roof."
Film buffs might have made the connection between the "CPT KAOS" license plate and a famous car movie. "In the beginning of Cannonball Run, JJ takes out a brown 935 and proceeds to wreck it," says Erik. "Captain Chaos, played by Dom Delouise is introduced at this point. One of my English, car nerd buddies mentioned that I was driving the Captain Chaos Mobile and it took off from there."
The end result of all this work is a light, fast and very unique take on an impact bumper 911. "With 250+ at the wheels now—and tons more torque— its a rocketship," says Erik. "It's way less high strung and just has effortless, linear power." Captain Chaos indeed.