Story and photos by Zach Mayne
A lot of Porsches have been parked in Paul Farrell’s garage over the years, from early 911Ts to far faster 997 Turbos and GT3s. But one of his favorite 911 variants is the SC, produced from the late ‘70s to the early ‘80s in a variety of configurations and powered by a 3.0-liter, fuel-injected version of Porsche air-cooled flat-6. The best of the bunch for serious drivers like Farrell are the coupe versions. Targas and Cabriolets may offer top down fun, but the more rigid coupes are the model of choice for those who prize driving finesse over flashiness.
“I’m a huge fan of the three liter engine,” says Farrell. “Another thing is that the SC is an extremely reliable car from the get go.” The silver SC pictured here is one of a number of SCs that he has built over the years, and though he sold the car after he built it, it’s still a beautiful example of the potential inherent in these impact bumper Porsches.
Farrell found the SC in 2008 through a friend. “I was looking for a cheap SC,” he says. The 911 in question was a tired example that was parked on the street in Hollywood, but it did come in a desirable Metallic Silver over black color combination. Wheels were standard issue 16x6 and 16x7 Fuchs and the odometer was reading a well used 188,000 miles, which in the big picture is not bad at all for the durable SC. Though it was far from perfect, the price was right, so Farrell took the neglected Porsche home.
“It had been parked on the street and the owner hadn’t used it for a few months,” recalls Farrell. “The paint was heavily oxidized and it had a pretty rough interior.” The Porsche had also been parked for so long that all four tires were perilously low on air. Farrell limped it to the nearest gas station for some much needed air and from there it was driven to his Malibu home.
From the outset, the target of the project was a lightened SC that would boast more power and better handling than it had when it left the factory in Stuttgart. A test drive in the Malibu canyons revealed that the Porsche had a tired suspension that was soft and floaty. The motor had seen better days as well and felt wheezy and down on power. Once Farrell removed the mechanicals and interio, he stripped the body to bare metal and then went to work with his welder. “I welded up the mirror holes, the windshield washer nozzle holes, the antenna hole and the rocker arm holes,” he says. With a less is more mantra driving the project, Farrell also removed the sunroof, filling in the hole with a Kevlar sunroof panel from Rennspeed that was bonded into the opening in the roof with epoxy. And while he was at it, he drilled out the front and rear deck lid hinges and door handles to lose a little more weight. Other than the modifications to the bodywork though, the 911 needed a minimal amount of work to prepare it for paint. With the sheetmetal prepped, the SC was sent over to Jim Bastoli Autobody in Englewood, CA for paint, where it was resprayed in the original Metallic Silver, paint code #L936.
Once the car was painted, the real fun of the project began, which was the reassembly phase. “I was thinking of going with a ducktail, but I wasn’t sure,” he says. In the end, he decided to go not only with a ducktail but with 911 RSR/IROC style bumpers at the front and rear. Before being re-installed on the car, the window frames, drilled out door handles and miscellaneous other trim was powdercoated black before being bolted into place. The SC received all new seals and soft parts as well, all of which were sourced from Rusnak Porsche in Thousand Oaks. Fully assembled, the SC now tipped the scales at an impressively low 2100-lbs, an impressively low weight that would complement the motor that Farrell was planning.
Plans for a mildly built 3.0-liter were quickly shelved when Farrell came across a set of rare and desirable Max Moritz pistons that would bump the compression of the 3.0-liter to 9.8:1. The engines original barrels were replated in nickel by EBS and in order to shift the power band a little higher, the cams were sent to Dougherty Cams and reground to the same specs used by the 964. Continuing the theme of improving the existing components, Farrell ported the heads and then sent them to Randy Aase at Aasco where they were rebuilt with stock valves, stainless steel valve springs and titanium retainers. The openings on the intake manifold were also port matched to the heads for better airflow.
The motor retains its stock fuel injection, albeit with a couple of changes to restore and improve performance. A European fuel distributor moves more fuel through the system, an upgrade dictated partially by the higher compression pistons the engine used. New fuel injectors were also installed and the stock Bosch distributor was recurved to ’74 RSR 3.0-liter specs by Aaron Burnham at Rennwerks. The same shop also lightened the flywheel for better revving and more power. The exhaust consists of Bursch headers mated to an M&K sport muffler. With the exception of the lightened flywheel, the SC’s 915 5-speed and clutch are stock.
In the past, Farrell has converted a few of the SCs he’s owned to carburetion, but he stands by a well-set up CIS system like the one on his car. “At a stand still, the carburetors always sound better,” he admits. “But as far as accelerator response while moving, CIS provides a good smooth linear power band. The powerband is now larger and the engine pulls really well above 3,500-rpm. I now shift around 5,500 to 6,000 rpm.” The 911 is also more drivable than a carb’d car. “It doesn’t pop and backfire when I’m going up hill like the early carbureted cars. It works really well,” he says.
A less is more philosophy was used in the car’s sports purpose interior. The AC components were binned, as was the trunk mounted spare. The stock carpeting and sound deadening was removed, replaced with a 911 RS-style carpet kit from Appbiz products. There are also minimalist RS door panels and a suede Sparco steering wheel. In keeping with the canyon runner theme, he prefers to run the SC with only a driver’s seat, in this case a Recaro SPG. Behind the driver is a European-spec GT3 RS roll bar. “We had to recreate the mounting points and modify some of the bar, but it actually fit pretty well,” notes Farrell.
Despite the car’s rather aggressive demeanor in most regards, the suspension has been kept pretty close to stock. New Bilstein Heavy Duty shocks were installed at all four corners and the spindles have been raised to lower the roll center. Not only does this help the suspension feel more planted, but it reduces the tendency of the inside front wheel from lifting during aggressive cornering. Elsewhere, the 911 retains its stock torsion bars and swaybars. “For not having too much done to the suspension, it handles unusually well, although I will be stiffening up the torsion bars in its future” says Farrell. “It definitely has a lot to do with weight, and the R-compound tires help.”
The SC’s brakes are stock as well, though Farrell is running Pagid Orange pads for a little extra bite. To add a little more grip to the rear and achieve the proper stance, the original 16x7-inch rear wheels were rotated to the front and a new pair of 16x8-inch Fuchs were installed on the rear. The wheels were powdercoated black to match the black trim on the body and then wrapped with 205/50-16 front and 225/50-16 rear Michelin Sport Cups, which feature a grippy R-compound. “I love the tires, but they only last about 350 miles,” admits Farrell.
Since completing the build, the SC has been enjoying a life where it gets driven hard and often on Mullholand Drive and the hundreds of miles of winding roads that criss cross the Malibu hills. Fittingly enough, that’s also where we stumbled across Farrell’s SC, when he was parked at an overlook on Mullholand, just above the Rock Store cafe. One look at this silver bullet was all we needed to tell us it was the product of an enthusiast that gets it. After pouring over it in person, we have to say its one of the best looking SCs, if not the best looking, we’ve even had the pleasure to be around.