Story and Photos by Zach Mayne
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a Porsche fan,” says Daniel Ramirez. “The 911 has always been my favorite car, and my favorite body style was the wide-body.” His first 911 was a garden variety, narrow body 1974 911S. After selling that car to fund a business venture, Ramirez was without a Porsche for a few years until he came across the 1984 Carrera pictured here. Rather than being clothed in standard Carrera bodywork, the 911 he ended up buying is one of 420 examples built that year with the desirable M471 option. The option package included wider steel fender flares at the front and rear from the 930 Turbo as well as that model’s dramatic “whale-tail” rear spoiler, upgraded brakes and suspension as well as wider Fuchs alloys.
While the M471-equipped Carreras looked fast, the reality was that they were powered by a naturally aspirated 3.2-liter, air-cooled flat-6 engine that pumped out 207-hp. While that’s a sufficient amount of power, the performance was nowhere near that of its turbocharged stablemate, making it something of a sheep in wolves clothing. When Ramirez first acquired the 911, it was in stock form and was pressed into service as a weekend driver and fun runs to the beach for lobster with his wife and daughter. It didn’t stay stock for long though.
First up was a bare-metal respray in the Porsche’s original and eye-catching Irish Blue that would include 15 coats of color and clear that was thoroughly wet-sanded to a stunning finish. The cosmetic restoration was rounded out with all new rubber seals and new lenses at all four corners. The body panels were kept stock with the exception of a front air dam from Better Bodies in San Diego. While the 911 was disassembled for paint, the interior was redone as well with leather Sparco Milano seats, leather door panels and a leather-covered dash. Sabelt harnesses are fastened to a Weltmeister harness bar and the driver to car interface was improved with a 930 S steering wheel and alloy pedals.
Ramirez next turned his attention to improving the Carrera’s performance to match the aggressive appearance of the Turbo bodywork. “It looks very exotic with those big tires in the back, but it just wasn’t fast enough,” he admits. Mark Kinninger of Black Forest Automotive in San Diego was enlisted to rebuild the Porsche’s 3.2-liter with high compression pistons, more aggressive cams and a free-flow exhaust. While the rebuilt motor was an improvement, Ramirez wanted more speed. “About two months later I went back to Mark and told him I wanted more. He told me we should go with a 993 3.6-liter conversion." It was a suggestion that Ramirez agreed enthusiastically with.
A complete 3.6-liter was sourced from Patrick Motorsports in Phoenix, AZ. While the stock 272-hp 993 engine would have added plenty of performance, Ramirez instructed Kinninger to rebuild it into a larger 3.8-liter engine, a decision that would surely satisfy his need for speed once and for all. During the rebuild, the crankshaft was magnafluxed to check for cracks before being polished and balanced. Kinninger then added to the recipe 102-mm Mahle pistons and cylinders, in this case actuated by lighter and stronger Carillo connecting rods. To ensure a strong seal between the heads and the case, ARP head studs were used and as an added precaution the case was machined to accept o-rings between it and the cylinders. The heads were ported and polished for better airflow and the entire valve train rebuilt with OEM 993 components. The final compression ratio of the 3.8-liter is 11.3:1. Webcam supplied a set of 993 Supercup-spec cams. There is also a performance chip and B&B headers and muffler that add more power.
In order to ensure that the larger motor stays reliably cool, Black Forest installed three B&B oil coolers, one in the stock position in the right fender and two additional coolers, one in the opposite fender and one behind the front bumper. The setup may seem like overkill but Ramirez frequently drives the Carrera up to California from his home in Tijuana, Mexico, and as such the car idles in border traffic, often for more than an hour at times. The 911’s original 915 5-speed was rebuilt with stronger dogteeth for the gears that were used on the 930 Turbo gearbox. The transmission mates up to the motor with a Patrick Motorsports light steel flywheel conversion, while the clutch disc and pressure plate are stronger Centerforce components. A factory short shift kit rounds out the changes to the gearbox.
Ramirez was intent on keeping the Carrera’s performance well-balanced, matching the increased speed with a thorough refresh to the car’s chassis. At the front 23-mm Weltmeister torsion bars were installed along with a Smart Racing Products 27-mm hollow swaybar. A front strut brace was installed as well to reduce chassis flex. At the rear are 30-mm Weltmeister torsion bars and a 27-mm Smart Racing Products hollow sway bar. A performance corner balancing and Bilstein Sport shocks round out the changes to the suspension. The 911 Turbo-spec brakes were left as is with the exception of more aggressive Pagid pads and braided steel lines. To add a little flash, the calipers were painted red. The 964 Turbo wheels that were on the Carrera when Ramirez acquired it made way for a custom set of Kinesis K18 alloys that measure 18x8-inches up front and 18x11-inches at the rear shod with Michelin Pilot MS tires sized 245/40-18 and 315/30-18.
In person, Ramirez’s restored and rebuilt Carrera is every bit as stunning as you would expect. And its driving experience easily matches the drama of the outrageous, wide-body looks. According to Kinninger, when the 3.8 was dyno-tested it produced 283 rear-wheel horsepower at 6500-rpm, while peak rear-wheel torque of 260 lb-ft arrives at about 5300-rpm. The 993 Supercup cams give the larger displacement 3.8-liter motor a lumpy idle that burbles loudly out of the B&B header and muffler. In the lower gears the Carrera surges forward with very strong mid-range acceleration accompanied by an engaging, flat-6 bellow that just begs for more throttle
The big air-cooled motor also picks up rpms quickly and enthusiastically thanks to the Supercup cams and various other modifications, with a nice flat powerband right up to the 6800-rpm redline. Unlike an old-school 911 Turbo that has a light switch power delivery, this Porsche is deceptively quick. As revs rise and acceleration builds the motor’s note changes from a deep, gruff burble to a ripping canvas shriek in the upper portion of the rev range. On the shifting end of things, the rebuilt 915 feels tight, and encourages a firm hand to guide it into gear. When it comes time to shed some speed, the stock brakes and Pagid pads do a fine job of slowing the 911, while the stiffer, lower suspension and sticky tires assist the efficiency of the brakes as well. The latter comes in handy when the going gets windy too, with cornering that is flat and stable. Ramirez has given this Turbo-look Carrera exactly what its looks demanded, which is performance that would easily give an older Turbo a run for its money.