words and shots by pablo deferrari
“it’s fucking incredible Jason; it’s like the 968 where it has this linear pull from just under two grand, yet it pulls and pulls and keeps on pulling ‘til you either run out of road or balls.”
I had to think for a moment before he asked me that question…I almost never do that.
you see, this 944 Turbo of 1986 vintage is for her. Jason has spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 hours breeding, nearly a year massaging, and what seemed like an eternity visualizing this masterpiece. when you whisper to your car and assure her that she is going to be the most beautiful thing sitting on four patches of rubber, it's the only way to go about things.
that Jason captured one of the most rarest of occurrences, me behind the wheel with a beaming smile that used muscles in my face I didn’t know I had, crystallized this experience and just how incredible this machine is. what makes it more so is how unthreatening this car looks to seasoned Porschephiles like myself. there’s no silly frills, chrome bits or bobs that children and simple people like, nor extravagant wings and such, not a whiff of anything that to the connoisseur of vintage Swabian Hengst suggests unoriginality. save for the period correct BBS RS three piece wheels and a contemporary radio suited for modern necessities, nothing else suggests infidelity to those who put it together nearly 30 years ago.
I came down to see Jason and shoot the car for a second time. we had agreed that the 951 needed some sort of derelict industrial backdrop as a perfect contrast to this mistress in an Indischrot dress. he drove us out to a location, a town dump, where we’d spend some time taking photos on a perfectly crisp day with bright sun…the conditions couldn't be more accommodating. the real treat was when we left—I got some stick time.
"…that wait, wait, wait, then BAM!"
I thrive in it because I anticipate the rush that the turbo is about to give and there’s no way in knowing what it will do if you decide to bring this rush mid turn or in the wet. the car leaves it up to me now to decide whether I want to live or die. there’s a problem with this high I get, one; this wasn’t my car and it meant a great deal to me to respect it and its owner, and two…this Turbo didn’t do that.
very few cars behave this way, especially one that’s blown. Porsche has perfected it with the 959 by means of sequential turbos, they then did it with variable vane technology in 2007 with the 911 Turbo. what Porsche needed two Turbos to accomplish, Jason did it with one…and he did it beautifully. we’ve yet to get into the fuel mapping he’s done, which I won’t explain here because I need to fully comprehend that dynamic before passing it on to you.
I slid the precise shift lever into first and got us going. I don’t get on first like some pimply faced teen trying to prove himself at a stop light, nary past three grand…second gear I treat differently. once I chose this cog, I took her right before the red as she took me way past the posted speed limit on two bars of atmospheric pressure. depress clutch, turn wrist upside down, palm up and glide it into third with three fingers; I left it there because I couldn’t possibly go any faster without a great risk in losing my license…we chat about this linear pull I’ve experienced in just one gear as I slow the beast down with the engine’s compression.
I’m flattered, truly I am, with the amount of trust Jason has in me to point this missile at apexes on this two lane road flanked by pine trees and powering through them. words fall hopelessly short in explaining the finesse and poise with which this car performs such maneuvers…it’s my psyche that’s experiencing turbo lag as we take the 951 back to its berth as Jason asks what my thoughts are.
my description of the experience was tragically short because the experience was short. I mentioned to Jason how a car like this needs to be lived in for a bit, you know? trips to the store, long drives in the rain, fast ones in drier conditions; to truly appreciate a car like this means you have to get out of your head the notion that you’re in something extraordinary, much like dating a super model. get past the shock of being in the same company of something so intoxicating beautifully; because once you do, only then can you be comfortable enough to explain the experience.