words and shots by pablo deferrari

“what do you think?”

“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. 
yet this thing he’s constructed, this beast of a machine that would pulverize our 968 and make our 993 seem tame, is still docile enough for someone who prefers a bit of manners in a Porsche…like his wife Caroline.

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. 

perfect.
I’m by no means a purist preferring to align myself with those who’d use a pair of tongs reserved for serving pastries in a cake shop to handle their gentleman sausage when using the loo, but I’m very much into Porsches that have been massaged a bit as if done by the factory. in other words, an evolution of the thing done tastefully—this is exactly how Jason did it.

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 confessed to Jason that me, a seasoned guy in all things Stuttgart, never drove a genuine 944 Turbo. I never had an interest to buy one, nor a friend who owned one, so there was never a reason to slide behind the wheel of one. I was curious though, since the Turbos I have driven gave me that deliciously slow foreplay before deciding to violently ride me for all I’m worth into the depths of ecstasy—turbo lag before the shove to those less passionate than myself. I’m actually one of the few who prefer it…that wait, wait, wait, then BAM! experience that really gives you a kick in the backside is such a thrill. 

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.
Jason explained to me the exact mechanics and engineering he’d done on this KKK Turbo. by manipulating the formulas involved with the relationship of the hot side, the cold side, the ports, and the turbine wheel itself, he masterfully and precisely dialed it in so that Turbo lag would never be part of the conversation within the confines of this cockpit. because Caroline would be behind the wheel of this baby, he didn’t want it to misbehave by surprising her in exactly the same elements I looked forward to. instead, the power and thrust is on at all times.

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.

the car felt solid, as if I were in a locomotive gliding down the rails, but not painfully so. he set it up with the legendary M030 set-up the factory offers, but added a strut brace to tie it all in. steering, precise. brakes, as if sticking a pipe through the spokes of a bike in motion. with these two elements in check, it was time to try out the propulsion.

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.
it was all too short, this. what should’ve felt like the true 24 minutes I spent at the controls felt instead like the urgent rush of the spooling turbine…fast, linear, and to the point. I need to go back for another drive now that I put down these thoughts and give myself proper time since I know what to expect from this car. 

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.

highball!
 


Comments

Cole
04/09/2015 14:29

I remember the first time i drove a 944 turbo - exactly like this one, red on tan. All i can say is - as a 19 year old then and a 40 year old today - it is still the most fun i ever had driving a car. Only thing ever better? a RIDE in a 930 (no driving unfortuntley).

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matthew mariani
04/16/2015 18:45

He builds a great 951 and Jason is a great guy too.

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