Foot flat to the floor in third gear, I’m still waiting to make any meaningful progress around the high-speed test track, the location for today’s latest Total 911 drive. As the orange needle on the VDO tachometer sweeps past the 3,000rpm mark though, the whistling that had previously been but a mere mumble through the cockpit grows to a more pronounced shriek. The flat-six sound track swells, too, in unison, growling angrily as the aural experience combines with an old school dollop of single turbo boost.
The pace has switched from ‘pedestrian’ to ‘brutal’ in the blink of an eye, the 911 Turbo galloping forward with indecent haste as the tree trunks lining the road blur into an organic mess in my peripheral vision. The road has seemingly narrowed, too, with this Neunelfer chasing the horizon so violently that it appears to have outsprinted my eyes’ ability to compute the perspective of the situation. In fact, the 964 Turbo 3.6’s 385bhp, wrought from a single KKK turbocharger, has left nearly all of my senses needing recalibration. My first experience of the Turbo 3.6’s full throttle theatrics thumps me in the small of my back, leaving my internal organs feeling like they’ve been deposited some distance further back down the road; the place where the full 0.8 bar of boost kicked in; the place that is now almost invisible in the rear view mirror. After too long spent in silky smooth twin turbo 911s, I had forgotten what a magical experience the old 911 Turbos could deliver, like a roller coaster that has just pitched over the top of its crest.
Each time I push down with my right foot, after an appreciable half-a-second or so of lag, I’m continually shocked by the ferocity of the acceleration, the car squatting over its wide rear haunches like a 100 metre sprinter launching from the blocks. I didn’t realise a car that is now 22 years old could pack such a powerful punch. The sound track to this barely-tamed beast only serves to heighten the addictiveness of the thumping motor’s boost, the bark of the flat six overlaid with an unbridled whoosh from the turbocharger, followed by that classic air-cooled chatter and a subtle hiss as 11.6psi of pressure is suddenly exhaled on the overrun. I’m so excited by the speed that it seems incredible this particular 911 has only seen 1,014km of action. How could the previous owner have just this left car idle for most of its life? However, this isn’t any normal 964 Turbo 3.6 and its original owner – as you’ll find out – wasn’t any normal 911 buyer. As you will undoubtedly have noticed, this 964 Turbo 3.6 features a Flachbau front end.
However, don’t think that this is some sort of aftermarket modification. Just like the 930 SE, this is an oicial Flatnose conversion (performed on just 76 Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6s in the latter half of 1993) carried out by the factory in Zufenhausen. The Flatnose story begins more than a decade earlier, not long after Peter Schutz succeeded Ernst Fuhrmann as the head of the company. At the time, the 911 Turbo was not on sale in the US due to new emissions rules that had come into efect in 1981, leading to a number of aftermarket companies modifying European cars in an attempt to meet emission and crash-testing standards Stateside. Some of the companies were even trying to improve on the base car (with somewhat varying degrees of success). The formation of this grey import market had caught the attention of Porsche’s executives, planting the seed of an idea. Ferry Porsche tasked engineer, Rolf Sprenger, with the creation of a department that would take care of Porsche customers’ personalisation requests and, when the latter saw some of the work carried out by third parties, he knew “we can do better at the factory.” After some brainstorming, the new Special Wishes Programme was agreed but with no budget, the programme’s brochure only consisted of a few typed pages listing around a dozen of the department’s abilities. Known as ‘Sonderwunsch’ within Stuttgart, Sprenger’s fi rst major project was commissioned by Mansour Oijeh, owner of TAG Group, in 1982.