Road-going Porsches don’t get much tougher – or wider – than Speedwells’ 700bhp, BILSTEIN-equipped monster…
It’s 9am on a sunny morning and I’m heading deep into the industrial heartlands of Birmingham to check out a very special car. It’s taken a while to get to this point. The owner Ibrahim (Iby to his friends) has had a few engine issues to deal with, but as I take a left into his industrial estate, it’s clear that it’s been more than worth the wait.
Ahead of me sits one of the most imposing cars I’ve ever seen. Flanked by spiky metal fencing outside Iby’s Speedwells alloy wheel business, this ultra-wide, bright red Porsche looks totally out of place lurking in the shadows. Its number plate – F1 8OMB – further adds to the sense that this is a bit of a monster.
The Porsche 997 Turbo has to be one of the performance bargains of the moment. Powered by a potent 3.6-litre flat-six with a pair of turbos strapped to it, this blown Porker pumps out 480bhp in stock form and will hit 62mph, from rest, in 3.9secs (in manual form). It will go on to 193mph, if you have the balls to keep your toe in. When new, these things cost upwards of £100k, but the good news is that early 997 Turbos start from just over £40k. That’s a hell of a lot of car for the money. And what’s even better is that these uber Beetles are ripe for tuning…
There’s a huge 911 tuning scene, from big-money Singer and RUF creations to full-on motorsport builds – there really is something for everyone. But when it comes to one-off custom road-car builds, you’ll have to go a long way to beat this BILSTEIN-equipped 997 Turbo wide body.
For Iby, the boss of Speedwells Alloy Wheel Refurb company, the 997 Turbo was the ideal replacement for his previous modified ride. He’s no stranger to highly tuned cars, having owned many over the years, including a very well-known Supra. The 997 Turbo is the next step in his automotive evolution (or should that be addiction?), but like all of his cars, it would have to be something special to get him excited.
“I built quite a well-known Supra,” he says with trademark modesty (in all honesty, it was one of the best Supras the UK has seen – a perfect fusion of insane power and aggressive styling). “If I was going to build something better than that, then I knew it would have to be something very special.”
One look at this bright red, wide-arched monster and it’s clear that he’s nailed it. Parked up outside his Speedwells alloy wheel business, it looks stunning. If you attended the Autosport show early this year, you may have spotted it on the BILSTEIN stand, taking pride of place next to the M2 of our mate Max Marshall of MMR Performance. Back then it was finished in its factory black paint, which looked mean as hell. But for Iby, it just wasn’t quite right. “I love red cars; my Supra was red, so I decided to get the Porsche wrapped,” he says.
“I had it done in Avery Gloss Carmine Red to show off the details of the bodywork better,” says Iby. “When it was black, you lost the impact of the carbon spoiler and air inlets, and it was harder to see the black vents on the wing and rear bumper.” Custom matt black and Nardo grey stripes further add to the race car feel.
Iby has totally transformed the look of this boosted Porsche. It’s now wearing a full GT3 R carbon fibre aero kit, supplied by the crew at V.A.D. It adds huge width and includes deeply sculpted air intakes behind the rear wheels, and on top of the front arches. All it needs is some race livery and you’d swear it’d come straight from the front row of the Porsche Supercup grid.
The cavernous arches are filled with a set of equally large wheels in the form of Litespeed Racing 3-piece 19s. These deeply-dished (and very expensive) rims are an eye watering 14-inches wide at the rear and 10.5-inches at the front. Wrapped in premium Michelin rubber, they look simply stunning tucked up in those wide arches.
The ride height looks bang on the money, thanks to Iby’s decision to install some BILSTEIN B16 PSS10 suspension. The chassis has been further sharpened with BILSTEIN drop links up front, together with Eibach anti-roll bars and a some GT3 parts, including top mounts and lower control arms. The neat little sticker on the rear window lets you know that this 997’s suspension was developed at the most demanding circuit on earth, the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
The BILSTEIN set-up complements Porsche’s highly polished chassis dynamics, allowing Iby to extract every last ounce of performance from this road-going weapon. A quick blast around the streets of Birmingham reveals that it rides very well, even with so many pot holes to contend with. But it’s when you get to the open road that the set-up really begins to pay off.
Even at pace, the B16s just soak up the punishment, creating a sure-footed, forgiving feel. The beauty of the BILSTEINs is that they offer nine different damping force settings, allowing the driver to dial in the perfect set-up for their particular driving needs – from a more forgiving cruise around town, to full-on track day mode, with minimal pitch and roll.
Out on the road, you can feel that this Porsche wants to go. As Iby negotiates some traffic, there’s a taught-ness to the drivetrain. Once we’re free, he gives it a blip and we’re suddenly accelerating hard. The twin-hybrid turbos spool up fast and it’s clear that this 700bhp 911 has the go to match its show. It also sounds terrific, although Iby is quick to point out that it isn’t too loud, which should allow him to take it on track and really put the BILSTEIN PSS10s through their paces.
“The next stage is to fit some bigger brakes and some fixed-back GT3 seats,” says Iby. And there are future plans to take it to an airfield to see what it can really do – it’s a hard job, but someone has to do it.
TECH SPEC: Porsche 997 Turbo
BILSTEIN B16 PSS10 height and 9-way adjustable coilovers, BILSTEIN drop links, Eibach anti-roll bars, GT3 top mounts, lower control arms, adjustable castor arms, upper control arms, toe adjustable control arms, Litespeed Racing 3-piece wheels, 10.5×19 and 14×19-inches, Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres 265/35 front, 345/30 rear.
Full GT3 carbon fibre aero kit by V.A.D, comprising front bumper with carbon splitter and canards, rear bumper and wide arches, aero fuel filler, rear wiper delete, Avery Gloss Carmine Red wrap with custom matt black and Nardo grey stripes.
3.6-litre flat-six, hybrid large billet turbos, Markski tuned ECU, Performance manifolds, titanium manifold studs, 1100cc injectors, NGK platinum plugs, 4-bar fuel pressure regulator, 4 bar maps sensor, GT3 82mm throttle body, do88 large plenum and intake pipes, BMC air filter, Forge diverter valves, Markski 4.5-inch race intercoolers and competition y-pipe, Skarkworks stainless steel water pipe elbows, Torque Solutions fittings, Dynotorque custom exhaust, Sachs performance clutch, Getrag 6-speed manual box.
Aaron Quilter at BILSTEIN for the B16 PSS10 coilovers and drop links, Markski tuning for the ECU tune, and Speedwells Alloy Wheel Refurb specialists.
Words & photography Davy Lewis