Driftwork’s Phil Morrison, flew all the way to Japan to pick up this 550bhp, wide-body Porsche 964 Turbo. And here’s why…
Social media, while it has its downsides, is a wonderful thing that has made the world a much smaller place, enabling you to see things on a daily basis you’d have never otherwise known existed. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the car world, and while they’re always interesting to see, spotting your dream car for sale in some far away land is also massively frustrating; out of reach for all but the most determined car fanatics.
The aforementioned determination is key to this feature, as this awesome, wide-body, big power Porsche 964 Turbo was found in a way almost all of us will be familiar with; by a friend tagging us in a picture of it on Facebook.
“I was in a pub one evening, which is of course where all great ideas start, and someone tagged me in a post about this car at a Japanese auction house. I immediately tried to buy it, but I was too late, the auction had ended.” The owner of this car, Phil Morrison, explained. This wasn’t simply a drunken impulse buy though, Phil really wanted this car, and this was the start of a roller-coaster of emotions as the car went in and out of his grasp for weeks on end.
“It didn’t actually sell at the auction, the reserve wasn’t met, so I simply waited for two weeks, expecting it to go back up for sale like most unsold cars do, but apparently a deal was done elsewhere, and it was gone”. Thankfully, Phil had a saviour in the form of Scottish expatriate Andy Gray, who runs specialist vehicle exporter Power Vehicles in Japan, who kept an eye out for the car. Unbelievably he spotted it on Yahoo Auctions, the Japanese equivalent to eBay, about a month later. “The car was now for sale at a dealer, but for considerably more money than it would’ve sold for at auction, regardless of this I made them a really generous offer. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear back from them.” explained Phil. After yet more chasing and investigative work, it transpired the car had been sold to a Japanese resident, and Phil was understandably dejected. But two weeks later the emotion-coaster once again headed sky high, as Andy contacted Phil to say that the Japanese buyer was having difficulty coming up with the money for the car, so if he still wanted to buy it, he finally had the chance. And guess what? He did exactly that!
At this point, what practically everyone else does is organise for the car to be loaded on to a ship and sent to the UK, but Phil had other plans… he wanted to collect the car himself! “The car had two months Shaken (Japan’s equivalent of the MoT) left, and I’d already booked a holiday to Japan, so I decided to combine the two.” Phil explained.
As well as being an all-round car enthusiast, Phil happens to be the director of Driftworks, one of the world’s best known brands for specialist parts and equipment in drifting, and his industry contacts are what helped him track down the car. Power Vehicles are most famous within the drift world, and the negotiation and communication was handled by Arios, a luxury car dealer in Japan who, quite unusually, uses a modified Ferrari F430 as a drift car (search YouTube for Arios Ferrari and you will find lots of videos).
So a plan was hatched: Phil and his wife were to fly to Japan, head to Arios to pick up the car and then drive it over 600-miles through Japan, before finally loading it into a container for the journey to the UK.
Flying to the other side of the world to pick up a highly tuned 26-year old 911 Turbo you’ve paid a lot of money for without ever seeing, and then expecting to drive it over 600-miles through Japan, is a daring move to say the least, but one that thankfully worked out brilliantly.
“When I first saw it I couldn’t believe the condition. It is unbelievably clean inside, outside, and underneath, and all the work that had been done was like nothing I’d ever seen come out of Japan before. While the planned relaxing holiday turned in to another crazy car adventure, it was one of the best things we’ve ever done.”
Although the story of the purchase is pretty epic, it’s the car this feature is about, and what a stunning car it is. Phil isn’t someone who is into pure originality and keeping cars wrapped in cotton wool, he loves cars for the performance and enjoyment of driving them, and it’s safe to say for people like him, which we’d also guess is most of you readers, this is pretty much the perfect incarnation of a 964 Turbo.
The 3.3ltr flat six has been tuned by Japanese Porsche tuning legends Promodet, and while the exact specification of the engine internals are unknown, going by similar builds of other customers, it is likely a fully balanced and blueprinted engine, with pinned cases, ported heads, uprated valve springs, and long duration RSR-spec cams; the very peaky power delivery certainly hints at that.
The biggest engine modifications however consist of the huge custom intercooler, stunning Promodet exhaust manifold, big HKS T04 turbocharger (significantly larger than the factory K27), and along with uprated fuel and ignition systems. With all of this controlled by the Motec ECU, the engine puts out around 550bhp while revving hard to the 7000rpm rev limiter.
From an engine performance point of view the car is a beast, but the first thing anyone notices about this car is the looks – which are nothing short of stunning. We’re sure almost all of you will have heard of RWB, aka RAUH-Welt BEGRIFF (another Japanese Porsche tuner that is world famous for the wild race-style wide arch body conversions for 911s), and Nakai-San, the main man behind RWB, is also responsible for the stunning looks of this car.
One big difference between this car and most RWB conversions you see, is that this car has smooth bodywork. RWB cars are known for having rivet-on, race-style arch extensions, much like many Porsche GT race cars over the decades, but this is a ‘smooth fender’ conversion, which while still incredibly wide and imposing, gives a slightly more factory look. Combined with the GT2 Evo-style rear wing, stunning WORK Brombacher wheels, and the millimetre perfect ride height and wheel fitment, makes for one of the nicest looking 964s we’ve ever seen.
It’s powerful, it looks incredible, and it’s been a wild journey to even bring it to the UK, but how does it actually drive? Well thankfully Phil is more qualified than most to explain how this car feels when pushed hard, as not only does he own this, but also a RWD converted Lamborghini Murciélago LP640. He has previously owned a 997.2 GT3 and 991 GT3 too, not to mention his other race and drift toys he regularly uses on track. So, what does he think…?
“It’s probably the laggiest handful of a car I’ve ever driven, but that’s partly why I absolutely love driving it. It’s really quite difficult, pretty lethal in some circumstances, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Phil explains. “There’s no boost before about 4000rpm, and because of the long gearing the lag is frustrating as you always require a downshift to go anywhere fast, but that’s a big part of the fun and drama of the car, and the noise and power of it when it’s on boost is just perfect.”
So this car is clearly a beast to drive, but many people call modern GT3 Porsches beasts too, so how does this compare to his previous 997.2 and 991 GT3s? “The GT3s were eye openers for me, absolutely incredible to drive hard on track, but the 964 is nothing like them at all. It’s a comparatively tiny car compared to the newer models, and while literally anyone could jump in a modern GT3 and go fast, this 964 Turbo is truly dangerous and an absolute handful on the limit. Hilarious, but dangerous, and I love it like that. Unlike the GT3s, there’s very few people I’d ever trust to drive it.”
So this car is an amazing build, so does this mean Phil won’t change a thing about it? Well, no, not quite, in fact he’s already changed quite a bit! The boost controller, ignition system, and fuel pump wiring were changed once it arrived in the UK to correct some intermittent running issues it had, and purely for his own preference he’s changed the tyres to slightly wider Michelin Pilot Super Sports, lowered the ride height a little more, and fitted an uprated gearbox mount.
Future plans are to get the car mapped again to see if the lag can be improved upon, creating and fitting a bump steer correction kit, and as Driftworks are the official UK WORK Wheels dealers, he has a new set of the same WORK Brombachers currently fitted to the car arriving shortly, just in a slightly different colour to the ones you see here.
He’s not trying to improve on what many tuning fans would see as 964 perfection, he just knows that in the world of modified cars, nothing is truly ever perfect…
TECH SPEC 1992 PORSCHE 964 TURBO
Engine Promodet-built 3.3ltr flat 6, Promodet custom titanium tubular turbo manifold, HKS T04S turbocharger, HKS GT external wastegate, custom GReddy intercooler, alloy intercooler pipework, turbo oil return tank, Motec M4 ECU, high flow injectors, MSD 6AL-2 CDI ignition, MSD Blaster ignition coil, Turbosmart E-Boost electronic boost controller, twin Bosch 044 fuel pumps, twin custom exhaust systems (one from turbo and one from external wastegate), 7000rpm rev limiter, G50 5 speed gearbox, ORC twin plate clutch, limited slip diff, Powerflex uprated gearbox mount. Power 550bhp at 1.2bar boost (estimate).
Endless Zeal coilovers with Swift springs, Brakes Brembo Racing front and rear calipers, two piece 355mm grooved discs (front), two piece 330mm grooved discs (rear), Endless pads front and rear, 11x18in front (+31 offset) and 12x18in rear (+18 offset) WORK Brombacher two piece alloy wheels with 265/40×18 (front) and 295/35×18 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.
RWB ‘smooth fender’ wide body conversion and RWB bumpers, 993 GT2 Evo style bootlid and rear wing, clear side repeaters, front foglamp air ducts.
Recaro Profi SPG fixed back bucket seats, Nardi Torino steering wheel.
Driftworks and Power Vehicles
Words Stav Photos Dave Cox