The slant nose Porsche is as cutting-edge today as it was 40 years ago. And this Slant Nose Porsche 997 is the reason why…
We weren’t even a twinkle in our daddy’s nutsack when the legendary Porsche 935 won Le Mans (it was in 1979, in case you were wondering). We do however understand the significance of its radical Flachbau, or ‘flat nose’, styling.
Initially conceived to exploit a loophole in the FIA regulations on headlight height and fender modifications, the 935 racecars were given bumper-mounted lights and vented wings to reduce drag and increase downforce. It worked rather nicely too, many a trophy was lifted and many a driver was immortalised in the history books. Ze Germans came, they saw and they conquered. And it was all down to a reasonably straightforward nose job.
What’s important here though, is that the Slant Nose Porsches (as we tend to call them here in the English-speaking world) quickly became creatures of myth and legend. To many purists they still stand for the ultimate in Stuttgart-derived design, desirability and, as if we need to say it, rarity.
The 935 racecars also spawned a couple of road-going special editions over the next decade or so. First in the 80s with the 930 Slant Nose, which many believe to be the definitive factory-modified Porker. Hand-crafted from standard 911s by engineers in Porsche’s Sonderwunschprogramm (Special Order Program), these came complete with road-legal, pop-up headlights and, at nearly twice the price of a regular 911, just 948 ever hit the streets. The last word in 1980s excess? It’s got to be up there.
The choice of Wall Street bankers and London stock market traders aside, there was also the version that everyone but the most dedicated Porsche geeks tend to forget, the 964 Flachbau. It’s a pretty understandable bout of amnesia though. Created to mark the end of the 964 production run in 1994, they only actually produced 76. So good luck ever seeing one on the road.
The point is, the Flachbau front end, in all its guises, is one of the rarest and most sought-after styling cues applied to any Porsche. A direct contradiction to the view, particularly by unscrupulous television presenters, that all 911s look exactly the same. Look up ‘rocking horse shit’ in the dictionary and you could very well find a picture of a Slant Nose 911. But while their legacy is clearly epic, we haven’t seen one built since the early 90s. Well, not until now.
In some ways Michael Christi’s 997 is a homage to the road-going Slant Nose Porsches, and by that we mean it has stuff like two seats and a radio. The rest of the build however is a no compromise tribute to the spirit of the original 935 racer. Put it like this, there’s no pop-ups on this car for starters. Even in the USA, where they seem to get away with just about anything, having your main headlights sat two inches from the tarmac is about as legal as not having any at all. And all the traffic coppers over there have machine guns.
It’s brave. As brave, in fact, as taking the smiley face of your own 997 and deliberately cutting it off. This ride is ballsy both in concept and execution, and it very nearly exploded Instagram along the way. So why the rather extreme rhinoplasty? Well, apart from creating a sublime mix of old and new skool ideas, this car was put together for SEMA. And SEMA, as we all know, can do some very funny things to people’s sanity.
Mikey spends his days working at LA-based tuners IDL Design, a company known for applying modern technology to just about any motor that comes through its doors, old or new. So it’s pretty obvious then, that this Porsche is about taking the most jaw-dropping styling elements from days gone by and making them as up-to-date as possible. Initially it might not seem that cut and dry. But, as it turns out, it really is that simple.