FC #397 – FLACHBAU PORSCHE 997

FC #397 – FLACHBAU PORSCHE 997

Posted by Glenn Rowswell on 29th June 2018

Stop rubbing your eyes. You are actually seeing this – a Porsche 997 with the Flachbau treatment, gloriously reimagined as a retro endurance racer…

1981 was a watershed year for the Porsche 911. This was when the SE-spec 930 Turbo was offered with the Flachbau option – an expensive and unusual alteration which replaced the front panels with a more sloping profile and pop-up lights. ‘Flachbau’ means ‘flat construction’; these factory conversions are generally known in English as ‘flatnose’ or ‘slantnose’, and they’ve become a bit of an icon.

Slantnose options continued to be offered right through the 1990s, although they became so prohibitively expensive that fewer and fewer buyers ticked the box, until Porsche stopped offering it altogether. To give you an example of how big a deal the slantnose is, in the USA (the biggest market for this sort of thing), a 964 Turbo S would have cost $99,000 back in 1994, and the Flachbau conversion was an extra $60,000 on top of that. Only 76 slantnose 964s were ever made.

Hardly surprising that Porsche don’t offer the treatment for new-wave watercooled 911s, then. Although, as you can see, that hasn’t held the aftermarket back one bit…

FLACHBAU PORSCHE 997

This retro-futurist slantnose 997 is the brainchild of Matt Clifford, working with Reflex Auto Design – a company with its roots stretching back to the 1940s and a strong heritage of high-end Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin restorations; today they’re a leading light in the UK aftermarket scene, offering Liberty Walk and Pandem kits, stunning paint options, Revo tuning and much more besides. This 997 acts as a showcase of their skills and, most importantly, proves their prowess as lateral thinkers.

As Liberty Walk dealers, for example, it’d be easy to knock up an Instagrammable wide-arch Lambo or what-have-you, but they wanted to create something truly unique. After a fair amount of head-scratching and quite a lot of meetings, the decision was made to build a 997-generation Porsche 911 with a Liberty Walk kit… and then they immediately changed their minds, on discovery of the Old&New slantnose package.

FLACHBAU PORSCHE 997

Old&New are a Japanese brand whose tagline is ‘Something Different’ (yup, no arguments there); their online store lists the 997 Flachbau kit at ¥1,550,000, which is about £10,500 at today’s exchange rates, plus you’ve got the hassle and expense of shipping the thing over here… but Reflex lucked out, as their mates at VAD Design just happen to be suppliers and importers of Old&New gear, so an order was placed and the project’s fate was sealed.

For perfectionists like Reflex, it would never be enough to simply splash a pretty colour over the body and let the ostentatious new lines do the talking. No, this is a company which…

Want to know more? Check out the full feature in Fast Car magazine issue 397 on sale now in all good shops, the Fast Car online shop or alternatively download Fast Car magazine 397 now.