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Annihilating 993

This tweaked Porsche 993 twin-turbo is one of the greatest road cars we've ever driven!

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar and Q

Click on pics to view larger images

When Paul (aka ‘Q’) talks to you about the handling and performance of his Porsche 993 twin-turbo, it’s obvious this guy doesn’t pussy-foot around. Not by a long shot!

Gestures of opposite locking intertwined with talk of driving at very high speed is the sort of stuff you’d expect at front bar of your local pub - but when you go for a ride in Q’s 993, his words suddenly become real. In fact, they take on a whole new gravity!

It takes only a brief ride in this Porsche 933 twin-turbo to rank it as one of the best performance cars on the road. The tweaked 3.6 litre twin-turbo six delivers explosive thrust through the mid and top-end of the rev range. One-forty clicks arrives as fast as you can say “wait a min...” And the bottom end? Well, Q says it quite isn’t as responsive as standard but it’s certainly not slow - just a bit pale in comparison to the grunt available at higher revs.

And there’s more to this machine that brute turbo-fed power.

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The 993 comes fitted with a viscous coupled AWD system to help get the power down and aid handling. In addition, Q has fitted a well-sorted suspension upgrade together with Bridgestone S-03s measuring 225/40 18 and 285/30 18 front and rear respectively. We can categorically state that this is one of the best handling and grippiest cars we’ve ever driven. Blast toward a corner and the front-end turns in nicely with only slight understeer. But squeeze the throttle near the apex and the chassis progressively swings toward oversteer as boost pressure builds. The net effect is a car that handles a little bit on each side of neutral – beautifully balanced.

And the brakes? Well, Porsche made sure the 993 wasn’t going to lay black lines on the bitumen before crashing through a guard rail and plummeting over a cliff... There has been no reason for Q to change any of the existing hardware.

At this point you may be thinking to yourself “yeah, well it kinda helps when you buy a car like this to begin with.”

And you’re right - this is a factory supercar.

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Believe it or not, this is Q’s second 993 twin-turbo. His first 993 was purchased in 1997 and was kept until 2002 when it was sold with 110,000 problem-free kilometres on the odometer. The replacement 993 was bought solely for to its lower mileage – just 55,000km had passed beneath its low-slung bum.

“When I bought the second 993 it was interesting that it felt exactly the same as the older one,” says Q.

“You could put me in them blindfolded and I wouldn’t be able to pick them apart. They’re very consistent from car to car,” he says.

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In comparison to earlier model Porsches, the 993 feels very modern. Q tells us the 1988 Porsche Carrera 3.2 he once owned felt raw and tactile - and a bit old-fashioned. The 993 is more muted and benefits from power steering (which doesn’t load up during cornering like the un-assisted Carrera) and coil springs (instead of torsion bars).

“When I went from the Carrera to the 993 I noticed it felt much heavier – but at the same time it had a lot more performance,” says Q.

In standard form, the 993 pumps out more than 400 horses (300kW) and is capable of running mid 12 second quarter miles - so you’d think Q’s craving for speed would be satisfied...

Guess again!

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Q’s first 993 was enhanced with a pair of custom straight-through mufflers (the details of which can be found at Porsche Power!). Q says the modified mufflers gave much improved throttle response and bottom-end. Peak power was also raised from 246 to 264hp (184 to 197kW) at all four wheels on a Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno.

For 993 Number 2, Q’s first modification was to the suspension. A set of PSS9 Bilstein/Eibach coil-overs give adjustable ride height together with nine adjustable damper settings. Q has the front of the car set at 3 and the rear set at 4 (with 1 being the firmest setting). Interestingly, these settings are left the same regardless whether he’s out for a cruise or a day at the track. Chassis rigidity is given a boost thanks to a FVD front tower brace.

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Hot on the heels of the modified suspension came a free-flowing exhaust. For this car, Q opted for a pair of AUD$3000 Mille Miglia mufflers - a choice driven by their top quality construction and horny sound. No argument here! See Spin Cycle for a comparison of the Milles against the standard mufflers and custom straight-through units.

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The air intake was also de-restricted with installation of an aftermarket pod filter and an enlarged opening from the rear spoiler to provide a ram-air effect. Q says the intake mod gave a noticeable improvement in response.

Like most factory turbo cars, the Porsche 993 is fitted with relatively small turbochargers (KKK16s) which deliver flexibility together with modest boost pressure. Q has since fitted a pair of high-flowed KKK24 turbochargers with enlarged wastegates. But it turns out that these turbos don’t give a good spread of performance without accompanying mods to the engine management system.

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Hankering after better bottom-end torque and turbine response, Q’s next stop was ChipTorque on the Gold Coast. Here, the 993 was fitted with an in-house developed Xede interceptor and underwent 180km of chassis dyno testing. Q says his instruction to ChipTorque was simple - improve output wherever possible (in particular the bottom-end) but leave the top-end tune conservative. In standard guise, the 993 apparently runs very rich top-end mixtures (around 10.5:1) to help cool its air-cooled cylinder heads

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On the ChipTorque Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno, Q’s 993 (run in RWD mode) has shown a 50+kW gain over standard – power has climbed from 204 to 258kW ATW. Note that this was achieved with a Porsche Motorsport fuel pressure regulator and a boost pressure increase from 11 to 15.5 psi (using the Xede). Interestingly, fuel economy has also been improved – Q has recorded 8.8 litres per 100km consumption using the cruise control on the highway.

The Porsche AWD driveline now features a 993 RS CS lightened flywheel/clutch combination. Q says this allows the engine to build revs much quicker than previously - so much so that a ChipTorque shift light was installed. The shift light has been wired to trigger one of the factory in-dash bulbs. Driver feel is improved with a RS CS short-throw gear mechanism and knob together with a smaller diameter Porsche 996 steering wheel.

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Q says the 993’s AWD system offers tremendous benefits but, unfortunately, it cannot be launched hard without axle tramp. As a result, his best quarter mile time is an 11.9 seconds at 113 mph – and that’s driving it off the line at 2000 rpm... Even with this oh-so-gentle launch, the car is approximately 0.6 seconds faster down the quarter than a standard 993!

But it’s the overall performance of this car that’s so impressive – in a point-to-point challenge the only vehicle we’ve driven that comes close is a targa prep’d Nissan Skyline R34 N1! Equally as important is the 993 also has the temperament and drivability to be driven in traffic without sweat. Torque comes on at about 3000 rpm and by 4200 rpm you’re running at full steam. Heaven then extends to the 6500 redline.

But it seems that, even when you own a vehicle of this caliber, you can’t help wanting more...

At the time of writing, Q had sold his beautifully tweaked 993. He acknowledges this is a move that might later come back to haunt him but, for now, there’s another piece of automotive exotica that receives Q’s attention.

It has twelve cylinders, its red and its Italian... Stay tuned!

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