This is the one I wish I could have kept. The left hand drive Porsche 964 Anniversary in beautiful Viola. With the California turbocharger engineered by Ninemeister. Yes, that’s right. A turbocharged 964 Anniversary. And a bit of a mean one too. Sadly, back then I was working as a car dealer. And it was a car. So it was for sale and indeed sold, like all the other interesting cars I have been fortunate enough to be trusted with the keys to through that period.
However I have the happiest of memories of it. And if ever there was a Porsche I wish I could own and keep forever, the 964 Anniversary is the one. And this one was no ordinary 964 Anniversary. No ordinary 911 turbo either.
I’d known about this car for a while. We had sold other cars to the owner and he had talked about how he was having this ‘special’ Porsche 911 built. He had often mentioned that it may take a while, but he would let me see it and drive it once it was done.
Around 12 months passed and he mentioned that he had taken delivery of the final car and that it was quick. Very quick.
Then shortly after, he was in touch once again. He was interested in a simple, 3.4 litre Tiptronic 996 we had. And would we take the 964 Anniversary as a trade?
I couldn’t help but think why on earth would you build such a car and then move it on? I also wanted to know more about who had built it and were we getting involved with a ticking bomb? Back then, the Porsche tuning community was unknown to me and additionally, the incredibly accurate mapping techniques of today were only just emerging.
He gave me the number of Colin Belton at Ninemeister. “They built the engine and finished the car. He’ll tell you anything you want to know.”
So I call Colin.
“It’s got 510bhp on the dyno, we built the engine and also the whole suspension and brakes. He supplied us with the base car, painted and ready to go.”
“Why would he be selling it?”
Colin pauses, then. “To be honest, I think he’s done a bit of a Frankenstein on himself and created a monster that he’s now scared to drive. The thing is brutally quick. If you drive it, please be careful”.
What could possibly go wrong?
My boss was a little reluctant. He really didn’t want to sell a modified Porsche 911 that in a few months would grenade the engine and leave us with a huge bill. However Ninemeister had a good rep when I asked around and there was something about the car that appealed.
“Can you sell it?”
“Sure I can…” We did the deal.
A few days later, I am standing looking at this machine at the owner’s home. I’m trying to find some imperfection in the deep Viola paint or any other fault I should know about. There are none. The car is literally like new.
Apart from the fact that it’s different. The rear deck now has a pretty large aftermarket turbo rear wing. Beneath that lies a huge red intercooler. And below that, directly behind the rear bumper, is a barely disguised turbocharger. You can see the turbine housing hanging just below the bumper line in the true 935 racer style. A short stub of exhaust a few inches long is just beside the wastegate.
Ride height is different as it’s been reset to be low, but not crazy low, with H and R springs and Bilstein dampers. And it’s sitting on gleaming BBS split rims. And best of all, it’s left hand drive. My preferred way to drive a Porsche.
I drop down into the surprisingly standard 964 interior. I’m pushing in that old school Porsche immobilizer fob, listening for the beep, then turning the key.
Behind me, this thing springs into life. Porsche 964’s have a lovely gruff engine note as standard and this one took that up to eleven.
The bare minimum of silencing, added to that short pipe that came of the wastegate made the thing sound like it was wanting to kill you.
I wasn’t quite having second thoughts, however I was thinking that the first few miles would be steady as I played myself in and we got to know one another. It was certainly delivering on the promise of intimidation.
This isn’t helped by the first time I select first and let out the clutch. It jumps forward and stalls. Full race clutch. A few more bunny hops and I’ve got the clutch figured out. It soon becomes second nature. And actually, I kind of like it.
I cruise slowly through the lanes as I depart before making my way around the local town’s ring road system. Settling in, I decide to open up just a little and see what the fuss is all about.
There’s a deep hiss combined with a sharp bark from behind as the boost comes in and suddenly I need another gear, third, then fourth. Yep. That’s quick.
My over riding memory is of a sound that made me think that there was a Porsche 962 LeMans race car behind me trying to overtake.
Every throttle lift for a change was accompanied by a chirp from the wastegate, then the bark and hiss combination resumed and we were sucking in the horizon once again.
This thing was a weapon. And it was also addictive.
Every time I climbed aboard, there was that sense of occasion mixed with a tiny amount of mild trepidation. The concern not quite so much of ‘will I make a mistake and drop it’ as ‘will I be able to behave myself in it and keep my license?’
It was that addictive.
And yet I never ever felt like it was going to try and kill me. Once we had got to know one another, I found the power utterly useable and the suspension revisions that the guys at Ninemeister had done were on the perfect side of firm for the road.
I loved that car and whenever I could find an excuse, it was taken out for some exercise. Of course my boss wasn’t too keen on that idea and eventually, it was placed into the showroom and a buyer was found.
That was a long time ago now and to the best of my knowledge the owner who purchased it still has the car to this day.
You probably wouldn’t commission a built like that these days. Right now, normally aspirated is the way to go with classic air cooled Porsches. And the more modern cars can be turned into absolute missiles with perfect reliability by someone with the skills of Colin and the 9M people.
To this day, every time I catch a glimpse of a Viola 911 on Instagram, I’m reminded of that car. The picture you see here is the only one I ever found of it, salvaged from a dying hard drive. However the memories of the drives we shared are enduring.