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911ST replica

RS replicas are so last year. Could the 911ST be the next must-have lookalike? It's certainly an appealing prospect

Written by Philip Raby Photographed by Alisdair Cusick

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Sweet orange

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911ST replica

ot too long ago, it seemed that no one but serious Porsche buffs had heard of the 911ST, which is not surprising, really, considering only between 15 and 20 were built for racing and rallying in the 1970s. Today, though, the ST is fast becoming flavour of the month when it comes to building replicas. It seems that RS replicas are so last year. It's easy to see the appeal of the ST; it's ultra-rare for starters, with an enviable heritage. It's also a pretty car, with daintily flared arches that are much subtler than full-blown RSR or Turbo ones. The downside, though, is that you can't buy ST wings off the shelf, so building a replica is never going to be a simple ­ or cheap ­ exercise. And as the flared wings are the ST's main trademark, that's a problem. Actually, you could argue that's it's an advantage, because it means we're unlikely to see badly executed replicas, as is the case with some RS lookalikes. And, it has to be said, there is nothing bad or cheap about this Blood Orange replica you see before you. It really is a work of art, and with a good provenance behind it. Indeed, the history file is immense and, even without the ST conversion, it would be an interesting and desirable ­ not to mention valuable ­ Porsche. It started life as a 1972 911S, finished in the same Blood Orange as it is today and, crucially for its future life, the first owner choose not to specify a sunroof. This

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made the car an ideal candidate for racing and in 1984 it was bought by one Martin Sledmore, the 12th owner, who prepared it as a production race car. Josh Sadler, who is now selling the car through his company, Autofarm, remembers it well. "Martin took the car to Snetterton where I first saw it, and I remember thinking then what a beautifully prepared car it was. It was still running the original 2.4-litre engine but Martin had fitted an RS Lightweight interior." Martin raced the car for a while before selling it on. By 1990, it was in the hands of a speculator, hoping to make money off the back of spiralling prices, but the recession put a stop to that and the 911 was passed on until, in 1996, Josh snapped it up for himself. "It was in rather a poor state by this time," he recalls. "I tidied it up a bit and then had some fun hillclimbing it for a season. It was a nice car and still carried the same spec as when Martin raced it". Josh only kept the Porsche a short while before selling

The ST has beautifully flared arches to accomadate the wider than standard wheels ­ 8- and 9-inch Fuchs

It's easy to see the appeal of the ST; it's ultra-rare with an enviable heritage

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911ST replica

The 911ST can trace its roots back to 1967 when Porsche built the racing 911R, which boasted lightweight panels and a 210bhp engine. This led to homologation versions of the 911S and 911T for Group Three GT racing in 1968 and 1969. These later cars had similar engines to the 911R but featured wider wheel arches to accommodate, at first, seven-inch wide rear wheels. However by 1970, the rules allowed nine-inch wide wheels, so the arches were stretched further. It was that this appearance that Porsche evolved into a special series of cars for GT racing and rallying. Designated 911ST, the cars were built between 1970 and 1972, and it is believed that no more than 15 to 20 examples appeared. The cars were built to suit their requirements, which were different for racing and rallying, so each one was different. However, all were light in weight, thanks to a stripped out specification, thinner steel for the roof, rear side panels, seat pan and interior back and side panels (steel was considered more durable and easier to repair during a race than aluminium or glassfibre, although some STs did have glassfibre front wings and bonnets) and aluminium engine covers. The metal joints were not filled and there was no sound deadening. Inside, the cockpit was Spartan with no glovebox lid, passenger sun visor, heater ducts, rear seats and so on. Also, there were no remote catches for the bonnet and engine cover releases; simple rubber catches were used instead. The cars weighed in between 920kg and 950kg, which compared very favourably with the 911S's 1020kg. The first 911STs had 2.3-litre engines (2247cc; 85mm bore and 66mm stroke), while later ones had

So what is an ST?

2.4-litre units (some were 2380cc; 87.5mm bore and 66mm stroke, others were 2395cc; with 85mm bore and 70.4mm stroke). The last engines, meanwhile, had a capacity of 2.5 litres (some were 2492cc; 86.7mm bore and 70.4mm stroke, but most were 2464cc; with 89mm bore and 66mm stroke). Carburettors were often Weber 46IDA items, twin plug heads were used, and there was the option of a larger 80- or 100-litre fuel tank with a filler neck in the centre of the bonnet. Power outputs varied, but typical was around 280bhp at 8000rpm. An astonishing figure for a 2.5-litre engine in its day and, in such a light car, you could expect to hit 60mph in less than five seconds before going on to a top speed of around 150mph. Wheels were, again, dependant on the application, but were typically 15-inch in diameter, and up to 8-inches wide at the front and 10-inches out back. The suspension, meanwhile was similar to the road car's, albeit uprated with Bilstein dampers and uprated torsion bars and rollbars. It's not certain how many genuine 911STs have survived, but they are very rare and change hands for huge amounts of money. You can find a detailed feature on a genuine, UKbased 911ST (pictured above) in the September 2005 issue of Total 911. To order this and other back-issues go to www.total911.com or call 0845 450 6464.

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it on and, by 2000 it was in the hands of Peter Rutt, who began to make some changes to the car that remain to this day. First, Peter got engine guru, Neil Bainbridge, to build him a 2.7-litre RS-spec engine after the original 2.4 unit threw a rod. Next, he gave the bodyshell a thorough restoration, getting rid of some rust problems. Then the car passed through a couple more owners (of which there have been plenty over the years!) before ending up in the enthusiastic hands of Adrian Grundy,

Lightweight, stickon bonnet badge (right) is a neat touch. The car retains its `911S' rear badging (below)

who brought it back to Autofarm to have some serious work done. "Adrian is one of those chaps who enjoys having a project on the go, just as much as driving his cars," explains Josh. Adrian had a particular interest in STs, having just sold a genuine 1971 model which, among other things, had won its GT class at the 1973 Targa Florio. This meant that he (as well as Autofarm who had maintained the racer) had a good idea of how he wanted the car to look and that he already owned a number of the rare parts he planned to fit to the car. Adrian's request was for Autofarm to build him an ST replica that would be practical for everyday use. Josh, in his inimitable way, points out that any car could be used every day, but Adrian wanted something that would be practical and comfortable. That, of course, meant that the car couldn't be a true ST replica but rather something inspired by the legendary race car. Although, that's not too much of a problem because the handful of genuine cars that were built were probably all different, anyway. Back to the story, Autofarm wheeled Adrian's new acquisition into its workshops and proceeded to strip it right down, in preparation for a bare-metal respray. First, though, those wings needed to be sorted out. As we've said, you can't just go out and buy a set of ST wings, so Autofarm had to have some fabricated. And for this, they went to Steve Monk of Bodywerks. Steve already had profiles of ST wings and also used photographs of

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911ST replica

Specifications 1972 911ST replica Body 911S non-sunroof bodyshell modified with steel flared ST-style wings. Aluminium engine lid. Plastic RS 85-litre fuel tank Interior RS Lightweight M471 interior with Recaro Rallye seats. 380mm RS steering wheel. Becker Mexico stereo/sat-nav. 10,000rpm tachometer Engine Built to 2.7RS specification using 7R crankcase (original crankcase still with car to ensure numbers match). Switchable rally stainless-steel exhaust system Capacity: 2687cc Compression ratio: 8.5:1 (est) Maximum power: 210bhp at 6300bhp (est) Maximum torque: 255Nm at 5100rpm (est) Transmission Five-speed 915 unit. Limited-slip differential Suspension 911S system uprated with Bilstein dampers and front strutbrace Brakes Uprated with Boxster front discs and calipers Wheels 8J and 9J 15-inch Fuchs alloys

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Sounds of the Sixties

We've lost count of the number of times we've seen a lovely early 911 interior ruined by a modern radio head unit with its alloy fascia and flashing LEDs. Yet, if you keep an original period radio set from the 1960s or 1970s, you're stuck with poor mono reception (maybe AM only) and, at best a cassette player, with no way of playing CDs or MP3s. And as for sat-nav, well, do you remember maps? So the Becker Mexico really is a stroke of genius. At first sight it looks just like a 1960s radio set yet, behind the fascia, lie the workings of Becker's state of the art Cascade Pro model.

And that means the system offers an RDS FM radio, MP3 player, satellite navigation, WAP browser, speech activation and Bluetooth hands-free phone kit, and can be connected to a remote CD-changer or iPod. Beneath what looks like a cassette slot lie slots for a phone SIM card and a Compact Flash card for mapping data and music files. Perhaps the only giveaway is the 14-colour LCD display but even this has a retro look and, while it gives all the expected information on radio station, track name and so on, it includes a red pointer, just like that on a traditional tuning dial. The Becker Mexico sells for around £1100 in the UK. Find out more at www.mybecker.com.

It was a skilled job and the result is astonishingly effective

genuine cars as reference. He took two brand-new 911 front wings, cut away the arches and welded in new steel arches which he'd formed himself. It was a similar story at the rear of the car, although the existing wings were retained. The problem he had here was that, being a 1972 car, it had the external oilfiller flap on the right-hand wing (just as some genuine STs, by the way) and Steve had to incorporate this into the flared metalwork. It was a skilled job and the result is astonishingly effective. Autofarm then had to sort out a few minor areas of corrosion ­ the bodyshell was still in very good condition following its restoration in the hands of Peter Rutt ­ before sourcing and fitting the rest of the body parts required for the conversion. These, in fact, were relatively straightforward, consisting of an S-style front bumper flared to match the ST arches, an RS Lightweight-style rear bumper, again flared to match, and a plain aluminium engine cover (it had previously been fitted with a ducktail). Once the car had been through the paintshop to restore its bright orange finish, Autofarm set to reassembling it. This was a relatively straightforward job because the 2.7-litre engine, Bilstein suspension, limited-slip differential and other mechanical parts were all in good

fettle. All it required was a good clean; the engine, in particular, was treated to a thorough `cosmetic' overhaul and was fitted with one of Autofarm's own switchable rally exhaust systems. Wheels were a challenge. "We tried fitting 16-inch rims," explained Josh. "But they just didn't look right under those arches, so we got a set of restored 15-inch Fuchs and these worked much better. While this had been going on, Adrian had not been idle and had managed to source a pair of correct-period Recaro Rallye seats, which could well have appeared in a genuine ST, as could the 10,000rpm tachometer. Autofarm also replaced the previous Momo steering wheel with an historically-correct 380mm RS four-spoke item. The lightweight RS M471 door panels that had been fitted in the 1980s were reused, as was much of the rest of the interior trim. Finally, Autofarm fitted an unusual hi-fi system (see above). All this work took the bulk of two years to complete, so was it all worth it? Well, you only to have to look at the finished car to realise that, yes, it most certainly was. Those wheel arches take some getting used to ­ probably because we're more used to seeing the wider and more defined Turbo items ­ and almost melt over the wheels, especially at the rear. They suit the car well, though, and are certainly more subtle then RSR or Turbo wings; indeed, a passer by could almost miss the fact that this isn't a standard-bodied classic 911. Of course, if you were going to be really pedantic, you'd point out that the car doesn't have the lightweight, thinner-gauge doors or bonnet of a genuine ST but this car wasn't built to be a racer. Inside, too, there are several giveaways that show that this isn't an ST. The real thing didn't have a glovebox

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911ST replica

lid, full carpets or a radio, for starters. And we're not sure that any of the originals were right-hand-drive in 1972. That said, the seats are correct, as is the tacho (although this engine will never reach 10,000rpm!). The engine, too, is wrong. The real STs were fitted with 2.5-litre engines in 1972, of varying specification depending on what the cars were being used for, but it would be safe to say that none would be suitable for everyday road use. But to criticise the car for all this would be missing the point entirely. Neither Adrian Grundy or Autofarm set out to produce a true replica, but rather a road-going car with the appearance of an ST. And in that they have succeeded. The car is an absolute delight to behold. Blood Orange is the flavour of the month with Porsche tuners producing hot 997s (you'll have seen a fair few in this magazine) but this car dates from the first time that orange was a fashionable colour and it looks just stunning, especially as the paint is beautifully applied, both inside and out. Open the rear lid (the GHE rubber catches are really for show ­ you still need to pull the catch; ditto at the front) and you'll find one of the cleanest and tidiest ­ but not overly shiny ­ engines we've seen for a long time in a 911. The interior suits us, too, because it doesn't look or feel restored. The seats and other trim aren't perfect but have a pleasant `used' appearance about them that is

The interior (below) is RS Lightweight with period Recaro seats. The speakers front and rear are a nod to comfort

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This car feels small and lithe, just like a narrowbodied 911

bodied 911; you're not aware of the flared arches. The performance, too, is lively. It's a light car and you're very much aware of the extra power of the larger engine (we're assuming it's around 210bhp, compared to the 190bhp of the 2.4-litre S unit) which makes the car responsive and lively. And the Boxster brakes inspire extra confidence, too. Yes, this really is a classic 911 that you could comfortably drive every day. Yet, we doubt anyone would; it's far more likely to be used as a weekend toy. As it stands now, it's more of a road car, but it would certainly hold its own on track as well, even if it doesn't have the raw, brutal power of a real race-ready ST (which, of course, would be almost unusable on the road). So, a near-perfect replica, then. And the good news is that its owner, Adrian Grundy, has now asked Autofarm to sell it for him. The price is £75,000 which, when you consider a top-notch, right-hand-drive 911S can cost as much as £60,000 these days, is actually not bad value for money. Especially when you'll end up with something that is rather different to the usual RS replicas. l Autofarm is at www.autofarm.co.uk

The engine (above) has been built to 2.7 RS specification

just right for a car like this. And that Becker head unit is a stroke of genius, although the over-sized speakers in the doors scrape your knuckles when you wind the window up and down. That, however, is a minor inconvenience once you begin to drive this car. If you expected a race-ready ST, you'd be sorely disappointed, this drives more like a standard 911 of the period, and is none the worse for it. The suspension, coupled with the `high-profile' tyres, gives a refreshingly compliant ride combined with positive handling ­ you can drive this car with your fingertips, so light and responsive is the steering. And without the bulk of an RSR or Turbo, this car feels small and lithe, just like a narrow-

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