The car world is full of restomods, but this is the best of them all
There have been more and more restomods popping up lately, Chris notes. But there is one that stands out
The restomod scene is starting to show traffic jams; the Monday rush hour is nothing. Although in the enormous selection there is still room for some diamonds to shine brighter than others. The brightest at the moment owes that qualification not to the hardest variety of carbon fiber imaginable, but to a bodywork so indecently beautiful that you wonder if it wasn't a nugget of gold melted down and cast in the shape of Butzi's legend.
It is called 911K and is the work of the British Tuthill Porsche. It doesn't even look particularly fierce or mischievous – the shapes are the generic ones of an old-fashioned 911. For the nerds: in terms of rims and wheel arches, the K is shaped like an ST. For the non-nerds: the wheel arches are a bit more voluptuous than those of a 2.7 RS, and without the ducktail spoiler. It's small, delicate and looks like a baby next to a modern 911.
How the Porsche Tuthill 911K was born
The 911K came about because Richard Tuthill has always been a fan of everything Leichtbau. His commitment to that philosophy goes so far that he himself looks like he weighs no more than 32 kilos. He set out to create the lightest 911 he could imagine and came up with a machine that, even with all the fluids on board, weighs 846 kilos. That doesn't matter.
Even more ridiculous is the engine, which has a capacity of 3.1 liters and was designed and built by Swindon Powertrain. Its maximum speed is 11,000 rpm. No, that's not a typo: it runs comfortably past 10,000 revolutions per minute. So what we have here is perhaps the ultimate expression of what most people who love to drive think they are looking for in a car: light weight, lots of power, naturally aspirated ventilation and thin rubber.
What exactly is this restomod?
I drove the 911K 24 hours ago and I'm still not entirely sure what exactly I was driving. The ultimate old-fashioned Porsche? An angry crocodile in the shape of a car? A motorcycle on four wheels, perhaps? Either way, it was another moment that made me realize just how much the bright minds of the automotive world have bent the basic rules of driving physics.
'I just drove the 911K and I'm still not sure what exactly I was in'
Heavy cars now accelerate easily from low revs, because turbos are managed so well by the electronics. But this old-fashioned 11,000 rpm machine will continue to surprise you with its acceleration at 3,000 rpm, because its shell is lighter than a swallow's wing.
What makes the Porsche Tuthill 911K the best restomod
At 5,000 rpm the K is pulling so hard that you nod your head 'yes' in appreciation, at 7,000 rpm your brain says it's time to shift into the next gear - and then it just keeps going. The noise then becomes a lot louder between 10,000 and 11,000 rpm. That last bit is screechy, as if the valves want to let you know they're working like a powerlifter.
It's great fun when you've been in this business for 25 years and suddenly experience something completely new. I have never encountered this combination of such high revs and such low weight in a car that drives like an old 911 before. The gearbox is derived from a 915 and wants to be treated with that slightly awkward mix of caution and firmness that they all seem to require.
The brakes are fully carbon ceramic and absolutely fantastic, the interior is sparsely decorated and a far cry from that of a Singer, the car everyone will want to compare the K with. But they are apples and oranges; the only similarity is Butzi's pen. This is an assault on your senses.
Sound insulation is only conspicuous by its total absence – if someone were to say they were planning to drive it to Stuttgart, you would heartily advise them to seek professional help. But it is driving pleasure in its purest form. You drive virtually without mass, electronics and, even after a short time, eardrums. Thank you, Richard, for building it.