Nothing like the goldRush Rally to test a car's endurance.
Turns out Singer isn't the only company reimagining classic-bodied 911s. And that’s a good thing. A few months ago, if you recall, we learned about California-based Gunther Werks that’s dedicated to restoring the 993 911. Singer’s sole focus is the 964. But the 993 was the last of the classic 911 body shells before the 996 came to market, thus making the 993 quite special. To kick off what it hopes will be the start of a new era, the Gunther Werks 400R is, more or less, the 993 911 GT3 that Porsche never built. Powered by a 4.0-liter flat-six with 430 hp and 302 lb-ft of torque, the 400R has 352 hp per ton, meaning its power-to-weight ratio is better than the current 911 GT3 RS.
Only 25 examples are planned, but before they can be delivered to their owners, a proper shakedown was needed. So Gunther Werks entered a 400R in the 2018 goldRush Rally, a grueling 5,700-mile cross-country road trip. A total of 11 major cities were visited along with some intense track tests. Essentially, it was an 11-day torture test. So, how’d the 400R handle it all?
“The power is very linear, progressive and predictable while maintaining the ability to coerce your body into the seat back. There’s truly no other motor like it in the world,” said driver Chad Phelps, a serious Porsche enthusiast and collector. He’s owned over 100 Porsches with a particular affinity for air-cooled classics. “The transmission feels at home on the street and the track because the gear ratios are perfect. In sixth gear, with the exhaust in hush mode, the car can be the exemplary highway cruiser however when you hit the backroads or the track it comes alive and the cabin fills with raw, unbridled engine noise.
"Driving through the streets of New York City is one thing, but the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the 9,000 feet in elevation Vail Pass in Colorado are entirely different and more brutal by far. Overall, the car ran perfectly, which for an air-cooled motor is amazing considering we went from sea level to 10,667 feet with temperatures well over 100 degrees in some areas,” Phelps said. Also like Singer, Gunther Werks has no relationship with Porsche itself, so this testing was vital because there’s no corporate-level factory warranty for owners. Everything depends on Gunther Werks’ own testing prior to customer deliveries. Sounds like it passed with flying colors.