Rennline, German Performance Service Inc. and Braid Wheels at NEFR 2015

 

Even in an industry where most things are pretty cool, every once in a while you get to be involved in a particularly awesome project. One of these came along recently in the form of this beautiful 964 pictured below. Marc Feinstein, owner of German Performance Services approached us with the concept of building a classic 964 911 for competition in Rally America’s Stage Rally series.

Rennline sponsored 964 rally car built by German Performance Service
Photo by EEuroParts.com

Even if you haven’t heard of German Performance Services by name, you are probably familiar with their work and some of their friends. They have prepared everything from ALMS GT2s, to classic 901s, and the Audi S4 piloted by American rally legend Ramana Lagemann at the 2014 Mt. Washington Climb to the Clouds hillclimb set in the beautiful White Mountians of New Hampshire.

Marc is a seasoned racer, having competed nationally in various SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) and NASA (National Auto Sport Association) events with huge success. When he decided it was time to take to the stages, he obviously needed something German to take on the ubiquitous Subaru WRX/STI and legendary Mitsubishi Evos that dominate American rally racing. Marc got in touch with us along with Braid Wheels, whose line of motorsports quality wheels are also available on our website.

Rennline sponsored 964 rally car getting sideways and throwing a dust plume
Photo by EEuroParts.com

Stuttgart is closer to our hearts than the Pleiades, but here at Rennline we are a precision machine/motorsports shop just down the street from Vermont Sportscar. They are the shop that prepares the Rally America and Redbull Global Rallycross cars for Subaru Rally Team USA, and we regularly collaborate on production parts. This has made us intimately familiar with the brutal nature of rallying, and perfectly suited to the needs of this particular 964.

To handle the incredibly rough and tumble surfaces on stage, Marc chose a Reiger damper setup to ensure he had plenty of suspension travel and proper valving. He added a Rennline strut tower brace up front which serves the two purposes: stiffening the front strut towers to maintain proper camber settings, and providing a convenient mounting point for the dampers’ external reservoirs.

The unique challenges of listening to pace notes while trying to barrel 10/10ths down a narrow dirt road at triple-digit speeds means driver confidence is key. So we provided Marc with a set of our Full Race Track Mats, a dead pedal, and one of our famously precise steering wheel quick disconnects. A set of our CNC machined floorboards give the co-driver something to brace off and keep the area behind the pedals free of debris.

964 rally car pounding through rough gravel on stage
Photo by Neil McDaid Photography

For safety’s sake a set of our all-steel tow hooks, the same ones used on Subaru Rally Team USA’s cars, were added front and rear. A whole host of other Rennline goods decorate the suspension, engine and interior, and in his first outing in the car he finished 2nd in Group 5 (higher power 2wd cars) and had zero mechanical problems. This was a completely successful event for all the guys at German Performance Service, by any measure, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for this stage monster.

The German Performance Service built, Rennline sponsored 964 on a lift at GPS

Speed v Soul: The new heart of the 911

Much conversation and controversy surrounds the move by Porsche towards an almost entirely turbocharged lineup. The visceral scream and responsiveness of the current naturally aspirated engines are already being lamented. But what does this move actually mean for the line up? While the effects on overall chassis balance, drivability and power output are still speculation, we feel confident in making a few assumptions. First is that Porsche has a stalwart commitment to increasing speed, so we are confident in saying the new line of 911s will be faster than the existing models.

illustration of how a turbo works

Turbo lag is the biggest drawback associated with positive manifold pressure, but it is important to note how far technology has come since the original 911 Turbo aka the 930 debuted. That car featured a single K26 turbo charger based on 70’s turbine technology and had a deserved reputation for building boost in a non-linear way.A simple look at dyno graphs of today’s turbocharged engines should quell some of those fears. A new VW GTI, for example, makes an almost unbelievable 270ft/lbs of torque at just 2500rpm- from just 2.0l and a single turbocharger. With significantly more displacement, Porsche has the option of fitting two smaller, even more responsive turbochargers meaning the torque curve will be much closer to that of a new GTI than the 930 of yesteryear. This should add up to an even more responsive mill with vastly more accessible power and torque all throughout the rev range.

Facelift 911 undergoing testing at nurburgring

It is true that the lineup will likely loose some of the howl it is known for, but for many the whistles, whines, and wooshes of a turbocharged engine at full tilt- made famous by the Group B rally monsters of the 80’s- might just be enough to satiate those cravings. Personally, the sound of a turbo at full boost, the wastegate screaming extra exhaust gas and a bypass/blow off valve purging excessive pressure between shifts has a strong appeal.

 

Our point is this: change almost always causes apprehension. It happened when the 996 was introduced and Porsche strayed from its aircooled roots; again when the 991 swelled in size from the 997. But all these cars were improvements on their predecessors, and we have faith that Stuttgart will ensure the new models will be just as Porsche as ever. And almost certainly faster. We like faster.

New 991 turbo power plant out of car

Project: 73 RSR Tribute with 3.4T

After searching for several months for that perfect backdate project car, we came across a 1975 Carrera that had been converted to a Slantnose by a SoCal dealership in the late 80’s. Being a California car, this chassis was rust free and a great starting point for what was to come. In addition to the rust free chassis the car also had the entire drivetrain from a 79 930. After a few more questions we learned the car had been serviced by our friends at Poudre Sports Cars in Denver, Colorado. A phone call yielded the details; the engine had been built two years prior and the parts list included JE pistons, LN cylinders, ARP head studs, topped with a K27 Turbo. Between the chassis and engine build we settled on this car as being the perfect candidate for our project and had the car dropped back off at Poudre Sports Cars so that it could be shipped over to us in Vermont.

 

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Upon arrival at the Rennline shop, we spent some time sorting a few small issues and putting some miles on the engine to ensure everything was running correctly and up to snuff. Thanks to Poudre’s top notch work, this was a short process and within no time the car was shedding its sheet metal in preparation for a complete restoration. A full array of early body panels were sourced and the slantnose parts were removed in preparation for the long hood conversion.

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We are never ones to miss the opportunity to develop fresh parts for the Rennline catalog, and this project was the perfect chance to so some applied product development. First up was an RSR Style Strut Brace which features dimple-died strut tower reinforcements to all but eliminate flex between the strut towers and caused by the forces transferred though the shocks themselves to the top mounts. Next up we jigged the new long hood on one of our water jets and wrote a CNC program to cut a hole for our new Center Hood Gas Filler. This piece is machined from billet aluminum right here in Vermont and is the perfect compliment to this or any 911 project.

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With the extensive amount of body work the car needed for the backdate, we employed a hydraulic rotisserie that was custom built by one of our close friends with assistance from our CNC tooling centers. As anyone who has restored a car can tell you, removing factory undercoating is one of the worst tasks. This was made worlds easier with the rotisserie, and we tapped our catalog for some of Wurth’s OEM quality SKS Stoneguard to the entire under body. This included the engine bay and entire floor which was body-matched after the Wurth products were applied.

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Next we removed the suspension, and refurbished everything from the trailing arms to the nuts and bolts. The aluminum parts got media blasted and clear coated, the hardware got stripped and re zinc plated. We installed the full line of Rennline HD bushings from Decambered Ball Joints to HD Spring Plate Bushings front and rear.

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