Number 27 – Part II
It seems like years ago that I wrote the first part of the story of #27. Actually it was only the end of last year but I had expected to be writing this follow up a lot sooner than this. The reasons I think will become apparent when you read the story.
For a quick recap bear in mind that the ethos behind #27 is a lightweight C4, getting rid of all unnecessary weight without compromising too much on usability. You can read the first part here but the highlights up to the last update can be summarised as weight savings nearing 95KGs and an engine rebuild from Redtek including Cup Cams, which should see around 290bhp.
The next stage was looking at a repaint. Tom from Lemass knows these cars inside out but more importantly I’ve known him for a few years and trust him. The original plan was to do a glass out re-spray while addressing a couple of minor rust bubbles. The floor in the frunk also needed replacing as a battery leak years ago had started irreversible rot. All seals and various other fixings would be replaced to make #27 sparkle again. Keeping an eye on weight loss, I ordered a fibreglass Ducktail from Roger Harradine who also previously provided the lightweight tinware used in the engine rebuild. The standard engine cover with motorised spoiler is incredibly heavy and Roger's fibreglass work is absolutely top notch so I was confident he would make the right duck for #27.
I delivered the car to Tom in early November with an agreement it would be ready just before xmas or early January. As the preliminary work started and the car was stripped it started gnawing away at me that I would be paying a sizeable chunk of money and that the car would come out looking substantially the same. I was also worried about how the ducktail would work with such a modern colour as Cobalt Blue. Tom’s changed the colour of his current 964 to Rubystone so I knew he’d be open to exploring the options. I wanted to stick to a Porsche blue and polled our W90 members on facebook for suggestions. The initial favourite was Oslo Blue, an original Porsche colour used in 356s and in a reworked hue in 996s.
Oslo blue 356
The initial colour swatches from Tom looked good but when he sprayed up a whole spare door we decided the colour was too old school to work. At this point attention turned to the classic Arrow Blue, Riviera Blue and the rare Adriatic Blue. Swatches were sprayed up again and a clear winner emerged.
The options on an Oslo blue background
Adriatic Blue is similar to Arrow but a shade darker. To my eyes it was perfect to give #27 a sportier look that would work better with some of the older touches I wanted like the ducktail and the side decals. Work started in earnest and Tom was confident of being able to stick to the timelines discussed despite the colour change. This is when man logic truly took control and I proceeded to add more and more extras to the project..
Brakes – Made sense to also refurbish all callipers
Sunroof – A delete would increase helmet room for track driving and save weight
Bare metal – The wing and roof were going to be stripped in any case so might as well go the whole hog and go bare metal on the whole car
Interior – The sunroof delete required a new Alcantara headlining.. might as well also recover the dash, door tops and centre console
Rear Bumper – Why not go for an RS panel.. and ask Tom for some custom air vents
Front bumper – I like the smoothed over look as on Tom’s own car.. so the number plate recess was duly deleted
Glass – RS rear screen is lighter.. my good friend Mark at Specialised Windscreens was happy to oblige. Front screen chipped so that was replaced too.
There was a not a week that went by where Tom could just get on with the job as every few days I would ring up with the next fantastic idea to brighten up his day. Despite this he was flexible and enthusiastic throughout. At least in front of me, I can imagine that offline a few choice words may have resulted from some of the more last minute requests.
Various stages of sunroof delete. Most are just spot welded in place but Tom preferred a continuous seam for strength
Callipers were refurbished and turned out like new
In the end the work dragged on to mid February but that was entirely down to all the extra requests I came up with and Tom and Ricky had to work through the night to get #27 finished in time for a W90 photo shoot we had planned on Sunday the 8th February. I arrived mid afternoon on the Saturday and the guys were still hard at work.. but the car looked stunning. I was really pleased about the colour choice I made. A few finishing touches were still required and some Porsche side decals really set off the blue.
Tom's trimmer did a great job with the dash, door tops and centre console
At this stage the car was pretty much ready to go but wgile Tom was painting I was plotting. The H&R springs and Bilstein HD dampers were ok on the road but lacking on track and I also wanted a set of wheels to do justice to the car. In the past I had been really impressed by my experience with Ohlins shocks on my motorbikes. They managed to produce controlled yet supple systems and were the first suppliers I looked at, however there is no standard 964 fitment available and a bespoke set up turned out to be poor value. A quote for Ohlins Road and Track shocks would have worked out close to £3500, this using a shock that normally retails for around £1500 on off the shelf packages. I did not want to go for the “usual” Bilstein and KW set ups and was also keen to get alloy bodied shocks for lightness. I found out fellow W90 member Tomas Tucker uses Intrax shocks on his mad 600bhp narrow body twin turbo 964, and he recommended I speak to them about available options.
I settled on the 1K2 shock with ARC (Anti Roll Control) and Black Titan low friction coating. These are fully adjustable and the ARC system should allow for running softer settings while still limiting roll. This is Intrax's take on digressive valve technology which allows a relatively high damping rate for low velocity inputs and a relatively low flow restriction operation for high velocity inputs so that a relatively firm ride with reduced impact harshness is achieved, this is in addition to the normal fixed high and low speed damping parameters found in normal shocks. Intrax build to the client specs so I asked for a set up which was 75% road and 25% track, a bit vague and open to interpretation as I later found out.
Shocks were delivered promptly and looked fantastic with some trick top mounts for the fronts. This was roughly a week before our annual trip for a track weekend at SPA so I arranged a day out to fit them with the help of 'Doc' (fellow W90 tech buff Alex Curtis Jenkins). Fronts went on fairly smoothly though the brake line clips were a bit of a faff to fit, the rears however caused some issues as they did not seem long enough for the job. A frenzied conversation with Intrax followed and they agreed to build another pair and send them overnight so I still had time to get the car geo done and ready in time for the W90 track weekend in Belgium. Great service.
The drive over to SPA was the usual convoy with several 964s and during the journey it became apparent that there was an issue with the shocks. There was a see-sawing action between front and rear and changing the damping did not seem to improve it. The car did otherwise handle very well but particularly on motorways this was really annoying. It was so bad I could not use the headrest as it would continually knock my head forward. Something to speak to Intrax about.
We were booked at SPA for the whole weekend and true to form on Saturday it rained most of the day. With the C4 I still managed to have fun, though an incident in early afternoon proved to be a bad omen. As I was coming up to the end of Kemmel at around 140mph a little bird smashed into the screen. There was no damage and it was surely an instantaneous death...
Sunday was initially brilliant, the track was dry and my AD08R’s got properly warmed up. The shocks proved to be much better than my previous set up but probably still too soft for real track work and I made a mental note to add this to my feedback for Intrax.
Towards the end of the morning session I had 30 mins tuition with an instructor. My pace and confidence was building and then as I was braking at the end of Kemmel the car suddenly snapped to the left, hit the grass, spun and then careered backwards towards the Armco. We estimate it would have hit at around 120mph, luckily it was at a shallow angle and not head on otherwise the smash could have proved very serious. As it was #27 took a big swiping hit on the rear driver side, then bounced round to face the right way again. Neither of us was hurt and the instructor was adamant that something on the car went wrong, either a brake or other component failure. When I stepped out to survey the damage I was expecting to see half the bodywork destroyed but it actually looked pretty good considering the force of the impact. The driver side wheel had taken the brunt of it and was destroyed, the rear driver side wing badly dented and the rear bumper cracked. I was still in shock really, I obviously had no track insurance as that’s for idiots… and I had just spent a fortune on the re-spray and other work. Three months later and I’ve now almost finished repairing the car.. and Intrax have rebuilt the shocks to address my feedback, more detail will come in the update for part 3.
Damage looked surprisingly light considering the speed at which #27 left the track
Words and Pictures: Jack Pegoraro
Paintwork - www.lemass.co.uk
Suspension - http://en.intraxracing.nl