Ed Cave's 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera
At dawn in the horse country of Cherokee County north of Atlanta, as we position Ed Cave's spectacular 1988 Carrera, a voice from behind a fence asks, "Who are you shooting for?" Before I can answer, he starts asking more questions. Informed questions. Turns out he's got a 930 in the barn.
Cave is used to such attention, be it at the supermarket or the local Porsche club show.
Cave, who absolutely considers himself a Porsche guy, likes to run vintage rallies in his Porsches. He owns three others: a perfect, concours-winning 1973 911S, an "Outlaw" 356 and a 1998 Carrera 2S. Long enamored of the Martini-sponsored, 1978 911 SCRS driven by Björn Waldegaard in the East African Safari Rally, he knew he didn't want a clone of that car.
A lot of people think they want a racecar on the street. There are still a few states left that'll give you a title and plates for one, but beyond an afternoon at the track, the fun starts to fade. From the moment you head home, try to commute or, God forbid, pick up a date, the heat, the cramped quarters, the damned roll cage and the noise would all drive you nuts. It's truly an idea best left a motorhead's fantasy.
But who's to say that you can't have the effect of driving a racecar on the street? Enter the tribute car.
Cave caught wind of a Martini-liveried tribute car on the West Coast and contacted the builder, AutoKennel of Costa Mesa, Calif. With that first one sold, Cave easily talked AutoKennel owner Paul Kramer into building another one. With his background as a successful interior designer, Cave wanted to make a few changes to suit his taste. Most of all he wanted everyday reliability, but something still robust enough to tackle the back roads.
Kramer located a white 1988 Carrera with just one previous owner in its 138,000 miles and immediately set about disassembling the car to its elemental bits, removing the drivetrain and suspension and gutting the interior with the exception of the dash and headliner.
The motor was solid, but a top-end rebuild with new seals and gaskets, along with a rebuild on the G50 gearbox, were in order. Intent on maintaining reliability, Kramer pretty much left the 3.2-liter motor stock beyond some exhaust mods and leaving a performance chip in place. "The goal is everyday usage," he insists. Fortunately, with an estimated extra 20 hp on top of the stock 214 and an overall weight savings of around 100 pounds, this car accelerates with plenty of verve.
In place of the stock seats, AutoKennel fitted custom Scheel units with Recaro sliders and perforated leather with Martini-colored welting and patches. The removal of the rear seats and the installation of lightweight, early-911-style carpets, RS-style door panels and a reproduction 911 ST roll bar add tons to the race feel. In place of the original center console and factory shifter sits a bootless WEVO short-throw shifter with its upper mechanism exposed. A MOMO Prototipo wheel completes the driver controls.
In place of the stereo, the dash displays a pair of period-correct Heuer rally stopwatches as well as a super accurate, modern Monit TC-2 rally computer, making Cave's car "equipped" in TSD parlance. But he didn't completely banish tunes from the 911. Behind the Monit unit, Kramer hid a modern stereo with an iPod connector in the ashtray. Tune management comes via remote control, with an IR pickup barely visible next to the rally computer. It's a pretty slick setup that you'd never notice without prior knowledge.