In the handling and grip department, AutoKennel replaced the stock suspension with a setup from Elephant Racing that included Bilstein HD shocks and urethane bushings throughout. The ride height was raised a scoche to give it the rally look. White powdercoated 7x16 and 8x16 Fuchs wheels with BFGoodrich tires complete the road-holding mods.
But it's the exterior that really speaks the rally language. Custom Martini-scheme vinyl graphics work well with the custom-painted bumpers, blue in the rear and fluorescent orange in the front. Functional aluminum skid plates cover 60 percent of the undercarriage. The tow hooks in both bumpers are also structurally sound. Early 911-style rubber straps keep the hood and engine cover in place. A row of Cibie rally lights ensures that this 911 can illuminate the darkest path it takes. Yellow Euro headlamp lenses along with early H4 lights complete the rally look at the front end. At the rear, the Getty Racing ducktail engine cover was custom-fitted to cleverly hide the A/C condenser. Cave takes his wife Jeannie along as navigator on vintage rallies; A/C is essential in that scenario.
The overwhelming signature of this car is the superb attention to detail, whether it's the hood straps, the stitching on the seats, the lighting-the list goes on and on. Any examination beyond a cursory glance reveals the astounding detail accomplished by Paul Kramer and his crew at AutoKennel.
Driving the Carrera-based creation reminds me of why these cars are so loved. Even with the light front end, its unassisted steering requires direct and forceful input. The shorter throws (30 percent) from the WEVO shifter and the sharpened responses from the Elephant Racing suspension are brilliant. The 3.2-liter flat six barks a little louder than a stock version and provides enough oomph to turn any country road into a spirited drive. Refreshingly, my short stint behind the wheel marks an honest departure from the multi-CPU, sound-isolated experience of driving a modern car fast. The sounds, the tactile sensations, even the smells of driving what a vintage, air-cooled 911 make for a singular feeling unlike that of any other.
We can only imagine how much Cave enjoys tackling the mountain roads on such rallies as the Carolina Trophy or the Mountain Mille.
1988 Porsche 911 carrera
Longitudinal rear engine, rear-wheel drive
3.2-liter flat six. Performance chip, exhaust
Five-speed manual, WEVO short-shifter
Bilstein HD dampers, urethane bushings
Wheels And Tires
Fuchs alloy, 7x16 (f), 8x16 (r)
BFGoodrich g-Force Sport
Custom blue-and-orange paint, aluminum skid plates, Cibie rally lights, Getty Racing ducktail decklid
Scheel seats with custom upholstery, RS-style door panels, 911 ST rollbar, MOMO Prototipo steering wheel, Heuer rally stopwatches, Monit TC-2 rally computer, stealth-mounted stereo with iPod interface
Peak Power: 234 hp (est.)