Modified Porsche 991.1 GT3: the perfect blend?

Beachy Head, 9.30am. The conversation stops briefly as we pause to watch a Mk1 Escort driving past. Instinctively, Neil Plumpton and I switch to listening for a bit as it goes out of sight, an appreciative nod from each of us before the conversation resumes back to the topic in hand. A similar moment happened in that Escort, we witnessed it, the driver turning to look at the black 911 parked up. His response, a similar, reverential nod.

Did I want to drive a GT3? Stupid question really from Editor Sibley, 2020 being understandably light on drives. When I found out which GT3, specifically, my interest was piqued even further. You’ve got to love social media if you’re one of the flat six afflicted, and Plumpton’s car appears regularly on my feeds.

Specifically, his Jet black metallic 991.1 GT3, with its distinctive plate. Nothing unusual about that you might think, apart from the fact that Plumpton obviously enjoys using it, and regularly – this is a GT3 that’s driven rather than garaged. 

“It definitely gets used, I did a Club Mulholland trip in it and a lot of people had their cars trailered there. My friend and I drove. We visited the Porsche Museum, took in Innsbruck, before being based in Venice. From there we drove around the Northern Italian Alps, enjoyed the Stelvio then returned home via Chamonix. All in we covered 3,000 miles,” says Plumpton, who’s obviously not remotely concerned about keeping miles off the odometer.

It’s not his only 911, indeed, among his others he can count a 991.1 GTS, a ‘72 2.2S, 991.2 GTS and this GT3. That’s just the current stable, the back catalogue’s like a greatest hits of some of the most desirable, interesting cars to roll out of the GT and Exclusive departments. He admits that recently he’s had something of a change of tack, and is unlikely to pursue the future crop of special models, instead focusing on what he’s already got – his predilection for the 991 series being obvious with two thirds of his garage being 991 shaped.

With his GT3 he specifically sought out a Gen1 model, saying that he prefers it over the Gen2, feeling it to be more engaging, while also admitting it represents far better value. The ten-year, 120,000 Porsche engine warranty for Gen1 GT3s also played a role in his decision.   

Other curious (to some, but not Plumpton) desires were the Comfort seats and no cage. “I don’t like the Sports buckets,” he says, and while he admits he’s partial to some track time, enjoying fast laps around his local Brand Hatch among others, he prefers the day-to-day comfort and ease of use of the 18-way adjustable Comfort seats. As much as I do indeed like the clutching embrace of a bucket, it’s difficult to argue against Plumpton’s choice, particularly as he and I seemingly share exactly the same choice of driving position.

Plumpton’s individual take on his preferred specification is perhaps an indication of what would inevitably follow. He didn’t dislike how the GT3 looked, indeed, he’d owned it for over three years and liked it, but decided he wanted something a little bit more subtle. That’s what a Touring is for, you might think, but Plumpton owned one of those and the mix of a manual gearbox and bucket seats didn’t really suit him, so he sold it back.

Oddly, his daily, that 991.1 GTS, is a manual, but for quick road driving and longer tours he prefers a PDK. That turns the usual ‘PDK for daily, manual for fun’ mantra on its head, but nobody’s wrong here, more so if the cars they feature in are actually used.   

To read our full review of this modified 991.1 GT3, pick up Total 911 issue 198 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.

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