Paul Stephens’ Retro Touring R driven
While outsiders may not think it, buying a Porsche 911 is a truly understated sports car choice. Its subtle reincarnations every generation have resulted in a plethora of performance increases, yet the car’s innate grace has never been lost (although some believe this shows Porsche’s lack of revolution – how wrong they are).
It’s hard to contend that all cars at this level are not excellent. However, while some of Porsche’s rivals are often picked up by poseurs, the 911 remains the thinking man’s sports car.
In many contexts, this ability to fly under the radar is what attracts customers to the Zuffenhausen brand. Monaco, however, is not one of these contexts. One of the pretenders to crown for ‘Land of the rich and famous’, the 2.02-square-kilometre principality sits on the French Riviera between Nice and the Italian border, and is firmly a case of style over substance. A standard Porsche 911 is the Monaco equivalent of a Ford Focus.
Therefore, it was no surprise to Paul Stephens (head of British bespoke 911 builders, PS AutoArt) when an Italian customer approached him to create a car destined for Prince Albert’s city state.
If you want exclusivity and Stuttgart’s own prancing horse adorning the front of your car then PS AutoArt are the European answer to Rob Dickinson’s star ascending: Singer Vehicle Designs. In other words, they are the ideal choice for a Monaco-worthy Porsche 911.
After starting his eponymous 911 specialist in 1994, a decade later, Stephens founded PS AutoArt to produce one-off Porsches built to each customer’s exacting standards. “The early cars, up to about number seven, were done with a [fibreglass] body kit. What came out of that was RS Teknik,” Stephens explains, talking of his alternative custom business run out of the same Essex base but with a completely different identity.