RS-Werks’ 964 R restomod: first look

Travel. Remember that? The world hasn’t stopped though, and RS-Werks has kept itself busy completing this 964 R build through what’s been one of the world’s most difficult years. We’d love to say we jumped on a plane to meet them, but Zoom it is, for now at least, to discuss what promises to be one of the most interesting takes on the 964 this year.

Even through a screen the infectious enthusiasm of the team is obvious. Scott McKeown, Nick Dunlop and Bob Craig are all here, McKeown the lead builder, Craig’s the man with the camera skills, and Dunlop keeps the business wheels turning, all adding to a staff head-count of about 12 at Pennsylvania-based RS-Werks.

The team met while driving, which is something core to the RS-Werks philosophy, and why RS-Werks provides technical assistance to the Texas Hill Country Rallye – an annual event for air-cooled 1949-89 Porsches. They met the owner of the 964 R that’s just nearing completion when out driving, that owner having never owned a Porsche previously.

He wanted a Porsche that’s unique to him, as McKeown explains: “The customer came to us after we met at cars and coffee. He wanted to experience a Porsche. First thing we did was work out what he wanted – find out the mission of the car, his driving habits – and we try to tailor the car around that need. He wanted to do long road trips and take his wife, so we decided on a nice GT car; but the customer gets new ideas during the build, so we all worked together and developed the car as you now see it.”

Perhaps the biggest compliment you can give the 964 R is that it’s not like any other 964 we’ve seen here at Total 911. Not a car that’s easy to categorise, it’s certainly not a backdate – even if there are some reverential nods to earlier models – nor outlaw, it’s more hot rod in its specification. Craig and McKeown’s hot rod background is highlighted perfectly when Craig discusses the ‘Frenched’ licence plate at the rear.

Craig sent hundreds of pictures of the car during the various stages of the build for us to pore over prior to our conversation, the images not just highlighting the artistry and obsession for detail during the entire build process, but also Craig’s skill with a camera – no surprise here, given a background of photojournalism.

Visually it’s an intriguing mix of different elements. The colour, Dolphin grey, was picked because the owner had seen it and liked it on a 356, likewise the green leather inside, the owner liking the look and feel of the older cars.

Dunlop explains the interior: “The customer leaned on our knowledge of the older look and feel for the cockpit, the painted instrument surround and dash as well as some of the neat things like the old-style trim, simple door cards and colour-matched dyed switches and steering wheel cowl.” To get the modern, heated, Recaro seats in, McKeown had to extensively modify the inner rocker (sill) panels to allow the manual adjustments on the seats to work, though laughs saying: “We can melt metal, so it’s all good.”

For the full story on RS-Werks’ 964 R, pick up your copy of Total 911 issue 204 in store today. Alternatively, order your copy online for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device now.

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