There are some basic philosophies that I like to apply to any project I have control over. Sometimes clients have a real clear vision of what they want us to build. But more often than not, they have little or no clear direction when we start a project… and my job is to ask a lot of questions, and then listen & extract their hidden vision to determine what direction we should go. So here are the principles:
1. Every car we build is unique to the client and their intended use. We do not apply a cookie-cutter mentality to any build… even though we have lots of proven formulas that we can use as known go-to packages.
2. Every car should function at the highest level first… and then we can address the cosmetics second.
3. My fundamental belief is that if the materials or parts didn’t exist during the time period you are trying mimic, you cannot use them (unless they are disguised or hidden). For example – if you are building a ’73 Porsche RSR tribute car, it should not have a lot of modern parts visible… or at least not in your face. On the other hand, you can build a similar Outlaw car, where all those rules are off the table & you can make it as crazy as you like.
4. You should refrain from paint colors that didn’t exist during the period of the car, such as Lamborghini pearl orange or candy apple red on an early Porsche – no bueno.
5. I like to build as much technology into every car as possible, as long as it looks tasteful in the end. I always prefer fuel injection over carbs just for drivability. We sometimes add power steering, but of the modern race car type where we place an ECU-controlled gearbox in the steering column, and it’s then adjustable/hidden and uses no engine power to run it. Another example: We can hide modern ABS systems and paddle shift systems so you see virtually none of it – using things like the cigarette lighter or fog lamp switches on the dash (original to the car) to operate these things… seeing only the small paddles behind the steering wheel if you look closely.
This car is a 1970 Porsche 914-6, dubbed ‘Orange Crush’. It weighs 1975 lbs and makes 311 hp – for a horsepower-to-weight ratio of 6.3 lbs per horsepower. The car was built here at Kelly Moss, as my personal car… and my goal was to show just how exceptional a 914-6 GT could be, if someone had the skill & will to see a project of this magnitude through with no limitations. You usually don’t see the all-out extravagant builds on a 914 chassis (like you would on a more expensive 911). I wanted to deviate from that, and shine some light on the 914. So the goal with this car – was a very lightweight, mostly steel bodied original 914-6, with proper race car handling, a free revving engine, and a proper racing gearbox to propel this little car to ridiculously fast performance levels. And we did just that.
Instead of calling it ‘Orange Crush’, it was suggested by pro-driver Andrew Davis, who recently drove the car, that it might be more appropriately named ‘The Widow Maker’. He went on to say it was by far the fastest 914-6 he had ever driven, including all the full-on race cars, and he felt confident it would out-accelerate a 991 Cup car to 100 MPH.
This car started life as an original 914-6 with no rust. It had never been wrecked or raced, had been in storage in the Pacific Northwest for nearly 20 years.
The shell was stripped to bare steel, and modified with 914-6 GT flares butt-welded & fitted to factory 914-6 GT specs. Since I’m fanatical about the quality & longevity of our builds, every inch of the body (including the floor pan) was hand worked with hammer and dolly by our expert craftsmen – so we’d only need to use the absolute minimum amount of fillers and materials possible. The entire body & chassis was then sealed with with Sikkens epoxy sealer. And the final bodywork & Sikkens water-born paint was applied to a show perfect finish that will remain as new for decades.
We reinforced & strengthened the chassis extensively, as it was decided that a roll cage was not going to be included in the build – since the car is primarily used for street duty. We continued this theme with the rear trailing arms, and converted the pivot points to spherical and roller bearings rather than the original bushings. And then a set of custom-valved single adjustable Koni shocks with double-stacked coil springs were fitted to the rear with a spring rate of 200#. And an adjustable rear anti roll bar, which currently is run disconnected – but in place if ever running slicks.
The front suspension is a 935 tubular control arm set with a billet aluminum crossmember – all modified for the 914 – with specially valved RSR front struts with the spindle moved 17mm higher than stock, and double stacked coil springs with a rate of 175#. The steering rack was made specifically for this job, and is a much faster ratio than a normal 914 or 911 rack – making for very quick steering.
The brakes are original 914-6 GT brakes with alloy front calipers and GT rear calipers, with the parking brake built in, and vented discs all around. All hard and soft brake lines are new, with both being done in stainless steel now. For a harder brake pedal, we installed a 21mm version that gives an awesome feel and performance.
Front/rear bumpers & side skirts were a challenge – as even the best aftermarket parts on the market fit too poorly for my taste. We spent literally hundreds of hours making the lightweight aftermarket parts fit to perfection. We also molded fiberglass buckets, and installed them in the front bumper for the massive Hella driving lights. This way – the driving lights could be recessed/smoothed as far into the body as possible.
The transmission is a 915 gearbox from a 911 – that we then converted for mid engine use with the help of a WEVO 916 conversion system, and flipping the differential and ring gear over, along with custom solid linkage with bearing type universal joints and a 911 shifter. The gearbox was treated to an RSR 7:31 ring and pinion, all custom short gear sets, and a chromoly limited slip differential. Every part in the gearbox was REM polished – to allow for the strongest, best shifting 916 gearbox possible. We then used a lightweight flywheel and a Sachs sport clutch. The axles are custom gun-drilled shafts with low drag CV joints, clearance for extra travel, and stainless steel vent tubes installed into the joint boots.
The engine is where the real magic begins. This engine started life as a 3.0 case. It was then downsized to a 2.8 liter: with a special racing crankshaft, Carrillo connecting rods, Mahle 11.5 race pistons & cylinders, welded, ported & twin-plugged cylinder heads (extensively modified), specially ground custom camshafts, a modified 964 distributor, Holcomb billet throttle bodies, and Motec engine management. The engine produces an honest 311 HP on pump gas and will rev in excess of 8,000 RPMs without worry of failure. This is a 100% full-on race engine detuned ever so slightly for 93 octane fuel.
As for the interior, I wanted it to be light – but comfortable. The decision was made to use a custom, slightly wider, version of a factory race seat that was used for rally racing. We made the center panels in Tartan to match the exterior color. The side bolsters (as well as the headrests & door tops) are done in German black leather with a houndstooth pattern embossed into the leather. The sides & backs of the seats are full smooth German leather, as are the RS-style door panels & dash – with stitching done in orange to match the exterior. At the time of these photos, the Momo Prototipo steering wheel was out of the car, being restitched in orange as well. The seats have large grommets that have been nickel plated, and both driver & passenger are fitted with 2-stage heating elements & adjustable lumbar support – and are mounted on modified 914-6 slide tracks for adjustability.
The hood and deck lid are both made to order by Getty Design in the lightest weight fiberglass, with additional balsa reinforcements and a through-the-hood fuel fill cut-out.
Under the hood is an original fuel tank with an internal swirl pot collector system and 110mm fuel fill as per 911 RSR spec. The oil cooling is handled by a 911 RSR aluminum oil cooler and factory style 914-6 GT ducting.
A lot of other little details are seen throughout the build, including a GT cable release headlight mechanism – eliminating the headlight motor weight. A super rare factory Porsche Rally emergency fuel can. A fuel gauge on the right side of the dash. Specially modified gauges, 7″ & 8″ Fuchs wheels with sticky Toyo Proxy rubber. And a 991 Cup exhaust muffler mated to custom headers.