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1974 Brumos Porsche 911 – Available September

Friday, Aug 23, 2013

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A “fast car” means different things to different people. Heavily worked muscle cars from the 60’s can be fast in a quarter mile straight line but only have a 125mph top speed, demonstrating that getting there quickly is a form of fast, while a clapped-out four-wheel drive Subaru is exceptionally quick on gravely back roads.

My particular taste for quick comes in the form of corner speed. For me, rocketing down a straight highway is a high speed bore, and punchy drag races are all about the car, leaving the driver to be more of a flight attendant on the Gulfstream of speed. It’s not to say keeping a drag car on the rails isn’t a talent, just not one I’m interested in.
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Enter my personal car – the 1974 MFI Porsche 911 Carrera. This 911 comes equipped with special prominence. In ’73, this car made it to the US shores before any other 911 from the same year. That’s because it was a special order number by Brumos Racing of Florida. Brumos has been an authorized Porsche dealership since the 50’s and their team of red, white and blue Porsche racecars have dominated road racing for four decades. Over the years, Brumos has won the 24-Heurs Du LeMans four times and has been home to legendary racers such as Hurley Haywood and David Donohue. They know a thing or two about fast.

WHAT SHE’S ALL ABOUT

To get the little Porker up to race pace, a few things were done. The traditional carburetion system from the era was stripped and replaced by a mechanical fuel injection system, or MFI, which introduces petrol to the cylinder at 53,000PSI. Such a fine, vaporous injection creates some of the most delicate throttle control and efficient burn. Racers love it. Side note, the MFI was invented by Bosch and the German Luftwaffe during the second world war. Back then, fighter planes were also carbureted. This means inverting in the fighter would cause the plane to stall because the carbs would flood. To gain an advantage over the Brits, ze Germans designed a fuel injection system that was basically a little six cylinder engine, impervious to flooding. With an MFI under the bonnet, the Luftwaffe were able to invert and attack from many more approaches, essentially making the dogfight a three-dimensional dance and, in doing so, introduced genuine acrobatics to ariel combat. But enough of the history lesson, back to the car.

From there, the engine was sent to HC Motorsport, where, it was blue printed, fitted with a race cam and increased horsepower to approximately 225bph, where it rates today on a dyno. At the corners, legit wide Fuchs are wrapped with rubber and set up with enough negative camber to make the boys at FatLace shed a tear. Stability comes courtesy of fully adjustable Bilsteins all around and she’s a touch slammed for good measure. Under the bonnet is a fuel cell designed to keep explosions to a minimum and right up front is a TransAm oil cooler to keep things frosty, no matter how hard you push her. All around, the car has gone through a massive diet, ultimately weighing in at a featherweight 2,100lbs.

As you can imagine, the more you hop something up, the less likely it is to be simple. So it goes with turning the 911 over. It takes a special touch to prime the cylinders just right. Give the throttle one soft squirt, turn the key and hold on until it fires up. Out back, a set of Supertrap exhaust pipes fwap, fwap, fwap to life and you’re ready. The exhaust note is pure flat six – throaty, raspy and angry with that signature puff of carbon.

THE DRIVE

This isn’t your dentist’s Porsche. It’s built for track time and speed. It’s German – form follows function. When pulling out of the Club, steering is as heavy as a Mack truck and it takes an angled approach to get down the skirt without scraping that beautiful oil cooler. While she handles New York well and is happy to idle along at low speeds, it’s not until you get a bit of open road in front of you that the Porsche comes alive. On a recent quick run to Lime Rock Park, I took the Porsche to the Taconic Parkway and pointed her north. The Taconic is the kind of road made for spirited driving and cars with a bit of attitude. The wide, flowing nature of the highway begs you to stretch the gears out and let the noise of that flat six bellow through the rolling hills. Once the tac hits 5,200rpm, the race cam wakes up with a scream and the chassis meets it by hunkering down as the torque band grows fat and the acceleration transforms from progressive to downright nasty. At speed, the unassisted steering no longer feels heavy. Rather, it dances in your hands as the front tires claw at the road for traction. It’s tight as a proverbial duck’s butt – Just a degree or two of rotation translates to the forward motion of the car. Steering slop isn’t in its vocabulary.

As the Taconic tightens around the reservoirs, so does the Porsche. Drop a gear or two to keep the revs up while the speeds drop and you’re back in the power band. Now it’s time to snake the car through day trippin’ traffic. One the left side is a stone wall and a river, on the right side, natural rock cliffs. Some of the corners on this area of the road are way tighter than expected on a major thoroughfare. As with any car, the faster you’re going, the larger the radius of your corner. In the Porsche though, this is when you can use that motor hanging off the rear of your car to your advantage. By covering the brake with your left foot while keeping the throttle neutral, the weight will shift more to the front wheels, creating a larger contact patch and better steering geometry. The motor willl act like a pendulum, helping to swing the weight around. Just make sure not to over-wing it. The engine note, angry as ever, booms through the valley once again, egging motorists in front of you to get the hell out of the way.

This is when you start to acclimate to the temperature. Since the Porsche has been put on a strict diet, there’s no air conditioning. If the weather’s right, it’s glorious and the fan is good enough. On the hotter days – its best to get a cool shirt.

SUMMARY –

If you’re in need to pick up a friend at JFK, or have a dinner meeting on 58th St. to get to, the Brumos Porsche isn’t for you. If you’re in the hunt for the most pure, mechanical driving experience you can possibly find, then contact Adam Miller about membership and channel your inner Hurley Haywood.

Classic Cars, Reviews
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