The Anticipation - J’s 964 ‘Skunkworks RS-4’ Story.
J, I’m excited that we’re doing this just days before you take delivery of your newly built Porsche 964 C4, or as it’s affectionately known, the ‘Skunkworks RS-4’.
The RS-4 was one of the first ‘Builds’ I got to follow from start to finish here at Autohaus Hamilton and not only that, it’s one of the first (including other cars, such as the Group4 and 74 RS) that the general Porsche community in Australia and abroad have managed to stay up to date with (thanks to the internet!).
Let’s just start with the same question I ask everyone else, what is your earliest Porsche memory and was this the memory that inspired you to today? If not, do you remember the memory which changed it all for you?
I don’t think there is a defining moment as such but my late dad was a fan of 911s. On one occasion he pointed out a viper green long hood and said, "Boys look, a 911. That's my favourite car!". So this car is in part a tribute to him and the license plate bears his initials.
Certainly having older brothers helped too as I was exposed to cars at an early age; Brock Commodores, Monaros and Toranas at first with the first Porsche arriving 1990 when my brother travelled to the UK and brought back a 911. At age 12 it was something I’d seen only in movies or on posters and to me it was perfect – Guards red, black Fuchs, turbo body and tea tray spoiler. From then I was hooked and it should come as no surprise that my first Porsche was guards red. Fast forward a few years and itching to get back in a Porsche, I got talking to my brother over a post-ride coffee and within 20 minutes we’d come up with a plan, one that would get chins wagging. The research began in earnest, hours spent on the net looking for donor cars, researching modifications, parts, colour schemes etc.
I guess it’s time to ask a few questions about the RS-4 itself, was there always a dream, an end picture you saw yourself in or is the RS-4 a modern interpretation of all these dreams made into a current day masterpiece?
Initial thoughts about doing a backdated 73 RS replica were quickly dismissed as being too common in favour of something contemporary. We’ve taken inspiration from the C2 RS, C4 Lightweight, even the 918 Spyder, tweaked them and added plenty of our own. There are a few things which I doubt have ever been seen before, such as the wheels. Sure we could have gone down the same old path with BBS E28 (not that there's anything wrong with that) but we were looking to do something different. Skunkworks is a name associated with stealth, innovation and pushing the boundaries and that’s what we’ve tried to do with the RS-4.
What was the overall aim for the build? Do you think that the expectation and initial design match the end product?
From the outset the goal was to build a car that has had every aspect optimised, but no one aspect over the top. Everything has been enhanced; acceleration, braking, steering, suspension and aesthetics. The old “race car for the road” is not far off the mark with stripped interior, cage, fixed-back seats and a mean exhaust, while maintaining creature comforts such as upgraded air con, stereo, carpet and Alcantara. – a GT3 version of the 964 if you like. Naturally, there has been some evolution along the way such as the inclusion of ITBs and Brembos but apart from that it is exactly as pictured in the initial rendering.
Is this it, or have you already started thinking of more additions to the car?
We’ve gone to great lengths to get it right the first time, with no stone left unturned. I’m sure it’ll continue to evolve once it’s on the road but feedback from the Autohaus team is that it’s pretty much perfect right out of the box. At this point the only change I want to make is to the mileage on the odometer!
How would you define your overall involvement and satisfaction, are there any things you’d do differently next time round?
I would have loved to have been more hands on, visiting the workshop on a weekly basis to have a sticky beak, to talk through what progress had been made and what the next week would hold but that was never going to happen. We’ve made do with progress photos and phone calls, of which there were plenty. There’s nothing I’d do differently which is a product of a number of upgrades we’ve made along the way. We didn’t want to get to this point thinking, “oh, I wish we had have done such and such”.
What’s the game-plan for the RS-4? Road Trip? Track Time? Sunday Cafe Runs?
All of the above! Having just done a road trip to the south coast and Snowy Mountains, there are a lot of great roads I’d love to revisit down there. There is an ARDC track day in Feb that we’d love to attend and of course Sunday café runs, especially those organised (very well I might add) by Autohaus Hamilton. Then, of course, there are a number of shows starting with Cars and Coffee and the annual concours later in the year.
It’s great knowing that a lot of our customers are drivers, it also makes sense when the thing that brings us all together was designed to be driven! Ok, so I know this is a hard question to answer because, yes you’ve just finished one… but is there plans for another build?
There’s always something spinning around in my head such as an outlaw 356 but above all it would be a modern interpretation of the 1974 RSR in Mexico Blue with a whopping great 4.0
Porsches aside, I’ve long dreamt of a restomod VK Group A; formula blue (of course) with LS power, 19” Aero wheels and modern brakes and suspension.
Finally, here’s a real question (that we’ve all been waiting for!) If you had to explain Autohaus Hamilton to someone at the pub, how would you describe us?
From the outset they’ve been incredibly enthusiastic about the project – it’s great to see a team as excited about a project as the owner. Throughout the build they’ve guided us and helped refine our ideas. Their opinions have been valued both technically and aesthetically – a few times there have been ideas raised but the Autohaus boys have suggested alternatives that would work or look better. They’ve been in the game a long time so we were confident in giving them a good degree of autonomy to make decisions on the run. There will be no hesitation in entrusting them with future builds.
LOOK, I know all this is probably just making you even more excited, the anticipation must be killing you to receive that car, as for us! I can’t wait to tee up a drive with you one afternoon and we can take some photos and write PART 2 of this story, ’The Drive’. Until then, I’d like to thank you for taking some time to sit down with me and talk about your Porsche story and how you Live the Porsche! The anticipation!
Mate, it would be my pleasure and you’re right, the anticipation is killing me!
From concept… to customer, enjoy these few images showing the Skunkworks RS-4's build! If you'd like more images and information you'll find links to all build updates, from beginning to end!
If you've missed the updates and want to view the build updates of the 964 Skunkwork's RS-4, you can view them here, start to finish:
Update #1 - http://autohaushamilton.com.au/news/autohaus-custom-builds-skunkworks-2.8-rsr-update