Is This Porsche Hot Rod The Ultimate Lightweight Narrow-Body 911?
Photography by Patrick Stevenson
When humans see red, their reactions become faster and more forceful. It’s a leftover primal piece of ourselves that’s been manifested in this 1985 Guards Red Porsche 911 Carrera, affectionately referred to as “Project Nasty.” I met this car and its owner Joey Seely of E-Motion Engineering several years earlier back when it was just a mildly stripped-down street car, so I’ve been able to follow its progress throughout the transformation. There is nothing stock about this Carrera anymore, as every fender and bushing has been massaged or replaced to suit the functions of speed and cornering (or more accurately, speed while cornering).
Building such a dedicated performance car as this is one part science and engineering know-how and one part pure art. Properly setting up a race car for a driver and a specific track can result in a place on the podium or a big fat DNF depending on the mix of the ingredients, and Seely learned the craft at the highest levels of motorsport, having worked on Le Mans class-winning GT3 RSRs, 1,200-horsepower 911 Turbos, and even Jeff Zwart’s record-breaking Pikes Peak Turbo Cup car. His specialty is setting up the car’s chassis and suspension, but he’s built plenty of complete cars too, like the LuftAuto Safari 911s made popular at Luftgekühlt. For Seely’s personal Porsche—still an ongoing project—he set out to create one of the most extreme lightweight Carreras in the air-cooled scene.
His vision led to a featherweight machine with loads of grip and a seriously rowdy naturally-aspirated air-cooled flat-six, basically a street legal Cup car. Focusing first on the weight, Seely replaced the hood, bumpers, and decklid with kevlar composite pieces, and a few pounds were added back in the name of safety and stiffness when the stripped interior received a complete race-ready roll cage, which is tied into the suspension for maximum effectiveness.
When the build started a few years ago, there was a lot of hype around wide-body 911s, but the plan for this car always involved staying close to the original narrow Carrera body. It saves weight first of all, and working with a local body shop to remove some from the highest point of the car, the factory sunroof was stripped of its mechanisms and sealed shut. The front and rear fenders were lovingly hand-radiused and flared just a bit upwards and outwards for additional wheel travel and width.
Turning his sights to the suspension and brakes next, Seely set out to make something that could seriously stick. The factory torsion bars would be ditched in favor of a coilover setup using a modified 935-style suspension. Motorsport KW coilovers were chosen to allow maximum adjustability at the track, and interesting enough, the rear shocks in the car have a winning history at Pikes Peak, seeing as Seely pulled them off his Porsche to help Rhys Millen win on the mountain in his Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Being a suspension engineer the shock setup worked perfectly despite the change in platform, and Millen claimed the victory with a little help from the car you’re seeing pictured by the beach.
To round out the package are lightweight wheels of the German motorsport variety— BBS E88s, which are often used on GT3 Cup Cars—and lurking behind them is a huge set of Brembos, just waiting to bring the fun to a stop.
Under the modified Turbo Carrera decklid you will find a 3.6-liter flat-six that came out of a wrecked 964 RS America. Much like the rest of this car, little of the original engine remains. The completely built motor is pushing 360 horsepower now, at the wheels and without any turbos. Rods, pistons, oil pumps, cams, crankshaft, the list goes on—just about every piece with mechanical relevance to going fast has been upgraded. One of the coolest of which is the set of individual throttle bodies that play a villainously harmony of induction to mix in with the sounds of the exhaust coming into the cabin at full throttle. Of course, a standalone Motec ECU completes the package and offers some street manners for this motor. The transmission was also re-geared to properly use all of this power.
Project Nasty is the perfect name for this Carrera, and obviously not because of the word’s literal definition. As a sports car builder and motorsport engineer, Seely will always be trying to extract more performance out of it, and like I said, it will always be a project for him in some form or another. It’s hard to imagine how it can improve along the trajectory it’s set so far, but we will be excited to see whatever Seely’s done to it next.