Workshop5001’s Latest 911 Build Is A Blue Autocross Beast
Photography by Ted Gushue
We’ve previously featured the outstanding work from our friends at Workshop 5001, and the latest Porsche they’ve created in their SoCal sanctum only bolsters their reputation for building quality hot-rodded 911s. After following Marlon Goldberg up into the canyons for some photos of the little blue Porsche, we sat down to go over the details.
Ted Gushue: Marlon, how did this 911’s life begin? It surely wasn’t born like this.
Marlon Goldberg: Well, the car was one I knew about before I had a client for it. My friend Roberto, who imports Celette workstation benches and lifts from France, had it sitting in his warehouse. It belonged to a guy who used to run one of the Porsche collision centers here in Los Angeles, and it’d been his personal car from when he worked for Allen Johnson Racing.
He said that at the time, a lot of the guys who worked there wanted to go auto-crossing, and they were using Sportmatic cars to do it, which explains wy he owned this car: it was ’75 US-spec Carrera with Sportmatic, sunroof, ducktail delete, kind of an oddball car.
He drove it for many years before he disassembled it to restore one day. As that story often goes, it instead sat for ten years, and then he left his position at the body shop that he was a partner in, and so it ended up at Roberto’s. Roberto knows that all we do at 5001 is vintage Porsche and so he said, “Hey, do you have someone for this car?”
I was then introduced to the people that we built the car for.
TG: Awesome, the car’s come full circle in a sense then. So, to start the build that we see completed here, you took it down to the bare metal?
MG: We media blasted it on the Celette bench. That car was relatively straight (it had minor, minor corrosion issues), so most of what we were doing to it were our sport-purpose modifications: stitch-welded the chassis, added gusseting in a few areas, and we also did a roll cage that’s all welded in—it’s part of the structure of the car.
TG: Sounds like a well-buttoned up car, and it looks the part too. How did you arrive at Mexico Blue?
MG: Well, the client always had this vision of having a car in Mexico Blue. From the beginning, we kind of knew the car was going to end up in that color, and then as for the interior, we were discussing what to use: you know, “Should it just be black, should it be blue, should it be gray?” I then suggested red, sort of half kidding around.
I mocked up what it would look and shared that with the couple, and the client writes back, “I don’t think I have the balls to do that,” and then his better half writes “I do.” And so she make the decision on the red, and then we kind of added in the black after deciding on the main color, so it’s a little bit of a two-tone red and black interior.
We didn’t want to have the inside overwhelming red, and we knew we wanted the dash to be black, so you don’t get weird reflections. Often if you do a light-colored dash, the sun can reflect on it and obstruct your vision. This isn’t a problem with this car though.
TG: It’s definitely a striking combination of colors. And very well-applied—who did the paintwork?
MG: That was done at our partner shop, Manhattan Motor Sports, MMS, in their New York shop. Bobby Singh runs the operation and it’s the authorized Porsche collision center for New York, so it’s exclusively Porsche. Everything from new Cayennes and Panameras, to vintage 911s, we spray PPG water-based, and the paintwork is just incredible; we finished that car in 31 days.
TG: Clearly there’s something un-stock under the deck lid. Walk me through the drivetrain.
MG: Well, originally, because the car was numbers-matching, I wanted to build a twin plug 2.8 based off the original 2.7 magnesium case. Early on in the project however, the owner of the car came by to visit and saw me finishing up a 3.8 for a 964 and he was like, “Oh, what’s this?” And in that ensuing conversation one thing kind of led to another and he says at the end of it, “I want to go big.”
So I bought a 3.6 from a 964, and then I built that with a friend of mine, Bobby, he flew out and we built that motor at the shop in here in LA. We added a GT3 fuel pump, a standard 964 crank, Mahle Motorsport 3.8 RSR pistons and cylinders, Carrillo rods. We worked the heads, did a larger intake valve, race-spec springs and titanium retainers, a custom cam from D. Elgin, and the high butterfly throttle setup is similar to Jeff Gamroth’s [owner of Rothsport Racing] setup.
And then as far as gearbox, that’s an early mag-case 915 that Bobby Singh built, and it’s got every trick in the book. Short ratios, a OS Giken limited slip, WEVO gate shift, and it has a WEVO pump and an external cooler. The car actually has four oil coolers, one for the gearbox and three for the engine.
TG: Wild. Does the suspension setup follow a similar route from stock?
MG: On this car we did a full Ohlins kit. Our two options for our full builds are KW and Ohlins, and for this car the client chose the Ohlins. It’s a very nice kit—everything is full spherical bearing. Most of the components are from Cary Eisenlohr at ERP, and we utilized his 935 front end setup, so it’s about as extreme as you can go in an early 911.
TG: I see a few tidy harnesses snaking around the car, who did all of this wiring work?
MG: The wiring is a big deal in this car. Brian Sakata and his team did the full mil-spec wiring harness, and the car utilizes an M130 Motec ECU for the engine, and then a Motec PDM30 for controlling all the circuits in the car. There’s no fuse panel. And we’re also using a Motec keypad on the dash, so it’s a very lightweight, simplified, high-quality, expensive wiring harness. The ignition is fun too: you have the normal key that opens the doors, and then when you get in, to power the car up you have a Deutsch connector that is wired in a very specific way to act as an immobilizer. Once that’s plugged in, you can power up the car. It has a start button that’s out of a 991 GT3R factory race car, and we thought that was a cool touch because we always sort of play with this blend of modern and vintage.
TG: And then you have the warning light that’s borrowed from a RUF Yellowbird right?
MG: Yeah, because of the original hole in the dash for the seatbelt warning light, we thought it would be cool to have a big yellow warning light in its place. It’s actually a side marker from a European-spec 964/993, and it fills that spot pretty well. And we have it hooked up that if there’s some kind of a major fault with the PDM or the engine ECU it’ll start flashing.
TG: Thanks for walking us through another of your fantastic Porsche builds, we’re surely looking forward to the next one!