Porsche’s 993 Turbo Restoration Is Beautiful but Has One Massive Flaw

You can’t actually drive it on the street.

About a month ago, Porsche teased its Project Gold which on the surface appeared to be a restoration project of some kind. While we speculated about a sort of Singer-esque resto-mod, we finally have our look at the completed project, which is, instead, a painstaking recreation of a Porsche 993 Turbo. The project was based on an extra 993 Turbo body-in-white that was apparently just sitting around, gathering dust, and that Porsche says took about one-and-a-half years to finish and utilized some 6,500 spare 993 parts.

The result is a gorgeous example of what is arguably one of the best versions of the 911 of all time. The car is painted in an exquisite shade of gold, the interior is hand-upholstered, and uses a brand-new, 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-six engine producing around 450 horsepower. It sounds like an absolute hoot to drive, but the reality is that this car will probably never be driven again. The big caveat to this car — aside from being a one-off — is that it’s not street-legal.

According to Jalopnik, the problem is this: the car is based on a body shell from the 1990s and was built to the spec of a ’90s Porsche. But the car was built in 2018 and has to be registered as a 2018 model, meaning it needs to conform to modern safety and emissions regulations. You can probably figure that the 993 comes nowhere close to meeting the modern standards. It’s an issue that isn’t limited to this Porsche; Jaguar’s E-Type Lightweight recreations and Aston Martin’s 007-inspired DB5s are also not street-legal.

Still, this pretty much assures that this 993 Turbo will never be used for its intended purpose: to be driven fast. The occasional track day is still in the cards, but not very plausible given that the car will likely sell for an obscene amount of money when it goes up for auction — it’s destined to live out its days sitting in a collection, gathering dust, not unlike the body shell the car was based on in the first place. So what exactly was the point in making it drivable in the first place?

The point, it seems, is to publicise Porsche’s factory-backed restoration program, available to classic Porsche owners who want to make their vintage Porsches as squeaky-clean and period-correct as possible. The press release for Project Gold boasts that the program has some 52,000 parts for classic models. It’s sure as hell a program worth taking advantage of, but do us, your car and yourself a favor if you do: drive it once you’ve restored it.

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