This prime fillet of Porker is so low-slung, its belly is scraping the ground. But there’s far more to this bagged Porsche 964 than simply a killer stance…
Feature first appeared in Fast Car magazine. Words: Dan Bevis. Photos: Daniel Pullen
There’s an old saying among stuffy classic car bores: ‘It’s only original once’. The idea is that an unrestored survivor is worthier than something that deviates in any way from factory standard. Some crusty enthusiasts will tell you that painting your car the ‘wrong’ shade, changing the wheels, or doing anything else to alter the original spec is a big no-no; those even more committed to the nebulous concept of automotive purity will baulk at the idea of repairing dents and scuffs as they tell part of the car’s story, and will be horrified by the idea of using non-standard wiper blades or the incorrect grade of windscreen washer fluid or what-have-you.
These people, quite frankly, can be safely ignored. We don’t have time for that sort of judgemental nonsense. Your ride, your rules – that’s always been the mantra. The most important person to please is the one holding the keys.
It’s within this spirit of joyful personalisation that Raj Sangha entered into his bagged Porsche 964 project, although he was always mindful of the brickbats and hard stares that may be earned from the marque aficionados. After all, the Porsche 964 as a model is truly an appreciating classic these days, the values spiralling upward as people who grew up coveting them find themselves in a financial position to make the dream come true. So Raj was keen to tread carefully, to consider the opinions and feelings and passions of other owners and enthusiasts in the community. And after a lengthy period of reflection and contemplation he decided, actually, sod it – he wasn’t ever planning to sell the car, so he’d just do what the hell he liked. And that’s a line of thinking we can very much get on board with.
Porsche 964 History lesson
Raj has a long and interesting history of modifying high-end cars in beautiful and intriguing ways, so the direction of this project was always bound to be a positive one. And if you’re scratching your head and trying to figure out which show you might have seen the bagged 964 at over the last few years, the answer is probably, well, all of them. This is owing to the fact that Raj is the boss-man at Car Audio Security – the revered aftermarket outfit which specialises in (obviously) car audio and security products, and also Rotiform wheels and Air Lift suspension. For this reason, the company has a fleet of on-point rides that populate their show stands, and Raj’s passion is intrinsic to all of this. His modifying career stretches back to the early 1990s when he bought an E30 BMW 325i, which he set about respraying Boston Green, trimming the interior in cream leather, and lowering it on Bilsteins over Borbet Cs. He reckons it was probably one of the first E30s to have its bonnet and bootlid properly debadged, and it was details like this that earned it a feature in our sister mag Performance BMW in 1999. Fast-forward through the generations and we see Raj putting together a plethora of aspirational and eye-catching builds; among their number an E92 M3 and an Audi R8, both static over 20-inch Rotiforms, this bagged Porsche 964, a Ferrari F355 F1 on Rotiforms – you may at this point be spotting a logical pattern with the wheel choices – and a bagged M4 with a massive Rockford Fosgate install and, yes, Rotiforms. It then came full-circle with another E30 – this time an M3, because it’s the car he always wanted when he was younger. Not a bad little line-up in the back catalogue, but it’s fair to say that the Porsche has a really special place in the collection, simply for the enormous amount of work that’s gone into it.
When Raj bought this car – a 1990 911 Carrera 2 – a few years ago, it was a little tired to say the least. Wearing its original and extremely faded Marine Blue paint, the body was in need of no small amount of love and care; not beaten-up as such, but riddled with dings and blemishes, with flat paint and a down-at-heel vibe. He knew that the car deserved a full nut-and-bolt resto, to make it as perfect as it could be, and while the engine was away having a top-end rebuild at a Porsche specialist he put the feelers out to the wider 964 community: what would the general opinion be on changing a 911 of this vintage to a non-standard colour? The responses were mixed, roughly split between people saying ‘Oh no, absolutely not, that’d be sacrilegious’ and others reckoning ‘It’s not the end of the world, but probably best to stick to a proper 964 colour’. This gave Raj plenty of food for thought, and his solution was magnificently cheeky. Having finessed and perfected the shell, it was handed over to the careful hands of revered spraygun-wielder Greg Howell with the orders to shoot it all in Slate Grey. This is such a sly move, because firstly it looks gorgeous, secondly it’s a 964 colour so it’s generally considered ‘acceptable’, but thirdly it’s just wrong enough to really annoy the kind of people who get wound up by this sort of thing. And it’s not just the fact that it isn’t this car’s original paint shade. You see, Slate Grey was available as a special-order colour for the 964 in 1989, and again in 1991-through-’94 – but you couldn’t spec it on a 1990 car. Which, of course, is what Raj’s one is. How naughty is that?
With the body looking sharp and the running gear all refreshed, the project was sitting in a very strong position. Which meant that it was time to give it the full Car Audio Security treatment – and given that they’re kingpins in the UK distribution of both Air Lift and Rotiform parts, it was inevitable what was going to happen. Starting out on Porsche Cup wheels, it quickly levelled up to a set of Rotiform FUC (that tasty homage to the old-school Fuchs design) before moving on to what it wears today, a delectable and staggered arrangement of custom STR split-rims. These have a classic Porsche aesthetic combined with a thoroughly modern approach to lightweight technology and construction. Not to mention the fact that they look stone-cold badass. The custom air-ride setup allows the 964 to sit astonishingly low when it airs out (look at the side-view shots, the sills are on the floor!), and the install is exactly the sort of aesthetic masterpiece you’d expect from this merry band of artisans. The front boot is crammed with precision-positioned hardlines, with a glimpse at the Rockford Fosgate audio that liberally studs the rest of the interior. And what an interior it is – painstakingly retrimmed in soft black leather with red stitching, it’s a divine 21st-century reimagining of the classic 1990s design. Carbon fibre abounds too, not just in the shells of the seats but also the custom centre console inlays and even the spokes of the MOMO Prototipo steering wheel. It all speaks of an incredible amount of thought, planning and careful decision-making.
It’s this extraordinary care and attention to detail that really justifies Raj’s choices throughout the build. No, he won’t be winning any concours trophies from the Porsche Owners’ Club, but that’s not what he built it for. This bagged Porsche 964 was created to fulfil the Stuttgart fantasies in his imagination, and that’s precisely what it does. Sure, these things are only original once – but what’s been achieved here represents a whole new definition of ‘original’.
Tech Spec: Bagged Porsche 964
Slate Grey paint by Greg Howell, smoothed front bumper, RS brake ducts, active rear spoiler
M64 3.6-litre flat-six, carbon fibre air intake, 5-speed manual
18-inch Rotiform STR wheels, 215/35 (f) and 245/30 (r) Uniroyal RainSport tyres, Air Lift Performance suspension
Carbon-shelled Recaros, full retrim in black leather with red stitching, custom front boot install with air tanks, Air Lift manifold, hardlines and Rockford Fosgate amp, Rockford Fosgate speakers throughout, MOMO Prototipo 6C carbon steering wheel, Air Lift controller mounted in ashtray, carbon centre console inlays and switches