Even a 1,000hp 9ff can't outrun the financial realities hitting the German tuning industry
It seems that a month can no longer pass without another small manufacturer going bust. Following the demise of Wiesmann and Gumpert recently, Porsche tuners 9ff have now filed for insolvency.
CR-42 was a 195mph Cayman
Our most recent experience of a 9ff product was the mad GT9 of 2008. The 1,000hp 997-based car hit 300km/h (186mph) in 17.6 seconds, just 13 seconds after hitting sixty. According to 9ff's boss Jan Fatthauer, it was created to 'give my customers a little fight, a little special plaything for the weekends'.
The GT9 was due to become the 1,120hp GT9 R, with a convertible planned also. We also had news of Panamera-based cars without any further direct experience.
Given the fantastic base presented by the new Cayman, it seems a shame that 9ff (probably) won't be around to enhance the package even further. PH was extremely impressed by the 4.1-litre CR-42 back in 2007, taking the 987 Cayman S to a proper supercar (with a price tag to match).
But perhaps the popularity of such conversions has proved 9ff's undoing. There are plenty of companies involved with tuning Porsches (speedART has just gone under also), so maybe 9ff didn't offer sufficient uniqueness in a busy marketplace.
Moreover, there's the issue of standard Porsche products too and their unrelenting competence. Who in reality is likely to jump out of a 991 Turbo and think 'hmm, this is nice, but it could do with being a bit faster'? That's why the Cayman remains a relevant tuning base, but Porsche's Turbo S products cater for all but the most power-crazed of customers now.
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I think it's fair to say there are plenty of other Porsche tuners about, so realistically I doubt they'll be missed all that much. Besides, when I think 'barking mad non-standard Porsche' it'll always be Ruf that springs to mind first, even if 9ff's cars were a whole lot more powerful.
If there's a financial crisis hitting German tuners, though, it'd better leave Brabus alone. The world NEEDS 1000bhp S-classes.
mr2j24 Sep 2013
The GT9 Clubsport gives me goosebumps. Something as apparently brilliant in engineering terms as this surely has to find a lifeline somewhere?
If they are a "pastiche rip off" they are better in every conceivable way, including aesthetics, than the thing they are supposed to be emulating.
If they were made in this country i bet you would be playing an entirely different record
Why? I live in Munich.
soad20 Sep 2013
/\ Good post above. I can only agree.
Storer20 Sep 2013
There are many factors that affect this sector of the car market.
Major manufacturers have upped their game and the electronics used now are much harder to "crack" for tuners, especially when it applies to gearboxes, suspension, brakes, etc.
Any car builder selling at a price point above £100K has the depreciating supercar to compete with. A tweaked 911 or an Aventador? No contest.
The super rich have other options, many offered by the majors. McLaren P1, La Ferrari, etc. or an appreciating classic - Ferrari, Aston, Mercedes, Alfa, and many others. Some are very fast others just feel fast at lower speeds.
There are very few companies that can make a mainstream manufactured car worth more as it gets older. Some of the Italian design houses can do it but only with very limited numbers (think Aston Bertone Jet). People with considerable wealth like to keep it and a car that grows in value is a bonus.
Roads have an influence. If you have driven any distance in the UK in the last few months you cannot fail to have seen the appalling state of the road surface. Driving rapidly now involves watching out for large potholes or missing surface finish. Combined with the level of congestion and speed enforcement and you get to the point where a comfortable, quiet car is more attractive to the high earner.
Track days have also given the chance to drive with more gusto and many are quick to realise a road car is not entirely suited to track use. Used racing cars are available for less money than a new 9ff and would leave it struggling on a track.
Fashions change too. Going into a bar and having to explain to a non-car person that you drive a 9ff is not as impressive (to the non-car person) as saying you drive a Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Ferrari.
Add these reasons all up and you can see life is difficult for the specialist builder.
Weissman had a major presence in the drivers parade at Le Mans this year but it can't have boosted their profits sufficiently.