That same line is trotted out every time there's a new 911 Turbo; usually there's a suggestion it's missing some character, makes the performance too easy to access and is generally a bit wussy compared with rear-drive rivals. It's been written before and you'll read it again, no doubt. It's mostly all nonsense anyway - a 650hp 992 Turbo S presents more than its fair share of challenges going fast, even it is also spookily adept at slow speed as well.
That we now live in a world where even the standard Turbo has 600hp, yet could also be driven to work every day, is surely cause for celebration. In engineering terms, that's quite some achievement. But for those that like their 911 Turbos a little more intimidating, we'll point you in the direction of another 600hp one. Only this Turbo is 25 years old.
The GTR 600 was Gemballa's ultimate version of the 993 Turbo. Given the standard car was deemed more than potent enough for most people, it should come as little surprise to find that only four GTR 600s were ever built. Remember this was a time when a flagship Ferrari V12 (the Ferrari 550 Maranello) had less than 500hp, so in excess of 600hp - courtesy of a heavily boosted flat-six - was a serious amount of power. As a right-hand drive car it'll be rarer still - and it's thought this is the only GTR 600 with the 'Le Mans Biturbo' headlights.
In total, its former keeper spent more than 250,000 euros with Gemballa in the late 1990s - on top of £113k for the 911 Turbo - getting this car to GTR spec. That meant much bigger KKK turbos, GT2 cams, new valves, a higher capacity intercooler and enormous exhaust. The suspension was completely overhauled (again with some GT2 bits), ceramic brakes fitted, the roll cage installed and BBS magnesium wheels added. Then, of course, there's the bodywork; it's a good job this 911 does have prodigious power, as anything less would sell the wild appearance of this Turbo short. Gemballa is of course known for outrageous styling, but this 993 - with arch extensions that seem to double its width and a rear wing you could fly a plane under - really is extraordinary, like a GT2 Evo for the road. Those after a modest, unassuming and discreet fast 911, look elsewhere.
But if you want a challenge, this is surely it. Though this keeps the standard Turbo's four wheel-drive, that power upgrade is fully 50 per cent more than the regular car. With a manual gearbox and the 993's more traditional 911 handling balance, it promises to keep you busy if nothing else. And presumably quite sweaty as well.
Unique Porsches seldom come cheap (even those that might not be to all tastes) and the same applies to the Gemballa. It's for sale now at only a little more than the total build cost; by 2000, the combination of £113,530 purchase price plus the 251,222 euros (£173,103) spent with Gemballa made for £286,631, a huge amount of money for a 993. Now it's for sale at £295,000. Which isn't actually the most that it's possible to pay for a 993 - this Turbo S is on offer at £340k - but is clearly an awful lot more than a regular Turbo. With good reason, it might well be argued, though as originality continues to be prized in the classic market the Gemballa might be appealing to very small pool of customers. Still, those few who want a properly scary 911 surely need look no further.
SPECIFICATION | GEMBALLA GTR 600
Engine: 3,600cc, twin-turbo flat six
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 610@N/Arpm
Torque (lb ft): 540@N/Arpm
MPG: c. 25 (standard car)
First registered: 1996
Recorded mileage: 32,000
Price new: £113,530 (base Turbo, 1996)
Yours for: £295,000
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