GTD McLaren 720S GT3
- Paul Holton
- Matt Plumb
Following up on our recent announcement about the launch of our west-coast shop in Vista, California, we travelled to Los Angeles to debut two of our new Porsche builds at Luftgekhült, the annual festival of all things air-cooled put on by our good friend (and Porsche factory driver) Pat Long and Howie Edelson.
We arrived at 6:30am to find a huge line of cars outside the Ganahl Lumber yard, which was the venue for this fifth iteration of Luft. We trailered the freshly-built 1978 SC behind our trusty Macan which, it turns out, is actually a pretty legit tow vehicle.The '78 had just returned from the paint shop, and it was clear from all of the positive comments that the guys at Best of Show Coachworks had really outdone themselves. The car features bespoke bodywork, including our own custom wing which was designed and built in-house by our Manager of Special Projects, Bob Beck.The wing is our take on what we think Porsche should have designed for the narrow-body 911s; something half-way between the ubiquitous ducktail originally seen on the 1973 RS and the tea-tray mini-whale-tail that to our eyes is simply out-sized for the car.The result is a very elegant piece with a functional lower air exit. Whilst this is a one-off piece, we may create a mould of this so that we can replicate it on future builds. The feedback at Luft was very positive.The '78 is powered by a 3.6L flat-six from a 993 built by Mark Kinninger of Black Forest in San Diego. Mark also did his signature upgrades to the 915 gearbox, which gives it a much more direct and engaging feel. We did all of the suspension updates and tuning, as well as installing a completly bespoke interior with seats by GTS Classics and guages by North Hollywood Speedometer. We name all of our project cars, and this one is "Robax", after the brand of pain-killers used during the lengthy build process.We also brought along our 1970 widebody, affectionately known as "Tangerine." It has a fun back-story in that it was a very successful Porsche Club of America Club Racer for many years. Karl met its owner at the local car wash and they struck up a conversation, which ended up with us purchasing the car with the intent to return it to a road-going weekend toy.It retains its race car stance, but has been softened up substantially. Portions of the roll bar were removed, but much was retained, which gives this car incredible chassis stiffness. Eventually it will get GTS Classics seats, and we've already installed carpets and special rubber floor coverings.Power comes from a 3.4L twin-spark motor mated to a close-ratio gearbox which is surprisingly enjoyable to drive around town. The lightweight flywheel will be swapped out shortly and we'll fit Kinninger's secret syncros at the same time.As with Robax, Tangerine is equipped with our own custom exhaust set-up, which makes an absolutely glorious noise. Both cars received very favourable reviews, and folks loved our two very different takes on what makes an air-cooled Porsche great.At the end of the event we loaded Robax back onto the trailer, and Bob headed south down the 5 in Tangerine. Luftgekhült is one of our favourite events of the year, and it was wonderful to actually be able to share what we've been working on with other like-minded car enthusiasts. Pat and Howie have created a must-attend event, and it's one that could only have happened in Southern California. Despite ever-increasing government regulation and the spectre of self-driving cars on the horizon, events like Luft reminds us that car culture is alive and well! We can't wait until next year.Photos by the incredibly talented Tristen Andre, who also happens to be our junior mechanic in Vista. He's justifiably proud of what we've built.