Sports Car Modification

1982 Porsche 911 SC Outlaw Quick Drive: Good To Be Bad

“It’s an evil, bad-tempered bitch of a car and I love it,” he said, handing over the key. “It’s also hot as hell inside, but you’ll love it.”

I’m using both “hot rod” and “outlaw” here because there’s no official agreed-upon definition for either when it comes to Porsches. “Outlaw” originally applied to modified 356s and was later appended to modified 911s, but in between, they were simply called hot rod 911s. Some outlaws are primarily visual modifications, while others have mechanical upgrades. This one has both.

The Dutch mechanic who built the car backdated the car visually as much as possible to look like a pre-1973 911. The bumpers, turn signals, and taillights are the major tells, as are the chrome engine vent and deleted rocker trim. The single chrome door mirror on the driver’s side completes the look and matches the aftermarket chrome Fuchs wheels.

That engine vent gives away the 911’s hot rod side. The “3.2” badge isn’t fake; there’s an actual modified 3.2-liter flat-six tucked in back. It was advertised as producing 234 horsepower, but everyone who’s driven it is convinced it makes in excess of 250 hp. It spits out of a single exhaust pipe that’s positioned more or less like a pre-1973 911, but is also clearly aftermarket.

Uncertainty surrounds this car’s spec sheet. Recently acquired by Tomini Classics in Dubai, the exact work done to it is unclear. We know it’s been lowered, but the shocks are of unknown provenance. It came with a full roll cage that’s been removed temporarily for accessibility. The hood is fiberglass, and the Momo Prototipo steering wheel is authentic.

Whatever the shocks are, they’re stiff. Built for track weekends, it’s clearly set up for smooth, well-kept surfaces. Most roads in the Emirates fit that description, which makes it all the more apparent when you run across one that doesn’t. Thankfully, it isn’t lowered so much you’d be at risk of dragging the nose or belly. It has that nice sports car stance and stiffness without seriously penalizing the driver for using it on public roads.

No doubt lending some softness are the balloon tires with their massive (by today’s standard) sidewalls. Fresh off the transporter, the car wears mismatched summer touring tires, Fuldas in the front and Kumhos in the back. Neither befits a Porsche 911 like this if you’re serious about going fast, but as configured, it makes the car far more interesting. The low weight, powerful engine, and cornball tires conspire to make the 911 slidey and loose yet controllable. Rather than achieve the highest cornering speed, this creation comes through looking like a Hollywood chase scene.

That’s the evil part. It’s always encouraging you, even goading you, to misbehave. You really shouldn’t hoon around this much on public roads, but when it’s so easy to initiate and catch, it’s hard to say no. You want to drive the car hard and throw it around just because it puts a smile on your face, not to impress anyone.

The bad-tempered part is mostly the transmission. Supposedly, it’s been rebuilt, but it needs another look. It doesn’t care much for going into second gear, especially on a downshift, and will actively fight you if you try to put it in third. With some patience, the car and I come to understand each other, and I discover pushing the gear lever toward second or third until it stops, holding it there, and wiggling it while maintaining moderate pressure eventually gets it snuggling into gear. Not the fastest way to drive, but again, fastest isn’t the way you drive this car.

Not for lack of power. I’m in agreement with previous drivers—there’s more than 234 hp here. Slow shifting aside, the car absolutely rips. Thrust builds and builds the higher you push the needle up the tach, the way the best naturally aspirated engines do. The outlaw Porsche feels happiest when it’s being revved hard, and the engine responds immediately to throttle blips when shifting down.

Thankfully, it has brakes to match. Use them correctly, and the 911 stops hard, but it’s easier said than done. Never mind the car is far too old for antilock brakes, those under-specced tires give up as easily during braking as they do when cornering. Careful threshold braking is the order of the day if you need to stop quickly, because a lockup and terminal understeer is only a bit too much brake pressure away.

The shortcomings, as is often the case with classic cars, give it character. Most of them, anyway. The interior temperature is far less endearing. Forget the gauges, you know the engine’s warmed up when hot air begins coming out of the vents. Best guess is the heater door is stuck open, because all I can do is alter which vents the air comes from, not the temperature. Driving fast with the windows down mostly alleviates the problem.

He wasn’t wrong. On paper, there isn’t anything particularly notable about this 911 Outlaw build. The drive, though, completely betrays the benign spec sheet. It’s occasionally nasty, always temperamental, constantly pushing you to risk your license, and I love it.

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