“Most cakes look tasty with a little icing on top,” says Paul Stephens, “but only by cutting a slice, and trying the ingredients inside, do you discover if it’s really a good cake.” That’s the philosophy behind the (deep breath) Paul Stephens Le Mans Classic Clubsport: a bespoke, British-built Porsche 911 with some very appetising ingredients indeed.
Here’s a taster: a 300hp flat-six, lightweight composite bodywork, a stripped-out interior and a £250,000 price tag. Think of the PSLMCC (as it shall henceforth be abbreviated) as a half-price alternative to the money-no-object Singer 911 and you’re on the right lines. Only 10 examples will be made.
We attended the car’s London launch and chatted to Paul about the project. Read on and watch our exclusive video to learn more.
Video: Paul Stephens Le Mans Classic Clubsport
Back to the future
Like many custom Porsches, the PSLMCC has been ‘backdated’ to make it look older than it is. The styling is inspired by the iconic 1973 911 2.7 RS (and related RSR racer) but each car starts life as humble late-1980s 3.2 Carrera.
Job one is the body shell, which is rebuilt to “as new” condition. Paul Stephens’ workshop – based near Sudbury, Suffolk – de-seams the roof panel, removes the sunroof (if fitted) and bolts on fibreglass composite front and rear bumpers.
The engine lid is also composite, shaped into a ducktail spoiler that, again, pays homage to the 2.7 RS, although its profile is actually modelled on the 997 Sport Classic. An aluminium bonnet and tiny, aerodynamic door mirrors help trim vital kilos, too.
The heart of the PSLMCC is an air-cooled flat-six, bored out to 3.4 litres and modified with an ITB injection system, GT3 RS plenum, RS-spec cams, a lightened and balanced crankshaft, new conrods and a lighter flywheel. Modern engine management comes courtesy of a programmable ECU, which is mapped in-house.
Driving the rear wheels via Porsche’s proven G50 five-speed manual gearbox, plus a limited-slip differential, the 911 hits 60mph in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 175mph.
However, straight-line speed is hardly this car’s raison d’être. Compact dimensions (shorter and narrower than a current Cayman) and a kerb weight of just 970kg (a new 911 Carrera is 1,505kg), should make it sublime on rural roads.
Lightweight or Touring
That quoted 970kg applies to the Lightweight version of the PSLMCC and, incidentally, is near-as-dammit identical to the 2.7 RS Lightweight. There’s also a more luxurious Touring spec – as per the car in our photos – which tips the scales at 1,075kg. In a nod to the original factory option codes, Paul refers to the cars as ‘M471’ and ‘M472’ respectively.
The Lightweight is a no-frills driving machine, with thinner carpets, minimal sound proofing, manual front windows, Lexan plastic rear windows, no central locking, non-tilting seats, no glovebox lid and a single sun visor. The Touring gets electric windows, plusher trim and a full complement of sun shades. Air conditioning is available on both versions at extra cost.
This is how to reveal a car: champagne, canapés and classic 911s on Pall Mall. pic.twitter.com/kdUJZtrjth
— Tim Pitt (@timpitt100) July 3, 2018
Much of the interior, including the dashboard, is custom-made and the standard of finish is exceptional. The ST-style seats are trimmed in unique green, black and white houndstooth cloth, while the green theme also extends to the dials, carpets (black is optional) and RS-style fabric door pulls. A fully trimmed storage box takes the place of the rear seats and each car comes with a bespoke Le Mans Classic leather luggage set.
Road to Le Mans
The connection between Paul Stephens and Le Mans goes deeper than a neat logo on the ducktail and a 24-hour clock on the dash. The car is an officially licensed product of Le Mans Classic, created in collaboration with event organisers Peter Auto.
Paul’s plan is that all 10 lucky PSLMCC owners will collect the keys to their cars in a special ceremony on the start/finish straight at Le Mans Classic in 2020 – the 10th anniversary of the event. We’d call that having your cake and eating it.
For more information on the Le Mans Classic Clubsport, visit the Paul Stephens website
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