1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic 964

1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic 964

Jon-Allan Butterworth MBE is a Paralympian cycling champion and national snowboard racer. His car of choice is a Tiptronic-kitted 964 Carrera 2. We check out its many modifications...

Words Johnny Tipler and Dan Furr

Photography Adrian Brannan


Jon-Allan Butterworth’s 964 Carrera 2.

Fraternising with a fellow 964 enthusiast is always a heart-warming experience, especially when there are numerous modifications to chew over, some of which I applied to my own 964 back in the day. Jon-Allan Butterworth and I swap photos and jaw about our respective mutually experienced and overlapping preferences of 964 aftermarket kit and upgrades. Double respect, considering he’s a star of the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics Games. Let’s deal with this bit first.


1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic 964

After serving with the Royal Air Force in Afghanistan, Jon-Allan lost the lower part of his left arm in 2007, when an insurgent rocket attack struck the Basra airbase in Iraq, where he was stationed as a senior aircraftman weapons technician. His beautiful blue 964, then, has obviously been adapted to suit his particular requirements. We’ll find out how in a minute.

Amazingly, just a year after sustaining life-changing injuries, the irrepressible Butterworth was taking part in the first Help for Heroes cycle ride, after which he was rightly spotted as a talented rider at a Paralympics GB Talent Identity day. At the 2012 Summer Paralympics (branded as the London Paralympic Games), he won silver medals in both the men’s single-kilometre C4-5 time trial and men’s four-kilometre C5 individual pursuit (and mixed team sprint), even holding the world record for a short time. Later, at the 2016 Summer Paralympics, he finished fourth in the C4-5 time trial and won a gold medal with Jody Cundy and Louis Rolfe in the C1-5 750-metre team sprint. In recognition of these achievements, Jon-Allan was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to cycling in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list.

1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic 964

He has always been a sports car enthusiast. More recently, he bought a brand-new 718 Cayman and an Alfa Romeo 4C, also new. Disgruntled with the depreciation new cars suffer from, however, he found the attractions of an older vehicle began to prevail. “I’ve always liked Porsches, the 964 in particular,” he admits. “It’s the generation of 911 offering the model’s classic silhouette married with the most modern tech prior to the arrival of the 993, which deviated significantly from what came before, certainly in terms of looks. You can use a 964 as a daily driver. It’s a reliable sports car and isn’t anywhere near as big as later 911s. This appeals to me, as did the availability of semiautomatic transmission, which I require on account of my disability.”

The 964 he settled on is a Tiptronic-equipped Horizon Blue 1990 Carrera 2 originally specified for the Japanese domestic market (and therefore originally supplied by Japan’s former Porsche concessionaire, Mizwa Motors), but this isn’t his only experience of air-cooled 911s, even if it has proved to be his most successful.

1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic 964

“I also own a 1989 911 Turbo. My 930 was built just a year before my 964, but the turbocharged Porsche was always breaking down. It had a complete overhaul, new parts, and it’s now a different car, but by comparison, 964s seem modern, complete with technology promoting reliability.”

Those of you with a keen eye will note Jon-Allan’s Carrera 2 has had its front driving lamps replaced with RS- style ducts for additional cooling. “I also removed the rear window wiper in order to streamline the back end,” he reveals. “I like the overall shape of the 964, but felt the wiper arm interrupted the silhouette.” Talk quickly turns to wheel preferences. He notices my Peppermint Pig rolled on powdercoated D90s, as does his 911. “With all the upgrades I was planning, the car was threatening to become quite expensive. I considered big wheels and skinny tyres, but I didn’t want to compromise the ride by losing the standard tall tyre sidewall, which I feel very much suits the 964.” I’m not about to disagree, but it’s worth noting the team at Augment Wheels in Canada has recently put a seventeen-inch version of the D90 into production. Food for thought.


Jon’s 964 is a non-sunroof model, relatively unusual, more so with the Tiptronic gearbox. “It’s a rare combination, but it’s the specification I wanted,” he explains. “I should tell you, I didn’t drive this 911 before committing to buying it. Instead, I did the deal and then sent the car to various specialists for a variety of upgrades.”

The bulk of the work was carried out at Workshop Seventy7, now known as Oshe Automotive and based between Northampton and Stratford-upon- Avon. Chief among the changes was an upgrade to TracTive semi-active suspension, which is available for G-series, 993 and 964 applications, plus later water-cooled Porsches. Indeed, regular readers will know we’ve sampled TracTive suspension on other 911 builds, including Everrati’s 500bhp 964 EV, the Paul Stephens Autoart 993 R, Theon Design’s 400bhp supercharged 964 backdate and, of course, the Guards Red 964 Carrera 2 formerly owned by TracTive UK boss, Steve Bennett. As is the case with Jon-Allan’s 911, each car represents a positive leap forward in chassis technology.

1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic 964

The company’s DNA can be traced back to celebrated Dutch motorcycle damping specialist, WP Suspension, a major player in top-flight two-wheel motorsport. In 2010, TracTive was established as a standalone brand, promptly becoming an OEM development partner. Thanks to the tireless work of the firm’s UK outpost, in conjunction with many independent Porsche specialists and professional chassis tuners concerned with Stuttgart-crested road and race cars, TracTive boasts a thorough understanding of the unique damping requirements for Porsches driven on challenging British roads.

TracTive’s standalone Active Controlled Electronics (ACE) system monitors real-time driving parameters, using lateral and longitudinal acceleration to observe behaviour on vertical, lateral and longitudinal axes. Inside each ACE damper is a patented Dynamic Damping Adjustment (DDA) valve. This valve is controlled by a sensitive multi-axis g-sensor and advanced algorithms developed from decades of racing and road testing. A dynamic proportional valve operating as a bypass has capacity for a large range of damping adjustment and is capable of responding between an astonishing six and ten milliseconds.

You can adjust roll and pitch interference for stable braking, controlled corner entry and, after hitting the apex precisely, better acceleration out of the corner. Unsurprisingly, a classic 911 chassis can suddenly feel very modern, particularly in terms of body roll and stability. To put all this into perspective, the TracTive system fitted to Jon-Allan’s 964 offers more comprehensive control than the much-applauded OEM suspension system shipped with the brand-spanking-new 992 GT3 RS.

1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic 964

As declared, five different suspension maps can be created using TracTive’s system software. Each setting can be selected by way of a rotary knob or a nifty full-colour touchscreen display. The advantages are obvious: comfort for cruising or driving to the track, and within five clicks, an aggressive circuit or fast-road option. A game changer? We certainly think so.

While we’re on the subject, R-ACE combines all the benefits of ACE technology with the addition of secondary low- and high-speed compression adjustments, which are tuned for the given application or motorsport discipline. The low- and high-speed compression adjusters can fine-tune damper characteristics to find the perfect balance for individual track setup, driver preferences and race pace improvements. The compression adjusters can be located remotely, piggy-backed or mounted in-line with the dampers. As the name suggests, R-ACE is best suited for extreme race and endurance applications. It’s the very pinnacle of what is currently possible using suspension knowledge gained from decades of racing at the highest level.

“After the installation, the car was sent to Chris Franklin, founder of chassis tuning specialist, Center Gravity,” Jon- Allan continues. “He did a great job of configuring the TracTive system. I also invited Suspension Secrets in Knutsford to offer input.” The car now handles like it’s on rails, helped by a lowered ride height (close to ten millimetres), Elephant Racing tie rods and 964 Turbo top mounts, allowing for negative camber. “It’s not as extreme as I wanted, but a 964’s front end can feel light at high speed, such as when pushing 120bhp on the Autobahn, hence no more than three millimetres or so dialled in. On the plus side, this is a very sharp, brilliantly responsive 911.”

The car is serviced and maintained by gallantly-named independent Porsche specialist, Weissach UK, located in Middlewich, Cheshire. “Jon-Allan had special adaptions fitted to his 911,” confirms company founder, Thomas Atherton. “For example, you’ll spot a Shiftec carbon-fibre paddle shift enabling him to operate the Tiptronic transmission with his right hand, on account of him losing his left arm to just above the elbow. He pushes the shifter forward to drop a gear and pulls it toward him to shift up.” Straightforward enough, and we’re delighted to learn Jon-Allan drives the car in manual mode more often than not. “It gives me more control and results in greater driving pleasure,” he reasons.


It’s easy to see why owners of premium Porsches are so enthusiastic about what Thomas has to offer. For starters, the Weissach UK workshop is absolutely spotless — always believe what you see, not what you hear when choosing a Porsche specialist to take care of your pride and joy. In other words, regardless of what a workshop manager might be telling you about the quality of their company’s work, premises amounting to disorganised mess will be showcasing the real story. In this regard, Weissach UK customers have absolutely nothing to worry about. And then there’s exploration of the building itself, revealing four state-of- the-art ramps, a Hunter Engineering four-wheel laser alignment system, a professional laser-pneumatic wheel balancing and tyre fitting machine and, as we observe, no shortage of customer cars. Indeed, during our visit not long before this magazine went to print, all of the company’s ramps were occupied, with a further twenty Porsches patiently waiting their turn. Little wonder Mobil saw fit to approve Weissach UK as one of its accredited service centres.

1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic 964

Similarly, Manthey-Racing — the famous Nürburgring-based Porsche tuning and motorsport company now majority owned by Porsche itself — has approved Weissach UK as one of its fitting centres, while Maryland-based Porsche tuning equipment manufacturer, Fabspeed (showcased in last month’s), has appointed the Weissach UK team as its only approved installer in the northeast of England. The company is also part of the Porsche Partner Network (PPN), signalling factory support at Porsche Centre level.

Back to Jon-Allan’s 964. Inside the cabin, I’m met with Cobra Nogaro bucket seats, incorporating the surprise of heat pad modules. Internal trimming includes RS-style door cards, a parcel shelf delete and new rear seat covers. The ensemble is joined by a MOMO Mod.07 steering wheel. In-car entertainment, meanwhile, is provided via a discrete Blaupunkt Bremen SQR 46 DAB radio. “I try to keep the cabin quite retro-looking,” he assures me. “I didn’t want to upgrade the head unit to a large, whizzy touchscreen display or anything not in keeping with the general aesthetic.”

This commitment extends to control of the TracTive suspension. Jon-Allan opted for the standard old-school rotary knob control (as opposed to the modern full- colour touchscreen display). It’s mounted on the underside of the steering column, providing quick and easy access to preconfigured damper settings. Incidentally, he invested in TracTive’s Touring Line system, designed and engineered to offer better performance and more comfort for road-biased cars. The shocks are specifically engineered to utilise OEM top mounts — you don’t need to shell out for motorsport-style adjustable monoball top mounts — and come complete with damper-matched Eibach springs.


Having switched his attention from cycling to snowboarding, both intensely hardcore sports, I wonder if Jon-Allan has driven his 964 to the locations he competes at? “I have done,” he informs me. “It’s definitely not a garage queen, that’s for sure. Ordinarily, however, I fly out with GB Snowsport, the team I’m competing with. I like the idea of driving this old Porsche up mountain roads in snow, but I have to remind myself it’s not a Carrera 4, meaning it might struggle in the Alps on a bad day.” I put it to him how, with decent snow tyres, you can push a car through surprisingly deep white stuff. Indeed, when testing both two- and four-wheel drive versions of the R8 in challenging wintry conditions, Audi installed snow tyres and the two-wheel drive model did better than the four-wheel drive Quattro. Snow tyres are awesome, aren’t they? Generally, of course, we don’t get snow bad enough to warrant them in the UK, although it certainly gets cold enough.

As Jon-Allan and I bid farewell to one another, he heads off for a few days of road-tripping in Wales, citing the country’s rural mountain roads as an idyllic Porsche playground. This is a 964 enthusiast who really knows his stuff, who has the guts to use his car to the full and is prepared to put it through its paces whenever circumstances allow. Whether this will include taking bicycles or snowboards on a roof rack to a sporting venue remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: despite his disability, he isn’t fazed by anything. And with four cycling world titles to his name, plus a burning desire for snowboarding World Cup podiums and more medals, this isn’t the last you’ll hear of Jon-Allan Butterworth or, I suspect, his 964.

Below Jon-Allan was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours list in recognition of his services to cycling.

1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic 964

Above The car’s air-cooled flat-six is in excellent health Below Tiptronic is controlled by a two-way carbon paddle shift on the MOMO steering wheel.


1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic 964

Above Interior has been modified to Jon-Allan’s requirements, as has the suspension, which is configured around advanced TracTive semi-active damper. Above Carrera 2 is joined by a late 911 Turbo (930) in the Butterworth stable.

Below Coloured wheel centres with silver lips look great against the Horizon Blue paintwork.

1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic 964

Above and below Jon-Allan trusts Middlewich-based Porsche indie, Weissach UK, to take care of his 964’s servicing and maintenance needs.

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