Paul Sutters’ Porsche 911 2.7 RS Replica

Paul Sutters’ Porsche 911 2.7 RS Replica

Paul Sutters’ Porsche 911 2.7 RS rep wears its competition history as a badge of honour and Paul intends to return it to its championship winning livery of the ’80s and go racing.


Words and photography: Brett Fraser

PAUL SUTTERS YOU AND YOURS HISTORY BOY


Hands up who hasn’t wondered about the previous life of the secondhand car they’ve just bought. Particularly when that secondhand car was a Porsche. And did your curiosity extend beyond whether or not it enjoyed a full service history and been kindly treated?


Paul Sutters’ Porsche 911 2.7 RS Replica

Paul Sutters, a 31-year-old management consultant, has raised the level of the background checks on his 911 2.7 RS lookalike to something approaching mild obsession – but then, Paul’s car has a past that merits extensive exploration.

Rather than ‘never raced or rallied’, from day one JWV 529N racked up lots and lots of track miles competing in the Pirelli-Porsche Club GB Championship and in 1985, driven by Paul Edwards, winning the Giroflex Porsche Championship for Production Cars, at which stage it was painted blue. For much of its racing career JWV ran around in official Pirelli livery, with yellow and black stickers over its white base colour; Paul’s longterm goal is to return the car to that livery, to take it back to its roots. “It currently looks like an inaccurate 2.7 RS replica,” Paul explains, “and I want to abandon that theme and put it back to how it looked when it was a championship-winning car.”


Paul Sutters’ Porsche 911 2.7 RS Replica

Not that Paul particularly wants to go head-to-head racing: trackdays are what he’s more interested in, and during 2013 he plans to get his MSA licence so that he can try hillclimbing and sprinting. It was that desire for circuit driving that ultimately led him to JWV.

“My passion for Porsches started when I was a kid,” Paul recalls, “when I had posters of them on my bedroom wall. Later on I worked my way through various Volkswagens – I enjoyed the air-cooled engines and the handling of something with rear-wheel drive and a rear-mounted motor. There was also an Alfa Spider that kept breaking down, before I was able to buy my first Porsche, a 912, when I was 26.

“I liked that car a lot, and I still miss it. My wife and I had some great times in it – we drove it down to the south of France and it didn’t miss a beat all the way there and almost all the way home: part of the exhaust fell off on the M25 when we were only a few miles from the house. We also took part in The Classic Harvest Tour regulatory rally, which was great fun. “But while the 912 drove very nicely I wasn’t comfortable using it on the track. I didn’t want to wreck it and it wasn’t really very quick. Ultimately it became too precious to use. Around that time I became more and more interested in trackday driving – a friend of mine owned a Subaru Impreza Turbo that he let me share the use of.


Paul Sutters’ Porsche 911 2.7 RS Replica

“I wanted something of my own, though, so I started looking for a car that could be used with a track focus but would still be road legal. It turned out to be hard to find a car that fitted the bill – they were either very rough or had FIA papers that put them way out of reach of my budget. Meanwhile, while I was trying to find the right car I filled the gap with a Boxster S: a big spin on track made me realise the importance of having a car with all the safety gear when you’re out on a circuit.

“Then one day someone on the DDK (Die Deutschen Klassiker) forum suggested that a car for sale at (Porsche specialist) Paul Stephens might suit me. And it was perfect for my needs: it was road legal but with all the race gear in place, such as harnesses, competition seats, cage, electrical cut-outs and fire extinguisher. I thought it was reasonably priced for what it is.”

Paul Stephens had already prepared a potted history of the car which has provided the basis for Paul Sutters’ further investigations. “According to the chassis number, the car started life as a 911 E,” Paul reveals. “However, it wasn’t registered immediately, perhaps because it was a Porsche display car, which is why it ended up with an ‘N’ registration. A few people have seen the plate and told me it should have impact bumpers, but this is genuinely a long-nose early 911. “It originally had a 2.4-litre engine which is what it raced with, but at some stage that engine was replaced with a 2.7 on mechanical fuel injection. It is now fitted with a 3.2, but my long-term plan is to re-fit a 2.4-litre engine to return the car to its original specification.”

The installation of the 3.2-litre engine was at the bequest of Paul Stephens. The Essex-based specialist had taken JWV in part exchange, intending to turn it into an FIA Historic race car, but the dismal health of the 2.7-litre engine – along with the need to remove many of the later parts that this bitsa had been fitted with over the years – caused a rethink, during which time the 911 languished in a storage unit.

A year later the guys at Paul Stephens chanced upon an article about club racing during the 1980s, in which they discovered that Paul Edwards had won the Giroflex in JWV. Cue animated discussion, culminating in a plan to return JWV loosely to what it looked like in the photos, and then use it for trackdays and customer drives. Luck intervened in the matter of the engine. Parked alongside JWV was a rusty 1984 3.2-litre Targa that was earmarked to donate its running gear to an RSR recreation project: when that project didn’t come to fruition, both cars were sent to Early 911 for an engine transplant.

Once that was completed, JWV was shipped off to Carrera Bodyworks in nearby Bury St Edmunds to sort out its looks: over the years it had acquired a whale tail rear spoiler and the ‘wrong’ bumpers. Carrera Bodyworks fitted a glassfibre bonnet, ducktail spoiler and RS Teknik bumper units front and rear. The rear bumper remains ‘wrong’, being slightly deeper than it would have been originally, in order to cover the lower tailpipe of the 3.2-litre engine.

“That’s one of the items on my ‘to do’ list,” says Paul (Sutters), “but when I change the rear bumper I will also have to do something about the exhaust exit height. I’m currently looking into a bespoke exhaust system from Turbo Thomas, but as there’s nothing wrong with the existing system other than the height of the tailpipe, I’m also considering whether I could heat it and bend it into shape myself.”

At the same time that the new glassfibre panels were being fitted, JWV was subject to what Paul Stephens describes as a ‘light restoration’, which included replacing a door that had been damaged and filled, and attending to the wheelarches. Various pieces of interior trim were tidied or replaced, and the car was fitted with secondhand Recaro competition seats – their certificates are out of date for racing, but they’re fine for trackdays.

Paul Stephens also swapped the car’s 16in wheels for a set of its in-house PS Autoart ‘Retro’ 15in alloys. In the fullness of time Paul (Sutters) hopes to replace these for a set of genuine Fuchs, complete with anodised petals, although the cost of such wheels is starting to make him wince a bit...

And it was sky-high costs, in this instance of public liability insurance, that stymied Paul Stephens’ plans to use JWV for entertaining its customers on track. Hence the car was put on the market.

“I’d like to thank Paul Stephens (the man, rather than the company), for honouring the warranty when I had an engine issue early in my ownership,” enthuses Paul. He was very fair and he’s transparent – for instance, he took pictures of the rustproofing work being undertaken as one of my conditions for buying the car. “Although the front end has been raised slightly to be more practical on the road, it’s essentially still race suspension, so the ride is hard – it hates potholes and struggles with speed bumps. It prefers A-roads to Broads. But I’m looking forward to my track driving and have already booked some one-to-one tuition at the Porsche Centre at Silverstone. Stripped of the interior the car is light, and with about 230bhp it’s very quick.” Paul has lots of plans for improving and restoring JWV, but also concedes that he just wants to drive it: “I want it to be useable and it won’t be pampered.”

And he’s desperate to find out more about the car’s history. Some of it he already has from Paul Stephens and magazine articles from old issues of Autosport and Porsche Post, and he’s picking up further snippets from old Porsche hands – Steve Winter from JAZ in Wembley, for example, remembers being a mechanic on the car during its racing career. Paul has also learnt that the sister car to JWV during its Pirelli-sponsored days was spotted recently at Goodwood, but nobody managed to get the name of its lady owner – if you know who it was or have any other information regarding the car, please get in touch with us here at the magazine and we’ll pass your details on.

As Paul says, JWV “is a piece of Porsche history,” and he’s aiming to make that history as complete as he can, whilst seriously enjoying himself in the process.

CONTACT: Paul Stephens Ltd, www.paul-stephens.com Always something interesting in the PS showroom and Paul’s RS rep is a prime example Carrera Bodyworks, www.carrerabodyworks.com Bury St Edmunds outfit did a top job of fitting and painting the RS Teknik panels DDK www.ddk-online.com The online community and forum for all pre ’73 Porsches and replicas. Our favourite forum Early 911 www.early911.co.uk Did the heavy work of carrying out engine transplant into Paul’s replica shell Paul intends to use his 911 for track days and Speed events. At present it’s running a 3.2 Carrera engine, but along with the livery Paul wants to go back to the original 2.4- litre engine

Right: Paul Sutters and his former racer and 2.7 RS replica. Based on a 911E it had a very successful racing career in the 1980s winning the Giroflex Porsche Championship, most famously in Pirelli livery as seen in the inset picture

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