Words & Photos by Henry Phull
There are some incredible demo vehicles within the UK modified car industry, but today’s feature car has got to be one of the most eye-catching builds that we’ve seen in a very long time. Sadly, we’re rarely rewarded with such high-calibre cars over here, so on first glance, you’d expect this sort of machine to hail from the USA, Japan, or Europe where folks tend to put a lot more money into their show builds. Reflex Auto Design’s Porsche 997 has been at the forefront of social media since it was unveiled a couple of weeks ago, mainly because this is no normal 997, but one which has been fitted with an ‘Old&New‘ slantnose body kit, a sort of homage to the early flatnose/slantnose “Flachbau” Porsche 930S. Thanks to Reflex’s expertise and bodywork experience, the final results are absolutely phenomenal. Naturally, we had to make a trip to Northamptonshire to take a closer look, nabbing the 997’s first ever feature shoot.
The Porsche is a joint-venture between Reflex Auto Design (a bodyshop based in Daventry, Northamptonshire) and Matt Clifford, who works with Reflex – dealing with their social media and marketing. The whole idea for the car was to get Reflex back into the modified car community spotlight… well, it looks like they’ve done just that! Matt and Reflex initially considered countless options for a project car… Being a Liberty Walk dealer/fitter already, a car with one of the kits was tempting, but they just couldn’t find anything that hadn’t been done and within budget. Eventually, they considered the Porsche 997 Liberty Walk kit, which then led to the discovery of a Japanese Old&New kit that existed for 996’s and 997’s. After some initial research into the kit, it turned out that their friends at V.A.D Design just so happened to be the UK supplier for Old&New. They got talking, and eventually placed an order.
With the kit on its way, Reflex had the task of deciding how the car was ultimately going to look. “We all decided to go for a race car theme… Paying homage to the Porsche 962 Le Mans race cars, we had several options such as the Leyton House and Hawaiian Tropic liveries, and we even considered the modern red and black design seen on the newer GT3 911’s” Matt explains. In the end, they came to the realisation that nothing was more iconic than the Rothmans Porsche livery. With the theme set for the 997, they needed to finalise a design and concept to work towards.
It just so happened that Matt had been in touch with Khyzyl Saleem, a concept artist at EA, for the past year and have become friends. Khyzyl (aka. The Kyza), has become well known for his conceptual automotive imagery, just check out his Instagram on @the_kyzaand you will see why. Anyway, back to the Porsche… “I dropped him a message and told him what we were building and that we wanted a Rothmans Livery, I sent a photo of Phazes slant nose in America and a Render he had created of a 964 with a Rothmans livery previously… after a few weeks he sent us over a completed visual, which we all thought looked badass” Matt comments. With the image on everyone’s mind, it was time to set about making the dream a reality.
Next, Matt had to source a suitable Porsche 997 to use as a base car, eventually settling for a black 2005 Carrera 3.6. He decided not to fork out unnecessarily on a ‘Turbo’ or ‘S’, just to chop it to pieces on their first big build. “Personally I’ve never really been a big fan of Porsches, plus I could never work out all the different 911’s! But now, after driving and owning one, there’s much more to it than their looks, it’s the feeling behind the wheel… they’re so planted on the road.” he tells us.
The Old&New kit finally turned up in a huge box all the way from Japan, consisting of a front bumper, front wings, air ducts, rear arches, side skirts, rear bumper, tailgate, headlights, DRLs and fuel cap. Having worked with countless fibreglass kits in the past, Reflex knew what was needed to make everything fit correctly, with only minimal work required to get everything lined up as it should. They also decided to alter the rear bumper to house an exposed exhaust set up. “We really wanted our car to the best Old&New Porsche in the world, so nothing but perfect would suffice.” Matt explains. With Reflex being a paint and bodyshop, they also wanted to show off their skills, so rather than simply painting the car white and wrapping the rest, countless hours were spent hand-painting all the colours and stripes you see on the livery, made up of Ford Imperial blue, Rolls Royce gold, Audi Misano red, and Audi Pearl white.
“We knew the car wanted air, it had to for the look and audience we have” Matt tells us… so given their previous experience working with Air Lift Performance kits, they opted for Air Lift universal bags/struts tied to a 3P management setup (which all sits nicely in the trunk under the bonnet). After considerable measuring and fabrication, the new bag set up was installed in-house and made to sit perfectly with the front bumper touching the ground once fully aired-out. It really is a nice modern twist on a traditional race car. And, let’s face it, with the way this body kit sits, there’s no way it would survive the dreadful UK roads on a low coilover setup.
Inside the cockpit, you’ll notice the racer theme continues with the addition of Recaro Pole Position seats, and a half cage painted in white to match the main body colour. Capital Seating in Leicester supplied these, and re-trimmed the dash, centre console, and door cards in black alcantara with red stitching to conform to the seats and exterior stripes. Reflex also painted the interior plastics in a gloss piano black which really helps to bring the interior together. Furthermore, the Air Lift 3P controller has been tastefully moulded into the centre console and a Kenwood double-din headunit added for some refinement and entertainment on long journeys.
Getting the wheels right was hugely important for this build. Having run several 3-piece Rotiform wheels in the past, Matt and Reflex opted to stick with them, describing them as the “show wheel kings”. To pull off the Rothmans Porsche livery, they selected Rotiform LVS design with hidden hardware, a cool modern twist on the traditional magnesium gold BBS wheels you would have seen on the original race cars. Rotiform sized these to 19×10 and 19×13 to fill the huge arches, fitted with 265/30 and 305/30 tyres. There are also plans to create some turbo fans for the front wheels in the future to complete their initial vision/concept!
Whilst the stock 3.6 motor has been left alone, the 997 still needed a big noise to go with the big bodykit, so Reflex enlisted the services of Dave at EMP Performance to create a custom exhaust, which is completely exposed at the rear of the car to showcase his welding porn. We can 100% confirm that this system sounds awesome, and is ridiculously loud! The stock brakes weren’t going to cut it either, so a Forge Big Brake kit was installed up front along with new EBC rear discs and pads. All these elements really help this race-car inspired build to come into fruition.
Whether you’re a Porsche fan or not, you can’t disagree that this build is completely nuts! There’s no doubt it will be dropping jaws throughout the year when it hits all the major car events – if you don’t see it coming (you’d have to be visually challenged, mind…), you’ll definitely hear it. The 997’s first stop will be Wörthersee at the end of the month. We’re humbled to have been given the first opportunity to photograph it, making it an incredible first feature car for us to kick off 2018. We’ll also be in Wörthersee from 6-10 May and looking for more quality cars to shoot, so don’t hesitate to get in touch via Instagram or email if you have something mind-blowing.