I first saw the Gunther Werks 400R under the dazzling blue skies of California between lining up for more oysters and hunting down a good cup of coffee at the Quail this past August. The Quail is a very fancy car show held during Monterey Car Week, and a great opportunity to see and photograph a wide range of exotic, rare, and special cars. Nestled among a bevy of helicopters, vintage race cars, and a lovely De Tomaso Mangusta, the 400R looks almost like any other highly modified 911. With massive fender flares, projector headlights, deeply dished wheels, and a comically large wing, you could be forgiven for assuming the 400R was little more than a cosmetics kit for the 993-generation Porsche 911.
Yes, the Gunther Werks 400R is based and built around a 993 911, but aside from the doors, all of the body panels are new, as is the engine. The 400R is an exhaustive project to build a very limited modern expression of one of the most beloved generations of the 911. It’s lightweight, meticulous, powerful, exclusive, and very expensive—what’s not to like?
Gunther Werks is born of a company called Vorsteiner, known for their work in custom wheels and carbon fibre cosmetic elements for a variety of enthusiast and exotic cars. That carbon fibre prowess is carried into the 400R, where every new body panel has been made from this strong and very lightweight material. Not only does this new skin give the 400R its aggressive stance (especially with its widened front track) it helps the 400R achieve an incredible wet weight of just 2,670 lbs.
Yes, the Gunther Werks 400R is based and built around a 993 911, but aside from the doors, all of the body panels are new, as is the engine.
The 400R is made using a donor 993 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 (a.k.a the base rear-wheel-drive version of the 911 from 1995 to 1998). Interested buyers need to provide their own 993 C2, and production takes somewhere between seven and nine months. While a standard 993 produces something in the neighbourhood of 270 horsepower from the original 3.6-litre air-cooled flat-six engine, the 400R required something decidedly more special. Partnering with Rothsport Racing in Oregon to design and build a specialized engine, Gunther Werks outfits the 400R with a hand-built naturally aspirated 4.0-litre boxer-six, which produces 431 horsepower at 7,800 rpm.
To ensure the 400R would be capable of actually using all of that power, Gunther Werks increased the front track width to combat some of the original 993’s tendencies towards understeer. Once factoring for tire widths (245s up front and 315s in the rear), the 400R has equal track widths, which makes for a much more planted front end and much more capable overall platform in terms of steering and handling performance. You can think of the 400R as a sort of dream 993 GT3 RS, as the 933 predates the existence of a GT3 RS variant, which saw its genesis in the following 996 generation 911 of 1998.
Fabricated from the chassis up in California, the 400R starts at $525,000 USD ($658,000 CAD), not including the donor 911 required for the build. That may sound insane, but Gunther Werks is only making 25, and all of them are spoken for. If you find yourself asking “who buys something like this?” I would venture a guess that it’s deep Porsche enthusiasts looking for the next stage in the cult of Porsche. The reviews have been very positive and considering the sell-out success of their first offering, Gunther Werks clearly had their finger on the pulse of the increasingly heated market for specialized 911s. From Singer to Sharkwerks, Project Safari and now Gunther Werks, there seems an almost insatiable market for highly specialized, customizable, and very limited mad genius expressions of the evergreen 911.
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