We threw open the doors to Retropower HQ for a Saturday morning of coffee, cobs and plenty of car chat – here’s how the guys & girls from Porsche Club GB got on
It’s actually quite rare that we open the doors of our workshop to the general public – blame the fact that we’re constantly busy, desperately trying to get as many unique projects completed in as short a span of time as possible. That said, the response we received from the members of Area 10 of the Porsche Club means that it’s undoubtedly something we’ll look to do more of in the coming months and years.
It initially appeared as if the weather had opted not to play ball, the two month long heatwave having broken in spectacular fashion the night before, but the weather (while blustery and markedly cooler than it had been) held. It wasn’t long before a eclectic lineup of Stuttgart’s finest began to filter into our car park, the workshops echoing to thrum of flat-sixes. Indeed, while the the number of Porsches present on the day was on the modest side the variety of models was impressive, with 964s sharing tarmac with 944s, ‘box fresh’ Boxsters and Caymans – and even a Tech Art-fettled 996. Our personal favourite? Well it was very hard to pick just one, though we were all taken by the mid ‘90s charms of the Turquoise Metallic 993, a true ‘blast from the past’ and a superb example of one of the 911’s most beloved generations.
It didn’t take long before the 25 or so members of the club moved inside the Retropower building, whereupon they were greeted with fresh coffee, cakes, quiche – and more mini scotch eggs than you could shake a camshaft at.
It was then onto the grand tour, the group split into two to make their trip around the paint/bodyshop and assembly workshop that much simpler. It’s easy to take the sheer variety of automotive projects being assembled within Retropower for granted, particularly when you’re surrounded by them on a daily basis, so it was hugely refreshing to see so many passionate car fans so engaged by the work we undertake.
The Lister Bell Stratos, a kit we’re presently turning into something of a tribute to the original, ‘Project Zero’ concept car debuted by Bertone at the Turin Motorshow back in 1970, drew an impressive crowd of admirers. It’s one of those projects that rewards those who take the time to take it all in, with dozens of styling flourishes and plenty of nods to the stunning concept that inspired it. The fact that it will eventually gain a supercharged Alfa ‘Buso’ V6 mounted amidships is merely the icing on the cake. Click through to learn more or head over to its dedicated Facebook page to follow the build.
‘Project Kaiser,’ our Mercedes W108 custom, also proved a popular addition to the Retropower roster. Now sitting pretty with a ‘crate’ LS3 V8 up front, the classic, ‘stack light’ Merc perches atop air suspension and will soon gain a custom interior, complete with dozens of bespoke touches. Click here to learn a little more about it, or head over to the Facebook page to follow its progress.
Other cars in the final stages of assembly include the Greetham Imp, a fast road classic destined to spend as much time on display in the owner’s living room as it is the track, the Sport Quattro (always a crowd pleaser, for obvious reasons), and the unique Nissan Sunny ZX Coupe – a car which now bears more than a passing resemblance to the R33 Skyline.
The other side of the tour centred upon the body and paintwork areas, currently jam-packed with exciting projects in their formative stages. Our Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint sits next to ‘Project Kaiser II,’ a Mercedes W111 Coupe, though both were forced to play second fiddle to what must rank as our most popular project to date the ‘Murray Mk1.’
That one of the greatest automotive engineers of all time (not to mention one of the most talented F1 designers the sport has seen) deemed Retropower worthy of his custom is a source of continued pride for everyone here, so it was doubly rewarding to be able to talk the Porsche collective through our progress to date. The majority of metalwork and custom fabrication has already been completed, as has the all important ‘dry build’ phase, meaning those present were privy to a significant stage. Callum was able to talk through the myriad unique features and tweaks, including the one-off rear suspension arrangement and interior work. It’s a project that’s well worth following if you’re not all ready, so click through to its dedicated Faceook, website and YouTube presences if you haven’t already.
Our paint prep and spray-booth areas rarely receive the attention they deserve, which is a shame when you consider just how vital a suitably stunning paint finish is to a project of this nature. The Porsche Club members were able to have a good look at one of the many Retropower Manta projects (in this case a 400 replica destined to have a Rover V8 between its widened wings) in the booth, plus an NSU, Manta A, Mercedes ‘pagoda’ and various others.
The inaugural Retropower open day was deemed a great success by pretty much everyone, and as such it’s something we’re keen to repeat, so watch this space if you fancy having an insider’s view of our HQ.