Project 991: Enduring Excellence
Keep it simple

Few vehicles have exemplified simple and timeless beauty quite like the Porsche 911. For more than a half-century, this icon of the auto industry has graced childhood bedroom walls, been coveted on showroom floors, and most importantly – seen countless checkered flags. Through all that the 911 has stayed remarkably consistent to its original engineering benchmarks set forth by Ferdinand Porsche many decades ago, but we all want more. Right?

When the discussions began behind the scenes at Speedhunters about a Porsche project car, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. But I digress, my excitement is getting the better of me here and an introduction is necessary, my name is Fred Chang and I’m the Director of Partnerships at Speedhunters. The truth is for as long as I can remember I have always wanted a Porsche, as I think most car enthusiasts have at one time or another. Of course, I say most because there are those who don’t, which is fine… But do you know what you’re missing out on?


Deciding to buy a Porsche was the easy part. Choosing which one is, and was, much more challenging. With seven models available, and the 918 being slightly out of my budget, a 911 Carrera (991) was the clear winner. Of course, there are an impressive 16 variations of this particular version to choose from, each with their own set of skill sets and appeal. Maybe I’m over complicating this, but what an enjoyable process to go through!


With a plan for a clean and traditional build in mind, I decided to go with a 2014 911 Carrera S, white on black. Okay, time to sign the papers and take it for a drive. But wait, now we have 70-plus pages of available options to consider! I have to remind myself again to keep it simple…


This is perhaps most true when the decision came to pick a transmission. Although the PDK’s lightning-quick shifts and expertly executed rev matching was tempting, there’s just something about a traditional manual 911 that seems right. Maybe someday it will even be considered rare.


With the car purchased it became time to plan the build. Since the Carrera is so good in stock form, it was a little difficult to pick a place to start. But at some point every car will be modified in one way or another. So to begin, I decided to upgrade the 991’s intake and exhaust.


As one of the premier Porsche tuning outfits in Southern California, BBI Autosport in Huntington Beach was chosen for the install. The guys at BBI had just returned from a long weekend at the California Festival of Speed, so once they had the shop back in order, the 991 was headed in for its first round of upgrades.


Sending a brand new car in for upgrades – especially one as well engineered as the Carrera – is a very odd feeling. Thankfully, all the partners chosen for this project exemplify the incredibly high manufacturing standards and passion for motorsports excellence as Porsche itself.

Breathing easy

If you are not familiar with Akrapovič, there’s no need to feel embarrassed. While the brand is incredibly well known and respected within the two-wheel world, they have only ventured over to automobiles within the last seven years.

911_AK_Install 45

Founded in the early ’90s by motorcycle racer Igor Akrapovič, the Slovenia-based company has been consistently turning out some of the best bike exhausts in the world. With racing at the heart of the company, they have earned multiple championships and countless wins in both Superbike and MotoGP.


In 2008, Akrapovič began producing the factory titanium exhaust for the Porsche GT2, and since then they have expanded their product line to include everything from the MINI Cooper S to the McLaren MP4-12C. Continuing with their racing roots, the brand has been successful in many series, most notably with Audi at Le Mans.


For the 991 generation Carrera, Akrapovič offers a slip-on titanium system. Not only does the exhaust increase power by up to 18hp, but even more impressive is the 19lbs it sheds from the rear of the vehicle.


Akrapovič exhaust products are simply unparalleled in terms of quality and craftsmanship. Unfortunately, where motorcycles typically display their full exhaust systems to the joy of the owners, on a car you usually see only a small portion – or just the tip if you will.


On the intake side, the techs at BBI recommended upgrading to an IPD intake plenum. This is a popular modification for Porsches as it adds around 15whp by more efficiently channeling air into the engine.


The v-shape porting and dimpled walls are part of the patented design that allows the Carrera to breath deeper and extract even more power out of the 3.8L boxer.

Coming together

Once the Carrera was in the shop and the upgrade was underway, it became obvious how both complex and compact the cooling and exhaust systems are on these vehicles.


During the install, I was blown away by some of the details of the Akrapovič system. They approach every car as a clean-sheet design and while this adds to the development time, it insures that every product offers the absolute maximum performance for each individual application.


They do this by starting with sheets of Grade 37 titanium sourced from the USA. Most other manufacturers start with preformed tubes, but Akrapovič rolls their own to avoid any compromises in the design.


The flanges and butterfly housings are made from cast titanium, which must be done in a secured vacuum otherwise it will explode. Also, the mold must be spinning at multiple Gs while the liquid titanium is poured in. This entire process takes one week alone.


As the name implies, the system slips on with relative ease. Especially when you have Akrapovič’s sales director, Michael Belcher, on site to assist. I think this service is optional.


With both ends of the motor upgraded, I was ready to see my 991 put back together and feel the combined 33hp first hand. Unfortunately for me, we had to get straight into the next part of this project. Thankfully for you, we have a teaser of the finished product though…


It is a bit of a shame hiding all this gorgeous engineering from view. But it is not all a loss, as the new intake and exhaust system on this 991 combine forces to produce an absolutely glorious noise.

Lacking professional audio equipment, we did our best to capture its beauty. I’m sure you’ll get the idea anyway. In person I love it!

The next phase is suspension, which will be coming up in a couple of weeks. We’ve got a way to go yet but I’m really happy with the project so far. To take something I’ve yearned for and now own and add my own personal stamp is very satisfying.

Fred Chang

Photos by Andrew Quillin
Archive photo: Akrapovič



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Wish I could afford a Porsche :(


Wut, went from reading about project car hairy Volvo to projectcar brand-spankers 911. Quite the change in pricerange :p

That said, nice car, nice exhaust, nice intake plenum. One day...


westhave  That's how Fred rolls! To be fair if I took my extensive range of tat that's parked outside and put it in to just one car... Actually scrap that, one car? Never! It's good to have variety on the SH fleet :)


JakWhite  Wishing won't get you one ;)


Speedhunters_Bryn westhave  Please keep your projects, easy to relate to and you have a style that pleases my eye ;)


Product placement, you did not actually 'buy' a 911. Cute article though


Cool project and good to see some more lover for Akrapovic outside the bike world. I had a Akra Ti slip-on on my previous bike, fit, finish and attention to detail is amazing. Much, much better than the Termignoni's on my current bike.


@TAXdeath  jealous? I doubt he'll show you his bank records as proof.


For years I was of the opinion... yea 911.... yawn...  Then last summer I
got the chance to drive a 996 for a few hours on a twisty mountainous
road.  My opinion has now done a 180.  This project is a great thing to
see on speed hunters, as I've always wondered if I would modify a new
991 if I ever got the chance to buy one.  These cars are just special,
special items.


I need to be a photo journalist, because you guys all have way better and faster moving projects than I can manage. I look forward to how this develops!


2xthefun  I'm not sure who you think would 'give' us a Porsche to modify, or what that would actually gain them. Fred does work for other concerns too, so can afford a Porsche and not worry too much about the warranty. We figured it would be good to have some fun with that ;)


wheatgod  Never a positive thing to say about anything ever.


The whole "spinning the cast at multiple g's in a vacuum while pouring the liquid titanium" bit made me laugh simply due to how absolutely BAD ASS that is haha


Looking forward to seeing how this project unfolds! Sounds like it's going to be slightly crazy! What is the intended use for the end product? A streeter with kick?


Wow man, I forgot I was reading speedhunter for a second. That's some serious kit. Imho you couldn't have picked a better base car to start modding. Is this going full tilt or just a modest set of up grades?


prazzi It's got mufflers in the exhaust system doesn't it? Lol!
My guess would be that it's going to be a bit "Brabus-ish", by definition of "significant improvement in power, handling, and styling, but without any reduction in class or refinement". That being said, if it becomes a sort of manic roadgoing GT3 Cup Replica, then I'd be very pleased too.


Project Porsche? Nobody told me about any project Porsches!? What a beautiful tax write off that could have been.


wheatgodIs there anything you actually DO like, you antagonistic twat? Do you even own a car, or are you waiting until you graduate from eighth grade before you decide what you really want?


Well, if you must censor license plates, it's refreshing to see some creativity instead of just whiting them out. I do a similar thing with my photos :)


wheatgod hahaha, so much irony in that comment. In's perfect!


wheatgod Stop raging, you pathetic nerd.


sean klingelhoefer  If only you had thought of it!


zephoto  Titanium is a crazy material. While I was in college for engineering my boss at my internship who had been in aerospace for over 30 years told me "The only thing I know about titanium is that I know nothing about titanium". I have found that to be true. You are not allowed to ship titanium components on an airplane without special precautions because it is "flammable", yet it is used in turbine blades and combustion chambers. Titanium is tig welded at the plant where I work on a daily basis, yet using a laser on titanium parts is against the rules because it could explode. titanium is WEIRD. Also, pure titanium is softer than most aluminum alloys, grade 5 titanium is harder than most alloy steels.


@TAXdeath  So far SH has been perfectly honest about what is product placement and what is not, at least to me. I don't care for their product placement, but they have been perfectly ethical about it IMO. They gotta pay bills too.


Variable Volume plenum! That is RAD! and that exhaust is freaking awesome too!


Oh that sounds good. I wish one of the porsches over near where I live would jump on that.


..Fitting a Titanium exhaust to a new Carrera S?
Maaaaybe a little unrelatable for this audience?
That exhaust is absolutely stunning, but likely cost more than most readers cars..


RdS2  I am on board with this. Keep this project coming but there really isn't a lot for me to relate to on this one.


Zach Attack RdS2  I don't think "relatable" is the right word or the key here.. I make Porsche cooling systems, but I'm far from being able to afford one.. I hope one day.. It's nice to see SH showcasing cars and aftermarket parts of all price ranges to encompass the entire inudstry.. At least it gives us all something to aspire to for the future!! 

Whether it's a $20k car or a $100K+ car, it's nice to see what people are doing to their cars in throught the tuning and aftermarket scene.. It's great to see people who can afford these types of cars making them better, and putting their own personal touches on them.. 

Nice car Fred!


Speedhunters_Bryn 2xthefunI am most definitely jealous, however i'd be curious if you could share the real financial motivation behind this story. Does akra give you free pipes hoping we'll nip down and get them fitted in our cosy whips?


This article is about paying someone to install a $10k exhaust on a $100k+ car. wow, you guys are really pushing the envelope of automotive journalism with this one...


Very nice article Mr. Chang! I'm excited to see the progress of this build. Nothing like the sound of a 911!


know Im late to the party, but is this the street or race exhaust, and did you get the wireless option? How about droning on the highway?