Envisioning Reality: The Old & New Porsche 911

If there’s one thing that’s more important than all else when it comes to building a car, it’s the idea behind it all.

Obviously a lot of other things come into it, but if the idea from the get-go isn’t right you’re always going to be fighting a losing battle. It doesn’t have to be anything outlandish, but your ability to stick with the idea and see it through until the end – without compromise – is key to success. The idea behind this particular car, in hindsight, is almost painfully obvious. Maybe that’s because our friend Khyzyl Saleem was brought in to envision it before a panel was ever cut…

Porsche_996_RothmansLivery_Render copy

We’ve seen so many of Khyzyl’s renders over the years, but rarely have we ever seen them come to life quite so accurately, or impressively for that matter. Aware of Khyzyl’s abilities, when Matt Clifford and Reflex Auto Design decided to build a car to promote their business, they turned to him before making it a reality. As mentioned above, the idea was pretty straightforward: take a modern 911, add some 935 into the mix, and finish it off with a retro livery. It’s so simple, it almost makes you think why no one has done it before. I had been following the build for some time, but those first sightings in person really were something else.

It was through Khyzyl that I was able to meet Matt in person and look over the car for myself. I’m typically weary of promising a shoot on a car without seeing it in person first; some things look great from 10-feet, but when you get up close it all comes undone. Thankfully, this wasn’t one of them. In fact, this was pretty much the opposite. Looking around the car for the first time, I became aware that this wasn’t a vinyl wrap; it was all paint save for the decals. The white upper portion, the metallic blue lower portion and even the stripes have all been painted onto the car. What’s more impressive is that the stripes run through the door shuts. I know that RAD’s business is bodywork, but goddamn it’s a superb detail.

The base car was a black 2005 Porsche 911 (type-997) Carrera. Being an automatic example, they figured it was the perfect victim to cut up, and as it came at an exceptionally cheap price there was no guilt involved. “Considering we were going to cut it to pieces, we didn’t want to buy a perfect example,” Matt told me. He continued, “We are considering a manual swap in future along with some engine modifications or even a larger motor all together.” For now, the 3.6-litre makes do with an EMP performance exhaust.

With the sole purpose of attracting attention, the car couldn’t be hidden away in a trailer – that would completely defeat the purpose of the car. Instead, it’s a car that has been built to drive, and drive is what it does. From RAD’s workshop in Daventry, England, Matt took to the road and headed straight to Velden am Wörthersee, picking up an incredibly tall passenger along the way in the shape of Mr. Saleem. Khyzyl will be along in the near future to talk with you about their adventure to and back from Austria, so I won’t steal too much of his thunder.

2018 Porsche 997 Rothmans for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-16

I always find it fascinating that even a simple recipe can have such strong results. How many cars have we seen before with a kit, air suspension, wheels and a livery? Now, how many look like this?  For sure, it’s a car that’s far more than the sum of its parts. Why? Because the idea was so strong to begin with. It’s that simple. In saying that, having the right parts in place, doesn’t exactly go astray. Air Lift Performance’s 3P system has been deployed to control height while maintaining performance. 19×10-inch and 19×13-inch Rotiform LVS wheels are fitted front and rear respectively, wrapped with Yokohoma Advan AD08Rs. Forge Motorsport brakes have replaced the standard Carrera items. Inside is more evolution than revolution, with a matching pair of Recaro Pole Positions, a Kenwood headunit, half-cage, and a neat retrim by Capital Seating.

Having spent some time with Matt, driving around behind him from breakfast to hotel to car wash to shoot location, I loved seeing people’s reaction to the car. Non-car people loved it; kids would pose with it, people would smile and generally just give a really solid vibe towards it. Car people, who were in town for the very specific purpose of looking at other cars were snapping necks and generally losing their shit when it drove past. I’ve never seen cameras and smartphones come out so fast in all my life. It was just a wholly positive experience. Who doesn’t want that?

2018 Porsche 997 Rothmans for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-8
2018 Porsche 997 Rothmans for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-29
2018 Porsche 997 Rothmans for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-28
2018 Porsche 997 Rothmans for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-30
2018 Porsche 997 Rothmans for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-35
2018 Porsche 997 Rothmans for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-47
2018 Porsche 997 Rothmans for Speedhunters by Paddy McGrath-41

As a build, it says everything it wants to say and has already achieved everything it set out to. There is still more to come for the car, but mostly minor aesthetic tweaks. If it’s to stay true to the original render, I imagine some turbofans are on the way?

Regardless, despite starting life as a digital concept, it now exists in the real world and it’s in the real world where it can be properly appreciated. I’ve always maintained that cars are best enjoyed in person, and this is just another example of that.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos



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Boffin Emeritus

Putting "air" and Rothmans in the same breath should be a criminal offense punishable by working stance nation events for a year with no pay.

Ignoring the livery and throw back as a way to evoke an emotional response this is nothing more than another over fender 911 with bags that more than likely handles sub par and would get smoked by a stock version of w/e it's pretending to be.

This deserves Hoonigan stickers. Not Rothmans.


Rothmans are *supposed* to be smoked, though. You're talking about cigarette advertising like it's some sacred text.
Imagine being this up in arms because someone wore an R White's Lemonade shirt ironically


Airplane. Your head. Above it things have gone jivecom.


"I'm a secret lemonade drinker!"


Holy run-on sentences, Batman!


holy goldfish attention span

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

I would have preferred it in Martini livery though, but Rothmans look brilliant nonetheless.


Me too but the martini liveries are pretty common on custom 911s so I appreciate that they did something a little more unique.


Another airlift, rotiform exercise in blasphemy. Not that it’s important but I don’t recall there ever being a Rothmans 935. I like the painted door jams. A Rothmans 997 cup/street car would have been better. Ditch the slush box, build an engine, turbo or not. BBS wheels only. The Porsche gods are not pleased. Hate me.


20 years ago you probably would have called this car rice. Now everyone says how horrible you are if you slam something "because diversity" and "be tolerant of everyone." lol.

Air ride is crap. Doesn't belong on a sports car. No one with knowledge of how to properly build a race car would ever build something like this. Say whatever you want...that's a fact. Instead of calling people haters and bad mouthing guys who have standards people should hit amazon and pick up a book.


It just amazes me that people can't get their heads around the idea that different people build cars for different reasons, and not everything has to be a race car.

It's a show car built for the purpose of advertising their services of paint and bodywork. It's not that difficult to comprehend.


To subtly take a jab at someone elses intelligence because "it's not that difficult to comprehend" is a great insight into your own. It's not difficult to comprehend: it's a piece of shit.

You're reporting on shit. It's not that difficult to comprehend :)


It's perfectly fine not to like show cars or cars built in this style, no one is forcing you to read about it. But yet again, here you are complaining about something that you chose to click into knowing fully what to expect.

Grow up.


It amazes me people can't get their heads around the idea that shocks absorbers are there to do actual work and not just make a car look neat.

Don't go Mcgregor on me man. If it looks like shit and smells like shit it probably is shit...or maybe it's just those leaky bags you haven't changed.

Paddy McGrath

It seems that your incapable of having a grown up conversation, John, without resorting to lazy, childish insults. I've had enough of your trolling.


"No one with knowledge of how to properly build a race car would ever build something like this."

This is not fact. Have you seen the collections of race car drivers and builders? They are often quite eclectic with vehicles built for speed and style.

Shocks (within reason) also don't hold up a car so changing them doesn't much change the look :)


If we duplicated two cars exactly the same and you used bags and I used coilovers you would have more weight than me no matter what. That weight would also be higher up.

If you think that's an advantage your a fucking moron.


Such a spicy reply weeks later.

What if I were to run a conservative single pump, small tank set up where my full size spare used to be and the new air spring and strut combination is actually lighter than the factory suspension, then things would shake out similar to oem no?

Also bringing this full circle for the nth time, not every single car, regardless of make, is modified for flat out performance. People have made performance compromises for the sake of style for a long time.


there are no porsche gods. but yes, this would look much better with a battle stance, eg some fat sidewalls barely contained in the fenders rather than tucking tire. and rotiform is cancer


Yes there are. Hans Herrmann, Hurley Haywood, Jacky Ickx, Vern Schuppan, Craig Baird and Ferdinand Porsche himself.


*Walter Röhrl

The poor French Carguy

I love it and don't like it at the same time. I love it because it is a well done, beautifully crafted machine, that really makes an impact for its look, but I really don't like it because it's another machine that has nothing behind its style, just another sports car on air with a widebody kit and overly sized wheels.

As some have previously said, it would have looked so much better with a real racecar feel, something with the right static ride height with meaty tires and wheels that matches its racecar look, like said turbofans or BBS wheels. But hey, it's the builder's choice to do whatever he wants with his machine, and I respect the guy for what he has done. What I said about it is just my opinion and is a simple observation :)


^^^ this. sums it up nicely. respect for the look and build quality. but no function behind the form.


About as appropriate and tasteful as a dubstep remix of Bob Seger.

Jurgen Blondia

I'd totally rock a 996 turbo with this kit, albeit with turbofan wheels, fatter tires and some KW Clubsport with HLS system for those nasty speedbumps we have here. Wasn't the Rothmans livery used only for Group C cars and 959 rally? Not sure what it's doing on a 935 evocation such as this, but to each his own. Not sure if I'd put any racing livery on it at all, although for this car's purpose it's a logical choice to do so.


Two tone running through door jambs is so satisfying. Small touch that really goes a long way. I also totally wasn't expecting this vehicle to be paint.

As a promotional vehicle looks like it's doing its job splendidly.

Mark Joseph I. Argoso

Eh, could be squarer. Whatever, just cover the wheels with turbofans. If it works, it works, but swap a dang 4-liter sixpack and a manual in it like a real man.


Is there nobody that has noticed how the rear spoiler has been crafted in the rear lid? This is beautifully done and this part alone is great advertising for these guys their craftmanship. The paint that runs true is a great detail/idea, but this spoiler is much more impressive.


I'm glad I haven't painted my car yet, because now I HAVE to get my god damn door jabs painted to match my livery. Not to mention that I have to get my livery painted instead of done in decals.

Or, you know, I could just kick myself in the ass for not doing it every time I step into the car and look at the incomplete work.

Matt Kambo Khoun

This car confuses me and its making my head hurt.

I'm not sensing race car vibes yet it has everything to achieve the race car look.

Nitpicking all the details is making my head hurt.

But if i could simplify it... it's the wheels. Not the brand, but the fact that the tyres are stretched on wheels that aren't flush.

If you're going to run stretched tyres, sit the wheels out more.

But since this is a race car scheme... Run r888's Without the excessive stretch...




Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Wow... salty much?

At least SH doesn't write worse craps like Jalopnik.