Before widebody Porsches stormed the internet en masse and before air-cooled Porsche mania took hold of the market, one man was crafting away in the mountain city of Gifu, Japan.
Takeru Inui is the mastermind behind Sunburst, a traditional Japanese tuning workshop, and built his first widebody Porsches in the early ‘90s. Inui-san has quietly been doing his thing since then, with only a small few of his kits, perhaps only three, making their way stateside over the years. Nat Huynh’s 964 Turbo — built in collaboration with his friend Carlin Chiu from Impact Performance in San Mateo, California — wears one of these rare few.
It isn’t just an over-fender kit, either. The Sunburst kit uses widebody fenders and quarter panel replacements to create an OEM-level end result with smooth body lines, just as a Porsche should be.
Nat and Carlin have built a number of projects for SEMA together before, and this 1992 Porsche 964 Turbo was featured in the Toyo Treadpass last year. While the SEMA deadline was a driving force in this build, it wasn’t much more than just that: a deadline. Nat has long wanted to own and build a Porsche for himself, and that’s what I enjoy about this car.
Nat’s Sunburst Porsche wasn’t just built for the show circuit, it was also built to be driven and a balanced built list supports the wild aesthetic modifications. While the interior and exterior are expectedly immaculate, you can tell from details like the worn-in and lightly dirtied pedals that this car doesn’t just collect dust in a warehouse.
Nat waited to pull the trigger until the right opportunity came along — this 964 Turbo with just 37,000 miles on the clock — but once he had the car he knew he wanted to go widebody. Carlin and Nat talked it over, they both agreed they shouldn’t build another cookie-cutter Porsche, so he and Carlin went deeper.
Ultimately, this project with Sunburst wouldn’t have been possible without Carlin’s fiancée — now wife — who, living in Japan, was able to arrange a meeting with Inui-San.
At their meeting in Japan, Carlin, with his wife as translator, learned that only two other kits had ever been shipped to the states. It was at this moment that he knew Sunburst would be their widebody solution for the 964.
With serious intentions, Inui-san showed the pair how to properly cut the OEM quarter panel, install the Sunburst kit, and how to glue, secure, and mold the kit to the body to create a smooth transition from the factory metalwork into the widebody.
Ultimately, as a result from the meeting and subsequent build, Carlin became the US distributor for Sunburst.True Colors
Nat and Carlin ultimately replaced every inch of bodywork on the car save the roof, doors and the pillars. The front fenders, rear quarters, side skirts, and front and rear bumpers were replaced with the Sunburst kit, and the rest of the car — the hood, trunk, and GT wing — were selected and added by Nat and Carlin later in the project.
They did mention that Inui-san makes fiberglass doors for weight savings, but they opted to keep the factory units for a variety of reasons. While Sunburst has their roots in dedicated race builds, there’s no doubt that this particular car was built entirely with street driving in mind.
As such, while the factory interior was completely removed, it was all eventually put back into place. New carpet lines the floors, and the entire interior was re-upholstered in a burgundy wine color.
The dash was changed as well, and a McIntosh CD control center was installed along with Mosconi Amps and Focal Speakers to finish off the system.
There’s no doubt it’s a show car, but since the over-arching theme was to retain a period-correct feel nothing is over-done or too extreme. It all feels right.
Back outside, Nat turned to his friend Josh White from Priola Body Shop in San Mateo. The same workshop was responsible for the fantastic paintwork on Nat’s LS460 and I wasn’t surprised when I found out it was Josh behind the Porsche as well.
The color selected for the Porsche was a deep, deep green by BASF which only seems to come out in the right light. Nat didn’t want a car that was ‘too green’ and, for the most part, it looks almost black, especially as the sun goes down.
While I ordinarily abhor shooting in direct sunlight, this was the only way to get the true color to shine through. Honestly, it’s one of those cars that needs to be seen in person to be fully appreciated and the longer you stare at it the better it seems to look.
Luckily, our good friend Mark Vasilyuk spent some time with the car, which might just be the next best thing to riding shotgun or catching it at a show. Hit play above and engage full-screen mode for a moment.Performance
Nat and Carlin could have stopped at this point, with a well-built show car with a completely reworked interior and a stunning, unique exterior. But that just wouldn’t quite cut it, would it?
Under the deck lid you’ll find a Fabspeed ‘Sport Performance’ exhaust, complete with header, as well as a competition air intake.
Nat says the main reason the engine wasn’t further modified was due to the low mileage of 37,000 and because he wanted to make sure the car stays reliable. Boost does have a way of breaking things, and the factory 964 Turbo was never a slouch in the first place.
Naturally, you don’t build any widebody Porsche without changing up the suspension and Nat tells me they went with one of the best options available for the 964: AST Suspension 5300 Series three-way coilovers.
Stopping power comes thanks to a big Brembo setup tucked inside meaty 19-inch Work Meister S13P wheels. The S13Ps are wrapped up with Toyo Proxes, 255/35 in the front and 295/30 in the rear.
While plenty are quick to cry foul at the suspension setup in any widebody Porsche, Nat goes on to explain that this is only true with a poor suspension setup, and this would extend to any poorly set-up car, Porsche, widebody, or otherwise.
Nat describes the suspension as “nicely-dialed for a street car and taking it through back roads it hands very nicely” thanks to the adjustability of the setup. Even driving it over some of California’s most poorly-maintained roads on the way to our shoot he said he wouldn’t describe the feel of the car as harsh, and he’s confident enough in the setup that he could take it to the track and enjoy it there as well.
With his suspension set up by Carlin the car sits and drives just right — although Nat does admit he might eventually add an air cup setup to the suspension so he can safely go a bit lower.
Nat’s Porsche is quick, retains a proper sports car feel through the twisties, sounds fantastic, and can stop on a dime.
And it looks fantastic.Sunburst
As for the Sunburst kit itself, I’m glad that Nat (right) and Carlin (left) went out of their way to do something different and bring these parts stateside. With Sunburst kits emerging in the early nineties, it seems the world just wasn’t quite ready for such an extreme, race-bred aesthetic.
But once the ‘00s rolled around, the internet and social media were primed and ready for something different. A number of Inui-san’s Sunburst parts found their way on to early RWB builds, and it’s no secret Nakai-san was a fan of this exact Sunburst bodywork.
As a traditional tuning house Sunburst hasn’t changed the way they’ve done things in the last thirty years but with Carlin getting set up as a US distributor in the wake of this build, I hope I start to see more of these local to me.
At least one other build is currently underway in the U.S., and I know of one complete car that resides with my friends at RMC Miami in Southern Florida.
When it comes to Nat’s Porsche, this is how I wish every show car was built: it’s not too extreme, it’s well-balanced mechanically, and in one way it bucks a trend. It’s very much Nat’s car, and while it is a show car it avoids being superficial — at the end of the day it was built for Nat.
Nat says his plans for the car now are just to enjoy it, take it to shows, and go for drives. As one does when they finally own their dream Porsche.
Nat would like to thank the following people and workshops for their help with this build: Carlin Chiu and Tomomi Fukujyuu of Impact Performance, Josh White of Priola Body shop, Takeru Inui of Sunburst Japan, Stan Chen of Toyo Tires, Brian Fox of Fox Marketing, Chris Villasenor of Race Technologies, Johan Lee of Moton Suspension, Koji Takasu of Work Wheels Japan and the team at Fabspeed and Brembo.No Rivets