The Car: 2008 Porsche 911 Turbo, Triple Black Cabriolet, Six-Speed Manual with a 3.6L Flat 6
We recently sat down with Rod Simmons after he completed some work on his 2008 Porsche 911 Turbo. He was very excited about the recent work and happy to share his story with us.
TELL US THE STORY BEHIND YOUR CAR.
I have been looking for this car for a long time. I had a triple black Cabriolet 996; it was a 2005 Turbo S, with the X50 add-on for more horsepower. Because it was the last year for the model 996, you know they put everything and the kitchen sink in to get you to buy it, so that Turbo S was a one year only, triple black carbon fiber with the X50 kit for more power, great car. I sold that a couple of years ago, and since then I have wanted the 997. I looked around, and it’s already hard to find one with ceramic brakes, but it’s even harder to find ceramic brakes on the Cabriolet because usually, they put those on the hardtop as they figure people are going to drive them harder. I spent about a year looking, and I finally found a low mileage, well-maintained, triple black Cabriolet, fully-loaded with the whole carbon fiber package and a lot of other extras; most importantly it had those ceramic brakes, so I picked it up last year, August of 2020. I actually found it in Chicago and had it shipped in. It is a 2008 with only 47,000 miles on it—that’s less than 5,000 a year—and it was in immaculate condition. So as soon as I got it, after driving it for a weekend, I took it straight to Craig to get started.
TELL ME ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE UPGRADES TO YOUR PORSCHE.
Craig has done a lot of work on it, and it’s just been fantastic. We added a lightweight flywheel and a GT2 clutch. We removed the hydraulics to get it to engage earlier and we initially put in sport springs and lowered it. Recently we decided to put in a Bilstein B16 coilover suspension and a Drexler limited-slip differential and the handling on the car is incredible—it made a big improvement. We’ve also done all the improved breathing on the car: it has the wide pipe, bigger injectors, bigger turbos, and bigger intercoolers. It has flying headers and exhaust. The car stock is 480 hp, and on high octane race gas, I’m running 828 hp to the wheels. I added TOYO R888R track tires, for when I take it out to the track. It is just an absolute blast to drive that car! It sounds great, it accelerates like crazy, and I get a lot of compliments on the car.
Craig and his guys over there at World Motorsports are just phenomenal! They know their stuff, they truly are experts. They can work on anything—these guys work on Lamborghini, Ferraris, McLarens, and they specialize in Porsches. Most importantly, they are good people. It’s always important to work with people who are generally cool people. With Craig and his guys, we laugh and talk, we have good conversation; we’re friends! Those guys are great professionals. They do great work and I refer them to everybody.
I had a phenomenal experience working with everyone—they are an absolute joy. Every time I go over there, I see what they’re working on, ask a few questions, and talk to Craig or Arthur. Everybody is always nice and professional, very cordial, and they make the time if I call and I have a question, or if I just drop in and I need something. In general, they take care of me and don’t sweat the small stuff! I’m a big picture, long-run, relationship kind of guy and these guys are big picture, long-term relationship guys.
WHAT HAVE THESE UPGRADES ALLOWED YOU TO DO THAT YOU COULDN’T BEFORE?
(Chuckles) Well, now the car allows me to go chase people down. I’m passing them by and then they come back and tell me, “Your car sounded so great when you passed me!” (Laughs) Yeah, the car really is awesome, it is a joy to drive!
DID WE HIT THE MARK ON THE VISION FOR YOUR CAR?
Oh yeah! I have a very specific vision with what I am doing as I make a GT2 Cabriolet. They have really surpassed anything I could have imagined and I have learned a lot from the experience! That car is just really fun to drive. I drive the track and I’m an instructor, and I’ve been driving on the track for years, but this car really handles well, it’s really a blast to drive.
It’s been so great working with these guys. Every time I see them, I have to tell them, “You know this car is amazing!” Every time I see Craig I thank him and I tell him what a great job he has done.
WHAT WAS THE CUSTOMIZATION PROCESS LIKE?
It has been an evolution. This process has evolved as I have grown into it. As the car gets more power, you learn how to handle that power, and acclimate to it properly. You slowly increase speeds and get more comfortable with the car. The car is a monster and they understand exactly what I’m doing. I’ve done some body-kit upgrades outside of performance to make it look more like a GT2. I’ve added the carbon fiber wing and GT2 front bumper. The car is now basically my own build of a GT2 Cabriolet. I started thinking about putting an S, for Simmons, on the back to make it look like a Turbo S, but I feel like that would be cheating. It’s a kick-ass, don’t-mess-with-me, try-it-I-dare-you, 911-Turbo. I’m just going to leave the plain turbo badge on there and people will find out when they underestimate me what sort of power it’s got!
DO YOU HAVE ANY FUTURE UPGRADES PLANNED?
Well ultimately Craig and I are talking about going in and replacing the connecting rods on that engine to try to get even more torque and more horsepower. Since we’ve just done the suspension, wing, and front bumper, next will be the side scoops and mirrors out of carbon fiber so it will be a GT2 lookalike. Sometime this year we’re going to go in and do the connecting rods, and while it’s opened up, we can try to make everything stronger. That would be the last step—to try to get to a nice round number of 1000 hp and about 800-foot pounds of torque. That car will be able to eat alive most things you come upon on the road. I’ve been able to compete with Ferraris and Lamborghinis, but that next step would really be to be able to compete with anything. It would just be the next level of fun.. Ultimately, the last thing I want to do is get the interior done with the Turbo S yellow stitching to match the GT2, and that would be it, it would finally be done! So, just a few more things to do, but it has come a long way, and World Motorsports and Craig have been the center of that, and I am ecstatic with the results of their hard work!