The Great Debate: Original vs. Aftermarket
In the car community, there are two basic schools of thought. The one likes his car tuned and customized, while the other prefers to keep things stock and original. While this phenomenon takes place amongst all brands of cars, it seems that Porsche stands atop them all in terms of a divided customer base. Today we're taking an ambitious dive in to the two approaches in an attempt to resolve this great debate once and for all. Ambitious? Sure. Worth a shot? Absolutely. Let's get started...
Tuned & Customized
While there are plenty of companies more than willing to reupholster your Porsche's interior, add a set of forged wheels, bolt in a new exhaust system and call it a day, I will only consider companies that offer Porsche complete performance, body, and interior overhauls. Here are two of the most prominent ones:
RUF - RUF's 991 RT-35, created to be a 650 horsepower turbocharged celebration of RUF's 35 years of overhauling and tuning Porsches, pictured alongside the legendary 1977 Turbo 3.3. Another special creation was RUF's Yellowbird, which was essentially a highly tuned 1987 Carrera 3.2 known to be quite the handful even in experienced hands.
Techart - A similar comprehensive tuning house that goes beyond aesthetic upgrades. Pictured is the Techart program for the 991 Turbo, which brings the horspower figure from 560 to 620 bhp, lowers the 0-100 km/h acceleration to 2.7 seconds and bumps the top speed to an eye watering 321 km/h.
Of course we can't include them all. Not listed are Switzerland's Sportec, Russia's TopCar, and Germany's Mansory, Edo Competition and Manthey Racing. 2013 unfortunately also saw two prominent Porsche tuners go bankrupt. 9ff, creater of monster 911s, and America's SpeedArt will surely be missed in the enthusiast community.
Now that we have gotten familiar with companies willing to take your money in exchange for making your Porsche unique, let's take a look at some reasons why one would want to keep a Porsche in factory original condition.
For starters, taking your car to a tuner will, in most cases, void your warranty. And given the high performance, high strung nature of these cars, a lack of warranty will surely trigger Murphy's law, nevertheless the renown reliability of Porsche's engines.
The second reason that'll make you think twice about tuning your Porsche is a little niggle called resale value. You see, not only will tuning your Porsche cost you anywhere from 10 to 200% of MSRP, more often than not, you'll not only fail to recuperate your investment, you'll also watch your car depreciate more quickly. This makes begins to make sense when you realize that customizations are usually highly personal, and that they may not be performed to the liking of the next interested buyer. The fact that visual aftermarket components often indicate to potential buyers that the car has been enjoyed in a rather spirited fashion also does not help the owner's case.
So should we conclude that aftermarket enhancements should be avoided like the plague? Not so fast. Perhaps the resale value and warranty penalties incured are justified by the performance upgrades. If Porsche race cars, backed by the manufacturer, are highly modified versions of stock 911s, why shouldn't owners be able to modify theirs to suit specific conditions and requirements. For example, what if one owner specifically uses his Porsche 991 Turbo for summer track day weekends and finds his road suspension setup to be slightly too soft for the track? Or perhaps a Porsche Cayman owner prefers a softer setup and a power boost for his long blasts from A to B on the German Autobahn? Does it now make sense to begin modifying your car? When applying logic from motorsports to everyday life, all of a sudden modifications begin to make a lot of sense.
While there are pros and cons to modifying your car, i.e. a loss in value could be offset by a gain in personalized setup, could there be a perfect middle ground? Perhaps. And it's called Tequipment - a unique customization program by offered directly by Porsche. It offers owners access to approved accessories to enhance the performance, look, and usability by means of Powerkits, Aerokits, Roofracks, and practically anything in between. Not only does the manufacturer warranty stay valid, but Porsches fitted with lots of Tequipment goodies actually fetch higher prices than similar models of equal vintage and with equal mileage. The fact that the individual parts have undergone strenuous testing, perhaps for longer periods of time and in more extreme conditions than independant tuner add-ons, just adds to the appeal of Porsche's Tequipment parts. Wunderbar!
If I were to have it my way, I'd choose a 7-speed manual 991 Carrera S in Aqua Blue with the Aerokit, and the Alcantara Sports Design steering wheel. For that specific request I have the procrastinator's tool of choice to thank called the Porsche Configurator. At the end of the day we'll all have a different opinion in mind, not unlike we'd all dream up a slightly different Porsche.
If you are interested in purchasing a Porsche, stay tuned for Porsche Centre Langley (opening Fall 2014).