Go on. Admit it. You're surprised to see a Porsche 911 here, aren't you? We hope so, because we want to surprise you from time to time, and hopefully in a positive way. We are, of course, diehard Japanese car lovers and always will be, but that doesn't mean we don't appreciate a fine piece of German engineering, and we suspect you feel the same way. True car enthusiasts tend to appreciate a wide range of machinery, regardless of geographic or brand allegiances, so expect to see more European and domestic brands popping up in this once JDM-everything magazine.
Aaron Ochoco, owner of this beautifully massaged '05 911 Carrera, got his start like a lot of us, playing with Hot Wheels and R/C cars as well as making an annual trip to the L.A. Auto Show with his car-crazed father. "Everything I played with had to be modified. I remember coloring the windows on my Hot Wheels with a Sharpie to tint them. Even my R/C car was completely hooked up with upgraded motors and carbon fiber, so modifying real cars was a natural progression. I got into the car scene during high school when The Fast and the Furious first came out and the whole tuner and Hot Import Nights scene was blowing up," Aaron tells us.
It wasn't long before he began showing his first new car, an Infiniti G35 coupe, at local meets. Aaron's style, despite any F&F influence, was to keep things restrained and clean, opting for quality parts from Japanese tuning superstars including Volk, Tein, and GReddy. But before you assume he's just another bandwagon jumper who has graduated to Porsches now that he's in a position to roll a little deeper, you need to consider that Aaron's first project was actually an '85 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC, which he modified in more of a classic hot rod style.
F&F wasn't Aaron's only movie influence, either. He actually credits his interest in Porsche 911s to the opening scene of the modern remake of Gone in 60 Seconds, where a 996 Carrera races a Civic on the street. According to Aaron, "After that, I always wanted a 911, and a few years later, the 997 came out and I had a great opportunity to sell my tuned G35 for close to what I paid for this Porsche. I went for it and never looked back."
Given his early project cars and cinematic influences, you have to admit that Aaron's 911 build actually makes perfect sense, allowing him to fuse his passions for Japanese-style tuning and modified German machinery in one of the world's most legendary sports cars. And as you'd expect, Aaron's stayed with his "clean and subtle" approach to modifications, drawing inspiration from Germany's top performance divisions as well as from Internet blogs and forums like Speedhunters and S2ki.com user Diez and his high-quality S2000 build thread.
"My approach has been to build the car with an 'OEM Plus' state of mind. I like and respect what the 'M','S', and 'AMG' departments do for BMW, Audi, and Mercedes, and so that's the theme I've gone with the last few years. I don't like cars that are modded to the point that it's very obvious that they've been modified. I like subtle mods that flow with the original design language from the factory and that accent the vehicle rather than completely changing it."
For starters, Aaron used a healthy amount of Alcantara on the interior surfaces, and he accented that with carbon fiber, like the DCT Motorsport Alcantara/carbon-fiber steering wheel and Rottec CGT carbon-fiber seats. The steering wheel was custom built to look similar to a Lamborghini Superleggera's, and the piano-black console was a design cue taken from the Aston Martin DBS. Aaron also equipped his 997 with a Porsche factory rollbar finished beautifully in stainless steel, which should tip you off that he enjoys this car on the canyon roads near Los Angeles and takes it to the occasional track day,too.
The exterior of Aaron's 997 has seen some high-quality 'OEM Plus' treatment, too, in the form of a Porsche GT3 front bumper, GT3 Cup front lip, and Porsche Motorsports carbon-fiber dive planes, along with a Precision Porsche GT3 Euro rear bumper, a '10 GT3 rear wing, and dry carbon rear ducts. Aaron hasn't ignored his JDM roots here, opting for an RWB-inspired set of Work Meister S1 three-piece wheels wrapped in Falken FK453 rubber along with JIC/Cross coilovers to set the ride height and improve road holding.
Aaron's 997 isn't just about aesthetics and stance, though. He's done just bout everything possible to his Carrera's 3.6L M96 Boxer engine to squeeze some extra naturally aspirated jam out of it, including Borla headers, IPD's competition plenum, and a Porsche GT3 82mm throttle-body. As he tells us, "I just loved the purity of the NA engine but wanted to make it sound better and work more efficiently. The exhaust has been completely swapped out, and the current setup is the fourth iteration and my favorite-sounding version, plus it's been modified to exit out the center of the GT3 rear bumper. EVOMSit then tuned the ECU to tie in all the mods I made to the engine."
Sure, maybe Aaron could have bought a 997 GT3 with the money he's invested in his Carrera, but as he says, "Building a completely custom, bespoke vehicle that reflects my personality was worth every penny and hour wrenching on it. My crew, The Encore Collective, has been a big part in pushing each other to build our cars to the next level, and my best friend, Aaron-Ross, and my brother Ace always give me input on a mod before it goes on the car. I think now that it's at the height of its build, it's time to just enjoy the car as it is." Is it faster than a GT-R or cooler looking than a Rocket Bunny S13? Who cares? This is Aaron's 997, and we think his superclean fusion of Japanese and Euro influences makes it one of the most appealing Porsche builds we've come across.
Specs & Details
'05 Porsche 911 Carrera
Engine 3.6L M96 Boxer straight-6
Engine Modifications LN Engineering IMS bearing upgrade; RSS pulley; IPD 'Competition' plenum; Porsche GT3 82mm TB, Porsche x51 carbon-fiber airbox and center radiator; BMC F1 air filters; Borla headers; HJS high-flow cats; Afterhours mufflers with custom center piping
Engine Management EVOMSit ECU tuning
Drivetrain Sachs Stage 2 sprung hub clutch; AASCO lightweight flywheel; Porsche short shift kit
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Custom Work Meister 19x8.5'' (f) and 19x11.5'' (r) S1 3-piece wheels; Falken 235/35R19 (f) and 295/30R19 (r) FK453 tires; factory Brembo/Porsche brakes; Motul brake fluid
Suspension JIC/Cross coilovers and front upper pillow-ball mounts; RSS Tarmac Series toe link kit, dog bones and street alignment
Exterior Porsche OEM GT3 front bumper; Porsche Motorsports GT3 Cup front lip and dry carbon-fiber dive planes; Precision Porsche GT3 euro rear bumper; '10 GT3 rear wing and dry carbon rear ducts; 6000k HID headlights; Rottec front LED DRLs, clear side markers, '10 LED taillights; Ventureshield clear bra
Interior Alcantara-wrapped dash, console, headliner, shift knob/shift boot and e-brake handle; piano-black center console; carbon-fiber armrest and ignition ring; DCT Motorsport Alcantara/carbon-fiber steering wheel; Porsche Motorsports rollbar; Rottec CGT carbon-fiber seats w/Alcantara center cushions; billet aluminum pedals; rear seat delete; Pioneer avic z110bt nav head unit and 4-channel amp; Apple 160gb iPod; Bose component speakers and subwoofer
Numbers 368 bhp and 305 lb-ft at the flywheel
Special Thanks The Encore Collective; Robert at Falken Tire; Mike and Brian at RSS; Matt and Ian at EVOMSit; Jay at Speed Alliance; BMC Filters; AASCO Motorsports; Meguiar's; my best friend, Aaron-Ross; my family, girlfriend and friends for their continued support