First Drive: This Porsche 911 Restomod Turned The Classic Ride Into A Supercharged Grand Tourer

Theon Design’s BEL001 features a centrifugal supercharger, a five-speed manual transmission and an ideal balance between comfort and control.

By Tim Pitt 16/12/2022

The original Porsche 911 Turbo was conceived as a bare-bones road racer—effectively a successor to the now-iconic Carrera 2.7 RS of 1973. The development prototype used a boosted 2.7-litre engine inside the wider body of a 911 3.0 RS, with just 200 examples planned for Group 4 racing homologation.

Having witnessed the sell-out success of the RS, however, Porsche’s marketing department had grander plans. And when the production 911 Turbo debuted at the Paris Motor Show in 1974, it had become a very different beast: a plush super-GT with air conditioning, electric windows and a four-speaker stereo.

Project BEL001, a supercharged Porsche 911 restomod from Theon Design.
DEAN SMITH, COURTESY OF THEON DESIGN.

The Turbo—commonly known by its “930” type number—was the undisputed king of Germany’s autobahns, its 3.0-litre flat-six mustering 260 hp for a top speed of 250 km/h. It also represented the 911’s first foray into true supercar territory, taking on thoroughbreds such as the Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer. Bedroom walls had never looked so exciting.

Yet the 930’s engine was also its Achilles’ heel. Its violent, zero-to-hero power delivery could catch drivers unawares, knocking the car off-balance, then frequently backwards into a hedge. Not until the 993 generation of 1995, which introduced twin turbocharging and four-wheel drive, did Porsche finally tame the Turbo.

Adam Hawley, cofounder of Theon Design, is well aware of the Turbo’s “widowmaker” reputation. Indeed, he still has the slightly battered, die-cast 930 he played with as a child on his office desk. So, when a customer requested a 964-based restomod that “combined classic Porsche driving dynamics with real grand-touring ability,” he suggested an alternative approach. “We didn’t want the slam-you-in-the-back Turbo effect,” Hawley says. “Drivability was key. Still, we didn’t realise how challenging building a supercharged 911 would be.”

The 964-based restomod was commissioned to combine “classic Porsche driving dynamics with real grand-touring ability.”
DEAN SMITH, COURTESY OF THEON DESIGN.

The result is “BEL001,” so-called because it’s the first 911 built by Theon Design for a customer in Belgium. Its 400 hp output is identical to the naturally aspirated “CHI001” commission I drove a few months ago, but the two cars take different routes to get there; one is a rev-hungry road racer, the other a comfortable super-GT. Sound familiar?

The engine bay of any 911 is knuckle-scrapingly tight, especially once you add the apparatus of forced induction. However, by relocating the air-con unit to the front trunk, Theon Design could use the same mounting points to bolt on a centrifugal supercharger. Driven directly off the crankshaft—rather than waiting for a build-up of exhaust gasses like a turbo—it promises a brawny 498 Nm of torque and instant right-foot response.

The Danish-made Rotrex supercharger is supplemented by twin charge coolers and a water-methanol injection system, which boosts the fuel octane level (using UK-spec Super Unleaded) from 98 to 110 RON at high revs. These measures also obviate the need for a 930-style top-mounted intercooler and “tea tray” spoiler, or any additional vents in the rear fenders. “Speak softly and carry a big stick” was clearly the mantra here.

The 400 hp BEL001 commission uses a centrifugal supercharger and delivers 367 ft lbs of torque.
DEAN SMITH, COURTESY OF THEON DESIGN.

Like all of Theon Design’s cars, BEL001 combines the pre-1974 “long hood” 911 look with a modern and very muscular stance. It rides low on dished Fuchs-style wheels—here with a Champagne gold finish—filling out its fulsome haunches. The all-steel body is painted in lush Aquamarine, a custom colour based on Porsche 356 Fjord Green, with bold yellow graphics and subtle “ghost stripes” above the sills.

The interior is equally classy, with caramel leather swathing the reshaped Porsche “tombstone” seats. And the retro green-on-black dials and plastic switches have been replaced by milled, cool-to-the-touch aluminium. Traditional sliders control the fast-acting electric heater (no more waiting for the air-cooled engine), while a magnetic smartphone mount on the dashboard allows you to operate the Bluetooth audio system. Turn around and the 911’s snug rear seats have been remodeled in the deeper, cocoon-like style of a Porsche 928.

The interior is swathed in caramel leather and features milled-aluminium dials.
DEAN SMITH, COURTESY OF THEON DESIGN.

Backing gingerly out of Theon Design’s spotlessly clean workshop—where the company hand-builds around six restomod 911s each year—I find that the 3.6-litre engine sounds smoother and far less rambunctious than the 4.0-litre mill in CHI001. Then Hawley presses a button to open the switchable exhaust valves and the background hum swells to an ominous metallic rumble. That’s more like it.

Compared to the sudden sucker-punch of a 930 Turbo, this car presents a power delivery that’s far more linear, a relentless rush that gains real urgency once the water-methanol injection kicks in beyond 4,500 rpm. Theon Design hasn’t published performance figures, but with a curb weight of just 1,265 kg, its 911 restomod feels blisteringly quick. It has a uniquely supercharged soundtrack, too: a distant whine punctuated by the hisses and flutters of expelled excess air whenever you change gear.

Like all of Theon Design’s cars, BEL001 combines the pre-1974 “long hood” 911 look with a modern and very muscular stance.
DEAN SMITH, COURTESY OF THEON DESIGN.

Where CHI001 used a six-speed transmission from a 993 Turbo, this car retains a rebuilt “G50” five-speed manual transmission, with wider-spaced ratios that suit the vehicle’s calmer, more long-legged demeanor. Likewise, the Tractive adaptive dampers again have five settings, adjusted via a rotary knob on the centre console, but here are tuned for a more pliant ride. On our test route, they offered an excellent balance between comfort and control.

Indeed, the writhing roads around Theon Design’s headquarters—located in England’s rural Oxfordshire, close to the Silverstone F1 circuit—feel perfectly suited to this 911. The restomod’s compact dimensions and endlessly animated electro-hydraulic power steering lead to swift and confidence-inspiring progress. I don’t doubt that BEL001 would be refined and amenable (not to mention reliable) enough for epic, trans-European road trips as well—exactly what its Belgian owner has planned.

Compared to the sudden sucker-punch of a 930 Turbo, this car presents power delivery that is far more linear.

DEAN SMITH, COURTESY OF THEON DESIGN.
Singer revealed its Turbo Study

Singer revealed its Turbo Study earlier this year, a “reimagined” Porsche 930 with OEM-style impact bumpers and a tea tray. It’s a cool project that will doubtless look fantastic on a bedroom wall, but Theon Design’s supercharged 911 seems a less obvious, and perhaps less compromised, answer to the same question. A road racer and a super-GT? Oh, yes.

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How To Make the Ultimate Hangover Cure

Is this the ultimate cocktail to know by heart?

By Belinda Aucott-christie 29/05/2024

The Savoy in London, a beacon of luxury and opulence, holds a significant place in British history as the nation’s first luxury hotel. It was a haven where the affluent sought to experience a taste of royalty. Interestingly, it was within these grand walls that the alleged liquid remedy for hangovers, The Corpse Reviver, was born.

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Due to its medicinal qualities, this cocktail has passed into drinking folklore, making its recipe a right of passage for any lush.

The Corpse Reviver is aptly named for its life-affirming qualities and claimed ability to knock a hangover on the head.

It’s reassuring to know that the dreaded hangover was such a cause of social consternation in the late 1940s, that it demanded a creative response from Savoy’s hotel bar staff. We’ll drink to that.

Adding to the Corpse Reviver’s allure is the mystery surrounding its creation. Was it the ingenious work of Savoy bartender Johnny Johnson or the creative genius of Joe Gilmore? The exact timeline of its inception between 1948 and 1954 remains a tantalising enigma. 

It’s a zesty, slightly sour hangover cure with a cheeky touch of absinthe shining through. If your hangover is very bad, add a little more syrup to the mix.

To make, take a cocktail shaker and add equal parts dry gin, triple sec, lemon juice, and Lillet Blanc (3/4 of a shot each). 

Add a tiny dash of sugar syrup and absinthe, shake all ingredients with ice until very cold, strain and pour into a chilled coupe.

Garnish with a chic lemon twist and say cheerio to your hangover. 

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ThirdHome Arrives Down Under

The global home-swap club targeting Australia’s millionaires.

By Belinda Aucott 24/05/2024

Wayne Shealy made his name developing resorts from New England to the Caribbean, and shifting more than $3 billion in luxury real estate. In 2010 he started ThirdHome to let luxury homeowners leverage the empty parts of properties in their portfolio to enjoy better holidays. Billed as an exclusive community of ‘neighbours’, ThirdHome now facilitates swapping second and third homes for the super-wealthy.

Wade Shealy, CEO and Founder of ThirdHome, a luxury home-swapping membership program. THIRDHOME

While the glamorous international portfolio spans illustrious private residences, including castles, ranches and chalets, it has been extended to private islands, pieds-à-terre, safari camps, wineries, boutique hotels and yachts.

Turin Castle in Forfar, Scotland. THIRDHOME

Purpose-built for people who own at least two residences and have homes to spare valued at over $2 million, all applicants are vetted and assessed, before being allowed to join. With a global portfolio across 100 countries and 2500 destinations, Shealy is now focusing on Australia.

“We’re super excited for the next chapter of our Australian journey,” Shealy says, from his horse farm outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee. 

“We know there’s an extremely healthy appetite for Australians with second homes wanting to become members, who love to travel and want to enjoy exclusive access to the world’s more exceptional stays for a fraction of the price,” he says of his motivation for extending the network Down Under.  He notes that by cleverly utilising the downtime in their own homes, they can fund extravagant trips they may have never dreamt possible. Doing so in a gated community that values trust and respect.

Château De Vézins in Loire Valley, France. THIRDHOME

The spirit of sharing drives the sservice, with ThirdHome members acquiring points in the system each time they open their doors to others. This makes it a self-regulating community backed by solid technology and vigilant management that keeps applicants A-grade.

“Our members are house proud and guest proud,” he adds. “They want the guests to have a great experience.”

Learn more about membership and the rules of engagement here

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Art for Investment

A new private gallery in Sydney helps collectors enter the secondary market.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 24/05/2024

When Art Basel opens next month in Switzerland, it will do so with fresh power under its wings. In 2022 the global art market totalled $67.8 billion, showing 3 percent year-on-year growth*. This year, art topped Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index, with prices rising by 11 percent over 2023. According to most reports, art is now a positively appreciating asset class. By comparison, the values of rare whisky, classic cars, handbags, and furniture fell.

This raises the question of how to invest wisely in art and ensure the sound provenance of your investment. Jesse Jack De Deyne and Boris Cornelissen from A Secondary Eye are here to help art collectors. Conceived as a private gallery with rotating exhibitions, the space is designed to help serious investors confidently buy and sell.

“We offer access to some of the finest works entering the secondary market in Australia and operate with a stringent provenance framework in place,” says Jess Jack De Deyne from the company’s top-floor space overlooking leafy Queen Street in Sydney’s Woollahra.

De Deyne and Cornelissen opened in May with a presentation of rare works by Rover Thomas, the late East Kimberly artist who represented Australia at the 1990 Venice Biennale.

Rover Thomas, Desert Meeting Place, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas.

De Deyne specialises in Indigenous Australian art and comes to Sydney with a background as a Director in an Aboriginal Arts Centre and working for a leading auction house. Cornelissen is a former contemporary art specialist from Sotheby’s in London and Hong Kong.

“We are most effective when a prospective client comes to us with a specific artwork in mind,” explains De Deyne. “They may have recently been to Canberra to visit the highly regarded exhibition of Emily Kame Kngwarreye at the National Gallery of Australia and there is a specific period of the artist that they are drawn to. Through our contacts, we may be able to help source available related works that would not necessarily appear at auction.” 

Though A Secondary Eye was founded in 2020 in Brisbane, De Denye says the larger pool of collectors drew them down to Sydney. The new gallery’s private aspect seems to be a key selling point for the duo, who prize discretion and private sales. 

Rover Thomas, Lake Argyle, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas

“Whereas auctions are publicly advertised, a private dealer can offer a work discreetly to a handful of clients without over-exposing it. And we can also present works in a more considered way through curated, high-quality exhibitions that tell the story of each work.”

While some may be intimidated by entering the art market, these art dealers say exposure to the art world is key to unlocking its potential. “Take the time to attend art fairs, exhibitions and auction viewings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for advice. With time and experience, you will learn what you are drawn to and how the offered prices sit relative to other works in the market.”

In an art world overflowing with rules, customs, and jargon, De Deyne is quick to clarify the key difference between dealers and advisers for newbies. 

“An art dealer helps collectors buy and sell artworks and therefore has a commercial incentive in selling a work. The best art advisors work independently, often on a retainer, and don’t profit from the transaction, which means they can give their clients honest advice. 

De Deyne and Cornelissen are well-placed to help people get a foot in the market, no matter how experienced they are. Ultimately, they preach to the choir, appealing most to fine art collectors searching for a specific work. 

“We work in a niche area and ultimately attract people who share our interests. Art collectors, particularly on the secondary market, often follow the art, rather than the person selling it.”

Follow A Secondary Eye here for future exhibitions. 

*According to the 2023 Art Market 2023, authored by Dr. Clare McAndrew, Founder of Arts Economics and published by Art Basel in partnership with UBS

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Watch of the Week: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph

Roger Dubuis unveils its innovative chronograph collection in Australia for the very first time.

By Josh Bozin 21/05/2024

When avant-garde Swiss watchmaker Roger Dubuis revealed its highly anticipated Chronograph Collection halfway through 2023, it was a testament to its haute horology department in creating such a technical marvel for everyday use. Long at the forefront of cutting-edge design and technological excellence, Roger Dubuis (pronounced Ro-ger Du-BWEE) is no stranger to such acclaim.

Now, fans down under will finally get a taste of the collection that made headlines, with the official Australian unveiling of its Chronograph Collection. Representing precision engineering, extraordinary craftsmanship, and audacious design, this collection, now in its fifth generation, continues to redefine the chronograph category.

Roger Dubuis Australia welcomes the Excalibur Spider Collection to the market, featuring the exquisite Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph, as well as the Excalibur Spider Revuelto Flyback Chronograph (a timepiece made in partnership with Lamborghini Squadra Corse). Each model speaks at lengths to the future of ‘Hyper Horology’—watchmaking, as Roger Dubuis puts it, that pushes the boundaries of traditional watchmaking.

Roger Dubuis

“Roger Dubuis proposes a unique blend of contemporary design and haute horlogerie and the Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is the perfect illustration of this craft,” says Sadry Keiser, Chief Marketing Officer. “For its design, we took inspiration from the MonovortexTM Split-Seconds Chronograph, while we decided to power the timepiece with an iconic complication, the flyback chronograph, also marking its come back in the Maison’s collections.”

The Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is bold and flashy—a chronograph made to be seen, especially at its 45mm size. But Roger Dubuis wouldn’t have it any other way. The supercar-inspired watch is certainly captivating in the flesh. Its multi-dimensional design reveals different layers of technical genius as you spend time with it: from its case crafted from lightweight carbon to its hyper-resistant ceramic bezel, black DLC titanium crown, open case back with sapphire crystal, and elegant rubber strap to tie the watch together, it’s a sporty yet incredibly refined timepiece.

The new RD780 chronograph calibre powers the chronograph, a movement fully integrated with two patents: one linked to the second hand of the chronograph and the other to the display of the minute counter. The chronograph also features a flyback function.

The complete set is now available at the Sydney Boutique for those wishing to see the Roger Dubuis Chronograph Collection firsthand.

Roger-Dubuis

 

Roger-Dubuis

Model: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph
Diameter: 45mm
Material: C-SMC Carbon case
Water resistance: 100m

Movement: RD780 calibre
Complication: Chronograph, date
Functions: hours, minutes, and central seconds
Power reserve: 72 hours

Bracelet: Black rubber strap

Availability: upon request
Price: $150,000


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Thanks to NETGEAR, the First Quad-Band WiFi 7 Mesh System Has Arrived

Elite WiFi performance for your whole home.

By Robb Report 30/05/2024

There’s no denying that in today’s era of technological innovation, home living and entertainment have reached unprecedented heights. In fact, modern home technology is so advanced that we can now enjoy futuristic comforts at the touch of a button (or the flick of a switch).

But one caveat to overcome before enjoying such modern perks: you need ultra-fast Wi-Fi to feed internet-hungry devices, especially when our dependence on Wi-Fi will only grow. Enter, NETGEAR’s latest Wi-Fi technology, set to change the performance of your whole home.

NETGEAR

The NETGEAR Orbi 970 Series Quad-Band WiFi 7 Mesh System is the first of its kind in the category of Wi-Fi technology, unlocking the extraordinary power of WiFi 7 (with 2.4 x faster speeds than WiFi 6). The Orbi 970 Series elevates what most households love, like streaming movies in the highest possible quality, linking wireless speakers throughout your home to play concert-quality music in every room, and gaming like a pro without any lag or drop-outs. But the Orbi 970 Series will also drastically improve your workflow, from email and colleague chats to taking Zoom calls and more.

Leveraging over 25 years of NETGEAR engineering innovation and exclusive patented technology, the Orbi 970 Series will service all of today’s needs, as well as tomorrow’s—in a country like Australia, where internet standards lag behind the rest of the world, residential multi-gigabit speeds will become a godsend. With unparalleled performance based on cutting-edge, patented technology, the Orbi 970 Series will continue to grow with its users, especially as our homes get “smarter”; relying on technology, such as the Orbi 970 Series, will be paramount.

And design doesn’t have to be compromised, either. Wi-Fi might not necessarily be the sexiest topic out there (very few Wi-Fi routers exist that you could call “design-drive”), but the Orbi 970 Series changes that. Thanks to a new sophisticated design, the Orbi 970 Series is elegant enough to blend seamlessly with your home décor.

Netgear

Best of all, thanks to a one-year NETGEAR Armour included with your purchase, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your family and your home are protected with an automatic security shield across your connected devices.

The NETGEAR Orbi 970 series Quad Band WiFi 7 Mesh System retails for $4,299. To learn more, visit the website here.

 

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