1980 Porsche Bisimoto 911BR "One-of-a-Kind"
An air-cooled tribute to the King of Coolby Jonathan Lopez, on
In the 1971 film Le Mans, Steve McQueen delivers one of his all-time most memorable quotes: “When you’re racing, it’s life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.” That attitude wasn’t just a figment of McQueen’s onscreen character – the man really did live to go fast. When he wasn’t acting, McQueen participated in a variety of professional racing series, and when he was acting, he regularly performed his own stunts behind the wheel. The Porsche you see here is a rolling tribute to the McQueen mythos, a customized one-off creation packed to the brim with performance-enhancing modifications and polished subtlety. If style were a liquid, this thing would be an ocean, and next month, it’s going to the highest bidder.
Slated to hit the block at the 2016 Mecum Collector Car Auction in Monterey, California, the Mecum website describes the 911BR as “a no expense spared bespoke Porsche” that “reflects [McQueen’s] personality and penchant for straight line performance, cornering prowess and understated appearance.”
Proceeds will go to benefit Boys Republic (hence the “BR”), a non-profit organization in Chino, California that serves troubled adolescents. Since 1907, Boys Republic has helped more than 30,000 at-risk teenagers, including McQueen himself, who credited Boys Republic with refocusing his life towards success.
So what makes the 911BR worthy of association with the King of Cool? Read on to find out.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1980 Porsche Bisimoto 911BR.
1980 Porsche Bisimoto 911BR "One-of-a-Kind"
History And Background
Take a peek inside the cabin, and you’ll see a signed plate of authenticity fixed to the dash, which reads:
“Project 911 BR
1 of 1”
“Commissioned in Honor of Steve McQueen”
Below this are the signatures of five men, each of whom played a major role in the car’s creation: Peter Dunkel, Danny McKenna, Chad McQueen, Bisi Ezerioha, and Brad Boyle.
Bisi Ezerioha’s speed shop, Bisimoto Engineering, was tasked with the majority of the build. Based out of Ontario, California, Bisimoto has been making high-performance race and street cars since 1995, and holds multiple records in sport compact drag racing. These days, however, Bisimoto’s main focus is machinery from Stuttgart.
In a Kickstarter video released earlier this year, Ezerioha says the car gives a nod to the “old-school racing themes that Porsche is known for,” while also including “all the devices that you see in a modern-day supercar.”
The end result is “a true merging of modern technology and old-school love.”
The first thing that makes this Porsche authentically McQueen-esque is the Slate Grey paint job, a custom color that found its way onto multiple models in his garage, including the 911 featured in the opening scene of Le Mans. Offsetting the appropriately stoic hue are matte-white alloy wheels, which come in a Fuchs-inspired design perfectly suited to the timeless 911 lines.
In back, you’ll find a “911 BR” badge just below the polished vent mesh of the engine cover, while dual exhaust pipes strut their stuff with gorgeous welds.
Speaking of which, Porsche fanatics will quickly notice that the body doesn’t look like it’s from 1980. Rather, the 911BR gets a backdated exterior design plucked from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, giving it an aura that simply oozes old-school cool.
The details are as equally well executed as the broad strokes. In back, you’ll find a “911 BR” badge just below the polished vent mesh of the engine cover, while dual exhaust pipes strut their stuff with gorgeous welds.
In a world crammed to capacity with translucent candy-colored supercars and hyper-aggressive carbon-fiber aerodynamics, the 911BR is a lovely respite. It’s a look that’s classy and enduring, the sort of thing that hints at exclusivity and rarity without the need to shout about it.
The cabin of the 911BR is a serious place to be. To call it stripped down wouldn’t be fair – a more accurate characterization would be “driver focused.”
As you might expect, most of the interior is finished in black. However, there are also a good number of polished accents, including trim pieces from U.S.-based aftermarket parts manufacturer Rennline.
The three-spoke high-performance steering wheel is Momo’s Prototipo unit, ostensibly McQueen’s “favorite steering wheel.”
However, one of the coolest features of the cockpit has to be the “custom retro racing seats.” With a design inspired by aircraft, the seats come finished in bare, hand-formed aluminum, and gleam like a P51 Mustang preparing for takeoff.
The three-spoke high-performance steering wheel is Momo’s Prototipo unit, ostensibly McQueen’s “favorite steering wheel.” Behind the wheel sit five individual gauges, including a centrally mounted 11,000-rpm tachometer with a bright red face.
A custom four-point roll cage finishes it off, but unfortunately, it looks unpadded, which means this gorgeous creation shouldn’t be driven without a helmet.
Lift the rear hatch, and you’ll find a 3.6-liter air-cooled flat-six engine. Although it’s rather archaic when it comes to heat dissipation, the rest of it is a little more modern. There’s sequential fuel injection, CANBUS onboard diagnostics, and an intake manifold pilfered from a late-model GT3. Combustible air enters through individual throttle bodies, while spent gasses exit through a custom-fabricated, F1-inspired exhaust with Helmholtz pulse chambers.
Output is rated at 316 horsepower, but this car is about so much more than overt muscle. Fired up and taken to redline, I’m sure the sound alone will be enough to make your heart skip a beat.
Sending the ponies to the rear axle is a four-speed manual transmission.
Chassis And Handling
Under the late-‘60s/early-‘70s styling cues is a chassis from 1980. While already quite potent straight out of the box, the 911BR is sharpened even further thanks to custom coilover suspension in the rear, which replaces the factory torsion bar set-up.
The coilovers also bless the car with a lowered stance and 1.5 degrees of positive rake – small changes that work wonders for the styling.
Making it stick are R888 tires from Toyo, while the curb weight is rated at a mere 2,400 pounds.
With all the upgrades, celebrity affiliations, and full service records included in the sale, Mecum auctions estimates the 911BR to fetch between $135,000 and $175,000 when it goes under the hammer next month. Look for it as Lot S40, or check it out at Mecum’s website here.
It’s an audacious thing to think you can improve the 911, but since 2009, that’s exactly what Singer Vehicle Design has done. Singer-prepped Porsches offer meticulous refinement down to the smallest of details, from the chassis to the drivetrain, the suspension to the interior, but each carries a rather weighty six-figure price tag. Whether or not the 911BR will match that price remains to be seen.
Read the full review here.
Throughout his career, McQueen had a huge stable of impressive speed machines at his disposal, each of which could be considered a metal incarnation of his legendary bad-boy persona. The 911BR looks to continue that tradition, and overall, it does a fantastic job doing exactly that. It’s got the style of a proper McQueen Porsche through and through, eschewing modern trends in favor of the base root of what’s cool.
Last year, Mecum auctioned off another McQueen Porsche in Monterey – a 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera previously owned and modified by the legendary actor. That ride very nearly broke the $2 million mark, and while the 911BR won’t be reaching the same lofty heights, rest assured some well-heeled McQueen disciple will be on hand to offer a pretty penny.