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Updating to the Turbo Look

Pelican Technical Article:

Updating to the Turbo Look


40 hr






Expert Body shop

Applicable Models:

Porsche 911 (1965-89)
Porsche 912 (1965-69)

Parts Required:

Turbo look update kit and accessories

Hot Tip:

If you are having your car painted, now is the time to do the update!

Performance Gain:

An awesome looking 911

Complementary Modification:

Paint your car
101 Projects for Your Porsche 911

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's book, 101 Projects for Your Porsche 911. The book contains 240 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Porsche 911 owner's collection. See The Official Book Website for more details.

With the introduction of the 911 Turbo (internally called the 930), Porsche refined the looks and beauty of the 911 silhouette even further than it had done before. The original 911 Turbos had front and rear flared fenders, a large 'whale-tail' spoiler mounted to the rear decklid, and a front spoiler that was mounted below the front bumper. This advanced, 911 on steroids look is highly desired by many normally aspirated 911 owners, and as a result it is very popular to perform the 911 Turbo look conversion.

It is important to note that in the late 1980s, Porsche introduced an option on the normally aspirated 911 Carrera called the "Factory Turbo Look." While containing all of the visual enhancements that accented the lines of the regular 930, the Factory Turbo Look cars also contained all of the advanced suspension components that were originally installed on the 930s. In other words, the Factory Turbo Look Carreras were essentially 911 Turbo cars without the Turbo engine. Everything else was basically the same, including the suspension and brakes.

It is important to note this distinction, because many people selling their cars advertise them as Factory Turbo Look cars even though they are not. All of these cars should have the 911 Turbo brake calipers and full suspension on them. If they don't, then that is a clear indication that the car is a conversion and not the genuine article. That's not to say that these conversions should be avoided: they are just worth less than the original Factory Turbo Looks because they are missing the highly sought after 930 brakes and suspension.

Another popular option for racers was to start with the 911 Carrera Factory Turbo Look Cars, and Turbo charge the 3.2 liter engine with an aftermarket Turbo kit. This afforded the cars the benefits of all the Turbo brakes and suspension with the addition of a 5-speed transmission and the extra Turbo power (until 1989, the 930s were shipped with a four-speed transmission). Needless to say, there are plenty of cars out there whose lineage has been significantly altered from original. This is not necessarily a bad thing: as long as the changes have been well documented and the work performed professionally.

Ironically, the Factory Turbo Look cars do not fetch prices that are significantly more than the standard 911 Carreras. In most cases, the cost of performing a Turbo Look conversion on a normal 911 will not increase the value of the car by a corresponding amount. However, this is mostly true of any upgrade or conversion that you might do to your car.

For those of us not lucky enough to own a 930 or even a 911 Carrera Factory Turbo Look, there is the option of performing the Turbo Look conversion. It is probably best to consider this conversion when you are painting your car, since a large amount of body work will be involved. It's also a wise idea to find someone who has performed this conversion before, because body work of this nature is more of an art than it is a science. Practice and patience are important here. Just because someone is the cheapest, doesn't mean that they will perform a good job.

Okay, so you're interested in upgrading your car to the Turbo Look. There certainly isn't enough room here to go into details about how to do it yourself, so we'll just discuss what you need to have done and the costs involved. The following list summarizes what you need in order to perform the Turbo Look Upgrade:

Front Fender Flares. Sometimes you can find original Turbo or Turbo look fenders with the flares already installed. If you can, then the process becomes a lot easier, as the front fenders can simply be bolted-on in place of the older fenders.

Rear Fender Flares. Unlike the front fenders, the rear ones are welded on, and are a pretty significant part of the rear body. There's not much you can do to get out of welding on the flares to the rear of your car.

Rear Bumper Extensions. In order to meet up with the rear fender flares, the rear bumper must have these flared extensions attached.

Rocker Arm Extensions (front and rear). The rocker panels underneath the doors now need to meet the front and rear flares. Extensions that curve outwards to meet the flares are welded to the rocker panels. There are aftermarket kits that contain all the flares and extensions that you need to perform the upgrade. The typical cost of this kit is about $850.

Turbo Tail. You will also need the distinctive 930 Turbo tail. There were two different types produced. One early one, used only on the 1976-77 Turbos, and the later style 'Tea Tray' Turbo tail. Good used factory Turbo tails can be hard to find, but good aftermarket ones exist. The used factory tails usually go for around $500 each, and the aftermarket ones can be found in good condition for about $350. You will also need to make sure you have good outer rubber on the tail, and also a new seal for the seam where the tail meets the deck lid. See Project 83 for more information.

Front chin spoiler. If you already have a chin spoiler on your car, you will need to replace it with the Turbo front spoiler. The spoiler extends further up the car than the regular one, and actually meets the flared fenders.

Wider Wheels. At least 7" in the front, and either 8" or 9" in the rear. Don't forget new tires if the wheels that you find are bare. The 7" wheels are quite common, running about $300 for the pair. However, the 8" and 9" wheels are very difficult to find, and can sometimes run about $1000 for the pair in good used condition.

Wheel spacers. Since the suspensions between the 930 and the 911 are different, you will need wheel spacers in both the front and the rear. Usually the front wheels require about 1" spacers, and the rear wheels require anywhere from 1" to 2" depending on how the flares were attached. The wheel spacers can cost up to $500 if purchased brand new.

As you can see, the costs for the parts alone can add up. The bodywork costs from the body shop will also cost several hundreds of dollars too. Not to mention that you will have to paint the car as well. For some owners, it's a bit too much to swallow. However, if you want to upgrade the looks of your car to the awesome silhouette of the Porsche 930, there really isn't any other way to go.

The rear fenders of the Turbo are really monstrous! Here you can see the rear extensions attached to the bumper.
Figure 1

The rear fenders of the Turbo are really monstrous! Here you can see the rear extensions attached to the bumper. The 9" wheels fit quite nicely underneath the extra wide fenders, and give that "I really mean business" look.

As shown in this photo, the front bumper doesn't need any extensions attached to it.
Figure 2

As shown in this photo, the front bumper doesn't need any extensions attached to it. The rubber chin spoiler accounts for the extra flare in the fender. The 7" wheels fill out the fenders nicely, when combined with the 1" spacers. On the opposite side of the wheel from the spoiler is the rocker panel, which needs to have the rocker extensions welded on in order to line up with the new profile from the larger fenders. It's important to install the chin spoiler, as this will help to aerodynamically balance the large rear spoiler.

The 1974-89 911 look is in its best form with the addition of the Turbo look.
Figure 3

The 1974-89 911 look is in its best form with the addition of the Turbo look. Many people feel that the tea-tray tail is obnoxiously large, except when accompanied by the fatter tires and flared look of the Turbo. There is definitely something to be said about the beauty of the entire package. For someone who wants the look of the Turbo without the expense of the 930 should seriously consider either a factory Turbo look or a conversion.

Comments and Suggestions:
bandpdeal Comments: Forgot to add that my 1985 Porsche 911 "factory turbo look" for the rear window wiper assembly is a Targa model.
January 31, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: got it, thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
bandpdeal Comments: I have a 1985 911 "factory turbo look" but I had to add a whale tail later added another deck lid with tail. I believe the whale tale is mid 1980 vintage. Now, I would like to add a rear window wiper assembly the car never had one. Can you help with how I can get this done, i.e., instructions/parts???
January 31, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right parts. - Nick at Pelican Parts
ChrisP911 Comments: Are the front factory wheel spacers bigger on a 1987 911 if so what size are they.
February 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not 100% sure of the size difference. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Pablo Comments: Hello, i will paint my 930 porsche carrera 1986, so i will like to buy the rear RH/LH fender flares " turbo look" do you have the price??
September 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
John Comments: I have an 85 911 Porsche non Factory Turbo Look with the big whale tail . Now I am putting a factory 3.3 85 Turbo engine in the car . Is there a difference between the decklids of Carrera 85 and Turbo 85 GrayMarket ?There is a condencer , I think for AC,does that have to be moved ? Thankyou for any help . John
August 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not 100% sure. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
charles Comments: okay I have a problem... I have slantnose car 79' the washer tank has been remove I want to put one back for headlight washers and windshield washers too. is there a replacement piece for this?
June 6, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That's a good question. I'm sure there is one that will fit your vehicle. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 2/23/2018 02:02:10 AM