If There’s a $1 Million Car Worth It, It’s the Gunther Werks Turbo

A million dollars is so much money for a car. For most regular people, for regular wealthy people, it’s an unfathomable amount for a car. So when people ask me whether anything I’ve driven is “worth” a million dollars or more, how can I even answer that?

As a relatively wealthy car enthusiast in his 40s with no kids who has managed to blow far too much money on cars, I’m probably closer than many to being able to understand that question.

And even I find it absurd. Being in the one percent doesn’t get you a million-dollar car. You need to be in the 0.1 percent or the 0.01 percent to be at that level. You need to own things, like corporations, syndication rights, and a few politicians. Someone (probably a lot of people) down that line doesn’t have the quality of life they should so that you can spend nice house money on a toy.

At the same time, the craftspeople who build cars that sell for a million-plus are not the same people who are buying those cars. Engine builders, carbon-fiber molders, software tuners, leatherworkers—these folks work for a living, with their hands, on their knees, contorted into engine bays and footwells, and they’d probably have to work several lifetimes to take home the fruits of their labor. Cobblers with no shoes and all of that.

I can’t imagine a scenario in which I could afford a Gunther Werks Turbo, but after driving it, I’ll tell you this: If I had the money for any car at this price point, this is what I would want. It ticks every box if you’re the kind of driver who’s driven everything else.

There’s the power. Straight to the point, it’s fucking batshit. The stunning Rothsport twin-turbo 4.0-liter engine, air cooled with a horizontal fan, has every trick in the book thrown at it, from modern engine management to twin air-to-water charge coolers and individual throttle bodies. You can say it’s like a 935 or 962 engine, except it actually has more power while being more usable on the street.

It makes 750 hp and 650 lb-ft on 91-octane (just imagine the race gas tune, my God), which is a terrifying prospect in a rear-drive, 2670-pound car.

And yet, while this should be no one’s first Porsche, it’s entirely controllable and does only what your feet and hands tell it to. Air-cooled Porsche horsepower is by far the most expensive automotive horsepower that money can buy. It’s a rare thing indeed to use something so powerful that’s actually manageable on the street, in traffic, well under the limit. I’m told the engine costs a quarter-million dollars by itself, which, look at it and tell me you don’t believe that number? And if you don’t believe it from the photo, find a way to get a ride. Bring a diaper.

And then there’s the handling. Fortunately, this is something that Gunther mostly sorted out with its naturally aspirated 400R line. By using geometries from the 993 GT2 applied to a street car, with carbon-barrel wheels and proprietary JRZ independent-reservoir, electronically controlled suspension, the Turbo manages spectacular handling paired with shockingly good ride quality.

There’s even a nose-lift system to make L.A. driveways and speed bumps manageable. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t the ideal daily driver, particularly for an oligarch, but considering that it looks like a full-on race car, it’s impressively usable.

And it’s not just fast, it’s fuck-you fast. Piloted by Patrick Long (and fed with 100-octane fuel), this very car set a record in this past fall’s Laguna Seca Corkscrew Hillclimb event, beating out a Ferrari SF90 and a 1975 Lotus Type 77 F1 car.

“Impressive” extends to the rest of the car. The clutch is impressively light, even lighter than in the 993 Turbo, on which this car is based. That’s a feat considering how much power the clutch is expected to hold. Likewise, there’s the bespoke six-speed gearbox, which requires no more effort than a stock car’s. The steering is heavier than a stock 993’s overboosted Nineties power steering unit but lighter than the older G-body cars. And it’s still, for the most part, a Nineties 911, so it’s the right size, with great visibility, an easy-to-live-with layout, and, at least once finished, a beautiful interior.

The only real downsides are the turning radius, which is unsurprisingly horrible given the wide front fenders and 295-section front tires, and the price.

This, being a test mule in the truest sense of the word, is . . . missing some things. The bodywork isn’t quite right and has a cheap wrap. There is no handbrake, climate control, or radio. The doors don’t even lock. The power mirrors don’t work, and there’s just under half an interior.

And frankly, I don’t care. The car drives so well, I’d take it like this. I could rationally argue that I’d prefer it like this. It would be all go, no show, and not remotely precious. I could lean on it, park it anywhere, and get it dirty and wet, and it wouldn’t matter because it’s ugly and messy.

The finished cars won’t be ugly. We’ve seen Gunther’s work before, and it’s stunning. The cars are rolling artwork. Without directly comparing them to that other “reimagining” company that works on Nineties Porsches, Gunther imagines an air-cooled future, rather than creating a greatest-hits record of an air-cooled past.

The bottom line: I can’t afford to spend a million dollars on a car, and in my lifetime, I probably never will. I do have a collection of cars, and frankly, if I had a crack at getting a Gunther Werks Turbo, I’d sell every one of them to pay for it (unfortunately, I would still be short). It’s that good. From the speed, to the handling, to the usability, to the looks and materials, to the art of it, the Gunther Werks Turbo scratches every itch.

This content is imported from youTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. This is an image Watch the video. Look at it claw up the road, listen to the turbos spool, and take in the shape and sound. You, like me, may recoil at what it takes to be rich enough to blow seven figures on a car, but maybe like me, you can relate to the thought that if you did have that kind of money, this is exactly where you’d blow it.

And maybe you, like me, think that maybe the people who came up with this thing and executed it should be reaping the rewards of their work.

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