Pink Paradox: The cheery berry exterior masks this Spyder's gut-punching power | Porsche Club of America (2024)

This article originally appeared in the November 2023 edition ofPorsche Panorama.

Photos by Lisa Linke

The reports started arriving early in February of 2022: A Panamanian-registered roll-on/roll-off cargo ship called the Felicity Ace was burning uncontrollably off the Azores. Porsche lost about 580 cars destined for North America when the ship rolled over and sank a few weeks later. The car that was supposed to be this car was among them. Because of the reach of Matt Farah’s highly engaging and opinionated YouTube videos and podcast, “The Smoking Tire,” his original 718 Spyder is probably the second most famous sunken car ever, after the Ghia Norseman concept car that went down with the SS Andrea Doria in 1956.

Pink Paradox: The cheery berry exterior masks this Spyder's gut-punching power | Porsche Club of America (1)

Happily, no lives were lost in the Ace’s sinking, and Porsche replaced the car as quickly as possible. Less than a year after Farah ordered car number one, its clone, car number two, was in North America. Unlike most excited new owners, however, Farah didn’t put a single mile on it. The Frozen Berry 718 Spyder, with just seven miles, went immediately to DeMan Motorsport in Nyack, New York, to have its already superb engine completely reimagined, including a bore and stroke that increased its displacement to 4.5 liters. The result was a shockingly good sports car that Farah believes is the ultimate expression of the Boxster/Cayman platform.

Pink Paradox: The cheery berry exterior masks this Spyder's gut-punching power | Porsche Club of America (2)

Pink Paradox: The cheery berry exterior masks this Spyder's gut-punching power | Porsche Club of America (3)

The origin story is pretty straightforward. Back in 2021, Farah was doing a video series on modified cars, and he’d heard about a DeMan-built Cayman GT4 that was based on the original 3.8-liter car. “I drove it and I was totally mind-blown,” he said. “Everything I loved about the platform was made better with shorter gearing, more horsepower, and a massive torque shove. I’ve always thought that the Cayman/Boxster had more potential than the 911, but the 911 has to be the big daddy.” In Farah’s opinion, the DeMan car felt like something PAG would have built if freed from the forced primacy of the 911. He had to have one of his own.

Pink Paradox: The cheery berry exterior masks this Spyder's gut-punching power | Porsche Club of America (4)

Shortly after the drive in the DeMan Cayman, Farah sold his Cassis Red Leh Keen Safari 911 to make way for what became this car. Unlike the one he first drove, Farah’s car would be a Spyder, rather than a closed Cayman, because, well, Southern California. Cassis was one of those colors that was essentially sale-proof back in the 1980s but prized today. When Farah saw the Taycan launch color Frozen Berry, he dubbed it “the new Cassis,” and while his car looks like it was Paint to Sample, Frozen Berry was a regular 718 Spyder color. The take rate was so low, however, it was canceled for 2023. Paired with the red/black Spyder Classic interior, HRE R101 lightweight wheels (in Frozen Champagne) with calipers painted Carmine Red to match the interior, the car is stunningly gorgeous.

Pink Paradox: The cheery berry exterior masks this Spyder's gut-punching power | Porsche Club of America (5)

Pink Paradox: The cheery berry exterior masks this Spyder's gut-punching power | Porsche Club of America (6)

THE DEMAN-BUILT 4.5-LITER engine and shorter gearing transform the car—with 568 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. As with every sports car, though, it’s not just the raw numbers themselves, it’s the delivery. Farah’s car makes its peak power at 7300 rpm, about 1000 rpm lower in the rev range than the 718 Spyder RS. Peak torque comes at 5400 rpm, or about 1300 rpm lower than the Spyder RS. The engine accomplishes this in part with a lofty 13.5:1 compression ratio, necessitating the use of 98 octane fuel, which virtually no ordinary gas station in the Golden State has. No worries. Farah dons a pair of latex gloves and gets the additional seven RON points by adding a bottle of octane booster with each fill.

Pink Paradox: The cheery berry exterior masks this Spyder's gut-punching power | Porsche Club of America (7)

The car’s sound is otherworldly—you immediately know that this isn’t an ordinary 718 Spyder with an expensive aftermarket exhaust. While the Fabspeed pipes are undoubtedly expressive, they’re not doing all of the sound work here. The bore of the pistons is a fat 108mm, which is about the size of those in a Viper V10. There’s no raspiness at all, just deep bass that continues to go up in octaves as the rpm rise. Farah thinks the two synchronized banks of three cylinders have a hint of V8 or even V12 aero engine, mixed with some big-bore, air-cooled race engine. “It sounds like war,” he said.

Pink Paradox: The cheery berry exterior masks this Spyder's gut-punching power | Porsche Club of America (8)

Pink Paradox: The cheery berry exterior masks this Spyder's gut-punching power | Porsche Club of America (9)

It’s a car that was built for places like Angeles Crest and the canyon roads above the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. More compliant than an RS product, the low-end and midrange torque and the car’s ability to put the power down is simply “insane,” in Farah’s words, and it will spin the tires in third gear when asked to do so. The shorter intermediate gears also contribute to the car’s feeling of eagerness. Farah said second gear now gives 67 mph at the redline, versus 84 mph in the stock car. “It feels like this is the way the car should have come,” he said. A Quaife limited-slip differential and a beefier/heavier clutch are the other major deviations from stock. Farah seems to revel in the paradox that the car is. “It sounds brutal, its power delivery borders on barbaric, its flat-foot acceleration is violent, clawing the tarmac in a different way from even a GT3 RS, and it’s metallic pink,” he said.

Pink Paradox: The cheery berry exterior masks this Spyder's gut-punching power | Porsche Club of America (10)

The goal, Farah said, was not to shock anyone’s sensibilities, or get anyone to think too hard about it, but instead just to bring the power up to the level of the chassis, to take the best sports car available and improve it without ruining it. And a manual transmission. That was simply non-negotiable. “It was the car that I had to have. This is the best 718 I’ve ever driven,” he said.

The Ultimate Garage

When it’s not on The Crest or the canyons, Farah’s 718 Spyder is at his Los Angeles headquarters, Westside Collector Car Storage. It’s the only L.A. building purposely created as a collector-car storage facility. Farah said tons of science and know-how (plus five long years) produced a safe space with indoor quad lifts above a 40-car underground level, all in a part of the planet that has the occasional earthquake. It has all the hallmarks of a place built by an enthusiast for other enthusiasts, and his new South Bay outpost is expansive enough to host events, something the original Playa Vista location couldn’t do. —RS

Pink Paradox: The cheery berry exterior masks this Spyder's gut-punching power | Porsche Club of America (11)

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Pink Paradox: The cheery berry exterior masks this Spyder's gut-punching power | Porsche Club of America (2024)
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