Tasteful 1986 Porsche 911 3.2 Build Means a Lot More Than Your Average Air-Cooled 911

Tasteful 1986 Porsche 911 3.2 Build Means a Lot More Than Your Average Air-Cooled 911 photo
Tasteful 1986 Porsche 911 3.2 Build Means a Lot More Than Your Average Air-Cooled 911 photo

Air-cooled Porsche 911s feel like vanity symbols these days. For US Navy veteran Hector Espinal, his 1986 3.2 Carrera shows how far he's come from a kid ducking bullets in 1990s Brooklyn.

"When you’re walking out in the streets of Brooklyn back when I was coming up, it was really dangerous. Graffiti, crack bottles, syringes, drive-bys," he says. "I’ve cooked crack. I’ve stolen cars. It was the people that I rolled with that didn't want that for me. The corner boys, the pushers were like, this is not for you bro. Go to school."

So yeah, not your typical vintage Porsche guy. After falling in with the wrong crowd, Hector got his head on straight, focused on earning his own success, and got out of Brooklyn by joining the Navy. He always loved cars though, and 22 years later, he finally saved enough to buy the one he'd wanted since seeing it in Car & Driver as a 7-year-old: a classic 1986 G-body 911. Check out our latest episode of CARISMA, and I think you'll agree it's a really cool story.


He started out with a stock 3.2 Carrera, which Porsche debuted in 1984 as a replacement for the SC model with an air-cooled 3.2-liter flat six making 228 horsepower and 202 lb-ft of torque. 1986 was also the last year of the classic 911 that still got the original 915 manual transmission. Hector caught up on a ton of maintenance, then took a page from Magnus Walker's book and made it his own. Performance mods include a Steve Wong chip tune, WEVO shifter and engine mounts, Fabspeed cat bypass and Supercup exhaust, Zimmerman cross-drilled rotors with Porterfield ceramic pads, Elephant Racing torsion bars, upgraded bushings and bearings, and more.

Aesthetically it's a standout too—from the yellow lighting, to the tastefully lowered ride height, to the CarBone roof rack, to the custom three-headed spin on the classic Pegasus badge on old 356s... just a real beauty.

The result is a head turner, one hell of a backroad cruiser—"It's a blast to drive. The real nice groove is second and third gear... that's where you can feel safe enough to hug those curves and hit them fast," he says—and a ticket to bigger things. He even ended up personally connecting with Magnus, who gave him tips for dialing in his suspension setup. Not bad for a kid from Williamsburg who had to make it all happen for himself.

"I think a car allows us freedom. It’s a gateway. With a car you can get into circles you normally can’t get into. You can start conversations with the most random stranger. Y'know, we have our rivalries, BMW guys against the Porsches, stuff like that. At the end of the day, cars are one of those things that always brings people together."

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