The sheep looked around suddenly and had every right to look baffled. Sheep don’t generally expect to be stalked silently by a 1979 Porsche 911 Targa. Yet, here it was, the smooth, low-slung bonnet and iconic slightly oval headlight surrounds within pouncing distance of the bewildered sheep’s woolly jumper.
With an air of bemusement and hurt feelings – cars usually have the decency to announce their arrival with clattering engines and smelly, belching tail pipes – the sheep shuffled to the side of the road and the gleaming silvery shape of the 1979 Porsche 911 Targa glided past. With little more than the crunch of the gravel surface and a soothing, spaceship-like whine to mark its passing, the sports car sped off into the Welsh hills, gathering speed without sound.
This part of Wales is well used to classic cars and sports cars of all shapes, sizes and ages. A convoy of early 20th century exotica had fumbled past just 20 minutes earlier, piloted by drivers who all looked roughly the same age as their cars but far more in need of full body-off restoration. The area is adjacent to where fire-breathing beasts compete at the annual British stage of the WRC series.
At first glance, Richard Morgan’s Porsche is simply another example of a beautifully restored 911 Targa, with flawless paint, gleaming brightwork and supple, unmarked interior surfaces.
At second glance, it has something of a Singer vibe about it: LED headlights, sidelights hidden behind clear lenses in the bumper and a mechanical set-up formatted by the former rally driver with the sole intention of putting a smile on the face of its driver every day. This car has a virtually perfect 50:50 weight distribution, meaning more predictable handling and far more front-end response than these cars ever offered originally, as well as oodles more torque all the way through the rev range.
But this is no Singer. When Morgan pins his right foot to the floor to send the small-but-perfectly-formed 911 scampering away faster than a general election can be denied and then called, there is no familiar air-cooled rattle from the back of the car but merely that unearthly hum, as if someone has put Fuchs wheels on the Millenium Falcon.
This is no ordinary vintage machine. This 911 has been reborn as an electric car.