2003 996 Cabriolet Champion RG5 Wheels, PSS10, Lightweight Flywheel

This black 996 Cabriolet came in to our shop completely stock. The owner had purchased the car several years ago and was looking for a complete overhaul. He even considered selling the car at a big loss to buy a newer model, but in the end decided to keep his beloved cab.

The first order of business was in the "fun" department. The Evolution Motorsports V-Flow cold-air intake system was installed to free up intake restrictions and give the car a more sporty sound from its larger tubing and cone filter:

An IPD Plenum was installed between the intake and throttle body.

The ECU was removed and updated with EVOMSit software for more aggressive throttle mapping (e-gas) and further tuning.

Next, Cargraphic's 996 Sport Exhaust was installed. The owner loved the way a demo car sounded and decided this was the right level of volume and pitch for his 6-speed cab.

The owner wanted better handling out of his 996 with a more aggressive ride height. We recommended the Bilstein PSS10s:

Out with the old:

The Bilsteins getting warmed up for installation:

In goes the new:

The owner wanted to reduce weight and make the car stand out from other Carreras, so 18-inch Champion RG5 wheels are fitted and the suspension is dialed in for proper ride height and shock rebound/dampening.

The car was also due for a new clutch, so the owner decided to ditch the OEM 28-pound flywheel (which was also needing replacement) and switch to the single-mass lightweight 14-pound variant (similar to the GT3RS flywheel, compared to the GT3 standard). This is one of our favorite upgrades on the NA 996 and 997s.

Out comes the transmission for the first time in the car's life:

The factory dual-mass flywheel has seen better days...

New clutch:

New flywheel:

The transmission is raised back into place:

The owner disliked the sloppy feel of the OEM shift mechanism, so the B&M short shifter was installed, along with EVO sport pedals.

At this point, the car was noticeably faster, more pleasurable to drive, sounded great, handled well and even looked better.

But the car had many years of wear and needed a proper makeover. With a black on black car, it's easy to forget how great it can look with a little work and the owner had all but lost faith in the car's appearance.

For this task, we brought in our detailer, Bob. He's the best there is and if anyone can make a car look new again, it's him. Here's his write-up on the task including pictures of the major restoration:

Initial condition of the finish....

Passenger side door

50/50 pic of the same door after wool pad correction

The hood

50/50 pic after compounding

Here is the start of the job, the top was very dirty so I scrubbed with a paint safe citrus cleaner

Every crevice was cleaned with a 3" boarshair brush

After the car was washed and clayed (3 hours total required) due to dealer applied sealant... (not good) I brought the car into the shop and put it on the lift as this would be a wheels off correction. Note the hazy appearance of the passenger door caused by a re-spray so there was shrinkage to contend with

Door was taped off and a game plan of correction procedures was carried out, I would end up with two compounding stages and three polishing stages

Next is pics of the hood being corrected, this pic shows what a PAPER TOWEL can do to the finish!!

Hood taped off for 50/50 pics

The rear decklid "Carrera" badge was removed and replaced due to the marring in that area, also the badge was oldness and crusty and would have ruined the tightness of the soon to be corrected paint

Here is a before of the rear left quarter panel

After compounding

Again before...


A cluster of deep RIDS that required sanding with 2500 and 4000 grit paper

After levelling and correction

Lower left rear quarter before

After compounding

Drivers side door before

Making some headway

Door fully compounded

Front bumper not looking so good

Better after compounding

The passenger door was not looking as clear as I wanted, so I sanded the entire door and re-corrected and the finish finally matched the texture of the adjacent panels

Polishing tight area of the front quarter panel

Correcting the finish in the door jambs(not fun)

Broke out the steamer to remove embedded gunk in the keyhole

"A little steaming action"

Keyhole corrected, it was dried off and shot with some graphite

Next I moved to the wheel wells which were really dirty, here is the driver rear wheel well

Agitated with Premier's TTS clear film cleaner which also works great for these type of jobs

Wheel well cleaned before dressing application

Driver font wheel well before


Of course the wheels were cleaned, but they were new Champion's so not much correction but I sealed the inner barrels with Jet Seal 109

Interior before

Dirt in the perforation holes

A low tech solution

Storage compartment before

After clean up

Interior tightned up

Rear decklid corrected and ready for the new badge to be affixed

Lining up badge, this can be tricky as you get ONE shot at this

New badge affixed

Spreading on the one of four coats of Blackfire Wet Diamond

Here is the last coat of sealant left overnight to cure

Time for the finished product to be seen in direct sunlight

Prior to pickup:

As you can guess, the owner was very excited to see the car (he actually hugged us!). After a short test drive he called us screaming about how much he loved it again. Mission accomplished!