This is the Yoshida Specials 930, the 340kph Midnight Club legend
Time to debunk the myths surrounding this famed Blackbird Porsche of the Wangan...
Disclaimer: Although I am no expert regarding the subject, I was able to gain a significant amount of verified information about the Midnight Club and the Yoshida Special 930. Feel free to DM me if you have further questions about the Yoshida Special, but please do not inquire about names, locations, and other personal information.
Image from Pinterest
The 'Blackbird' and the Midnight Club
When I first heard about the ‘Blackbird’, also known as the Yoshida Specials 930, I could not help myself from laughing instead of being baffled or surprised as a typical enthusiast would do. For me, the idea that a 930 Turbo could achieve speeds of over 300km/h and maintain it for more than 15 minutes was just absurd. I always thought that the Yoshida Specials 930 was overhyped as it served as the basis for the animation “Wangan Midnight” that featured modified cars racing at insane speeds.
Image from Porsche
Yes, the Porsche 935/78 was able to hit 366km/h thanks to its 845hp engine, but that was a race car with a low-drag flachbau bodywork and a factory race engine. Even then, these cars do not stay on 300km/h continuously, and at Le Mans with its infamous Mulsanne straight, the 935/78s were detuned to 740hp for reliability. For me, the idea that an individual could tune a 930 Turbo to that degree was nothing more than gibberish.
Image from Car Multi Information
Still, a part of me was wondering, “What if the story is actually true?” If it was true, that was proving not only the abilities of the tuners but also how capable of a car the Porsche 930 is as well. Therefore, I started to research the technical specifications about the Yoshida Specials 930 along with some proof that this car could achieve speeds over 300km/h.
The Yoshida Special was based on a black Porsche 930 just like this one here. Image from Pinterest
The Yoshida Specials 930 Turbo started its life as a 1979 930 Turbo 3.3 Coupe. It was owned and driven by the legendary Wangan driver, Yoshida Eiichi. He was the founder of the legendary Midnight Club, and worked as a doctor and later as a car dealer. Although it is unknown when he exactly purchased the car, the car was first spotted in July of 1982 with black factory paintwork with a factory Turbo livery on the rear fender.
While the exact specifications of the car have been debated throughout the years, thankfully, I was able to find a reliable source called OPTION magazine. OPTION specializes in tuner vehicles and in 2011, they have published an article about the Yoshida Special 930 with high-quality pictures along with the exact specifications and the list of parts used. Just like any other tuned vehicle, the Yoshida Special had gone through multiple stages of modification. Still, it would be safe to assume that the Yoshida Special 930 was at or near its ultimate evolution considering the timeframe. (The Midnight Club was founded in 1982)
The base 3.3L flat-six was an excellent platform for Yoshida to start with as it was the most powerful road engine available for the 911. The bore was enlarged to 98mm, resulting in an increase in engine capacity by 100cc. However, that was not the end; lots of race parts and one-off parts were used to upgrade the engine. Forged Mahle pistons, titanium connecting rods and camshafts from Porsche’s race department, valve springs from the 935, and a race intercooler that has triple the capacity of the stock unit are just a few of them.
A KKK K33S turbocharger replaced the stock 3LDZ unit as well. The K33S were used on Porsche’s 934 and 935 race cars, and in this car, it is capable of 1.26 bar of boost at maximum. The boost pressure can be controlled through a VVC in the center console. The panel behind the turbocharger is cut out for cooling the turbo as well. While some argue it has a turbocharger from the Honda 1.5L V6 from the MP4/4, it is not only ‘wrong’ but physically impossible due to cooling issues.
A high capacity race-use porcelain wastegate from Porsche has been added along with a single straight pipe exhaust. The exhaust manifold has a heat sensor that can be monitored from the driver’s seat. As highway races were not a sprint race but often lasted over 30 minutes, it was a smart choice to have the exhaust temperature monitored.
The cylinder head is also from the Porsche 934 with twin plugs for combustion efficiency. While you can generally check the plugs from the engine bay, but you can also access the second set of plugs from the lower side of the engine. To add, the cylinder blocks are from the Porsche 934 as well.
Fuel is injected by a bespoke Bosch K-Jetronic system, while a bespoke air intake built by Porsche can be seen in the back left of this picture. A dual ignition system was used, which is not common in cars. Although dual ignition allows a faster and more complete burning, which leads to more power, it remains rare in cars as it is difficult to place the second plug within the cylinder head. As a result of all these modifications, the car produced a whopping 601hp and 701Nm of torque. That is more than what the 991 Turbo S produced!
While the sturdy 4-speed manual from the donor car was retained, the clutch and the flywheel are from the Porsche 956 Group C race car. The ratios were altered to ensure that the engine’s revs stayed within the powerband. The car can speed up to 120km/h while staying on first, 250km/h on third, and up to 340km/h+ at fourth. An additional transmission cooler is set in the left rear wheelhouse to minimize the oil temperature from rising too much in extreme conditions.
Suspension and brakes
A height-adjustable Bilstein suspension with coil-overs while the torsion bars and the stabilizers were reinforced for better handling. The suspension setup was decided after numerous test runs through the Nurburgring. While the stock brakes in the 930 Turbo were enough for most drivers, the brakes from a Porsche 935 were brought over for maximum stopping power.
The first thing you notice is the sports steering wheel from the 964 Carrera RS. It would have been part of the Sonderwunsch program as standard sports steering wheels were monotone, while this one has a tricolour scheme. The tachometer and the 350km/h speedometer from the 959 are all rotated so that the important numbers are easily visible. Two additional gauges that have been installed in the dash panel are the exhaust and the intake temperature gauges.
The conventional sports seats have been replaced with the lightweight carbon bucket seats, also known as the lollipop bucket seats. Kremer Racing’s 935 K3s were equipped with these seats for optimal driver support and comfort as well. A six-point Matter roll cage is installed for safety and structural rigidity.
Unlike other cars from the Midnight Club, the Yoshida Special 930 looks pretty much standard except for a few parts. A bespoke Midnight Porsche Works bumper with a built-in fog lamp and huge ducts for brake and oil cooling was used, and the front bumper spoiler attached to it allows better frontal grip at high speeds. For the tires, an intelligent DENLOCK system was used to ensure that even if a puncture occurred, the tire stayed on the wheel for more than 200km at 80km/h, drastically increasing the chance of survival in an accident. This system was used in Group C racers like the 956 and 962.
The rear quarter glass is also replaced with a NACA duct for additional cooling for the engine. The NACA duct allows the engine to be supplied with air without increasing the drag drastically as a typical air scoop would do. For a car required to run at high speeds, aerodynamic efficiency is significant. A Porsche RSR style mirrors have also been used to minimize drag.
Okay, I get how awesome the build is. But can it reach speeds of 300km/h+ and how does it drive? OPTION magazine rented the Yatabe circuit exclusively for this car. Daijiro Inada, the editor of OPTION magazine, had the opportunity to drive this beast both on the track and the Wangan, and he claims that he was able to top 340km/h at 7200rpm during the field test. He states that “The general performance[handling, low rpm acceleration] is inferior to modern machines, but the aura and its ability to reach such speeds is still a first-class product.” When considering that OPTION is a well-known tuner magazine, I had to admit that the Yoshida Special could really achieve insane levels of speed. Even modern supercars have a hard time achieving those level of speed easily and when considering that this car could maintain this speed for more than 15 minutes, it is truly astonishing.
Famous Wangan runners gathered around to talk about their good old days. From the left Daijiro Inada, Yoshida Eiichi(930 Turbo), Yuma Amamiya(RX-7), and Koichi Okawa
The story of the Yoshida Special
Now that we have covered the car’s specifications, let’s look into its history in the underground racing scene. The car’s first official appearance with the current wine red paintwork was at the 1985 Tokyo Exciting Car Show with modifications like Mahle pistons and a K33 turbocharger producing 488hp. 1985 May, the first speed test at the banked circuit of Yatabe was held, and the Yoshida Specials 930 achieved a top speed of 298.76km/h. Yoshida and his 930 Turbo soon appeared on the OPTION magazine as the ‘fastest legend’, but Yoshida was not satisfied with the result. He stated, “The car is shaking in the bank, and I cannot step on it anymore.”
Mansour Ojjeh's Porsche 935 Street. Image from Classic Driver
Now here comes the interesting part, as fax was sent to the Porsche head office in Stuttgart regarding the current setup and how Yoshida wished to be after the upgrade at the Porsche factory. The thing is that even as a Porsche aficionado myself, I have never seen any case where an individual requested Porsche to ‘tune’ their vehicle to a certain specification. I assume that is why the Yoshida Special had an abundance of parts from the Porsche racing department, which cannot be easily obtained. Still, it must be said that Yoshida must have had a tight connection with the guys at Stuttgart as the only similar example I can find is Mansour Ojjeh’s 935 street(Mansour Ojjeh was the owner of the TAG corporation, who commissioned Porsche to build the TAG Turbo F1 engine).
Image from Twitter
On February 24th, 1987, the Yoshida Specials 930 was shipped to Stuttgart, and by December, Porsche headquarters stated that the engine bench test was over and the running tests have been completed as well. By April of 1988, the 930 arrived at Yokohama, and it had a ‘debut’ at the Aoyama Street of Shibuya. The Porsche had a few in/exterior tweaks along with mechanical modifications, now producing around 542hp, which was a significant increase from its previous specifications.
Image from Option Magazine
In December, the Yoshida Specials 930 did another test run at Yatabe, this time recording a speed of 302.52km/h. Yoshida was planning to do another run after achieving that record with an increased boost pressure of 1.27 bar, but the piston ring lands gave up, ending his record attempt. In January 1989, the Porsche was sent back to Stuttgart for a rebuild and an upgrade. As far as the records say, a total of 5 engines with different configurations were used for testing. Where are these engines then? Well, 4 of them have blown up, and the final example is the one that resides in the car to this day. The completed car was air freighted back to Japan in July 1990. The car had another unsuccessful record attempt in October 1993 due to rain and fog, and not a lot is known since then.
Image from Speedhunters. Photography by Dino Dalle Carbonaire
But in 2015, a Speedhunter article found the Yoshida Special Porsche at Premier Cars, an exotic car dealer located in Odaiba. Although Yoshida owns Premier Cars, according to the dealers, the car was in perfect running condition and is for sale. The reason behind why Yoshida’s Porsche is on sale is not known and was questioned as Yoshida had such an intimate bond with this machine. As time passed, the Yoshida Specials 930 seemed to fade into the past, until the November of 2019.
Image from Peru Blogspot
On November 21st, 2018, Yoshida Eiichi(57) was arrested for fraud. He falsely claimed that he could get his hands on the 918th Porsche 918 Spyder produced. He received 85 million yen($767,000) from a Tokyo dealership, yet he failed to deliver the car and was arrested. He claimed that his company(Eiichi runs an exotic car dealership) needed capital. It seems he did not serve jail time, as he was rearrested in 2019 for a similar offence.
Image from Rozeo News.com
On May 9th, 2019, Yoshida Eiichi (57) and Takagi Hagi (51) were arrested for alleged fraud. Alleged suspect Yoshida lied to a male car collector of Monaco that he would be able to buy a LaFerrari for him through a ‘special route’. The victim paid Yoshida 250 million yen($2,257,000), but he became suspicious that the car was not delivered even after two years. Yoshida admitted that he used the money received to repay his debt.
Image from Naver.jp
His dealerships are now closed, and there has been no news about whether he will serve jail time or not. It is highly likely that he will serve jail time as it is not his first offence, and the severity of the crime is high. These two incidents probably explain why the Yoshida Specials 930 was offered for sale, and with the dealerships now gone, it is highly likely that the car was auctioned off or is under seizure.
Image from Option Magazine
At the end of the day…
The Yoshida Specials 930 is one hell of a car and a car with a great story. While people tend to say that the Yoshida Specials 930 was the car that proves the tuning ability of the Japanese tuning scene of the 80s and the 90s, the records dutifully prove that it was Porsche and their racing department who was behind the car.
Image from Option Tokyo
When considering that most of the modifications regarding the engine and the undercarriage were performed at Stuttgart, the Yoshida Specials 930 is a valuable example that helps us understand how extreme the guys at Porsche could be with modifying a car. After all, it would not be a stretch to call it the most extreme road-legal 930 Turbo to leave Porsche. The collaboration of Yoshida’s vision and Porsche’s technology gifted us with this magnificent Yoshida Specials 930 Turbo that will live forever as a legend.
I would like to thank Alvaro Martinez, who provided me with information regarding the Midnight Club and the Yoshida Special 930. Here is a message on behalf of Alvaro Martinez to the 'Y san':日の本の国で太陽が沈むとき, アクセルを踏む