Porsche | July 20, 2022

Wingho Auto Classique

Written by Niel Stender, Photography by Wingho Auto

Porsche enthusiasts are well-known for their deep loyalty to the German automaker’s special brand of sports cars that have been setting automotive performance benchmarks for decades. Since the 911 arrived on the scene almost 60 years ago, an entire Porsche universe has developed to support this unique level of vehicular love. These are cars that most any gearhead has an appreciation for and likely, stories to share. Then there is Dr. Clyde Kwok and his son Hugh, of Wingho Auto Classique in Montreal, Quebec.

Anyone reading this has surely fantasized about owning a Porsche, or even wrenching on and restoring one. The Kwok father-and-son team has taken that dream to a whole new level of reality. Clyde, a retired professor of mechanical engineering with a Ph.D. in the field, is known as Doctor to family and friends. A lifelong car enthusiast with a keen eye for design and technical knowledge of engineering and aerodynamics, Clyde fell in love with Porsches early on.

Over the years, his son Hugh estimates they worked on and restored nearly 30 vintage Porsches, with an emphasis on the 356 Speedster. Along the way, Clyde began to step into custom coachwork and one-off prototypes like the wild, wedge-on-wheels Concordia II featured in the 1986 film Black Moon Rising starring Tommy Lee Jones. However, it was Speedster love that kept both father and son’s attention, leading to their first interpretation of a modern-day version.

Envisioning the ultimate 911 Speedster, the Kwoks enlisted Paul Deutschmann of Spex Design to pen the style. To say the final product was a hit is something of an understatement. Named the Spexter Speedster, it was featured on the cover of Motor Trend in June 1988 and prompted a visit by Porsche executives including legendary engineer Hans Mezger. According to Hugh, they were impressed and loved how it captured the essence of Porsche.


Ultimately, Clyde and Hugh founded Wingho Auto Classique in 1991, a specialty automotive shop devoted to their passion. It was around this time that they started their next custom Porsche conversion, the 928 Spyder. For a variety of reasons, the 928 never saw major commercial success. However, the car was a clean-sheet design that required no compromises, or cost-cutting, when Porsche originally designed it.

As a result, the 928 boasted an aluminum 4.5L V8 that was mounted up front but set back. In combination with the rear-mounted transaxle, the grand tourer boasted near perfect weight distribution. It also featured a “Weissach” rear axle derived from Porsche’s considerable racing programs. Altogether, the 928 was an innovative, high-tech sports car at the time, that spared no engineering expense. Knowing this, Clyde recognized the 928 as a perfect platform to develop his 21st century Speedster.

Francois Chenevert from Ilex Designs took Clyde’s early illustrations and completed the look. From there, a 1/10thscale model was created for use in aerodynamic testing. Upon completion, Francois Cardolle from Carrosserie CF in Montreal spent the next four months fabricating the body using fiberglass composite. As seen in the gallery, it is a design that could easily be mistaken for something directly from Porsche’s own studio.

In preparation for the build, the donor 928 was relieved of its bumpers, roof, glass, and metal body panels. Crucially, chassis reinforcement at the rear shock towers and rocker panels was added to maintain chassis rigidity, as evidenced in the video displaying how solidly the door closes.

Replacing all of this is a front clip made from a single-piece of fiberglass composite, with flush-mounted PIAA HID headlamps, that hinges at the front. In a hat tip to vintage Speedsters, a wind deflector replaces the windshield and wraps around to align with slim side glass.

The sloped rear deck hides an integrated, retractable roll bar that is buttressed by athletic rear haunches. And that’s just the exterior. Along with making room for the custom body, this 928 shed even more weight with the removal of insulation, air conditioning, the original seats and interior padding. From here, the Kwoks “space-age design philosophy” flows from the body into the dashboard and throughout the cabin.

In another nod to the past, you can see a distinct lack of frills and frippery inside. In classic Teutonic fashion, this Spyder is all about clean, functional engineering. Like the rest of the car, the seats are molded fiberglass units with a unique telescopic functionality enabling the whole pod to slide fore and aft for adjustment. They feature closed-cell neoprene padded sections wrapped in vinyl.

Aside from the gauge cluster and steering column, everything inside was custom, down to the short-throw shifter and steering wheel from MOMO. To maintain the smooth design flow, even the mechanical handbrake was deleted and replaced with an electronic unit. And here’s the best part; this car was built to be driven.

Under the care of Wingho’s chief technician Stepan Mouradian, the stock 4.5L water-cooled V8 was gently prodded to provide more performance. Along with blue-printing the engine, he ported and polished the heads, and installed a custom straight-pipe exhaust system, which was estimated to add 30 horsepower. Additionally, a custom front sway bar was fabricated to improve handling and spring rates were adjusted to compensate for the considerable drop in curb weight.

And by considerable, I mean roughly SEVEN HUNDRED pounds. As every car enthusiast knows, adding power and reducing weight is the quickest path to high performance. The donor car would have weighed roughly 3,200 pounds and made 219 horsepower when new, for a power-to-weight ratio of 14.6 lb/hp. Poking at my calculator suggests the 928 Spyder drops that figure to a flat 10 lb/hp. Impressive. So impressive that Peter Porsche, grandson of Ferdinand himself, paid the Kwoks a visit.

It took place while Clyde and Hugh were showing the world what their creation could do at the Cincinnati Parade Concours, which involved rally and drag racing. Peter was impressed, as was Porsche chief of research and development Horst Marchart who invited the Kwoks to visit him – in Weissach. Naturally, the auto industry took notice.

After the 928 Spyder was completed in January 1993, it was displayed during the Canadian International Auto Show circuit in Montreal and Toronto. While there, a reporter mistook the car for the new Boxster prototype that had just been unveiled in Detroit, calling it a “Boxster on steroids.” The car Spyder was also featured in a wide range of publications including European Car, Motor, and Porsche Panorama.

Talking to Hugh Kwok, you can feel his passion for these creations and all-things Porsche radiating in the way he describes them. It’s a feeling any gearhead can relate to, just taken to a different level. These cars were built with a tremendous level of technical know-how and meticulous attention to detail, resulting in a car that looks as stunning today as it did 30 years ago. In fact, the company name – and Hugh’s Chinese name – Wingho, translates to Forever Good, which sounds just right.

As Hugh’s father, Dr. Kwok described it, “The main objective was to bring some fundamental driving pleasure back and extract the maximum performance from the 928, which was designed and built with such engineering excellence.” It’s fair to say they more than met that objective.