I walked into a Porsche showroom on Monday and found an old friend waiting to greet me. Not unusual to find friends in Porsche showrooms, but surprising to find this 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera tribute for sale, as part of me thought the original owner would never sell it.
I first met this Porsche 911 at Tuthill Porsche in 2008. The owner, Oli Wheeler, had bought a very nice silver E-reg G50 Carrera Coupe base from Chris Harris, and then started talking to Richard Tuthill about building a tribute car. He was besotted with a feature I had written for 911 & Porsche World magazine, entitled “Citrus Carreras”.
The story revolved around my own 1976 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 in Continental Orange, versus good mate Nigel Watkins’ Lime Green 1975 Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera, which he had used to win the Curborough Sprint Championship. My car is called Orange, Nigel’s was called Limey: hence all the title stuff etc.
To defend his racing crown, Nigel had put Limey on a bit of diet, fitting carbon fibre bumpers and spending a fortune on an engine rebuild and re-cammed mechanical injection pump, amongst other things. However, when he went to go racing back at Curborough, his composite bumpers put him in the same class as a full-carbon Lotus Elise and the like. The shine went off the 2.7 and he sold it to build a 964 RS (replica) for more sprinting, which he managed to sort quite successfully after first buying a real 964 RS, which he found too hard to go racing in. Oh, the conversations we had about that…
Anyway, Limey had gone in part exchange on the RS to another good guy: the charming Neil Dickens at The Hairpin Company. Neil sold it to one man, then bought it back, then sold it on to someone else. In between all his moving it around, he met me and photographer Matt Howell at Bicester for a day out, where we shot the feature that would captivate Oli Wheeler some time later.
“Oli wants to build one of these cars, but he’s not sure which to go for,” said Richard on the phone in 2008. “He loves your Orange, and loves Lime Green: can you bring yours down for him to look at?” In the end it was not needed: Oli went with Lime Green (Gelb Grün) as the colour for his build, in homage to Limey. Jamie and I later shot Oli’s car at Wardington for another 911&PW feature.
Oli’s car was built to a sensible budget. He’d just sold a Ferrari 430 and had a few quid to spend, which went on things like:
- Bare metal respray with some backdate cues: rear bumperette delete etc
- Engine fettle with Jenvey throttle bodies, Omex ECU
- SSIs and Dansk rear pipe
- Tuthill billet brake calipers
- Suspension overhaul
- Recaro Pole Positions trimmed in leather
I drove it for a day and enjoyed how the Jenvey ITBs had improved the driveability. Seats were just perfect, car rode a treat but I didn’t like the 16″ Fuchs that had been left on the car. It needed 15s. Oli had it for a few years before emailing to say he had traded it for a 996 Turbo plus cash, which surprised me then and still surprises me now.
Whoever had the car after Oli fitted the 15″ Fuchs it deserved in the proper daisy petal finish, and now the 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera tribute is for sale, priced at just under £70k. I’ve not had a close look underneath it, but being around this car still makes me smile.