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RIP Sir Stirling Moss

RIP Sir Stirling Moss

Sir Stirling Moss has passed away aged 90. A sad day, but this was a life very well lived by a man so well loved. He will be missed.

Moss was a real Porsche enthusiast who notably owned a 718 RS 61 Spider. Porsche reunited Stirling and the RS 61 at Goodwood a few years ago. However, Moss was more famous for his achievements with Mercedes, particularly at the 1955 Mille Miglia. The silver arrows were always keen to pay tribute to Sir Stirling and organised a wonderful 60th anniversary tribute at the 2015 Mille Miglia.

Image courtesy of ©Mercedes

At the Mille Miglia 2015, Sir Stirling Moss again took the wheel of the same Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR with starting number 722 in which he won the thousand-mile 1955 Italian road race from Brescia to Rome and back, in the best-ever time. At his side was then team-mate Hans Herrmann, who six decades earlier was another hot contender for victory. Herrmann delivered a stunning performance in 1955, but his race ended due to an unfortunate defect on the Passo di Futa while lying in second place.

Image courtesy of ©Mercedes

The story of the 1955 Mille Miglia is now legend, but there is much more to know about Stirling. Below is a great documentary about his life, presented by the ever-watchable Sir Patrick Stewart. Take the time to learn more about a great racing hero and our fellow Porsche admirer.

I have a great Stirling Moss story but it is NSFW! He was just a proper old boy. We can all learn something from Stirling.


Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can: Forum Updates Forum Updates

Happy Easter to all! I hope this is a good weekend for everyone. I’m busier than ever with valuations and client work during lockdown, but losing the long daily school run has freed up some time for personal projects, including improvements to my Porsche 911 forum at


I started the impactbumpers Porsche 911 forum after a conversation with a friend who despaired of the lack of support from established Porsche Clubs for the lowly impact bumper cars, which were then regarded as throwaway ‘starter’ 911s. I like all of Ferry’s creations but, as a child of the ’70s, my passion has always been focused on impact-bumpered 911s from 1974 to 1989. After a decade in various marque ownership clubs, I was over the system’s lacklustre parochialism and am not much of a club-type at the best of times. As Groucho put it, I wouldn’t want to be in any club that would have me as a member. The online space offered the chance to construct a completely different member experience.

After playing around with various types of discussion forum software, the forum launched on February 14th, 2006. My aim was to get maybe twenty like-minded people on board to start working on their own cars and sharing their experiences and give us some buying power for better deals on track days. Fourteen years later (and despite a fairly hardcore early routine of deleting accounts that had not been used in the previous twelve months), the board has over 7,000 members.

Some are less active than others, but all are welcome as long as they behave! Pointless arguments (hello religion and politics) are not permitted – save them for Facebook. Those who throw stones and hide behind keyboards get a holiday. There is no adult content anywhere: the board is son-and-daughter safe, so the kids can keep using your laptop or iPad.

The board sets out to support an upbeat experience of Impact Bumper ownership and has managed to do that pretty well over the years. The forum for those who have had an IB (forumspeak for a car from ’74 to ’89) and moved on to other classics, but would like to keep enjoying the IB camaraderie, is one of the busiest boards on the site.

Impact Bumper upgrades

Easter Sunday has ushered in several upgrades to the board to make things better and brighter. First and most obvious is a new design. It’s a work in progress, although this is the bones of it. Driving my 1976 911 Carrera 3.0 (a.k.a. The Orange) on the Col de Turini for two days just after going full-time freelance in May 2010 was a defining moment for me in connecting to the soul of these cars, so that is the main header pic.

Second is the addition of a feedback system. In the bottom right corner of every post, members now see a heart icon. Hovering over that opens three options: like, thanks and a laugh. Liking or saying thanks for a post earns a ‘reputation point’ for the poster. Total points earned going forward are displayed in the member’s profile. There are no points for a laugh as we should all be bringing good humour!

Members get a set number of points to give out per day and daily points do not carry over. The idea is that a post to say cool or great or whatever can be more than some want to give, but clicking thanks or like gives the poster a feel-good moment. One can also go back in time to say thanks to a post that has helped you. Making one another feel good in times of stress and bringing common sense to Porsche ownership is at the heart of the forum, so we will see how this goes and tweak it as appropriate.

The third upgrade is a raft of other small tweaks including links to associated social profiles, a number of new forums to break content into more digestible indexes, and a few improvements under the engine cover. I think it is all a step forward.

IB Membership and Trade Ads

More new modules will be added as testing progresses, so more new features are coming. I have always resisted offering membership packages and trade advertising, preferring to bankroll the forum myself to keep it indepedent, but it is now becoming more work not to offer these features, so the options will launch over the next few weeks. I hope this may also support independent Porsche specialists, some of whom could find things tricky as the lockdown shakes out.

For now, I hope anyone who has not been on IB in a while will revisit the forum and see what they think. Feel free to contact me with any notes or enquiries, or if you can no longer access your original account.


Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can:

Book review: The Essential Porsche 356 Buyer’s Guide

Book review: The Essential Porsche 356 Buyer’s Guide

It’s telling that item two of Dr Brett Johnson’s list of “eleven essential items to bring along when heading out to view a Porsche 356 for sale” – part of Veloce Publishing’s latest Porsche 356 Essential Buyer’s Guide – is reading glasses. “Take your reading glasses if you need them to read documents and make close up inspections” advises the good Doctor. He is not wrong. Most people I know with the resources to buy a classic Porsche 356 have definitely advanced to the reading glasses stage.

“There was a time when Porsche 356s were reasonably priced transportation for people without children. Regrettably, that was fifty years ago. Now they are high-priced toys for the same demographic,” says Brett. I enjoy this sort of writing. The latest edition of “The Essential Buyer’s Guide: Porsche 356” has the same tone throughout, asserting what to steer clear of in a clear and light-hearted way, without being overly onerous.

The book opens with a short introduction before working its way through seventeen chapters. The early chapters explore considerations when the purchase is still at the dream stage, but as the first viewing looms closer, the content firms up, with two chapters on what to look for in both a 15-minute inspection and a 60-minute inspection.

Four pages cover the model evolution: you’ll probably have experienced a few cars by the time you decide to get serious. I’ve driven quite a few 356s and they are all fun to be in, so it’s hard to pick one that I would buy if in the market. While the early cars have that proximity to the origin story, the later ones get things like disc brakes. Early cars are perhaps a bit prettier: I think a pre-A is a beautiful thing. They are all fairly tough. Whichever model you drive, it will turn heads, especially with ladies. Good 356s are also very solid residually.

The author’s track record is worth noting. The former veterinarian and Porsche part expert’s 1997 book: “The 356 Porsche: A Restorer’s Guide to Authenticity” has a 4.5 rating from 32 Amazon reviews. With circa 45,000 copies sold to date, the original version gets a few thumbs down for the lack of engine details and darker black-and-white photographs typical of a budget production, but good feedback on the rest. Later editions are available.

This compact 64-page Buyer’s Guide from the same author features many colour photos, but all are quite small, contributing colour and diversity rather than much information. The text has many interesting details, however: certainly enough to educate any 356 novice. I like how Brett engages the reader. I found nothing disagreeable. As a 356 fan but no sort of expert, I learned quite a bit by reading the book.

Reaching the end left me hungry for more, so I looked at used prices for the bigger restoration guide and dug out some of my own 356 books. While there is more than enough information in the Essential Buyer’s Guide to justify a purchase, I can see some people getting through it quite quickly and reading a second time to review what they missed.

While a buyer’s guide book should not be expected to replace the trained eye of a seasoned expert – and my advice is to always have a car inspected by an expert before any money changes hands – the low cost of this work versus the substantial time one would have to invest elsewhere to learn all that it covers means that this book should be considered essential reading for anyone setting out to buy a Porsche 356. With 356s now costing upwards of $56k for a barn find with interesting one-owner provenance at auction and no real upper limit for the very best cars, educating oneself on what to watch out for and thus save a lot of wasted time and effort is a total no-brainer. This little book is definitely worth having.

The publisher’s price is £13.99 in the UK, although Amazon is showing some cheaper prices. Veloce is currently doing a 35% off stay at home sale, so that’s worth a look too. Visit the webshop at


Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can:

Explore the Classic Retrofit Porsche 911 SC demonstrator

Explore the Classic Retrofit Porsche 911 SC demonstrator

Hopefully you are all safe and well at the minute and using some of any extra time spent at home to carry out overdue Porsche projects! Self-employed limited company directors like me get no official support and I am quite happy with that: others need it more and the risks are part of the upside of absolute freedom. I’m just working away on various projects and taking each day as it comes.

My friend Jonny Hart at Classic Retrofit is similarly philosophical and has been catching up on a long to-do list while staying at home. One thing I’ve been nagging him to do for a while is a video walkaround of his beautiful 1982 Porsche 911 SC Coupe in the distinctive 914 shade of Delphi Green.

We’ve spent many enjoyable hours together on road trips in this perfect SC, including our run down to Ruf Automobile a coupe of years ago, when Jonny was commissioned as a consultant on the heating and ventilation for the new Ruf CTR. A return loop via the Porsche Museum was the perfect conclusion. Read the story of our Ruf road trip here.

The car is not just Jonny’s daily driver: it is also the test mule and demonstrator for the full Classsic Retrofit product range including:

The car also has some cool research and development products fitted, such as new solid state relays to replace the current OE junk that fails all the time and a test version of the Classic Retrofit high power ignition coil that’s been in development for a while: also to replace the lousy Porsche-supplied Brazilian coils. More on those later.

Jonny’s video is a great roundup of his car and the upgraded electronics available from Classic Retrofit, most of which make excellent DIY projects while stuck in at home. The modern replacement fuse panels for Porsche 911s up to 1989 are a particular no-brainer, given how many problems the up to fifty year-old original panels can generate. Swapping those old panels out for a brand new panel with integrated bus bars and added headlamp relays to increase light output by up to 20% is a real steal for the money.

Watch the SC video below and visit to see all the products curently available from stock. The new air electric conditioning kit for Porsche 964 and 993 models is also now available until stocks run out. As a former defence and medical electronics designer, he is fully aware of just how hard UK manufacturers are working to turn out ventilators by the hundred, so Jonny has just agreed to cut his production in support of that effort. If you’ve been considering an A/C kit for your car, order one now while they are still on the shelf!


Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can:

New Wheeler Dealers with a Porsche 911

New Wheeler Dealers with a Porsche 911

A few months ago, in what now seems like a privileged previous existence, I spent my regular December fortnight in Lanzarote working on a few projects and wandering the streets of the island’s capital, Arrecife. I did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. As a man of simple tastes, that involved coffee and tapas, the occasional pizza, talking to new people in basic Spanish and sitting on the balcony watching Wheeler Dealers.

My February column for BMW Car magazine zoomed in on this idea of Wheeler Dealers as a highlight of the day. I never watch it while at home but, out in the Canaries, it quickly became a lynchpin of daily routine. It was usually broadcast in English with Spanish subtitles, giving me a bit of a car fix while also improving my language skills. (‘Control de las Fronteras’, with dark-haired Spanish ladies in uniform catching Ukrainian tobacco smugglers et al ran Mike a close second, but that’s another story.)

The new season of Wheeler Dealers kicked off on Discovery Channel last month and the first episode seems to have been a show I saw while in Lanzarote: an SMG to manual conversion on an E46 M3. Subsequent episodes include more favourite four-wheelers:

  •  1972 Fiat 124 Spider
  • 1973 Toyota Celica
  • 2002 Mercedes Benz E55 AMG
  • Volvo Amazon 122
  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • 1982 Porsche 911 SC

Now, I like all of these cars and still own my 1993 Land Cruiser 80-series 4.2 diesel manual. If this pandemic really was some sort of apocalypse, I would be dragging the Land Cruiser back into service right about now, so I’ll definitely be watching that episode, which converts a 60-series Cruiser from auto to manual. Another one for the diary is the 1982 911 SC, which I think has been Herr Brewer’s daily driver for a few years.

Mike is a bona fide Porsche nut. Based in Huntington Beach, California when shooting in America, he is friends with another friend of mine, the artist Nicolas Hunziker, so I often see pics of the craic they enjoy on social media. Nicolas also spends a fair bit of time driving with Chad McQueen: I can definitely see how this lot get on. On a side note, Nicolas has a great offer on his classic Porsche driving shoes at the minute: all shoes are just $50 a pair in the Stay at Home Sale! Check that out and keep him busy.

I don’t know which spanners will be waving in the SC episode, but I see a big old exhaust in the preview photos, so a bit of that at least. In time-honoured Wheeler Dealers tradition, Mike’s SC was sold after the episode was finished and still lives in the USA. Going by his Twitter feed, Mike now runs a 1976 Porsche 912E and has been fettling it while the lockdown continues.

He’s been told that it’s Enamel Blue (it was described as such when sold by Silverstone Auctions) but it looks pretty much the same as my old 912E, which was painted Arrow Blue at the factory in 1976. Maybe it’s had a repaint somewhere down the line. You can follow Mike’s progress with the car on his Twitter feed, @mikebrewer. Worth a follow just to see how he bats off the trolls, not to mention his projects.

The SC episode will be broadcast on Monday April 27th, so stick it in your diary. The Land Cruiser one is the week before!


Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can:

Coronavirus hits Classic Car Auction Sales

Coronavirus hits Classic Car Auction Sales

RM Sotheby’s has announced that its second auction at the annual Techno Classica Essen car show (which was to be held at the end of March) will be postponed to June 2020 due to the coronavirus scare.

“RM Sotheby’s today announces that its forthcoming Essen auction (scheduled 26-27 March) is postponed until the second half of June. RM Sotheby’s, along with all participants of The Techno-Classica Essen show, are working in consultation with the organisers of the event in order to establish a fixed new date. The decision to not proceed with original dates comes in light of the global COVID-19 outbreak and the need to secure the safety of the exhibitors, staff, auction and event visitors, and all decisions are being made in consultation with the health department of the German government.

“It is both our and the Techno-Classica organisation’s primary goal to ensure the good health of our customers, auction visitors and staff, while all parties are committed to reorganizing this incredible annual event as quickly as possible in 2020. RM Sotheby’s will do all it can to ensure the transition to a new date is as smooth as possible for all involved. We will be in touch with news of the new date as soon as it is settled.”

Techno Classica is a yearly ritual for me, so, assuming the fair goes ahead, I am heading for Essen. Having an auction on site is a handy addition and I will miss the opportunity to sit amongst bidders.

Last year’s auction – the first at Techno Classica – was held in a basement close to one of the furthest entrances from the centre. In previous years, this space had been filled by a mixed bag of enthusiast stands and trade sellers, none of whom one would place in the top tier of cars being shown. One had to leave the main arena to access this hall and, for those coming in from the main entrance, it was possible to miss it entirely.

Footfall consequently felt fairly low, with many people skipping the hall through no fault of their own. One UK trade seller I spoke to at length who had consigned a Porsche 911 Turbo to the sale was disappointed with the bidding, but that might have been caused by a high asking price and a general lethargy around the model he was offering.

Sotheby’s press release after the event painted an upbeat picture. “RM Sotheby’s wrapped up the company’s first-ever German auction, reaching total sales of €18.7 million with 86 percent of all 229 lots on offer finding new homes. The two-day sale represents one of the most successful and significant collector car auctions ever held in Germany in terms of both total value and number of cars sold. The auction took place in a packed room on both days and drew bidders from 46 countries, with more than 40 percent of participants being first-time RM Sotheby’s clientele.”

This certainly sounds like an exciting result, but auctions rely on generating some fever and it felt a bit like the fever was going on elsewhere. A better spot for the auction might have been in one of the spaces between halls, where the buzz is constant and the sound of an auction in progress would build on that excitement. Sotheby’s always put on a characterful show and it felt wasted downstairs in the basement.

Porsche Auction Sales Mix

The catalogue for this year’s Techno Classica sale included several Porsches. The online catalogue shows 217 lots in total, with 203 being vehicles and sixteen being Porsches: two water cooled 911s in the shape of a 2005 996 Turbo S Coupe and a 2014 991 Turbo S Coupe, a 1992 928 GTS manual, no less than eight 356 models of various types and five air-cooled 911s, including a 1977 Carrera 3.0 Coupe with little early history but offered without reserve (below).

The 2020 Essen Porsche auction mix is quite different to last year’s sale, which comprised 229 lots, 212 of which were vehicles. Seventeen of these were Porsche vehicles, including two tractors, one water-cooled 911 – a 2011 997 GT3 RS – three 928s and several air-cooled 911s. Everything sold except for two cars: both of which were air-cooled Turbos, which have been sinking from their overinflated prices in recent years.

While there is still decent demand for quality air-cooled cars sold by private owners and my Porsche valuation service including Porsche pre-purchase price checks has been busy all year, supply of the best examples through the used trade and auction market does seem a bit squeezed and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

I recently contributed to a piece in Classic Cars magazine on the 993 RS being offered at Sotheby’s Retromobile Paris sale on February 5th: a nice street optioned car with decent history, which failed to sell despite an apparently sensible estimate.

Auction Results for Sotheby’s Paris Porsche sale

The Paris sale was quite a low volume event. Just 97 lots were shown on the catalogue and only 78 of those were vehicles, with five of those offerings carrying Porsche badges. Two of the five failed to sell: one being the 993 RS and the other a black and gold Carrera GT modified from new by Gemballa for a footballer. The sellers were a 904 Carrera GTS at €1.9 million, a super low mileage 996 GT3 RS Club Sport that found a home at €250,000 and an ex-Porsche 924 Carrera GTS, which sold for over €200,000. Clearly there was money in the room for the right car, so it seems that the RS was not that example.

Postponing the TechnoClassica sale seems like a sensible option, both for sellers who don’t want their car to fail to sell in public due to low footfall and the auctioneers who don’t want a flop on their hands so early in the life of an annual event. Of course coronavirus is also a concern, but timing is everything in Porsche sales and June may give these eight 356s a much better chance.

One has to wonder what will come of the TechnoClassica if Germany follows the lead of other countries and prohibits events gathering of more than 5,000 people at a time. My hotel is non-refundable, so there’s a good lesson to start with!

Photos by Dirk de Jager ©2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s


Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can: