I’ve been keeping tabs on a Porsche 911R hot rod build by Tim Walker out in North Carolina via email for the last few months. The project flightpath is pretty cool: having bought a 959 replica unseen and found it wanting throughout, a fortunate fender bender offered Tim the opportunity to put things right. Here’s his story:
“I bought the car in January 2016 on Auto Trader. Advertised in Idaho, the car was listed as as a 1984 Porsche 911 (959), but it turned out to be a 1971 911E. Auto Trader’s listing tool does not allow a year older than 1984, so that’s why the age was posted incorrectly. I swapped a few phone calls with the vendor and we agreed a deal. I then had the car shipped to my house in North Carolina.
“I drove the car for about two weeks after it arrived. It was horrible: the oversteer was the worst I have ever experienced. The 959 body kit was really heavy, especially in the rear. I wasn’t sure what to do about it. While considering my next step, a friend asked if I could take him and his young daughter to a father/daughter dance and give them a grand entrance. It sounded like a fun thing to do, so I had the car cleaned and filled it up with gas. On the way over to pick them up, I was cut off and hit a car that had turned in front of me. That was the end of the dance ride, the end of the 959 and the start of something else.
“The obvious decision was to bring the car back to its narrow body days, but little did I know what horrors lay beneath the 959 body kit. At some point the car had been slid into a pole, so the chassis was seriously bent. The torsion tube was cracked, the passengers inner rocker was way out of shape, floors were surprisingly rust free but they had suffered years of neglect. The whole front end of the car was so poorly repaired that I ended up replacing both inner front fenders.
“Taking the 959 stuff off and repairing the damage left us with a lot of panels to replace. The upside was we had a blank slate to work with. I liked the early look, so I decided to do a 911R recreation. That allowed me to use a 1972 oil tank in the quarter panel: we just had to cut the hole and extend the oil tank filler neck, modifying the passenger rear quarter panel to house the proper sheet metal to hold the oil console.
“All the undercoating was removed by hand with a wire brush, and the chassis was repaired on a jig to make sure it was straight. I’m happy that the car is 100% rust free. I put a lot of hours into the preparation, but I also have to send a big thanks to my friends at Carolina Coach Crafters in Mooresville, North Carolina for great work on the body.
“Another company I had read good things about was EB Motorsport in Barnsley, England. Their products are distributed by Rothsport Racing in the USA: another very respected shop. I chose to use EB’s Porsche 911R panels to give my R the authentic look. We used the bonnet, bumpers, front wings, doors and engine lid from their range.
“It took a while to decide on a colour. The original factory colour was Albert Blue, but I wasn’t sure that would be right for a 911R. Everyone paints them white, so I wanted something different. When a Porsche 356 came to the paintshop finished in an optional colour – Continental Orange – the decision was made. The body was painted and I think it looks great.
“The 911E came with its original transmission and a twin-plug 2.7-litre engine from a 1975 Carrera. Running on Weber carburettors, that was serviced and left alone, but we refurbished all the suspension, brakes, steering and so on. I was planning on refitting these parts myself, but the shop gave me a good price to get it back on its wheels, so I let them attend to that before it was trailered home.
“The finishing touches such as refitting the glass and doing the interior – including fitting some restored hardback Recaro sports seats I managed to find – is all being done at home. We’re more than 90% of the way there now so it is all nearly done. I just love how it looks and can’t wait to drive it!
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