As the 944 Turbo is sold, I was keen to move my other 944 project along; get it MOTed and then either start using it or get shot of it. It has to be MOTed to get the number plate off, so that’s a no choice thing.
Anyway, I collected the Porsche 944 from Midlands Car Storage and hooked up the A-frame. Towing with the Landcruiser is a dream, so we had a good run home, where I put the kettle on and wondered what to do next. I decided to start by getting the boot open.
The way a 944 tailgate works is it has a pin in each rear corner which locks into a recessed latch. To open, the key pulls rods inwards to slide the latch plates and release the pins. There are sponges (I kid you not) between the car body and the latch recesses and then the latch bodies have little reservoirs underneath, which collect the water which runs down the pins, and drains it out through the boot floor. It is convoluted but I think fairly clever. However, it is a bugger if the latches are not used regularly.
I bought the white car knowing it had sat unused for ten years in a leaky car port in Chichester, right by the sea – the house was a street away from the Channel. Imagine the steel pins and steel latches submerged in a salt bath for ten years: they seize solid and need smashing off. Smashing off window locks in a cramped greenhouse, in 26 degree heat, while lying on a floor and working over your head (in a car thick with mould) is a lovely job. I eventually got it all apart, opened the lid and checked out the boot. Dry and healthy and no rot anywhere, except the locks and the number plate lights. I have new ones of these so they’ll go on tomorrow.
I’d stuck the battery on a boost charge, so decided to try some electrics next. The door mirrors worked in 2 out of 4 directions – nice. The pop-up lights did pop up and made me want to keep the car. I love pop ups! The rest is fairly basic: this is mostly a manual car, which is great. The carpets on the drivers side seemed not too damp but the other side was soaked. I pulled the bonnet catch and noticed a lot of rust on the fusebox, the sort of rust that doesn’t happen with leaky rear window seals which is what I though I had. This had to be a hole in the battery tray over the fusebox pouring water straight down.
Battery out and project brakes on! A huge hole right across the front of the battery tray is just pouring buckets of water into the car, every time it rains. That has to go off and be fixed before we do anything else – have booked it in with Rob Campbell at Racing Restorations for some TLC next week. I’ll get the bit on the sill done done at the same time.
Getting the rest of the trim out should be fun – the front seats are seized on the runners which makes removal a job and a half. Will do what I can before the GP tomorrow.