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 ClassicRetrofit.com 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!
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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!
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Ferdinand blogs my freelance adventure with Porsche at the centre. To support the blog or engage with me in other ways, you can:
I spent part of yesterday writing a blog for the Classic Retrofit website covering Patrick Motorsport’s latest project car: a 1986 Porsche hot rod 911 Carrera 3.2 backdated to ’73 RSR style.
Originally supplied as a factory black 911, Patrick retained the original colour and went with blue as an accent shade inside and out. The blue interior is all about impact and takes zero prisoners. The result is a head-turning build that took the Sponsor’s Choice award at the recent Werks Reunion in the Corral de Tierra Country Club, Monterey.
Jonny’s electric air conditioning for air-cooled Porsche 911s was part of the spec for the award-winning build, hence the blog on his website. Patrick Motorsports did a video of the A/C in action, showing a reduction of 30°C at the dash vents versus the ambient temperature. No doubt that was impressive, but the additional spec of the car looks equally impressive.
The builder went through a rough spec on a video shot at the Werks Reunion prize giving. It apparently runs a turbocharged engine, later transmission (I presume this means G50), big brake conversion and more but if the story of what sounds like an interesting build is available online, I couldn’t find it. I think I understand why this might be.
We can all allow what is everyday in our world to feel normal and unworthy of mention. As we do more cool stuff on top of cool stuff, the cool stuff becomes normalised and starts to feel old hat and uninteresting to others. If you were a chef and knew how to poach the perfect egg, poached eggs would feel boring to you. Egg plus boiling water: what else is there to say? But there is lots more to say: poaching the perfect egg was a challenge that took me boxes of eggs to master. Cooking is simple when you know where to start, but that does not mean that a Michelin chef explaining how to poach the perfect egg is something no one wants to know more about.
I have now been writing about Porsches for over fifteen years and have spent most of my working days with at least one 911. They feel very normal to me, so I am probably guilty of skipping across stories that others who don’t spend as much time around these cars would find quite interesting. Clients who have been in this game much longer than I have can be quite blasé about their work on road car restorations or engine rebuilds, but these things are always of interest to owners and they are always worth mentioning.
The weight of life’s other projects – raising kids, maintaining investments, running a business and keeping clients happy – sometimes makes it inevitable that we will take things for granted. Mindfulness and other practices of increasing awareness can help us fight this and focus on what is important, but there are not enough hours in the day to do everything, including enjoying the fruits of our labour.
If your 911, 944, Boxster or GT3 has begin to feel normal and perhaps even boring, stop and think about that. These cars are definitely not boring, so have you just normalised ownership? If you’ve managed to keep Porsche ownership fresh across decades of ownership, how have you done it? I would be interested to know your tips and techniques.
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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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Offered for sale (now sold) is this original RHD 1972 Porsche 911, bought new by a PCGB founder and former president and recently reworked by one of the most famous names in air-cooled 911s to create a superb modified Porsche 911.
This turn-key 911 is offered ready to be driven and enjoyed. Registered as an historic vehicle, it is both tax and MOT exempt. Most recent work includes two new rear tyres and a new twin-plug rotor and distributor cap. A substantial sum has been spent in building and maintaining this 911. The sale includes the cherished registration that has been on the car since new.
In stark contrast to run-of-the-mill RSR builds based on tired American imports, this original RHD 911 could not have better provenance. Bought new in March 1972 from John Aldington of AFN Porsche by then-President of Porsche Club Great Britain, Bill Goodman, the car enjoyed a long and successful hillclimb career with Bill until his passing in 2004. It was subsequently owned by a family friend, before landing at the famous Tuthill Porsche workshop in Oxfordshire, where it was transformed into a beautifully modified RSR-style 911 with a rebuilt 911/83 2.7 Carrera RS engine on high butterfly throttles with twin plug ignition.
It would be impossible to list every upgrade and improvement brought to this desirable 1972 911 with sought-after side oil flap since its most recent change of owner. Wonderful history dates back to the purchase invoice and includes bills for more than £150,000 spent with Tuthill Porsche since October 2014. Note that this does not include the purchase price! This car was created by the owner as a money-no-object vision of his ultimate road-going RHD 911. The headline spec list looks like this:
Bodywork: Full body restoration including inner and outer sills, A and B-posts, kidney bowls, parcel shelf repairs, scuttle and windscreen aperture repairs, front slam panel replacement and more. Complete steel-arch conversion to RSR spec. Full repaint in original Tangerine.
Interior: All new trim including Recaro Pole Position seats trimmed in leather with black Alcantara centres, new headlining in black, RS carpets and rear seat pads, new sound deadening, custom dash with 10k tacho, bolt-in roll cage, new inertia reel seat belts and Tuthill harnesses.
Engine: A genuine 2.7 Carrera RS 911/83 twin plug engine with mechanical fuel injection, rebuilt by Tuthills with usual attention to porting and blueprinting. Kevlar engine shrouds, twin Classic Retrofit mappable ignition spark boxes, custom SSI exhaust (including cabin heat) with bespoke silencer and fitted rear bumper.
Transmission: Custom Tuthill gearbox with WEVO shifter, limited slip differential, 930 clutch fork and more.
Suspension: Full Tuthill Porsche EXE-TC adjustable suspension, all suspension components replaced or rebuilt.
Brakes: Full Tuthill Porsche braking system including adjustable twin master cylinder Tuthill pedal box and billet aluminium 6-pot front/4-pot rear calipers.
Wheels and Tyres: 9-inch and 11-inch BZ Classic rims in RSR finish, wrapped in Pirelli Corsa Classic 235/45 and 305/30 R15 tyres (rear tyres are new).
Option to purchase: Optional additions include a car set of super-rare genuine 9-inch and 11-inch Fuchs wheels, a set of Cibie Pallas light units in body colour and smaller round ‘Durant’ mirrors.
The current owner is a private individual, so has asked me to help market the car on his behalf. I will be attending to all viewings and facilitating any inspections. The final payment will be a bank transfer direct to the owner.
This is a straight sale: no part exchanges, thank you. I am happy to work with overseas buyers keen to take advantage of the current exchange rates.
The asking price of £134,995 is substantially less than the cost to build and an attractive price in this market given the history, provenance and high-end nature of all modifications. Any inspection is welcome.
Porsche 911 CD 6299 History
In March 1972, Porsche enthusiast Bill Goodman bought a brand new RHD Porsche 911T in Tangerine from the late, great John Aldington at AFN/Porsche Cars Great Britain Limited for the all-in sum of £4167. This event in itself was not greatly significant, save for the fact that, in March 1972, Bill Goodman was the President of Porsche Club Great Britain: a position he occupied from 1968 to 1974.
Bill was one of the original group of Porsche owners who met at the Grand Hotel in Birmingham in 1961, to discuss the foundation of a British Porsche club. The club was duly established and Bill was made Chairman in 1964. He worked tirelessly in that role to set out the foundations of what is now one of the world’s most respected Porsche groups, becoming President in 1968. Holding the presidency for six years, Bill remains fondly remembered by all who knew him.
Registered as CD 6299, the car was Bill’s first 911, following six 356 models in succession over fourteen years. As Bill himself would later say: “I have never been one to keep the same car – even a Porsche – for very long, and it took a 911 to interrupt that habit.”
Painted in sought-after Tangerine (also known as Blood Orange), Bill’s 911 was a simple original specification. The car was chosen for its notable torque at low revs and low weight as standard: two qualities which bode well for competition.
Bill was a keen driver and motorsport competitor and his 911T was soon spotted on the hillclimb circuit. The first major modification came in the form of an engine swap, the flat six from his wife’s 2.4S Targa finding its way into the back of the T. His best times came down a bit, but it was not a long-term solution.
The big change came following a conversation with Josh Sadler of Autofarm fame, who suggested building a high performance 3.0 Turbo engine that would offer the same power to weight as some of the single-seater race cars of the time. A change to later 3.0 RSR style accompanied the new engine, with AP brakes and a long list of associated modifications.
When Bill passed away in 2004, the car was handed down to his son, who kept it until 2009. Thereafter, it lived in and around the UK midlands until 2014, when it popped up for sale Tuthill Porsche in Wardington, Oxfordshire.
Tuthills had a raft of customers interested in the rare RHD 1972 911: an original non-sunroof car in factory Tangerine with the distinctive side oil flap. Some wanted to restore it to original specification, but that was not in tune with its original owner. Run as a modified 911 since its earliest days, the ideal custodian would continue that trend and do justice to its legacy.
A candidate soon emerged, a price was agreed and a project was drawn up that would see a significant sum invested to create the car you see today. Featuring all of Tuthill’s expertise in building modified 911s for the ultimate driving experience, this 911 has covered just a few thousand miles since the build was completed. It is now for sale as the owner is streamlining his collection.
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