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Porsche hot rods and Normalisation

Porsche hot rods and Normalisation

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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More Porsche lessons from Monterey

More Porsche lessons from Monterey

Away from the dramatic sale of the ex-Otto Mathe Type 64 Volkswagen at Monterey, the RM Sotheby’s auction gave us a good insight into how Porsche prices are doing, with several record prices for collectable Porsches offered for sale.

Record auction price for Carrera GT

The 2005 Porsche Carrera GT was not the most expensive Porsche sold by RM Sotheby’s in California, but the final price of $1.193 million including buyer’s premium for GT number 1021 established a new world record for Carrera GT at auction. Looking at the spec before the sale, it was obvious that the bidding would be energetic, as the car ticked all the right boxes including:

  • Low mileage of just 265 miles
  • Paint-to-Sample in a great colour: Arancio Boreallis/Metallic Orange
  • Huge options list totalling over $37k
  • Recent $25k service

In a world of identikit silver GTs, this car was the ultimate antidote. It rightly took home a pretty penny and established a new benchmark for the model at auction. By comparison, a two-owner Carrera GT in Silver with just 5,200 miles from new sold for over $400k less.

Another Porsche that took full advantage of the holy trinity of low mileage, low owners and paint to sample with Exclusive interior was the very last 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster. Presented with just 260 miles from new, and finished in custom Cinnabar/Zinnobar Red with beige suede trim (ooh), the polished Fuchs on chassis number 173786 couldn’t stop the car rocketing to $379k including premium. This must be some sort of record.

Water-cooled 911s also did well. The 2011 Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0 that changed hands at the 70th Anniversary sale in Atlanta during October 2018 returned to the market in Monterey.

Having sold at auction less than a year ago for $566k, it went for almost $100k more in Monterey: $665k including premium. One may view this either as 4-litres taking off in California through 2019 or Atlanta in winter having been the wrong place to sell this RS. It was a good result for a 4-litre RS either way, especially given that the car cannot be registered in CA due to smog laws.

Porsches that failed to sell in Monterey

Twenty-one Porsches were offered for sale at Monterey and only three failed to sell: the aforementioned Type 64 (sort of a Porsche), a 1973 RS with a bunch of Japanese history and a 1996 Porsche 993 GT2 that had previously changed hands at Amelia Island 2018 for over $1.4 million, but failed to find a new home at Monterey. Nothing too surprising.

Other cars that sold below expectations (my expectations, at least) all had restoration in common. When it comes to buying old cars, there’s still no substitute for originality.

First-Ever Porsche heads for Auction

First-Ever Porsche heads for Auction

California is set to reassert its credentials as the epicentre of the classic Porsche universe this August, when RM Sotheby’s offers what it is calling the first-ever Porsche for sale at the Monterey weekend.

Sotheby’s refers to the car as “the only surviving example of the Type 64 Porsche and the personal car of both Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche,” but the honorary title is at odds with respected Porsche historian and friend of the Porsche archives, Karl Ludvigsen, who describes this car and its stablemates as Type 60K10s rather than Type 64s. This car is noted by Ludvigsen as one of three 60K10s built in preparation for the Berlin-Rome race, which was planned to run in September 1939. The historian explains things as follows:

“When, in 1941, Porsche compiled a book covering the activities of its first ten years, it conflated the Types 64 and 60K10 under the “Type 64″ heading. Understandably, this has led to confusion for later historians. This author prefers to maintain a clear distance between the two projects, which were in fact distinctly different and played contrasting roles in the Porsche sports-car saga.”

Type 64 Origins

The origin of the Type 64 Volkswagen is well documented. Ludvigsen’s must-have work ‘Origin of the Species‘ describes how, in 1937, “Porsche designers sketched the specifications of another member of the VW family, the Type 64, listed in the Porsche annals as VW-Rekord (Sport)”. However, circumstances surrounding the Type 64 plans were difficult.

Building one-off sports cars didn’t suit the PR tastes of the German Labour Front, overseers of the KdF-Wagen (Volkswagen) project that the Type 64 was based on. Nor would the organisation sell KdF parts to Porsche for the design house to build its own Type 64s. As Porsche could neither obtain the parts or the funding to take the project further, no Type 64s were ever built.

Enter the KdF 60K10

When the first Autobahn was opened from Berlin to Munich, a race was planned for Autumn 1939, to highlight the feat of civil engineering. After sprinting south through Germany along the new highway, the competitors would continue through Austria to the Brenner Pass before racing closed roads, all the way to Rome.

With deliveries of the new Volkswagen/KdF-Wagen scheduled for early 1940, the race was tailor-made for PR. A racing car built on the Volkswagen was now an entirely different proposition, and the Labour Front was now all in favour. Ferdinand Porsche decided that the cars should be built on the standard Type 60 VW chassis with a special aluminium body hand built by Reutter.

Much of the engineering for Type 64 was integrated into the Type 60K10, allowing a short development cycle. The first of three cars was finished in August 1939, with the second completed a month later. The race was officially shelved after Germany invaded Poland the following month, but one more car was finished in June 1940. Based on the damaged chassis of car number one, that is the car being offered for sale.

First-Ever Porsche: The History

Sotheby’s press release tells how “the third Type 64 was retained as a personal family car and driven extensively by Ferry and Ferdinand Porsche. When the company was forced to relocate headquarters to Gmünd, Austria from 1944-1948, it was kept alongside No. 2 at the family estate in the picturesque lakeside town of Zell-am-See. No. 3 was the only example to survive the war, and Ferry Porsche himself applied the raised letters spelling out ‘PORSCHE’ on the nose of the car when he had in registered in Austria under the new company name in 1946.

“In 1947, restoration work was commissioned by Porsche and completed by a young Pinin Farina in Turin, Italy. Nearly one year later, Porsche demonstrated the Type 356 roadster, no. 1, on public roads in Innsbruck, with the Type 64 by its side. Austrian privateer driver Otto Mathé completed demo laps in the Type 64 and fell in love, buying it from Porsche the following year. He enjoyed a successful racing career with the car in the 1950s—the very first to do so in a Porsche product—and kept it for 46 years until his death in 1995.

“In 1997, the Type 64 changed hands for just the second time in six decades and appeared at a handful of vintage racing events with its third owner, Dr. Thomas Gruber of Vienna, including Goodwood and the Austrian Ennstal Classic. Dr. Gruber is the author of the renowned Carrera RS book and one of the most respected Porsche specialists worldwide. Delightfully patinated, the streamlined 1939 Porsche Type 64 is now offered in Monterey from the long-term care of just its fourth owner, who acquired the car more than a decade ago, and is accompanied by many original spare parts, as well as extensive period images and historic documentation.”

Previous efforts to sell the Type 64

Instagram threads on this car throw up a few stories regarding previous efforts to sell it privately. One commenter on the RM thread suggests that Mathé’s guys may have altered a chassis number back in the day (quite common on older Porsches) and classic Porsche dealer, Maurice Felsbourg, commented that “The Otto Mathé car has been for sale by owners for years now. Each time asking price was met, they either raised it or changed their mind. They play golf with Piëch & Porsche, they surely won’t buy it. I hope bidding stalls at €5m.”

Sounds slightly like sour grapes you might think, but it is true that the car has previously been offered to specialists. One contact showed me an email from 2014, when he was offered the car at €12 million. Plenty of people will know about recent efforts to sell and that will influence some bidders. It if often the case that collectors reject the opportunity to buy in open market when the seller has made things difficult behind closed doors.

Whether you call this car a Type 64 or a Type 60K10, assuming the car all checks out, this is the most significant VW-Porsche to come up for sale since the last time it changed hands. Sotheby’s press release says that it could get up to $20 million: we’ll see how that goes.

Update – read more about the dramatic events when the Type 64 came up for sale.

Photos © Staud Studios 2019 courtesy of RM Sothebys

SOLD: RHD 1971 Porsche 911T

SOLD: RHD 1971 Porsche 911T

A friend in Ireland has asked me to help find a buyer for his RHD 1971 Porsche 911T, which he has owned since 2013. It is a matching numbers car and has covered an indicated 90,000 miles from new. I have just had the car brought back to England and am offering it for sale on his behalf (now sold – many thanks).

Built in Stuttgart at the end of 1970, the Porsche was sold through AFN and registered as YBH 760J on May 14th, 1971. The history pack for the car shows no details of its early life in the UK, but it ended up having a colour change to red somewhere down the line. In 1999 it was sold by a London garage to an owner in Somerset.

History with that owner shows a series of bills including torsion tube replacement in September 2000, conversion to pressure fed cam chain tensioners in 2001 at 74,500 miles, a new fuel pump and several services. The car covered minimal mileage through to 2003, when it was MOT’d with 75,428 miles on the clock.

The car came back to the market in 2009 and was sold to Brian Kane, a well known air-cooled Porsche specialist at Harmonstown Motors in Dublin. Brian imported the car into the Republic and carried out a detailed restoration, including a conversion to non-sunroof spec using genuine new Porsche parts from the scuttle panel back. There is a huge spread of parts bills right through Brian’s ownership, showing that more than £10,000 was spent on parts alone from 2009 to 2012, with Brian’s labour and other trade services on top.

After several years ownership and enjoyment, the car was seemingly involved in an accident in Ireland at the end of 2012. The parts bill from Porsche Centre Dublin including many genuine panels, a new Porsche oil tank and genuine heat exchangers totalled over €27,000, but an assessor’s report of the time shows the “concours winning car” car had a pre-accident value of €80,000, so the second restoration began on a jig with a Porsche approved repairer. Interestingly, a letter from the insurers in the history shows the damage was not recorded.

This restoration during 2012-2013 put the car back to its original factory silver and into the condition seen here. Bonnet, bumper, front wings, front wing joiners and front pan are all new and rust free. The engine and transmission were rebuilt by a noted Irish specialist in 2017 and prepped for regularity rallying. The car was running on throttle bodies for a time but has now been put back on Webers and runs very well, starting at the first turn of the key. It drove from Dublin to Northamptonshire with no dramas.

The Porsche 911’s rallying history was an important connection for the owner and this car carries a distinct sports purpose theme, with the hood-mounted Cibie Pallas lights painted in body colour over a simple front bumper, the twin-centre exit exhaust and those classic 6 x 15″ anodised Fuchs all round.

The interior was planned as simple T/R spec until the decision came to sell the car, so the interior may be something for the next owner to work on. The leather trimmed steering wheel, dash, seats and door panels are in good order and the seats and original seat belts are as one would expect on an old 911, so they may simply be retained or upgraded. The carpets are original and a new carpet set would give the cabin a lift.

There are a few areas that would yield improvement with a bit of time spent. The engine could do with a new sound pad and detail, a geometry and ride height adjust would be a good idea, I would add an RS bonnet prop as the lights are quite heavy and there is some wiring here and there that could be tidier. But as a vintage Porsche ready to drive, with body restoration and engine and transmission rebuilds all done, it seems a good opportunity to obtain an affordable pre-’73 911 that can be modified and enjoyed.

The car is still registered on Irish plates but it is not a hard job to import to the UK and there should be no duty to pay. Most cars brought back into Britain go back on their original registrations. This one is now MOT and road tax exempt as it is over 40 years old. An MOT may be required as part of the re-importation process. If the car is being exported to further afield, then the paperwork is easily done.

The asking price for this honest 911 is a sensible £54,995 and I am happy to assist potential buyers from the British Isles and beyond. Inspection is recommended and that can be done at the storage facility. The car is stored near Junction 11 of the M40. Drop me an email with any questions.


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

Child Seat Options for Classic Porsche 911 owners

Child Seat Options for Classic Porsche 911 owners

I supplied an agreed insurance valuation for a nice 1982 Porsche 911 SC yesterday. It was a bittersweet moment for the owner: the valuation was for more than he was thinking, but our valuation discussion was a precursor to the impending sale of the car later this year.

The owner had spent a small fortune on the car in the last two years, including £8k with Historika on replacing the suspension and brakes, plating and powder coating the parts that would be re-used and fitting a lot of new parts. He spent over £2k plus materials on the usual rust repairs and then another £2k with Autofarm on a service plus underbody steam clean and waxoyl rust inhibitor treatment.

Add another £2200 on a gearbox rebuild, a bit more on SSIs and you’re getting up for £15k spent on the SC in recent years, so the car is now just about done and in better condition than the average SC of a similar age. Having done all that work, why sell now?

“Since I got it I’ve poured money into it, just short of full restoration, but I’m a new dad with another on the way and thought I could be one of the young IB crowd that could keep the car through kids. Turns out it’s harder than I thought.

“Recent new car seat rules are the killer: Rear facing to 15 months and then some sort of booster until they are quite old. I’m heading towards two kids under two: the SC is a third car and the Mrs wants something she can enjoy also.”

Kids and old Porsches go together like cheeseburgers

Having been through this whole thing when my kids were little, I did the same thing any 911 guy would do and told him to keep the SC and get a Polo or something to run the kids around in. I kept my 911s right through having little kids and wouldn’t dream of selling an air-cooled car just because kids came along, albeit I would be lying if I said it was always easy.

I’ve done the daily school run for at least one child over the last eighteen years and the 911 was always a popular choice when my kids were small. Many nursery pickups were done in the SC despite the mums’ cautioning that “the Porsche will have to go now you have three.” Err, no. I just bought a 5-door Polo and ran that when I didn’t want feet scratching the SC’s leather seatbacks. ‘Shoes off in dad’s car’ was the order of the day.

Child seats in the 20th Century

When I was a kid in the 1970s, there were six children in my family (Irish) and my aunt lived nearby, with three kids and no car. We had a Peugeot 504 Family estate: three rows of seats and not a belt to be seen. All thirteen of us would regularly pile into the Peugeot to head off to my grandmother’s.

Years later, I had my own kids and the child seat laws were a little more rigorous. I did my best to fit proper Porsche seats into the 911 SC Cabriolet I had at the time and the best option was the Porsche Prince seat: a drop-in insert that fitted coupe rear seat wells but struggled with the Cabriolet’s more upright seat backs. Eventually, I either took just one in the front in the Prince or on a Porsche booster, two in the back using the normal lap belts, three using a combination of both or they all stayed at home. My wife has never been one for old Porsches, so no need to take her along…

EU/UK Child Seat Laws 2019

Don’t take the following as full legal advice, as I am not an expert and I accept no liability for you not doing your own research! However, according to a quick look at RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) and the RAC, the current child seat laws seem to break down like this:

Children must use a rear-facing seat until they’re 15 months old. Rear facing seats must not be used in front if there is an active airbag on the passenger side of the car.

Once your child gets to 15 months old, their neck is deemed strong enough to go in a front facing seat, which must be mounted using ISOFIX mounts or a diagonal seat belt. Kids aged 12 or older or those who are taller than 135cm do not need to use a child seat. Children under 12 years old or shorter than 135cm must use a child seat.

Kids over 12 years old or more than 135cm tall must wear a seat belt. Those weighing more than 22kg and taller than 125cm can use a backless booster seat. For smaller children, a high-backed booster seat (like the Porsche ‘Plus’ below) is recommended, as a booster cushion alone will not protect them in a side impact. A child aged three or older may use an adult seat belt if making an ‘unexpected but necessary journey’ over a short distance.

Child Seats versus older Porsches

There are EU requirements laws relating to seat approval which apply to seats made after March 1, 2017 and you should read up on these. Seats manufactured before this date can still be used based on the previous legislation, so let’s assume that your actual seat ticks all the legal boxes.

The only option if your child is fifteen months or younger is a rear facing seat. My experience says that there is no hope of safely fitting one of these into the back of a Ferry-era Porsche, therefore it has to go in the front and the car has to be fitted with no active airbag.

If you have an air-cooled 911 (964 or 993) with a non-switchable airbag, then you need to take the bag out (good luck with that) or you are using another car. Anyone in pre-airbag models is sitting pretty: none of my three Porsches have airbags. 996 and later 911s have a bit more space to play with so most solutions should be OK in there, but you may still struggle with rear legroom/footroom.

Over fifteen months, you can get them in forward facing seats. If you have an older 911 coupe, then there are a few options for forward-facing seats in the back. The Maxi-Cosi Rodi XP has worked well for some and the Porsche Prince is one I recommend. The Prince was made by Britax Römer for Porsche (I had both Römer- and Porsche-badged examples) and works with a seat back and detachable “table”, pressed into the seat back using the seat belt.

Now for a cautionary note. You will love the Prince as it opens up a whole world of car fun with the kids and seems to look cool in situ: it has a very Porsche-like appearance. The table top is also a great place for their head to lie on when they want to have a sleep. However, I had two kids in Prince seats and I can’t say either of them were overly enamoured with them.

Orla G in a Porsche Prince child seat (911 SC Cabriolet)

The Porsche Prince seat is a bit claustrophobic – especially in the back of a Cabriolet – and a right faff to fit with anything other than diagonal inertia-reel seat belts, which my Cab did not have. Be prepared for your kids to hate these seats and keep your cool if that is the case. You don’t have to sit in them and mum’s/dad’s “other car” is quieter with better seats and probably decent air con too. Don’t expect miracles straight away.

A tired Ciara G about to have a snooze in the SC at the Stamford Hall VW Show

I occasionally used these seats without the table when my kids were bigger and they were happier like this but, while the Prince variants worked quite well, they were not perfect. A hardback Audi front-facing seat (pic above) that also had a lap table, which I used in the front of the SC, had height-adjustable clips on either side of the backrest to take the shoulder belt at a nice angle and all three daughters were happiest in this. I was perhaps happier with the risks of using a less than optimal seat than you might be – I never went flat out anywhere with the kids in the car – but it will be up to you to decide whether it fits your comfort zone.

Child Seat Summary

The upshot is that, if you only have one child to move, then anything is possible and it should not be too much of a problem. If you have two to move, then it gets interesting: especially if the Mrs wants to come too. That said, if your old Porsche is a third car and either of the other two work for moving kids, then I don’t see why the Porsche has to go. Kids don’t stay kids forever. Note also that whatever cash you get for your Porsche car will disappear in a heartbeat and getting back into one will be a lot more expensive down the road. “Don’t sell your dream,” as my friend Leonard very wisely told me.

I understand why the SC owner is putting his car up for sale, but I still think it’s a mistake to sell due to kids. Macan and Cayenne took off because they are great for moving kids if you simply must have a Porsche badge, but they are no substitute for the old ones. I did 50k miles including countless school runs in my Cayenne S. I eventually sold it, but still have the classics.

What about you: how are you moving your brood? Let me know in the comments – happy to add any appropriate pics to the piece.

Featured photo courtesy of Greig M – many thanks!

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