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INCLUDING Early 911 Buyers’ Guide

EXCLUSIVE COLLECTION OF THE BEST CLASSIC PORSCHES FROM 356 TO 911 3.2 CARRERA

Brought to you by the publishers of

& £6.99 Classic Porsche No 1

911

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912

www.911porscheworld.com

9 772042 107009

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WELCOME

Editor Steve Bennett Tel: 01379 668748 porscheworld@chpltd.com Contributors Antony Fraser, John Glynn, Chris Horton, Mike Key, Paul Knight, James Lipman, Peter Robain, Keith Seume, David Sutherland, Johnny Tipler, Mark Waring

Studio Manager Peter Simpson Art Editors Joel Mitchell, Si Mitchell, Jonathan Henson Colour Origination Paul Nilsson, Mike Tubb Tel: 020 8655 6400 Group Advertisement Manager James Stainer Ad Sales Kirk Ritchie Tel: 020 8655 6407 kirk.ritchie@chpltd.com Production Debi Stuart Tel: 020 8655 6417 debi.stuart@chpltd.com Accounts: Bev Brown, Charmaine Sutton Administration: Allie Burns, Sandra Househam Tel: 020 8655 6400 Fax: 020 8763 1001 Publisher: Nigel Fryatt Managing Director: Clive Househam Printed in England Garnett Dickinson Print Ltd; tel: 01709 768000 Worldwide Retail Distribution Seymour Distribution Ltd 2 East Poultry Avenue London EC1A 9PT Classic Porsche is brought to you by the team behind

Classic Porsche® is published by CHPublications Ltd, Nimax House, 20 Ullswater Crescent, Ullswater Business Park, Coulsdon, Surrey CR5 2HR Tel: 020 8655 6400 Email: chp@chpltd.com While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this publication CHPublications Ltd. cannot accept liability for any statement or error contained herein. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part, without written permission, is prohibited

Welcome to the first issue of Classic Porsche, brought to you by the publishers of 911 & Porsche World and Ultra VW. But what exactly is ‘a classic Porsche’ we hear you ask? Well, that very question caused a lot of entertaining discussion in our office. The first, and easiest decision, was that it should include all 356 variants, but then came the tricky bit - what about 911s? Finally, a line was drawn in the sand at 1989 911 models; this way

But what is ‘a classic Porsche’, we “ hear you ask? Now there’s a question ” we have been able to consider all the obvious early models, including the 912, and go right up to the impact bumper models. All air-cooled, of course. The result is a superb collection of features from our 911 & Porsche World and Ultra VW publications, which we are sure you will enjoy. If there are any obvious omissions, then do let us know. We are keen to hear what you think of this publication, after all, we need to know what is going into Classic Porsche, No 2.

Steve Bennett Editor, 911 & Porsche World porscheworld@chpltd.com

www.911porscheworld.com

© CHPublications Ltd, 2009 CLASSIC PORSCHE

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356 356C Overweight and over-complicated or simply underrated? Pre-A 356 Is this the most accurate restoration of a classic Porsche? 356B Rebuilding a 1961 356B as a thank you to his wife 356A Welcome to the wonderful world of Porsche ‘Outlaws’ 356 Speedsters A rare drive in a pair of 356 Speedsters Pre-A 356 The Holy Grail for many classic Porsche enthusiasts Pre-A 356 Bought, unseen from America - now that’s brave!

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911S The first 911S in the UK and still in original condition RS 2.7 The restoration story of a design icon. The ultimate classic 911? Carrera 3.2 Super Sport If there ever was a ‘practical classic’ it’s this 911 Flat-nose 911s Very much an acquired taste, we look at two great examples 912 The natural link between the 356C and the 911 RS ‘Sport’ Lightweight Restoration of this ultra-rare, and highly desirable 911 RS Double 911S When one 911S is not enough, buy another one... 911E One (lucky) owner from new. Time travelling in a 911E

BUYING ADVICE & GROUP TESTS Hot rod 911s Following in the tradition of customized VWs - Cal Look 911s Impact Bumper 911 models Ten versions meet for the ultimate impact bumper test Early 911 Owners’ Guide Everything you need to know about owning a classic Porsche Ultimate private track day? Drool over this fantastic collection of performance 911s 4

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CONTENTS

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Words and photos: Keith Seume

THE PERFECT OBSESSION We follow Paul Rui’s quest to get inside the head of Porsche’s production line team in an effort to produce the most accurate restoration of an early Porsche yet 32

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PRE-A 356

T

o say that Paul Rui isn’t like most Porsche enthusiasts is something of an understatement. He comes across as being a typically understated Norwegian, tall, quietly spoken and speaking impeccable English, with just a hint of Scandinavian accent. Maybe that’s because his mother is English and he has many happy memories of childhood holidays this side of the North Sea. But we digress for, more importantly, he’s an obsessive character who only knows how to do things one way: the right way. Over the years, he’s owned, restored, rebuilt and, most importantly, driven a wide variety of vintage VW and Porsche cars. They’ve nearly all been a little on the unusual side (OK, to use an Americanism, ‘way out in left field’) but have each been impeccably

detailed in their own unique way. But his dream had always been to own an early. Porsche - and by early we mean really early. ‘I had just sold my unrestored 1950 VW Convertible,’ Paul recalls, ‘and was looking for an interesting project to sink my teeth into. I knew a thing or two about these early Porsches, but obviously not very much due to the fact there is almost nothing written in detail about them. What I did know, though, was that Ferdinand Porsche died at the end of January 1951 and I wanted a car that was produced while he was still alive. ‘My friend Austin Asphjell was studying in Texas, and one day back in 1997 or ‘98 he called me up to say he had found a 1950 splitwindow Porsche in Hemmings News, the longestablished classic car advertising magazine in the USA. I had told him to be on the lookout

for anything interesting that might come up. Well, to cut a long story short, a deal was struck and I found myself the proud owner of a 1950 Porsche!’ It all sounds so simple, doesn’t it? You want a Pre-A Porsche, you find a Pre-A Porsche - you buy a Pre-A Porsche... But this was to be the beginning of a long journey through the Porsche archives, sorting truth from fiction, and trying to get inside the head of workers at Stuttgart, thinking the way they thought while hand-assembling each 356 coupé. Paul continues: ‘I remember trying to find as much info as possible about this car, and spoke to the seller - Tom Scott in Colorado - on numerous occasions as he already had several early Porsche restorations under his belt. Tom was kind enough to supply me with lots of information and, thank CLASSIC PORSCHE

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spent a full two years searching for the correct Hella “Iheadlights. They are extremely difficult to find… ” 34

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We flew to Oslo especially to photograph the car, as we knew it was going to be something special. It was one of the stars of the PCGB event at Hedingham Castle in 2009. Rear three-quarter view is our favourite. This car is perfection on wheels


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PRE-A 356

goodness, it turns out he also had a few of the hard to find parts for sale.’ In these early days in the project, Paul admits he knew pretty much nothing about the car at all, so called Richard King of Karmann Konnection in Southend, Essex, and during a short phone conversation it was decided that he would see the project through the main part of the restoration. ‘However,’ says Paul, ‘little did I know that the restoration would take the best part of 10 years, but I was determined to leave no stone unturned in restoring this car to the same immaculate condition as it left the factory.’ Research shows that the car was sold at Glöckler in Frankfurt, the agency run by Walter Glöckler whose own mid-engined sports cars inspired Porsche to go down the same route, resulting in the development of the 550 Spyder. So it came from a good home, then, but it was a full restoration project, as Paul clearly remembers. ‘I soon realised, the more I sank my teeth into early Porsche history, that this car had to be restored in the correct way. It needed a lot of things, but did have some of the most important bits. It’s taken a long time getting it to the condition you see it today! I have been to the archives probably about seven times in total, carrying out research. You see, I can’t bring myself to trust what you read in most information sources.’ The decision was made to entrust the task of restoring the badly corroded body and chassis to Bruce Cooper’s Sportwagen operation in Essex, a company responsible for several of the finest early-Porsche rebuilds

this side of the Atlantic. The fun, though, was just about to begin, as Paul recounts: ‘It was not until the car arrived at Sportwagen that I started to see all the small but important details that make a 1950 a 1950. I have managed to detect over 20 differences between a four-digit chassis number 1950 and a later ‘51 model, for example. My car was actually built on 20th December 1950 and is chassis number 5355. ‘Pretty soon after the car arrived in England for its two year body restoration, I was starting to find out all sorts of interesting things about Porsches of this age. I already had a friend in Sweden, Christer Rye, whom I knew through the VW scene, who had restored a 1951 Porsche and he became pretty much the first person I turned to for help. Christer had been smart enough to document the whole restoration of his own car and had amassed plenty of information about who to contact, and the like. One name turned up on a regular basis: Tom Birch in California. Tom proved to be a huge help as I ran many of my thoughts past him. I also found some more useful information after buying an unrestored ‘52 in Sweden, from which I hoped to source certain parts that were identical to those used on my 1950. There were some but, as it turned out, not many...’ Meanwhile, thanks to Thomas Skogli, Paul began a long dialogue with the Porsche museum in Stuttgart. ‘I managed to speak to Jens Torner at the archives,’ he says, ‘and spent time looking through the small collection of pictures they have, using a

Robbie O’Rourke gets the nod for the stunning interior retrim, while owner Paul Rui hand made the Porsche-scripted radio blanking plate himself magnifying glass. Jens was kind enough to let me read many of the different notes made during the meetings Ferdinand Porsche had with his staff in the early days while working out what improvements could be made to the design. ‘I have spent a lot of time in the archives and also at the Porsche museum, where I also received a lot of assistance from Nadine Katz, who put up with me crawling all over the museum’s own cars while I was lecturing her about screws and all the different varieties used at Porsche! My obsession about screws and what brands were used got a bit out of hand... After travelling all over Europe to track down the correct fasteners, I managed to find the majority of the screws NOS (new old stock) - and of the correct brand. I think only about four per cent are still original, and they were treated by bead-blasting, then heating them up and popping them into a bath of old mineral motor oil. You then get a finish that is as new, with that blue-black hue that most fasteners from that period had. Also, it took a long time to track down 14mm nuts which for some reason are very hard to find new...’ Do you now see what we mean about Paul being The devil is in the detail, and Paul Rui’s 1950 356 is full of them. New old stock taillights and the correct body badging add the finishing touches to a magnificent project

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‘obsessive’? Needless to say, he found those elusive 14mm nuts in the end, as well. But he’s not finished yet... ‘Also, all screws for the interior are new old stock from the period,’ says Paul. ‘You can easily spot a late screw from an early one, by studying the width of the screwdriver slot: the wider the gap, the later the screw.’ But there is a good reason for this obsession. ‘I had seen a few restorations with all sorts of horrible bolts and screws - even modern Phillips screws that Porsche did not start to use until sometime in 1954... Details, details! I really did start wondering if I was going a bit crazy, but I have always followed through on all projects I’ve done, struggling to get the last few percent correct. I just don’t feel good with myself if things aren’t the way I like them to be.’ Thus speaks the perfectionist. But when you are satisfied with nothing less than the very best, it can be demoralising to discover that some so-called (or selfprofessed) experts don’t prove to be as expert as they make out. Paul continues: ‘There are a

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lot of people you need to involve when restoring a car of this kind, and it takes a long time finding out if their standards are up to yours. For example, I tried a number of wellknown chrome-platers over here, but didn’t really feel anything like satisfied until I sent parts out to America to get plated. But it’s all part of the learning process!’ The bodyshell was in a bad way and it was necessary to have a lot of fabrication work done while it was at Sportwagen for the body and paint restoration. It ended up being painted in its original Radium Green twice, such was Paul’s search for perfection, as he explains: ‘The original front hood and a few other pieces were not up to Sportwagen standards - and it proved to be a problem. A number of people ended up being involved with getting the bonnet in the same state as it left the factory. My painter in Norway, Bulente Ertung, did his best to fix things, but it was the inner structure that was the problem. It wasn’t really until I got an original replacement panel that I felt completely satisfied.

The sheer quality of this restoration is breathtaking, and Radium Green has to be the most beautiful colour ever for any early Porsche. Sportwagen gets the credit for the flawless finish ‘The car then went back to England, to Bruce Cooper, in 2005 to be repainted - my good friend Tomas helped me with all the transport to England. I held my breath when the crew on the Newcastle ferry ordered him to back the full length of the ship - not an easy thing with a trailer in tow. It was the most impressive piece of reversing I have ever seen!’ But sorting out body panels and paintwork was only the tip of the iceberg. Paul does seem to attract trouble, if he doesn’t mind us saying so: ‘A few incidents have shaken me during the restoration, like the time my everyday car got stolen while the Porsche’s transmission was sitting in the boot! Or when I dropped two sets of windscreen glass on the floor, and spent eight months locating some replacements.’ It’s all


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PRE-A 356 part of the fun... What makes the restoration of this particular car so exciting, though, is the way in which Paul tried to get inside the head of the people who built it in the first place. That’s what set this apart from the vast majority of such rebuilds. As he says, ‘A lot of thinking has gone into this project. I tried to think of myself in the mechanics’ place so I could figure out how they did certain things. I read a lot of old magazines and studied as many books with early factory pictures as I could lay my hands on. This meant travelling to lots of automobilia auctions in search of original photographs to study in detail.’ But why did he set his standards so high? Paul explains: ‘I have attended Techno Classica Essen, and several other large classic

boots on the transmission, but in a much smaller scale. They took so much work - I needed four, and it took me close to three hours to make each one from scratch! ‘I spent an awful lot of time studying parts,’ continues Rui, ‘in an effort to discover their origins. Thankfully, as many mechanical components are identical to those used on the contemporary VW Beetle, there have been times when I’ve been fortunate enough to find NOS parts, such as the torsion bars, king-pins, brake master-cylinder, wheel cylinders, linkpins, track-rods, and front and rear shocks (the rear shocks actually date back to the wartime era, and are stamped with the very early VW cogwheel logo!). I learnt that many of these parts were not painted, being left as raw metal covered in grease. Of course, I have

make it look like a two-piece windscreen. ‘All the glass is in fact new, but not marked - I chose not to etch-mark the glass because I have yet to find out if it used to be made by Sigla or Sekurit. Working out what to do about the window rubbers was a case of using logic. I struggled for a time to find out where the join should be, and it wasn’t before Tom Birch in America sent me a picture of an original windscreen, with the rubber and glass intact, that I realised my ‘screen had to come out again. The join in the rubber should be at the top and not the bottom. I also found the same with the rear window, by using a magnifying glass while looking at a photo in the Porsche archives. It all makes sense when you think about it: it’s raining, you stop, water runs down the window and gathers at the

going to restore a car well you should aim to “If you’re return it to its factory-original condition ”

events, just so I could see for myself what the experts call a quality restoration. I usually came away disappointed. You see, the true quality of a restoration is only found when you get down on your hands and knees and look underneath. I usually crawl all over a car at a show, and can’t really understand why so many people don’t give much thought to what’s underneath that shiny bodywork. Most restorations - even so-called high-quality ones - lack real attention to detail. I guess I’m strange in that I believe if you’re going to restore a car well you should aim to return to its factory-original condition as accurately as possible in every area. Anything else is only second best.’ The problem here - and this isn’t unique to early Porsches - is that there are many parts which simply aren’t available, no matter how diligently you search. Many smaller parts have to be fabricated after studying drawings and photographs. Paul Rui had to make the tiny hose-clamps for the fuel lines: ‘They are identical to the clamps used for the axle

done it in the same fashion.’ It seems glass and Mr Rui don’t get along too well, though. ‘I managed to crack three sets of windshields and had to order several sets of window rubber from Tom Birch, as he is the only person who makes them. Unfortunately, they are not cut to the right length, so I had to cut them myself, but ended up cutting them either too short or too long, so the glass broke when I tried to install it! Eight times I had the glass in and out, before I was satisfied with the result. I learned that it’s not recommended to tackle this job on your own, like I did - the experts say at least three people are needed to do the job properly but, if you are like me and only trust yourself, you have a problem. ‘Several people try to do it the easy way,’ says Paul, in a disapproving manner, ‘by using the one-piece windscreen from a “bentscreen” 1953 model. They then cut the central sealing strip from the earlier car in two and use silicon - that’s horrible on a 1950s car - to stick the pieces on either side of the glass to

bottom of the seal. Now, if the join is at the bottom, water will seep into the car. Simple logic, you see. Porsche never did use any glue on the early seals...’ After even a few minutes talking with Paul Rui, you start to get the feeling that trying to restore a Pre-A 356 by yourself is a truly daunting task. But even if you entrust the task to a professional, there’s still no guarantee you’ll end up with the right parts being used, not because of any intentional corner-cutting, but simply because so few people really know the minutiae of older Porsches. Paul gives another example: ‘Bumper trim comes in various shapes. Mine has a groove down the middle, which is right for the period. Others don’t and the two are often confused. Also, these early cars have a thin aluminium trim to finish off the valances, The proud owner with the fruits of his ten years of obsessive research. Original Hella headlights are fragile and almost impossible to find in this condition

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front and rear - these are fastened with tiny screws that have a square-shaped head. It almost goes without saying that these are impossible to find, so I had to get these made as well.’ All too often, it’s the trim and ancillaries which cause the most grief - sorting the bodywork itself can almost seem easy by comparison! On this car, the rear lights, including the indicator lenses, are all new old stock, and you can only imagine how hard it must be to find parts like that. ‘You can get good reproduction indicator lenses, but the colour of the glass is too dark,’ says Paul. ‘And I spent a full two years finding the correct Hella headlights. They are extremely difficult to find, because the reflectors are silvered brass. You only need to look hard at them and they crack. Remarkably few people know they should be brass, even die-hard VW guys. I found a memo in the Porsche archives stating that they changed to Bosch in early 1951, probably for this very reason.’ But what about tyres? How many supposedly accurate restorations have you seen where the car runs on a set of modern radial tyres? Paul shudders at the thought. ‘I managed to trace a set of brand new Dunlop Gold Seal tyres in Denmark. Now, you have to wonder how tyres can survive for 50 years without cracking up, but the secret is the

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storage: you must keep them in the cold and dark. These tyres are fitted to a set of the correct KPZ riveted wheels for the year and model,’ says Paul. ‘The hubcaps are a story of their own - and the only departure from truly original on the car. I had always liked the old hubcaps that came on the really early 356s (as if a 1950 model wasn’t really early - KS), and, although I know that they are wrong for my car, I knew I had to have them. Of course, now a few other Pre-A 356s have them fitted, but mine have been on the shelf for five years. Richard King found a set of the “good quality” repro large VW-logo hubcaps, and set about finding someone who could make a wooden buck to hammer out the logo pressing. It took lots of work, but I think the end result is really worthwhile.’ There are relatively few things that the old Pre-As share with the later 356 models, one of them being the strap that holds the handbrake cable and brake hoses in place. But that didn’t make things any easier. Paul explains: ‘You can get repros of these but they are in nylon, which is something that I doubt the factory used - not in the early days, anyway. This detail was one of those things that took a long time figuring out. I had seen fragments of original ones, sometimes in leather, but also rubber. I have used rubber, as

I believe this to be the most correct.’ Logic and obsession rear their heads again... Paul Rui’s obsessive behaviour showed no signs of waning when it came to the interior, either. ‘Many Porsches came with radios installed, but I believe this was a dealerinstalled option. Many restorers choose to install radios, therefore I have chosen not to besides, my car probably didn’t have a radio fitted originally anyway. Instead I have made from scratch - the so-called “dummy gauge” that just says “PORSCHE”. It took a lot of work (and time) to accurately replicate this panel, but I think it was well worth the effort. ‘Some people might also wonder why I haven’t fitted any license-plate brackets on my car, but don’t forget, I restored this car to the state in which it left the factory, not the showroom. I believe these, like the radio, were almost certainly installed by the dealer, especially when you consider the differences in the shape and size of license plates throughout the world. As soon as the 356 left Sportwagen, it was sent to O´Rourke Coachtrimmers in Cranleigh, Surrey, where Robbie O’Rourke took on the task of reconstructing the car’s trim to create an interior that was exactly as it would have had from new. It is an absolutely incredible piece of work. Of course, things are never simple, as Paul explains yet again:


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‘Floorboards in these early cars have always been a point of debate. What colour should they be? After speaking to a few friends in Sweden who had found a set of floorboards in blue, we started to wonder if they were matched to the colour of the carpet: blue carpet, blue boards; green carpet, green boards. It seemed logical, but I needed confirmation. And then I found a board at a swapmeet in America that was green! In retrospect, it seems strange that Porsche went to this trouble when you consider how many different colours were available at the time and that the floorboards were almost entirely hidden out of sight. ‘I chose to install a full carpet set, which is more for show, as most of the early cars probably had rubber mats as standard - it’s hard to say what was the original choice as there are no records. Anyway, I have colourmatched my floorboards to the carpets, and also glued/nailed a small strip of horsehair on the back of each to prevent the boards from hammering on the metal - just like the originals.’ But what of the drivetrain? This was one area where Paul faired a little better. ‘The nonsynchromesh split-case VW-sourced transmission is pretty much original and, in the end, I just took it apart and inspected it before reassembling it again.’ But don’t think he took any short cuts in his search for originality: ‘I decided to put in a graphite throw-out bearing like they used in the early days. Nobody will ever see it, but I’ll know it’s correct for the year. I was just following my golden rule when restoring this car: return it

to its former glory, the way it was originally.’ As for the engine, it’s the correct VWbased, short-stroke 1100cc unit that’s had the pistons and cylinders replaced, but is original (that word again!) in every way possible. Paul continues the tale: ‘The engine with which it was fitted is actually slightly older then the car itself and was probably among the first 100 engines to be produced. Fortunately, it still had all the original and unique parts for an 1100, which include the super-rare heads that, in 1950, had four-bolt intake manifolds.’ The engine was lovingly rebuilt by Ole Walzig, using as many of the original components as possible, and then detailed to perfection. It runs like a dream and, in such a light car, its performance belies its miniscule capacity. We took a trip round the streets of Oslo and found it hard to believe that a car this old behaves so well in modern traffic. Dr Porsche and son clearly knew what they were doing when they penned the 356. Heaven only knows what rivals made of their little gem. We think it is safe to say that this is almost certainly the most correct restoration of an early Porsche done to this day. Even the Porsche museum agrees, and has expressed interest in Paul Rui’s Radium Green beauty. Take a look at the photos and it’s not hard to see why. We’ll leave the last word(s) to the proud owner. ‘Obviously a lot of people have helped me with this project and if I was going to mention everyone, it would fill a page alone! I definitely wouldn’t have managed it without the help of Jens Torner in the Porsche

It’s hard to believe that the rusty tub on the far left could end up looking so perfect! Paul saved every tiny part of the car so that he had constant reference to original details archives, or Nadine Katz at the Porsche museum. Also, big thanks go to Tomas for letting me use his workshop so often, and Tom Birch in America, who must be one of THE greatest authorities on these early Porsches. There have been many questions we have solved together in our discussions about why Porsche did this or did that. Christer Rye in Sweden has been extremely helpful with sourcing parts and giving me valuable information, following the detailed restoration of his own 1951 356. Kobus Cantraine in Belgium has been a big help in documenting and finding parts on his travels across the world. ‘Thanks must go to Tom Scott, who sold me the car in the first place, and was also such a valuable source helping me to track down correct parts. Austin Asphjell for finding the car in Hemmings, and for organizing the transport to get the car back to Norway. Victor Miles really deserves a big thank you for doing the chroming. It really is absolutely museum quality! Finally, Richard King, Robbie O’Rourke and, finally, Bruce at Sportwagen for applying the incredible Radium Green paint. I am very impressed with the quality of the work done and can truly recommend Sportwagen for the finest of restorations.’ Engine is the correct 1100cc ‘short-stroke’ unit, which runs like a Swiss watch

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Hot rod

911s

Forged in the haze of customised VWs, these sultry 911s take Cal Look a stage further Words: Johnny Tipler Photography: Jamie Lipman

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HOT ROD 911s

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ir-cooled boxer engines, lowered suspension and minimal trim: quintessential VW Cal Look. Why stop there? The gang of four that owns this quartet of classic 911s made the leap, having cut their teeth on Beetles and going to VW events before graduating to Porsches. These 30-somethings have known each other since their mid-teens. Jim Brind and Simon ‘Hektor’ Hardy were neighbours, and all their spare time was spent indulging a heavy VW habit, as Jim describes: ‘We always used to fool around with VWs, go around each other’s houses, pull engines out, lower them, give them that California look – and I think you can see that running through these cars today.’ They still have a foot in the VW camp, says Simon: ‘We all go back to the days of the early Beetles which we ran in the late-’80s and early-’90s. Even though we’ve got Porsches, we still go along to the shows like Bug Jam and read Ultra VW magazine, so we’re part of the same clique, really, having grown up with the air-cooled scene.’

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I caught up with them blasting around Chobham’s test track. All left-hookers, and therefore imports, each of these traditional pre-impact bumper 911s has a story to tell. Simon Hardy owns the Blood Orange 2.2 T. It’s his seventh Porsche. ‘I started with VWs when I was 19 – so 23 years ago – in 1987, then progressed into air-cooled 911s and 914s. My first one was a ’74 Canary Yellow 911 converted to RS spec: it looked lovely but it was a pig, and everything that could go wrong with it did, but that didn’t put me off.’ The car has been in the UK 20 years and was originally from San Diego, California. ‘A friend brought it over and it’s been between three or four of us, and I’ve owned it the longest. It’s had subtle modifications, like a second set of wheels and lowered suspension. The whole car’s been repainted over time, and I’ve put the RS seats in and had them reupholstered in leather brought over from Germany, and re-did all the interior. It’s been endless, really, and now it’s going in for the full restoration.’ Simon’s thinking of taking it a little bit

further: ‘Maybe hot-rodding it out a bit more, different wheels, lower the suspension more, and I’ve been looking at a 3.2 conversion, as well.’ Being a 911T, Simon’s car has the fourspeed 901 gearbox (the five-speed was optional), hence it has what is today an unusual shift pattern on the gear-knob. If he did go for the engine transplant, he’d get the five-speeder 915 ’box, too. There’s yet more common ground: all these cars have received varying degrees of treatment from Jez Parsons at GCS Engineering, in Horsham. ‘He built two Split-screen Campers with Porsche conversions for the Gumball Rally, so he knows his stuff and I’ve felt very comfortable giving the car to him,’ says Simon. It once took a brave man to own a gold car. Trendy in the early ’70s, the colour soon fell from favour as a right-minded hue, best left to medallion men. Now, though, it has a period charm all its own, especially cladding a car as nice as Jim Brind’s ’72 911 T. Metallic Gold was a special order paint colour in 1972, but classic 911 buffs will spot the year instantly by the oil


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filler flap on the right-hand rear side panel. ‘You know why it was only in production one year?’ he asks. ‘Because people kept filling it up with petrol! Especially in the States, where gas stations are attended. You’d say to the guy: “Fill it up,” go off for a waz, come back and he’s brimmed the oil tank with petrol…’ Pity, really, because routine 911 servicing would be easier for all of us if the oil tank was still there and you could just administer the lubricant externally, instead of sluicing it all over the inside of the engine bay. It’s Jim’s first Porsche, and he’s owned it since 2nd January 2000, when he came home after three years in the States. ‘It was sourced in Silicon Valley, put on a ship at Long Beach and went through the Panama Canal. Only when I picked it up and got it home did I realise how mint it is underneath; it is absolutely perfect – there is no rust at all.’ He took the risk of buying online, though he’d done his research by engaging a Porsche specialist to produce a report on the car and chasing the paper trail himself. ‘I wrote to Stuttgart, quoting the

They’ve all been around the block, so minor alterations and upgrading are par for the course and perfectly acceptable…

chassis and engine numbers, and they came back saying the car was originally supplied in the EU, so when I picked it up I didn’t pay much tax on it.’ For want of a garage, the golden oldie has been in storage in his parents’ dehumidified barn near Crawley for five years. ‘I pumped the tyres up, took it down to GCS Porsche garage for them to give it the once over and here I am,’ says Jim. ‘I have never driven it in the rain. If it looks like I’m going to get caught out I turn around and put it back in my parents’ barn and leather it off.’ Obsessive? Bang on, and no shame there! True to his hot rod Volkswagen roots, Jim’s not hooked on originality. His plans include having the wheels fully polished, chroming the engine-lid grille and repainting the roof. ‘I am a bit concerned about the colour match because I’ve never seen that colour anywhere else. It’s a light metallic beer colour, or champagne, maybe. When the sun hits it, it looks brilliant. I have seen one similar, but that was a more orangey-gold.’ I press the point: doesn’t the inherent value

And what colour would sir like? Vibrant Blood Orange contrasts sharply with more traditional silver. But metallic gold and ‘that’ green are pure ’70s retro-chic. Don’t you just love it?

of a car like this lie mainly in its originality? ‘Sure, but I think the underlying value is in its overall condition. I have done some work on the car myself and every bolt undoes perfectly. It doesn’t behave like a typical old UK car because it’s fresh from California. Nothing drastic has been done. I have lowered it, but I don’t think that devalues the car.’ Jim did that job himself, confident thanks to his Beetle background. ‘The rear suspension is identical to lowering a VW Beetle. You take the swing arm out and click it up a couple of notches and push it back in. Every bolt came undone perfectly, so it probably took me a couple of hours to do the rear of the car, both sides. The front is just a couple of nuts on the torsion bars to wind them down.’ Jim’s VW form started even before he could drive: ‘When I was 15 I had a Beetle which I rewired, lowered, and had professionally painted. We’re all from that era, which is why we’ve given our Porsches the Cal Look. My brother had a VW Notchback, modded to a really high standard, that won many awards – CLASSIC PORSCHE

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Everyone who owns a Beetle aspires to a 911 at some point, even if it’s just the engine…

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Simon Hardy’s orange 2.2T has been stripped of superfluous trim for the minimalist look. These guys show no mercy when it comes to driving their machines, Darren Campbell’s silver ’70 911S seeing regular track-day use and (below left) the owner was happy to demonstrate his skills on the skidpan… The four friends have known each other for years, having cut their teeth on Volkswagens back in the 1980s and ’90s

Swatch used it for promotions back in the ’80s – and I think that reflects in how we have customised these Porsches.’ Choosing pre-impact bumper 911s was deliberate. ‘Absolutely,’ affirms Jim, ‘we wanted pre-impact because they are the real classic 911s, and ’72 is the next to last year for these older cars. All our Beetles were a similar age, if not older.’ Three out of the four 911s have internal roll-over bars, and the silver 1970 2.2 S belonging to Darren Campbell is most likely to need it. Not that he’s about to turn turtle, it’s just that he’s an avid sprint and trackday fan, as he demonstrates on the dry tarmac of the Chobham skidpan. The sliding, spinning 911 is wreathed in clouds of pungent white smoke as it pirouettes freely around the broad arena. ‘All done on the throttle,’ he reveals, ‘never use the handbrake.’ He’s well practised, having owned this car 11 years. ‘It’s a good car, that’s why,’ he says. ‘Many cars have come and gone, but this one has stayed.’ Hunting for an affordable 911, he found it in the left-hand-drive section of Loot. ‘It was owned by a City boy and he wanted to get rid of it because someone had keyed it down one side. I paid ‘T’ money for an ‘S’, which was very lucky.’ It’s unrestored, and although immaculate when he bought it – keying aside – a few scabs and bubbles show on the front wings and door bottoms. ‘It’s due for a light resto soon, like a couple of wings, but it is structurally sound.’ It’s another American car, owned for a long time by a doctor in Arizona and later California, who kept all the bills, ensuring a comprehensive history. The ‘City boy’ imported it in 1990. ‘I’ve had a lot of work done to the engine and gearbox, including a full rebuild with new oil lines, gas-flowed heads, crankcase work and a limited-slip diff and drilled discs,’ says Darren. ‘Everything is better than new.’ For Darren, a 911 was a natural progression from a VW. ‘Everyone who owns a Beetle aspires to a 911 at some point, even if it’s just the engine. I always wanted one as a kid, but it seemed out of my reach. Well here we are, and I’m looking at getting another one now.’ That’s likely to be a 993, which he sees as less precious than the 2.2 S in a track-day context. ‘I need something that’s replaceable, and 993s are plentiful enough. It would have to be a left-hooker; it is the correct side, isn’t it?’ More to the point, he’s driven a particular 993 round Brands Hatch and he wants it badly. Once the 993 is in place, the 2.2 S is assured of more leisurely treatment than the workout we witnessed on the skidpan. ‘Then I won’t have to risk it on the track, maybe roll it and ruin that shell. That is the thing about track days, where someone rolls a £20-grand car and there’s no insurance – you just have to trailer it away and salvage what you can.’ Darren installed the cage, new seats and period registration plate. ‘I had a set of Recaros that I bought 10 years ago and I finally put them in last week. It had air con, but I took that out because it’s such a cumbersome unit on the engine. It’s had some paint repairs because it was burned on the CLASSIC PORSCHE

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James McBlane’s 1972 2.4 T/E is another US import, and wears a rare set of American Racing five-spoke wheels. Jim Brind’s ‘bling’ gold 1972 911 T would have been a real head-turner for all the wrong reasons when it was new, but today it looks too cool for words. Popular interior workovers include Prototipo steering wheels and sports seats – and it seems full-harness belts are de rigueur, too

roof and wings where it had been in the sun too long, and to restore the keying, as well.’ Darren also runs a VW Camper to service his Carshalton-based Volkswagen repair business; it’s how he came to know the fourth member of the clan, James McBlane, who brings his VW Bus to Darren for treatment. After hours, Darren sometimes stays behind in his workshop to do bits and pieces himself, but though he has the expertise to tackle mechanical tasks, he also turns to GCS for major work. ‘Jez Parsons rebuilt the engine and gearbox. I prefer to leave that to a Porsche specialist, and it is a sweet engine now. The car’s done 89,000 miles and the engine was rebuilt 2000 miles ago, so it’s still a young car in terms of miles. I have no real plans for it other than get it tidy, put some 7in Fuchs on the back, if I can get them to fit under the arches, and keep it as is. But on the whole I don’t get time to work on my own cars, because actually the last thing you want to do is muck about fixing your own when you’ve spent the day on other people’s.’ Aside from his track-day penchant, Darren is a regular on the hot rod scene. ‘These cars are accepted at hot rod shows, so you can turn

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up and you will fit in. We go to the Ace Cafe and those sort of meets, but I don’t like taking the 911 out when it’s pouring with rain, ’cause the wipers are crap and they are very skittish on dry roads when you are giving it some, let alone on the wet road: I’ve spun it a couple of times.’ This, from the guy who’s just given a nigh-on perfect demonstration of a full-throttle thirdgear powerslide halfway round the skidpan, and who is clearly not averse to travelling sideways for considerable distances! From the same neck of the woods as Darren, James McBlane is on his second 911 (he sold the orange car to Simon) and the green machine is a 1972 2.4 T/E, a US market designation running a T engine with Bosch mechanical fuel injection, giving 140bhp instead of the normal T’s 130bhp. As on Jim’s gold car, the external oil filler lid is a giveaway as to its age. James is similarly imbued with the Volkswagen spirit and runs an appropriately sign-written Split-screen panel van for his painting and decorating business. He’s owned the Porsche for four years, importing it from Spain, although its spec proclaims its US provenance. He kept tabs on it for five or six years before the car fell into his

hands. ‘Long story,’ says James. ‘I knew it was up for sale about 10 years ago but I missed it. Then I tipped off my brother-in-law that it was up for sale again, and he bought it and took it to Spain. But he couldn’t get on with it because of the old car scenario: he’s used to new cars and couldn’t handle looking after it. So it sat in an underground garage for two years getting covered in sand. I offered to take it off his hands and had it trailered back here, where it was recommissioned at GCS. This is going to sound like a GCS advert, but we all use them because they are so good with early cars.’ Bog standard when he bought it, James’s first act was to lower the car in time-honoured fashion. Then he de-trimmed it in minimalist mode, using leather-thong RS door panels. ‘Typically, the door pockets were shagged when I got it, and the RS panels solved that. The seats are the next issue, and I plan to get sport Recaro copies.’ James ditched the Fuchs for a set of 6in American Racing mag wheels: ‘Quite hard to get hold of – they came from Finland off an old 911 via a friend over there.’ The stripes are a relatively recent adornment, applied by hot rod signwriting specialist Neil Melliard, of ProSign. Engine upgrading includes hydraulic


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chain tensioners, otherwise the history file is just routine maintenance. The VW panel van is James’s daily driver, so the 911 is just for high days and holidays, vying for his attention with a 1969 Citroën DS that lives under a car cover in his off-street parking. He shows up at events like the 911 & PW meet at the Blue Ball at Walton-on-the-Hill, both Goodwood events – Festival of Speed and Revival – and the next Classic Le Mans and European Bug-In are in the diary. It’s tough trying to arrange events to get everyone together, as he isn’t really a club man. ‘I’ve looked at the DDK and it’s a cool website and I have bought a few things off of there. They do a thing at the Fairmile pub at Cobham, which a couple of other friends with classic Porsches have been to. Occasionally it’s good, but it’s not my world.’ The topic turns to alternative number plates, an unobtrusive but significant aspect of customising. Darren recounts the time he was pulled over for using motorcycle plates. ‘It just so happened that I had over a grand in notes in my back pocket and, because the wad was uncomfortable, I pulled it out and stuffed it between my legs and carried on driving. I

passed this Panda car going in the opposite direction – and he spun round and came after me and pulled me over. He said: “Step out of the car,” and I forgot about the money and suddenly there’s all these £20 notes flying around in the breeze. He looked at me sideways and I could see him thinking, “drug dealer,” and he said: “Is it your car?” and I said, “Well, as it happens it is,” and there was nothing he could do about it except tell me to get a proper number plate fitted.’ A grand don’t come for free, as they say. The foursome discuss quirks and idiosyncrasies. Simon contemplates an issue with his indicators. ‘After about four or five flashes it feels like the current is draining, even with a new alternator fitted, but if you rev it up to about 3000rpm they work fine.’ The assembled wisdom is that a poor earth is to blame. ‘Start at the fuse box and work your way back to the actual bulbs,’ advises Darren. ‘Could be just old wiring. Poor connection on the earth lead to the indicators, more than likely, and it’s not quite getting the voltage through. Cleaning all your fuses and the connectors would be the first port of call.’ Original detailing is largely intact. They

have all got correct period stickers, from the classic 2.2 engine decal on the rear window to the Porsche World Champions ’69, ’70, ’71 roundel in the rear three-quarter windows. James’s car has the Can Am and Interserie winners ’72 and ’73. So, despite their backgrounds in the world of Bug-Jamming, these guys own four very nice classic 911s. No hot rods these, just a bit more attitude than the standard car. They’ve all been around the block, so minor alterations and upgrading are par for the course and perfectly acceptable – there’s nothing in-your-face you’d particularly want to change. Yet each car is subtly different, the mark of an individual – what Cal Look has always been about. Great examples of where a fetish for air-cooled engines and curvaceous styling can take you.

THANKS/CONTACT GCS Engineering, Unit A, Monks Gate Garage Brighton Road, Monks Gate, Horsham West Sussex RH13 6JD Tel: 01403 891 060 www.gcsengineering.com

CLASSIC PORSCHE

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Take a look at issue one of Classic Porsche, a new quarterly magazine from the publisher of 911 & Porsche World

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