Whilst it hasn’t al­ways been Porsches in Mike Calvert’s world, it’s safe to say that it’s mainly been cars from Stuttgart. Start­ing with a 924 in the ’80s he’s had the full gamut in­clud­ing a Car­rera 3.2, 964 and even a 928. To­day he owns a 924 Car­rera GT

911 Porsche World - - Contents - Words and pho­tog­ra­phy: Brett Fraser

Mike Calvert and his Techart 996 Turbo and 924 Car­rera GT replica

Re­cently re­tired Mike Calvert hasn’t been ex­clu­sively faith­ful to Porsche over the years, but nev­er­the­less he’s done more than his fair share to pro­mote the Stuttgart mar­que. And be­sides, the cars he’s had as well as, or in­stead of, Porsches are mod­els that mark him out as a true and in­quis­i­tive car en­thu­si­ast. His first ever car was a tuned Mini 850 that he shared with his mother and took hill­climb­ing.

There fol­lowed an MGB, Tri­umph GT6 and a Re­liant Scim­i­tar GTE. A lim­ited edi­tion TVR 3000M ‘Martin Lil­ley’ proved quick and wild and in­ter­est­ing. And his first two com­pany cars were Ford Sierra RS Cos­worths, of the ‘winged won­der’ va­ri­ety. Mike wishes he’d kept his orig­i­nal Audi Qu­at­tro, and he worked his way through three gen­er­a­tions of VW Golf GTI as well as a VR6 model. While liv­ing and work­ing in the US he was the proud owner of a Chevro­let Corvette C5, a Jaguar XKR con­vert­ible and a su­per­charged mod­ern VW Bee­tle; his fleet over the years has also in­cluded an Audi TT, Mercedes-benz SLK and a Citroën DS. His cur­rent ev­ery­day ride is a V8-en­gined and all-wheel-drive Audi S4. As you can see, Mike likes his cars – at the end of the 1970s and into the early ’80s, he even helped run a For­mula 2 team.

And then there are the Porsches. Lots of Porsches. ‘I bought my first Porsche, a sec­ond­hand 924, reg­is­tra­tion JEO 924X, from Parker & Parker in 1985,’ Mike re­calls. ‘It was a great car to drive and on the strength of that I soon signed up to Porsche Club GB – I’ve been a mem­ber ever since. While I was in the States I also joined Porsche Club Amer­ica, and I re­main a mem­ber of that, too.

‘Dur­ing the time that I had my 924 I also got to have the oc­ca­sional drive in a friend’s 924 Turbo – that re­ally was a fab­u­lous car, but al­though I would re­ally have loved to have one, at that stage its price was out of my league. By 1988 my 924 sadly had to go – our chil­dren were be­gin­ning to com­plain about the lack of legroom, so I went for a Sierra Cos­worth com­pany car.’

As se­duc­tive as the RS Ford’s tur­bocharged wal­lop was, it didn’t stop Mike han­ker­ing after an­other Porsche. ‘In 1995 I bought my first 911, a white 1985 Car­rera 3.2 that I got from Shirleys Garage in Solihull – I later sold it to Frank Nutt who 911 & Porsche World in­ter­viewed for the You & Yours fea­ture in is­sue 281. Fol­low­ing that was a red 964 Car­rera 4 that I kept for five years: it was an­other of those cars that I re­gret sell­ing. And dur­ing that time my wife also owned a (986) Boxster.’

Hav­ing scratched the 911 itch, Mike swapped over to the 928 range, start­ing off with a rare 1988 Club Sport, and mov­ing on to a 1991 GT. ‘The GT was a fan­tas­tic car,’ en­thuses Mike, ‘and I held on to it for sev­eral years. Then in 2007 I moved to the States for work and put the GT into stor­age. But I didn’t like the idea of it not be­ing used so in 2008 I sold it – yet an­other re­gret! Still, it was bought by a re­ally great guy who I’ve stayed in touch with and uses the GT to this day. And it’s now worth about

three times what he paid for it…’

With Amer­i­can (Corvette) and Bri­tish (Jag XKR) mus­cle at his dis­posal in the US, you might imag­ine that Mike would have had no need for any more sports cars in his new life abroad. But that didn’t stop him buy­ing an­other Porsche. ‘I found an 86,000-mile 996 Car­rera 4S for good money and as a pre­cau­tion had the IMS bear­ing changed – I needn’t have both­ered as there was noth­ing wrong with the orig­i­nal. When I left the US I sold the C4S to a po­lice su­per­in­ten­dent who still owns it: some­how I al­ways man­age to keep in touch with the peo­ple I sell my cars to.’

An­tic­i­pat­ing his im­mi­nent re­turn and re­tire­ment to the UK, early in 2015 Mike be­gan putting in place a cou­ple of Porsches for his home­com­ing. ‘I bought a Techart 996 Turbo from (spe­cial­ist) Ster­ling and had it put into stor­age for when I got back that August. I bought it un­seen, but had it in­spected by a Porsche main dealer: I was there­fore a lit­tle dis­mayed when I later had it checked over by Dove House Mo­tors who dis­cov­ered leak­ing dampers. Dove steered me to­wards the help­ful chaps at Bil­stein who not only re­fur­bished the damper units but also fit­ted GT3 in­serts. And all for half the price a main dealer would have charged.

‘Dove also in­formed me that the car’s Techart wheels were fakes. I wanted the gen­uine ar­ti­cles so got in touch di­rectly with Techart who were ex­tremely help­ful in send­ing me new ones. Mean­while I’d seen that clever dec­o­ra­tive dip­ping process on Wheeler Deal­ers on the telly: I man­aged to get in touch with Mike Brewer – a re­ally nice bloke – who gave me the name of the com­pany that did it. So I sent the wheels straight off to Wicked Coat­ings in Poole to have a car­bon-fi­bre ef­fect pat­tern ap­plied.

‘I like spoil­ers and wings and big wheels and things, and what ap­pealed about this Techart car was that ev­ery­thing was al­ready on it: even the in­te­rior had been stylishly re­uphol­stered in two-tone quilted leather. But I have done a cou­ple more things to it. I had Royal Steer­ing Wheels re-cover and thicken the stan­dard wheel; and I thought that the Tip­tronic switches on the steer­ing wheel spokes were nasty, so I con­verted the chang­ers to alu­minium pad­dles sourced through AMG. It’s a pop­u­lar con­ver­sion in the US and the pad­dles only cost about $100 – I heard about them through the fo­rums and down­loaded a tu­to­rial on how to fit them through 911UK. It was a re­ally worth­while thing to do, be­cause they’ve changed the char­ac­ter of the car when you’re driv­ing it hard.’

Mike’s sec­ond wel­come home Porsche was a 924 Car­rera GT replica, a car that be­longed to a friend of his, Adrian Booth, and which he’d al­ways ad­mired. ‘While I was in the States I liked to keep in touch with my mates back in Bri­tain,’ ex­plains Mike, ‘and when I learnt that Adrian and his fa­ther, Ge­off, were plan­ning to sell the Car­rera GT trib­ute I bought it with­out hes­i­ta­tion. And the tim­ing worked well with my plans to re­turn home.

‘The car started life as a 1981 vin­tage 924 Turbo, with a gen­uine 81,000 miles and a full ser­vice his­tory from Gor­don Ram­sey (no, not that one…) in New­cas­tle. Adrian sourced gen­uine Car­rera GT front wings and rear arch ex­ten­sions from a van­dalised car; the

Mike’s sec­ond wel­come home Porsche was a 924 Car­rera GT replica bought from a friend

mod­i­fi­ca­tions were un­der­taken by a great fam­ily friend, Kim Mather at KSM En­gi­neer­ing in Hay­dock. (Mather also used to drive one of the F2 cars that Mike worked on in the ’70s and ’80s.) The orig­i­nal arches were re­pro­filed to ac­cept the arch ex­ten­sions, which you don’t see on many re­pro­duc­tions.

‘The car en­joyed a top qual­ity re­spray, the un­der­side was treated and re­sealed, all the sus­pen­sion was re­fur­bished, the en­gine was checked over and the head sub­jected to some light re­fur­bish­ment and a new gas­ket, the car­pets and head­lin­ing were re­newed, and through South­bound Trim­mers some re­ju­ve­nated Re­caro seats were fit­ted, com­plete with elec­tric ad­just­ment, heat­ing and cool­ing. And a set of 16-inch Fuchs were sourced with the cor­rect off­sets.

‘It was a beau­ti­ful job and the car got its first MOT in Oc­to­ber 2005. Un­for­tu­nately, after that it didn’t re­ally go any­where and in 2009 was laid up. In June 2015 Adrian had a new project in mind and the Car­rera GT went up for sale: I took de­liv­ery in Nov that year and im­me­di­ately had a new stain­less steel ex­haust fab­ri­cated for it by TW Tyres in Rugby to get it through the MOT.

‘A re­cur­ring mis­fire and oc­ca­sional back­fir­ing was even­tu­ally re­solved with help from Paul at Wool­lies, Paul Hedges at the PCGB fo­rum and Auto 2000 in Bed­ford – on their rec­om­men­da­tion I bought a new pro­gram­mable dis­trib­u­tor and coil from Mit­tel­mo­tor in Ger­many, which I had in­stalled by Chris at Clarks Mo­tors in Wee­don. It wasn’t cheap but it did the trick, and it also means the en­gine can now be tuned for more power on a rolling road, which I haven’t yet had time to do.

‘The only other is­sue with the car was a thump­ing from what I as­sumed was from a sus­pen­sion com­po­nent – after pro­longed in­ves­ti­ga­tion it turned out to be a worn steer­ing rack, which I re­placed. Adrian be­gan con­vert­ing the 924 Turbo into a Car­rera GT trib­ute back in 2000, and I’d say the work is now largely com­plete. Adrian and (his dad) Ge­off have been in­volved through­out the com­ple­tion process and their help has been in­valu­able – I’m now re­ally look­ing for­ward to get­ting out there and driv­ing it hard.’ PW

Now I’m look­ing for­ward to get­ting out there and driv­ing it hard

Mike Calvert with one of his Porsche duo – an homage to the 924 Car­rera GT

South­bound re­ju­ve­nated the in­te­rior, tack­ling car­pets, head­lin­ing and re­trim­ming the Re­caro seats, which are elec­tri­cally ad­justable and heated, too. Very lux­u­ri­ous!

BIG 16in Fuchs fill out the wide arches per­fectly and look the busi­ness. Car­rera script on the front wing all part of the Car­rera GT look. Like­wise bon­net scoop

Com­pared to some of Techart’s con­ver­sions, Mike’s 996 Turbo is one of the Ger­man co’s more sub­tle makeovers

Left: Car­bon ef­fect on Techart wheels is the re­sult of a dec­o­ra­tive dip­ping process by Wicked Wheels. In­te­rior taste­fully trimmed with quilted leather. Mike has had the steer­ing wheel rim thick­ened as per his pref­er­ence for im­proved steer­ing feel

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