OUR CAR

911 Porsche World - - American Road Trip -

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions 1985 Porsche 911 Car­rera 3.2 Coupe 3.2 litre air cooled hor­i­zon­tally op­posed 6 cylin­der – (Cal­i­for­nia emis­sions spec) 200hp @5900rpm 5 speed man­ual trans­mis­sion model ‘915’ 0–100km/h: 6.3 sec­onds Top Speed: 146mph Weight: 1260kg His­tory De­liv­ered to its first owner in Thou­sand Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia, in 1985, this car served as a daily driver un­til 1991 be­fore be­ing sold to a Porsche Club Amer­ica mem­ber in Belle­vue, Wash­ing­ton with 70,000 miles on the clock. Over the next twenty years it was used spar­ingly, hav­ing a sec­ond owner in the Belle­vue re­gion be­fore mov­ing back to LA in Septem­ber 2014. I pur­chased the car in Jan­uary 2017. What was us­ing a Car­rera 3.2 like for this sort of trip? We did 5000 miles in the 911 in the three weeks we had it dur­ing the trip. The car was com­pletely stock stan­dard. Fuel econ­omy was im­pres­sive with an over­all av­er­age of 10.5L per 100km (27mpg), par­tic­u­larly con­sid­er­ing we weighed in at a hefty 1590kg all told. The driv­ing we did was mixed, in­clud­ing around town, on the free­ways at speeds up to 80mph, and of course travers­ing as many twisty roads and moun­tain passes as we

two more heat cy­cles – be­fore hand­ing it over. But two weeks for an en­tire top end en­gine re­build is pretty amaz­ing, when you think about how many in­di­vid­ual tasks are in­volved, es­pe­cially with very short no­tice.

Af­ter be­ing Porsche­less all this time, Ross and I were itch­ing to drive as many chal­leng­ing roads as pos­si­ble be­fore we shipped the car home, and care­fully planned our amended route with this in mind. Brim­ming the tank, we headed out through the dou­ble joy of a rain­storm and peak hour Fri­day af­ter­noon traf­fic. With our newly re­built en­gine, we made sure to vary RPM and en­gine load to seat the rings fully. Check­ing

down to the 395, the route to Loopie, great but very busy with cy­clists. Then High­way 108 over the Sonora Pass, the Tar­mac tight and nar­row but beau­ti­ful, wind­ing all the way up to 9624ft and back down gain.

We had been mon­i­tor­ing the health of new front tyres fit­ted to the Porsche in Portland and now ob­served the in­side shoul­ders scrub­bing off no­tice­ably. Ex­it­ing to Sonora for a quick wheel align­ment check, more un­ex­pected and con­cern­ing news emerged. The tie rod ends were worn and the wheel bear­ings loose (par­tic­u­larly the front right). The tyre shop judged there was no point try­ing to ad­just the align­ment in its cur­rent state and didn’t rec­om­mend driv­ing all the way to LA.

Re-in­spect­ing the bear­ings and tie rods closely our­selves, we found them maybe slightly loose but not too bad – the shop’s di­ag­no­sis seemed a lit­tle alarmist. Nonethe­less we de­cided we had bet­ter do some­thing about the front right bear­ing at least, as the penalty for fail­ure can be ex­tremely high. The bear­ings were not get­ting warm, a good sign, and we made it safely to the next auto parts shop – O’reilly’s in Oak­dale. Again, the team at O’reilly’s were great; they sold me the tools I needed, a new set of wheel bear­ings and grease, and ac­tively en­cour­aged me to work in their car park as well as clean up af­ter­wards in the staff bath­room. Out with the jack (which works re­ally well – thanks, Porsche) and the car was in the air above the many oil stains bear­ing wit­ness to pre­vi­ous car park main­te­nance ef­forts. Luck­ily, when re­moved, the bear­ings proved to be in good shape and with a re­grease and ad­just­ment be­haved per­fectly for the re­main­der of the trip.

The en­su­ing days saw us con­tinue south from Mon­terey on the spec­tac­u­lar Pa­cific Coast High­way (Route 1). Travers­ing the rugged coast­line around Big Sur we whizzed by stands of stately red­woods, along with what seemed like ev­ery con­vert­ible Mus­tang and Ca­maro rental car in the USA. At one point we spot­ted four iden­ti­cal bright yel­low Ca­maros parked next to each other out­side a sin­gle café.

The road opened up a lit­tle as we ap­proached San Simeon, and we pulled off to make our fi­nal tourist visit – to the famed Hearst Cas­tle, a lav­ish man­sion poised on a hill and home to mag­nif­i­cent ar­chi­tec­ture, art col­lec­tion and his­tory. The cas­tle was constructed as a re­treat by multi-mil­lion­aire news­pa­per­man and recluse Wil­liam Ran­dolph Hearst be­tween 1919 and 1947, be­fore open­ing to the pub­lic as a mu­seum in 1958.

Through­out our hol­i­day we had been looking for an op­por­tu­nity to take some rolling shots of the Porsche from an­other car, but be­ing with­out the 911 both times when stay­ing with friends, we were al­most ready to put it on a ship with the job not done. So I placed a post on Pel­i­can Parts ask­ing if any ‘Pel­i­cans’ in the LA area could help us out, re­sult­ing in our meet­ing Jim and his Car­rera 3.2 Targa at Grif­fith Park Ob­ser­va­tory in the early evening. Jim popped the top out, and with Ross kneel­ing back­wards in the pas­sen­ger seat grip­ping roll bar and cam­era si­mul­ta­ne­ously, we dodged rental cars up and down the hill to get some spec­tac­u­lar shots. We rounded off our Amer­i­can ex­pe­ri­ence ap­pro­pri­ately by watch­ing our first NFL game at a bar, fol­lowed by a fi­nal cruise down Mul­hol­land Drive un­der the stars.

Re­ceiv­ing a warm wel­come back at the CARS USA ware­house, from whence we had de­parted five weeks pre­vi­ously, we chat­ted about our trip…and the un­ex­pected en­gine re­build…then spent a cou­ple of hours pack­ing the 911 chock full of spare parts be­fore drop­ping it off at the ship­ping yard for its fi­nal long jour­ney back to Aus­tralia. PW

We rounded off with a fi­nal cruise down Mul­hol­land Drive

Below left: As many twisty roads as pos­si­ble to make up for be­ing with­out a Porsche for two weeks Mid­dle: Work­ing in the parts store car park has its ben­e­fits – mainly ac­cess to parts Below: Chance meet­ing with some fel­low Aussies and their Fiat Spi­ders o

Above: Big Creak Bridge on the ex­cep­tion­ally scenic High­way 1 Right: Climb­ing to the Grif­fith Ob­ver­va­tory for a view over LA

Below: City of An­gels by night – looking out from Mul­hol­land Drive. It’s a spec­tac­u­lar view

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