YOU AND YOURS
James Dore and his ongoing 996 Carrera 2 project
Feeling guilty, I decided to find something with rear seats
James Dore is a serious petrol head and has worked his way through a great variety of modified and stock German cars over the years. However, as his family has grown, he’s had to think smart in order to find a way to combine his passion for fun and German machinery with his family commitments...
It seems more and more often that we stumble across shall we say ‘40-something’ Porsche owners who have made the progression from air-cooled VWS to more sporting machinery. James Dore fits this profile perfectly as his journey through the world of German vehicles has evolved from air-cooled four cylinder fun through to fourand then six-cylinder water-cooled power.
Working as a key account manager at Mercedes-benz LCV, James has access to a company car for the daily grind. In fact, he’s had a company vehicle for the past 20 years, which has allowed him the luxury of owning a second vehicle which he could reserve for ‘weekend use’. He explained, ‘My first car was actually a lowered ’72 Beetle with a tuned 1679cc motor, which proved to be the quickest car to 60mph in the college car park at that time!’ He continued, ‘Once I started work, I purchased a ’57 lowlight Karmann Ghia followed by a ’62 Beetle, which was totally stock, right down to the original 1200cc motor’. James owned that Beetle for the next 18 years, over which time it was transformed into a California Look car running a 2276cc VW motor that pushed out close to 200hp. That red Cal-look Beetle was a well-known car both at shows and on the drag strip, where it was perhaps most at home. Fitted with a beefed up transmission with short gears and all the right parts, it was a lot of fun to drive, and could put pretty much any modern sports car to shame over a standing quarter mile. However, the Beetle was really just a twoseater, which eventually led to James feeling a little guilty when he set off for a self-indulgent weekend at a drag strip while the family was left at home. He laughed, ‘I ended up feeling so guilty that I decided it was time to find something with rear seats that the kids could enjoy, too.’
But, before we jump into the 996, it’s perhaps worth mentioning at least a few of the other cool cars that have passed through James’ hands over the past few years. ‘Air-cooled VWS aside, I’ve also owned a couple of Golf GTIS, a nice Audi S2 Avant plus a nice Bluestar/hannover Edition VW T25 Bus’, said James. He went on, ‘I did take a brief break from the German theme thing when I picked up a very clean Alfa Romeo 164 Cloverleaf – and I have to admit that it’s one of the
few cars I regret selling on.’
Having progressed from air-cooled VWS to more modern Audi and VW models, it will come as little surprise to learn that his first Porsche was a 924 model. James commented, ‘the 924 was an amazing find as it had just 10k miles on the clock when I purchased it’. The reason the car had covered so few miles was due to it being parked up for almost 20 years, however, James could see past the dirt and grime so he handed the car to Dave and Russ at RSR Porsche, where it was checked over and recommissioned. James said, ‘It was a lovely car but, given the incredibly low mileage, I found myself feeling guilty whenever I added miles to the odometer.’ In short, James decided to pass this one on to a collector who would appreciate the low mileage; what he really needed was something he could clock up plenty of miles in without worrying about hurting the value or picking up a few stone chips.
Bitten by the Porsche bug, James decided it was time to look for something a little later than the 924 – the kind of car he could enjoy with the family. He explained, ‘Having watched the prices of 964s rise and rise, I simply left things too long and, by the time I had made my mind up, I was probably 18 months too late to that party, because prices had simply gone through the roof’. He continued, ‘back in 2004/5 I was actually selling 996s new at a dealership hence I knew those cars pretty well and decided that it would probably make sense to seek out a decent example while the price of early cars was still sensible.’ With the prices of all air-cooled Porsche models still climbing, the earlier water-cooled 6-cylinder cars are quite a bargain by comparison. Plus there are plenty to choose from when you start to look around; hence they make a great buy for those looking to dip a toe into the world of Porsche ownership.
It was a tip off by his friend, Alex Spring, that led James to this 1999 Ocean Blue 996. James explained, ‘I bought it from a chap named Jason and he told me that it had been parked outside his workplace when some chemicals were accidentally spilt on to it by the business next door, so the insurance kindly shelled out for about two thirds of the car to be repainted’. More importantly, it was a non-sunroof Carrera 2 model (which James really wanted) and featured the MO30 limited slip diff option.
With the prices of all aircooled models still climbing, earlier watercooled six cylinder cars are a bargain
The 3.4-litre motor had recently had the IMS (intermediate shaft bearing) fixed and the brakes and suspension had both been overhauled, too. The key point is that the seller needed to free up some cash to help expand his business, hence James was in the right place at the right time and picked it up for a great price.
This was around 18 months ago and James has continued to tidy things up and make a few changes over that period. So far, the mods include goodies such as H&R Cup springs, Koni shocks, OZ Alleggerita wheels (9x18 front and 11x18 rear), braided brake hoses, Pagid Blue discs and pads, a Shift Right Solutions alloy ball-raced gear shift linkage and a Top Gear exhaust system with GT3 tailpipes. Inside, the car is currently stock specification, although James has deleted the centre console and plans to fit a Cup steering wheel and a pair of 996 Sports seats (with painted backs) in the near future.
He commented, ‘I really want a ducktail for the engine lid, and Dave at RSR who looks after the car has mentioned some tuning tweaks for the engine...’ He continued, ‘It’s mainly work to improve the drive of the car, as I don’t think 996s need much adding to them to look good – they just need to be lowered and the rear wiper and badge deleted…in fact, they’re a great looking car, even with those headlights!’
For now, James is just happy to have a car that’s fun to drive, reliable and just about big enough to fit the family in for a Sunday afternoon drive and, whilst he still has some changes and upgrades planned, we have a feeling that he’s well and truly hooked now and that this may not be his last Porsche project car! PW
They’re a great looking car, even with those headlights
Ocean Blue looks good on a 996 and makes a change from the silver of most early cars. James’s Carrera 2 is a 1999 model
Work in progress. Interior is due to receive hard-backed sports seats and a deeper dished wheel. Engine has had the IMS bearing replaced. It’s an MO30 car, too, so has a LSD
The key to making a 996 C2 look good? Remove the rear badge and rear wiper and lower the suspension. That’s it, really. James has also fitted OZ Alleggerita wheels