THE FIN­ISHED AR­TI­CLE

Know­ing when to call time on a restora­tion project is cru­cial: a mat­ter of per­sonal taste pos­si­bly, fund­ing more than likely, but most of all, re­tain­ing the car ʼs orig­i­nal char­ac­ter. This 2.2 T went as far as its owner felt was aes­thet­i­cally cor­rect

Classic Porsche - - Contents - Words: Johnny Ti­pler Pho­tos: Antony Fraser

Know­ing how far to take a restora­tion is a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion…

Enough is enough! The bodyʼs done, the engine cleaned up, itʼs good for an­other 100,000 miles. But, hold on, how come the cab­inʼs show­ing its age? Sim­ple. Owner An­thony Ed­wards wished to re­tain a sense of the car ʼs his­tory. You can eas­ily over-re­store 911s, tak­ing away all traces of their past life. Sure, this 911T could­nʼt have sur­vived with­out deep re­me­dial ac­tion on its bodyshell, but there was noth­ing fun­da­men­tally wrong with its pow­er­train or cabin fur­ni­ture. Best sim­ply spruced up, as far as An­thony is con­cerned. That way you can still re­late to the car ʼs char­ac­ter and the man­ner in which itʼs been used over time.

An­thony has the bare bones of a his­tory. The 911Tʼs first owner was one Den­nis Els­berry, who pur­chased it on 7th June 1970 from Gru­ber Porsche Audi, Inc., based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The last en­try in his ser­vice book was dated 28th June 1974, and for twenty years be­tween 1975 to 1996 it was placed in long-term stor­age. ʻBack then the car did­nʼt have a mas­sive value, prob­a­bly had a few is­sues and needed a bit of money spend­ing, so he just sent it off to stor­age and thatʼs where it stayed.ʼ

In June ʼ96 it was ex­tracted from the ware­house and un­der­went un­spec­i­fied ʻma­jor me­chan­i­cal re­pair ʼ, but it must have been pretty ob­vi­ous that body­work restora­tion was also re­quired. Den­nisʼs nephew ex­pressed an in­ter­est in tak­ing on the project, so the ti­tle was signed over to him. Mileage at that time was 99,699, get­ting close to a mile­stone num­ber, which might have had some in­flu­ence in his de­ci­sion.

The prove­nance then goes cold again. ʻI donʼt know how long the nephew used the car or what he did with it,

but in the event, he de­cided to sell it. Iʼve no rea­son to be­lieve it would ever have been out of the States at all.ʼ One way or an­other it trav­elled the length and breadth of the USA, though. An­thony again: ʻI bought the car at the end of 2013 from a com­pany called Driver­source in Hous­ton, Texas, who spe­cialise in Euro­pean sportscars.

ʻThe pre­vi­ous owner be­fore Driver­source listed on the Cer­tifi­cate of Ti­tle is­sued ear­lier in 2013 was Gull­wing Mo­tor­cars of As­to­ria, New York State. I bought it with a Porsche Cer­tifi­cate of Authen­tic­ity as a com­plete, match­ing-num­bers car for restora­tion, and Schu­macher Cargo shipped it over to the UK in early 2014.ʼ The odome­ter at this point recorded an am­bigu­ous 600.

An­tho­nyʼs ini­tial plan was to sim­ply run the 2.2 T as found. Judg­ing by the seller ʼs de­scrip­tion it would ben­e­fit from a tidy-up, but it seemed as if it was, to all in­tents and pur­poses, a us­able old 911. Like a longdis­tance love af­fair – or, more trou­bling, an on-line mar­riage bureau – buy­ing sight un­seen can back­fire. One per­sonʼs no­tion of ser­vice­able can be at vari­ance with the re­al­ity.

An­tho­nyʼs lo­cal spe­cial­ists are SCS Porsche, lo­cated in the po­et­i­cally-named Nagʼs Head Farm near Honi­ton, Devon, where techie Stu­art Man­vell took a long, hard look, and de­clared that a com­pre­hen­sive body­work job was nec­es­sary. ʻThe whole

“I BOUGHT IT AS A COM­PLETE MATCHINGNUMBERS CAR…”

project es­ca­lat­edʼ Stu­art ex­plains, ʻbe­cause the owner (An­thony) was­nʼt re­ally aware of how bad the body was un­til we dis­cov­ered that there were ar­eas of the floor­pan, es­pe­cially the rear footwells, that were so cor­roded that you could ac­tu­ally see the road be­neath. We could­nʼt even get it on the ramp when we first saw it.ʼ

An­thony takes up the story: ʻMike Humphries of SCS stripped the car in my barn in late sum­mer 2014. All parts were boxed and la­belled, and in the au­tumn of 2014 the bodyshell went to T&T Coach­works in Feni­ton, our lo­cal bodyshop, for the back-to-bare metal re­build, and they sand blasted it, and then we re­alised there was­nʼt very much left of it at all. It was com­pletely gut­ted, there was no floor, no chas­sis to speak of, re­ally.ʼ As for the sched­ule, it was no overnight sen­sa­tion: ʻIt re-emerged in au­tumn 2016, and re­build­ing at SCS Porsche then started in earnest in au­tumn 2017 and was com­pleted in early sum­mer 2018.ʼ

The repa­ra­tions to the shell were thor­ough: ʻThe floor has been to­tally re­placed – though you would never know it, theyʼve done a re­ally good job,ʼ ap­plauds Stu­art. In the first place it was stripped down by one of our lads, and iron­i­cally that was prob­a­bly the most dif­fi­cult as­pect of the whole project. All the parts were boxed up and la­belled, each lit­tle bag con­tain­ing rusty nuts and bolts re­moved, and the rolling shell was sent off to our bodyshop peo­ple, T&T Coach­works. It was in­deed in an atro­cious con­di­tion.ʼ

Large quan­ti­ties of cor­roded body­work were re­moved, duly re­placed with pieces of new steel, welded into the skele­tal shell, in­clud­ing floor­pan, in­ner and outer sills, kid­ney bowls, door-shuts, tor­sion-bar hous­ings, A- and C-posts, and

whee­larches. A com­pre­hen­sive metal makeover in other words. The re­paired shell was then treated, primed and painted the cor­rect Ir­ish Green, a won­der­ful colour and a warmer hue than Oak and its ilk.

Many peo­ple con­sider the 2.2-litre flat-six to be the best of the smaller-bore scream­ers: it loves to rev, sounds won­der­ful and de­liv­ers ad­mirable per­for­mance. Back in the mid-ʼ80s I put a de­posit on one at Aut­o­farm (when it was based at Amer­sham) and it would have been my first Porsche. Freshly painted body (Ro­man Pur­ple) and re­built engine, it was an an­i­mal on my maiden test drive. But I got in a money mud­dle and walked away, though not with­out it mak­ing a strong im­pres­sion on me as the ar­che­typal six-pot snarler.

In the case of this 2.2 T, ʻThe engine was a bit of a mess,ʼ Stu­art re­mem­bers. ʻEx­ter­nally, I mean. All the crank­case cast­ings and cool­ing fins were clogged up, and ev­ery­where that muck and dirt could get trapped, it was full of it. I think things had been liv­ing in there for some time, what they call flora and fauna.

ʻAfter Iʼd fin­ished it was a bit more like it should be, though it was­nʼt like a full re­build, but all the gas­kets are changed, all the ex­posed bits have been pow­der-coated, lots of bare metal parts have been an­odised us­ing chem­i­cal an­o­dis­ing kits, such as nuts and bolts and wash­ers, so they have a gold-brass fin­ish. You canʼt buy them like that any­more so a chem­i­cal kit is the way to go.ʼ

A lot of ef­fort has gone into mak­ing it look as it would have done when it was brand new. Itʼs even got its orig­i­nal heat ex­chang­ers: ʻIʼve just cleaned them,ʼ says Stu­art. ʻBa­si­cally, I was con­fronted with boxes of very rusty junk thatʼd been taken off, and we tried to re-use as many things as we could, so itʼs still the same car, rather than re­stored to within an inch of its life.

“IN THE CASE OF THIS 2.2, THE ENGINE WAS A BIT OF A MESS…”

There are some new things, ob­vi­ously; the brakes are new, the shock ab­sorbers are new, and a lot of it we cleaned, sand-blasted, pow­der-coated and treated so weʼd have as many orig­i­nal bits as pos­si­ble but still make the car look like it would have done when brand new.ʼ Typ­i­cally, it runs the same size wheels back and front, with the cen­tres re-blacked and a pol­ish up, and shod with Miche­lin MXV-P 185/14 90H tyres all round.

The 911 bodyshell was de­liv­ered back to SCS to be repa­tri­ated with its in­ter­nals. ʻThere was no wiring loom, noth­ing at all, just com­pletely bare metal,ʼ re­calls Stu­art. ʻI built it back up, start­ing with the wiring and the plumb­ing for the brakes; I just kept on build­ing as much as pos­si­ble, do­ing it in big chunks rather than try­ing to do lit­tle bits here and there, which does­nʼt re­ally work very well.ʼ

New com­po­nents in­cluded wheel bear­ings, ball joints, brake lines, ig­ni­tion, brake calipers, with lower con­trol arms sand-blasted and pow­der-coated. ʻI was just short of one door pin, and it has­nʼt got that yet, which makes it slightly dif­fi­cult to close the door. The in­te­rior is­nʼt im­mac­u­late but, by con­trast, we have a 912 that comes in which has been to­tally re­done in­side – itʼs even the same colour on the out­side – but it looks a bit odd, it looks a bit over-done, be­cause itʼs like brand new, and you think, “Well, itʼs not new, itʼs a 1970 car,” and although you donʼt want it to look tatty itʼs got to have a bit of patina, whereas some cars look over­done, and that spoils the ef­fect of it.

ʻSo, weʼve at­tended to as many of the vis­ual bits as you can ac­tu­ally get away with, but still mak­ing it nice to look at. Now, itʼs me­chan­i­cally ex­actly as it should be, top notch, and thatʼs a nice com­bi­na­tion of new and re­tain­ing some of the old clas­sic war wounds, which is ex­actly what the cus­tomer wanted, nice and re­li­able, the sort of thing you can just jump into and do some miles in, hope­fully with­out any is­sues.ʼ

An­thony con­curs. ʻI think itʼs all too easy to re­place ev­ery­thing if youʼve got the money, but itʼs more im­por­tant to re­tain the in­tegrity of a project like this. The seats and the car­pets have been part of the his­tory of the car from the

be­gin­ning, and itʼs a pity to chuck all that out in the search for some­thing that looks brand new. I like the orig­i­nal­ity of all the in­gre­di­ents as much as the fin­ished car. The Amer­i­cans in par­tic­u­lar tend to over-re­store things so theyʼre more like what came out of the show­room; theyʼre al­most too good.ʼ

Thereʼs a bit of per­sonal his­tory, too. ʻI used to have an im­pact bumper Car­rera which I sold and, like ev­ery­one else, you want to re­place it shortly after­wards. I thought, well, if Iʼm go­ing to get an­other one Iʼm go­ing to get a pre-ʼ74 car and this one just came up, and I have to say Driver­source were fan­tas­tic. They nor­mally sell re­ally pris­tine ex­am­ples, and this one they were ob­vi­ously want­ing to off­load, so we had a good chat about it, and we did a deal. I did­nʼt go and see it, but I was­nʼt dis­ap­pointed when it ar­rived, and I think I was prob­a­bly quite lucky.ʼ

For the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, I take it a few Devo­nian coun­try miles to the lo­cal deer park, aptly named the Deer Park Coun­try House Ho­tel, where thereʼs a hos­pitable wel­come and the bonus of a small col­lec­tion of clas­sic cars, in­clud­ing a 930 Turbo Cabriolet thatʼs housed in a spe­cially­built mo­tor-house. The 911T is in fine com­pany. Here, cu­ra­tor Stephen Poat also looks after a unique 1930s Chevro­let Uni­ver­sal Phaeton, a 1926 Rolls Royce with Mulliner body, a 1938 Packard sedan and a Jaguar XK150 that was the of­fi­cial 1958 press car.

I ease the 2.2 T around the park lanes. It may be a pe­riod piece, but the gear shift is ab­so­lutely pre­cise, not one to be hur­ried, and ev­ery­thing in­clud­ing dog-leg first falls into place ab­so­lutely as it should, and the steer­ing is agree­ably pre­cise dur­ing turn-in and cor­ner­ing. Itʼs got its orig­i­nal ra­dio, and the lat­tice-weave panel across the dash and in the seats and door cards, all pat­terned cor­rectly, and the door bins op­er­ate prop­erly, too.

I canʼt re­sist blip­ping the throt­tle, and there it is: that glo­ri­ous six-cylin­der shriek. Only a 2.2 can de­liver that. Re­build or not, you have to ad­mire An­thony Ed­wardsʼ re­straint. Of course, itʼs a pre­cious thing in its own right, but itʼs not so done up to the nines that you darenʼt use it with­out kid gloves, nor won­der about the true iden­tity of the car that youʼre hav­ing fun with.

As far as this Porsche fan is con­cerned itʼs about quit­ting time, know­ing where to draw the line. Be­sides, youʼve al­ways got some­thing to look for­ward to, in this case a re­build of that mar­vel­lous 2.2 engine some­time in the fu­ture… CP

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