PORSCHE 911E 2.2 SPORTOMATIC 1969 ‘G’ 22,725 MILES £109,995
This white, narrow bumper 911 was a US car, but seemingly has little documented history until about 2001 when it was imported to Great Britain. To judge from the sheaf of invoices for spares and engine parts over the next ten years, the buyer’s intention, largely unfulfilled, was to restore the car; in 2016, on behalf of a second UK owner, Strasse in Leeds rebuilt the engine and transmission. The following year Adam Hawley who runs Theon Design acquired the 2.2E and undertook a full bare shell restoration. He established that this was an original ‘matching numbers’ 911, obtained a Certificate of Authenticity and in rejuventating the 2.2 he was punctillious about maintaining this originality so, for example, the car is resprayed in the factory light ivory and the cabin retrimmed in black leatherette. During the restoration, no new metal was apparently required except for a door hinge plate. The refurbishment extends to the dashboard and, with new charcoal grey tufted carpet, the interior feels almost like a new car. The original fixed seat belts have been steam cleaned and reinstalled; both boot and engine compartment are spotless.
The 2.2 fires up with impressive smoothness. Then, for those unfamiliar with the Sportomatic, there is momentary indecision about what to do next in the absence of a clutch, just a wider brake pedal, and a gear knob with mysterious L and D markings. Your correspondent recalled Hans Stuck’s remark when Bott told him he was to race the experimental 962 with PDK: “This I will not like.” Happily, here the opposite occurs: the Sportomatic proves surprisingly intuitive: changing gear merely involves lifting the throttle foot to stop the engine over revving and moving the light, pleasantly mechanical gearlever from D (L is simply for parking manoeuvres) to D2 as in changing from second to third. D apparently runs up to 75mph before maximum revs are reached, D2 about 100mph, and top speed is obtained, logically, in D3. After half a dozen ‘clutchless’ shifts the driver’s confidence is such that he or she can start to enjoy the rest of what this nicely renewed 2.2E has to offer, which that wonderful immediacy and connection with the road a properly set-up vintage 911 does so well. Visibility in all directions is so much better than in modern cars, yet the precision of the steering, authority of the brakes all imbue a sense of control which is far from vintage. The transmission does not encourage ‘on the door handles’ cornering, but neither is it an autobox: its manipulations do call for thought and add to the intense satisfaction of conducting this classic, preferably away from the main highways. The ancient static seatbelts could usefully be replaced (still with statics) and a door pillar hook to stow them tidily, otherwise this very likeable Sportomatic 2.2 is one collector’s 911 you really would want to climb into and drive as often as possible. PW