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911 Porsche World - - Contents - Words and Photography: Paul Knight

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

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