Classic Porsche - - Front Page - Words: Kieron Fen­nelly Pho­tos: Antony Fraser

ʻI­saw the yel­low 911 at Nickʼs Redtek premises and I was ab­so­lutely sold on the colour.ʼ The 1975 Car­rera was also left-hand drive, an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion for Robin El­lis who wanted to use it for con­ti­nen­tal tour­ing. A suc­cess­ful pro­fes­sional, af­ter many years of work and fam­ily, he pur­chased a Lo­tus Elite and in­ves­ti­gated the track day scene.

Af­ter a cou­ple of sea­sons he de­cided he would pre­fer a car in which he was bet­ter pro­tected than the Lo­tus and looked at air-cooled 911s, fi­nally se­lect­ing a rel­a­tively high­mileage left hand drive 993 RS. ʻIt cost about £10,000more than the 993s I had been look­ing at, none of which im­pressedme, so I took the RS. At the time I did­nʼt quite re­alise what Iʼd bought and I was en­thralled when I found out! I kept that car for ten years and sold it be­cause I wanted a lighter car that was eas­ier to drive.ʼ

El­lis is far fromthe sports car fan who buys on a whim: a sea­soned tourer, he has also driven ex­ten­sively on the track and races a tiny Lo­tus 6 against Jaguar XKS in his­toric com­pe­ti­tion; an­other feather in his cap is co-driv­ing a 2.0 SWB 911 in a re­cent Spa six hours. He does then have a fairly clear idea of what he is look­ing for and this brought him­into the or­bit of air-cooled spe­cial­ist Nick Full­james, aman who cut his Porsche teeth work­ing foraut­o­far­mover twenty years ago.

As it hap­pened, Nick had been de­vel­op­ing a spec­i­fi­ca­tion which might have been de­vised with Robin El­lis in mind. This

was a 1978 SC, the ʻwhite carʼ for the pur­poses of this ar­ti­cle. Nick ac­quired this in 2008 in part ex­change for work he had car­ried out on a clien­tʼs 911. Bear­ing in mind its low mileage he de­cided to trans­form it into a 1974 Car­rera. ʻI like the look of these very much and 1974 was an es­pe­cially bad pe­riod for cor­ro­sion – Porsche was­nʼt gal­vanis­ing then and that year used in­fe­rior Soviet steel…the up­shot is very few 911s re­main from this model year.

ʻOf course had I been do­ing the job to­day, I would simply have re­stored it to its orig­i­nal state, but ten years ago I would­nʼt have got my money back, so I de­cided to cre­ate a retro 911 with all the driv­ing at­tributes I like in these cars – an en­gine which is easy-go­ing in traf­fic, but re­ally opens up when you want it to, a sus­pen­sion which does­nʼt dam­age your kid­neys and an ex­haust note that is pleas­ant right the way through the rev range.ʼ

Any­one acquainted with Nick Full­james knows his modus operandi usu­ally in­volves in­creas­ing the bore, dou­bling the spark­ing plugs and us­ing a proven fuel-in­jec­tion sys­tem, such as a PMO set-up here con­trolled by Canems man­age­ment. The lat­ter tech­nol­ogy was not of course avail­able 40 years ago, but Porscheʼs race en­gines were gen­er­ally twin-spark ig­ni­tion and in­creas­ing the bore was the other com­pe­ti­tion favourite. In fact be­tween 1979 and 1981, Porsche built about 300 pro­duc­tion SCS, called SC-LS, a model bored out to the 3.3 Tur­boʼs 97mm which gave 3122cc. This was a very dis­creet model, never ad­ver­tised as such, but avail­able as a dealer or­der on a new 911.

Porsche was con­cerned about the busi­ness the stock 180 bhp SC was los­ing to tuners such as Max Moritz and Alois Ruf who both of­fered to bore out your SC to 98mm which made a swept vol­ume of 3185cc and which, with other mod­i­fi­ca­tions, de­vel­oped 204–210bhp. Time and tech­nol­ogy march on, though, and al­though the Full­james ver­sion also uses a 98mm bore, with mod­ern elec­tronic in­jec­tion, com­pe­ti­tion

camshafts and a sports ex­haust the out­put is a rather more im­pres­sive 285bhp.

A Full­james-pre­pared 911 is a proper job and this white SC has a re­built 915 gear­box with strength­ened in­ter­nal parts cou­pled to a lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial. Han­dling mat­ters are ad­dressed with a Bil­stein sus­pen­sion kit and ad­just­ments to the tor­sion bars which lower the car about 38mm, but the 911 re­tains the orig­i­nal 15-inch wheels and tyres be­cause Nick be­lieves it is too easy to spoil the ride with wider rims and big­ger tyres. Brak­ing is as­sured by four-pis­ton 986 calipers and discs from the heav­ier Car­rera 3.2. The in­te­rior re­mains stan­dard with Porscheʼs tomb­stone sports seats, but with re­place­ment lightweight car­pets and sports steer­ing wheel. A Redtek 10,000rpm rev counter is a dis­tin­guish­ing touch.

Al­though Nickʼs in­ten­tion had been to keep the car for his own use, he was soon per­suaded to sell it and new owner

An­drew Mor­ris ran the back-dated SC for a cou­ple of years be­fore re­turn­ing it to Nick: its next owner was Robin El­lis. Al­though it was right-hand rather than left-hand drive, in all other as­pects the white for­mer SC suited Robin: a good 100kg lighter than his 993 RS, he says that over his three yearsʼ own­er­ship it has cer­tainly lived up to Nick Full­jamesʼs claims of drive­abil­ity yet re­spon­sive per­for­mance.

On his trips to Monaco and Pau for the his­toric meet­ings the retro-sc eas­ily kept up with pals driv­ing more mod­ern sports cars with rather more cylin­ders and horse­power. And he might have left it at that, but then in 2017, bring­ing his Porsche to Nick for rou­tine at­ten­tion, he spied the yel­low Car­rera.

Strik­ing in its mid-yel­low, this 911 be­gan life as a 1975 S, a 2.7-litre K-jetronic car orig­i­nally sold to Ja­pan. In­ter­est­ingly, it is a left-hand drive: there was ap­par­ently some ku­dos at­tached to hav­ing a left hand driver in Ja­pan.this also did no harm to its re­sale value as it later found a home in the US. In more re­cent years the 911S had been sold at auc­tion and im­ported to the UK. Its owner had brought it to Redtek for a tuned en­gine to be fit­ted. The 911S had at some point been mod­i­fied with wider SC arches.

ʻIn fact,ʼ says Nick, ʻthe body­work was very good – ev­i­dently it had been re­stored at some point and the car must have been stored be­cause apart from the odd patch there was no cor­ro­sion and we could still see the spot welds in the floor.ʼ


The owner, per­haps un­der­es­ti­mat­ing ev­ery­thing that needed to be done, elected to sell the pro­ject to Nick. ʻThis was where Robin came in,ʼ Nick goes on. ʻAfter three years with the white car, he de­ter­mined he wanted a left-hand driver that he could use on “spir­ited Euro­pean trips” – in other words a sim­i­lar spec­i­fi­ca­tion to his SC.ʼ

Whereas the orig­i­nal in­te­rior of the white SC was in very good con­di­tion and would have been a pity to change, the yel­low car was less ap­peal­ing which al­lowed some pe­riod lib­er­ties, such as Rs-type door cards and pulls. The stan­dard tomb­stone seats have been nicely re­trimmed in black, with the rest of the cabin, and the over­all ef­fect is highly con­vinc­ing.

Once again, a Bil­stein sus­pen­sion kit is com­bined with a sus­pen­sion low­ered by about 38mm which, in Nick Full­jamesʼs view, is far enough: ʻThere are so many cars Iʼve been asked to map where some­one has over­done the sus­pen­sion and spoiled them.ʼ Though on 16-inch wheels, the Car­rera re­tains the 7J front and 8J rear rims. A lightweight rollcage with mod­i­fi­ca­tion to make door ac­cess eas­ier was fit­ted at Robinʼs be­hest: he is will­ing to trade the ad­di­tional weight for the greater se­cu­rity the cage brings; ide­ally he would add a four-point har­ness as well.

The pièce de résistance is, of course, the en­gine. Robinʼs

in­struc­tion was to ʻgive it the en­gine it de­servesʼ, and Nick duly obliged with one of his favourite up­grades, the 3.2 Car­rera bored out to 3.4-litres: ʻThis is a straight­for­ward process: the cylin­ders are re­bored and re­plated with Nikasil and new pis­tons are in­serted. The 3.2ʼs crank is quite strong enough to cope and the great ad­van­tage of this mod is that it saves £2000 from the cost of the re­build as well as be­ing en­tirely re­li­able.ʼ

Then the en­gine was pre­pared much as with the white SC. Nick fits his own twin-plug ig­ni­tion, which in­ci­den­tally uses the dis­trib­u­tor cap from the V12 Jaguar, a Pmo-based fuel-in­jec­tion with Canem mange­ment, and a sports ex­haust. On this car he has fit­ted a lightweight RSR fan shroud with trays adapted to pro­vide cabin heat­ing. A re­built 915 gear­box has the turbo clamp plate to re­sist the ad­di­tional torque of the 3.4 and a lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial com­pletes the up­grades.

ʻThis gives an easy 300bhp,ʼ claims its cre­ator. ʻItʼs a bal­ance of per­for­mance and use­abil­ity. The en­gine revs to 7500rpm which is com­fort­able and as­sures longevity: these en­gines will rev to 8000rpm, but per­for­mance gains are neg­li­gi­ble and it short­ens their lives.ʼ CP

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