Classic Porsche


Owners aren’t specialist­s and the internet isn’t the safest place for you to seek advice about the realities of restoring an air-cooled Porsche. Decide on the car you want to bring back to life and then contact trusted service providers who can work with


Thoughts from Workshop Seventy7.

Someone once said to me, “don’t buy an air-cooled Porsche as a project unless you can afford to buy two”. He was, of course, referring to the potential for spiralling costs during heavy restoratio­n work, but, as outlined elsewhere in this magazine, unexpected spend can be avoided by ensuring you take appropriat­e advice from those in the know before getting stuck in. We can all head online, post a question on a forum and wade through a steady stream of responses from armchair critics and would-be spanner wielders, but the internet can be a dangerous place to seek reliable guidance — you need to consult specialist­s who work with these cars and can tell you everything you need to know about best practice, parts availabili­ty, likely spend and whether you need to rethink your plan of attack. This last point is of paramount importance — whether personally managing a project by shipping the car to different specialist­s, or if you intend to commission a single company to do all the work, a solid strategy is the most important factor in ensuring smooth progress and your car being finished on time and on budget.

Most restorers, including Workshop Seventy7, will be open and transparen­t about their work and the methods they adopt along the way. Pop in, see what they’re up to, ask to see examples of current jobs. You may well be paying by the hour, which is why it’s of vital importance you and your service provider are comfortabl­e with one another — you have the right to check on the status of your build any time you see fit. Encourage regular meetings between both parties to ensure the project is on track. You might find the relationsh­ip is tested when difficult decisions need to be made and extra expense is required, but overall, the restoratio­n experience should be one you and your restorer relish. After all, you’re doing something amazing — bringing a previously neglected Porsche back from the brink!

Don’t think the lower purchase price commanded by a 912 means the four-cylinder model will be any less pricey to restore than a same-age 911. Granted, you might save a couple of quid on engine work by virtue of the fact you’re working with a flat-four, but there’s not a lot else to separate these desirable classic Porsches. Regardless of the model you choose to restore, try to start with the best condition and most complete example you can find — bodywork repairs are time consuming and can be expensive, and while owners of old 911s are well served when it comes to spares, some model-specific trim may be unavailabl­e and could need fabricatin­g. Similarly, while the main focus of a restoratio­n is on metal, paint and mechanical reconditio­ning, don’t lose sight of the fact your car’s electrical systems will probably need to be restored. Brittle wiring looms, temperamen­tal switchgear, vintage fuseboards

— to ensure modern levels of reliabilit­y, you’ll want to consider replacing old for new. This isn’t something that’ll take away from the character of your chosen Porsche, but trying to save a few pennies by returning a tired wiring harness to an otherwise restored vehicle may well prove to be counterpro­ductive. Besides, new electrics enable you to introduce modern functional­ity, such as airconditi­oning, upgraded audio equipment and a more efficient ignition system. When your car is stripped and ready for reassembly, this is the best time to make changes.

Those new to Porsche projects should bear in mind the last ten percent of a restoratio­n can take fifty percent of the total time spent on the job. Unless you’re dealing with an air-cooled Porsche which could comfortabl­y be classed as a biohazard, the initial strip (and subsequent inspection) is probably one of the quickest stages of the process. Along with paint, however, it’s the change which delivers the biggest visual impact. Remember all this and you’ll have a thoroughly enjoyable restoratio­n experience and all the fun that comes with returning a classic Porsche to the road.


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 ??  ?? David Lane is head of Northampto­nshire classic car restoratio­n specialist, Workshop Seventy7, and its sister brand, Oshe Design. His recent projects have featured in both
and Classic Porsche 911 & Porsche World. workshopse­
David Lane is head of Northampto­nshire classic car restoratio­n specialist, Workshop Seventy7, and its sister brand, Oshe Design. His recent projects have featured in both and Classic Porsche 911 & Porsche World. workshopse­

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