‘Chipmunks had been storing walnuts in my Porsche!’
1972 Porsche 914 Ian Allen, Lincolnshire
It’s very… orange.
And all the better for it! Ever since seeing my first tangerine 914, I have always hankered after one.
Where did you find your car?
At the first Practical Classics Restoration Show in 2014. It had lived its life in Texas, USA. The dealer said there was rust around the battery tray and the boot. The original body panels were rust free and the interior was in very good condition, so it was a great car to start from.
Or so you thought?
This car is a lesson on researching everything in advance of seeing it. On getting it home, I began stripping it down to the area below the battery tray. I have now found out that this repair area is known affectionately by 914 people as the ‘HELL HOLE'!
Bet you were really pleased!
Don’t… The rotten battery tray ran into a rotten top section of a large longitudinal member, with rot running into the lower engine firewall and the floor, plus a store of chipmunks' walnut shells along with five US dollars in coins. It's the most difficult area to get into – you have to sit in the tiny engine bay while welding. Truly a hell hole, and over 100 hours of it.
Was it hard to find the parts?
Fortunately, repair panels are now remanufactured to a very high standard as are most replacement parts. Some are even available from Porsche dealers proving the brand finally embraced the 914 as one of its own. I needed floor panels and battery tray, and they were a perfect fit.
How was the engine?
I rebuilt it myself with a big bore kit and a slightly 'warm' cam. Twin Webers were preferred over the original Bosch injection system and a Lumenition ignition. The 914 shares some VW parts and everything vital has been tweaked by Porsche to make the engine that bit different to the Type 4 engine.
What about everything else?
A new windscreen was ordered from Pilkington's Classic department. Thanks to the Texan sun, my biggest expense was rubber trim for the windows, doors, Targa top, boot, bonnet and bumper tops with over £2k spent. The restoration has been both a joy and a pain at the same time. The irony is that at the Practical Classics Restoration Show I was the resident expert on corrosion giving an expert’s opinion on how not to buy a pup. The lesson is to always do your research, however confident you are!
Ian and his orange Porsche 914 he dreamed of owning since spying one in France.