Gina Pur­cell

Total 911 - - Living The Legend – 911 Owner Reports -

Ox­ford, UK @gi­na­pur­cell1

Model 911 SC Year 1982 Ac­quired April 2014

A mix of cir­cum­stance and de­sign has dic­tated that the only man­ual shift­ing I do now is with St­effi the SC’S trusty 915. Day-to-day stuff is han­dled by my V8 Audi with its Tip­tronic ‘box and flappy pad­dles.

I love the ex­po­sure to both de­vices, for each is the other’s foil, but the 915 will be my last ever man­ual. In the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture, my next au­to­mo­tive pur­chase won’t have a tra­di­tional gear­box at all, so preser­va­tion and en­joy­ment of my

915 is paramount.

St­effi had her gear­box re­placed after eight years and 80,000 miles. The first owner lived and worked in Lon­don for an avi­a­tion com­pany and the se­cond com­muted into cen­tral Lon­don as co-owner of a prom­i­nent 1980s PR firm. I can imag­ine St­effi as a yup­pie’s play­thing in those far-off, glit­ter­ing, vis­ceral days that echoed to the rus­tle of big money and a back­beat pro­vided by Ul­travox, Madonna, Michael Jack­son, Wham et al. I also imag­ine her crawl­ing through heavy Lon­don traf­fic, suf­fer­ing the pain of eight years’ worth of wear on a cold driv­e­train.

PR man picked up a £3k bill for the new gear­box in 1990 and sold her on as the re­ces­sion bit. 135,000 miles and 28 years’ mu­sic and fash­ion later the signs of wear are com­ing through once more in my 915’s ‘ironic’ gearchange. She some­times needs the clutch pedal pumped once or twice at a junc­tion to en­gage, and can be ob­struc­tive when cold.

Neil Bain­bridge sug­gested a Stom­ski Rac­ing gear link­age and en­gine mounts to im­prove the shift, which I tri­alled, but handed the en­gine mounts back as they al­tered the car’s feel too much. The Stom­ski link­age makes the shift func­tion a lit­tle bet­ter and is worth­while. An en­gine and ‘box re­build will hap­pen, but for now all that’s re­quired is some TLC and a ‘mind map’ of where to place the shifter.

I feed the lever’s long travel into first to feel the gen­tle re­sis­tance that ‘gives’ just be­fore en­gage­ment, like Spit­fire pi­lots de­scribed push­ing the throt­tle ‘through the gate’ for full power. Back into se­cond isn’t in a 180° plane from first, but about 182.75-and-a-bit°, slightly away from me. De­spite no spring as­sis­tance, se­cond to third finds it­self. Third to fourth is no is­sue and re­as­sur­ingly feel­some, but the true re­ward of the 915 is the beau­ti­ful, well-oiled and de­li­ciously heavy-duty me­chan­i­cal sen­sa­tion of fourth up to fifth, ac­com­pa­nied by an au­ral de­light that sounds like ‘schlukk-sch­likk’, and never fails to please. De­spite the long shift travel, rapid gear swaps are fun and easy. I love my 915!

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