Catch­ing Up With …

Automobile - - Contents - By Mac Mor­ri­son

Larry Moul­ton has worked on Porsches for 56 years, mak­ing him Porsche North Amer­ica’s long­est-serv­ing cer­ti­fied tech.

How did this ad­ven­ture be­gin?

LM: I had hot rods and what­ever, and when I got out of high school, I started get­ting into sports cars. Volk­swa­gens and Porsches were my in­ter­est, so I went to the VWPorsche dealer. I started two weeks out of high school, 1962. I was lucky enough to start work­ing on the Porsches, 356s, with the other fella that was there.

How quickly did things evolve?

LM: There were a [cou­ple of ser­vice bays] de­voted to Porsche, and they had one full-time master me­chanic that came in from Ger­many ... then the 911 showed up. The first one

I’d seen of those, it was a 1965,

’66 model. And then we got 911s and 912s, and things just slowly pro­gressed. … We got three stalls.

What’s the most mem­o­rable job that’s come your way?

LM: Oh boy, that’d be a good ques­tion. One I re­mem­ber well: A fella bought a ’76 911 Turbo, and he de­cided he was gonna throw it on the Bon­neville Salt Flats and set a world record. He left the huge tires on it, which don’t work on salt. He did some­thing to boost the turbo up, and I kept telling him, “At least run race gas,” and he didn’t, so it made it a half a mile and burned a hole right through the side of a cylin­der.

How dif­fi­cult is it to stay up to speed as the cars change?

LM: You go to an en­gine or elec­tri­cal school, and six months later you need to go to an­other one ’cause there’s some other layer, tech­nol­ogy, or they’re adding this or do­ing that. It’s the whole in­dus­try mov­ing so fast. You’re con­tin­u­ally learn­ing and train­ing.

What’s come along where you said, I never thought I’d see the day?

LM: The [dual-clutch] trans­mis­sions. That was a big thing, and then when the Cayenne came out, it changed ev­ery­thing. In­stead of hav­ing the shop full of sports cars, all of a sud­den you’ve got six SUVs and two sports cars. It changed the whole out­look and de­mo­graphic of the prod­uct at that point for me.

Speak­ing of that, how have cus­tomers changed?

LM: Back in the day, if you will, peo­ple would buy these cars and they were just en­thu­si­asts. [They’d] keep the car for 30 years, and now a lot of the peo­ple will lease them, drive them for two years, and then they’ll come back and it’s, “Oh, I want a brand-new GT2 Turbo now in­stead of the reg­u­lar Turbo.” [The] prod­ucts change so fast; if you want the fastest Porsche, you’re gonna have to change ev­ery year.

Has that im­pacted your client re­la­tion­ships?

LM: Yeah, but we still have cus­tomers that have driven noth­ing but Porsches for 20, 30 years. [One will] come in and say, “Oh, I got an­other new one,” but then I have some cus­tomers who still have the 912 they bought in 1968. You get both sides. I guess it’s dif­fer­ent and the same in a way. We still talk to a lot of the old-time cus­tomers that have been around a long time.

What ad­vice do you give to some­one in­ter­ested in a ca­reer as a tech­ni­cian?

LM: Pick a prod­uct that’s ex­clu­sive; just don’t pick your run-of-the-mill do­mes­tic. If you’re gonna make a real suc­cess out of it, you need to spe­cial­ize. You need to be a Porsche guy or an Audi guy. The op­por­tu­ni­ties are so much greater, and quite hon­estly you make a lot more money if you can spe­cial­ize.

What’s your fa­vorite model?

LM: As far as the modern cars go, I like the Cay­man GTS with a PDK trans­mis­sion. It’s a real driver’s car, and it’s got a lot of soul. I’d like to have my ’58 Speed­ster back. Or an ’84 Car­rera, some­thing like that.

What’s been the most dif­fi­cult model to work on?

LM: Just in gen­eral, the 964

Turbo. Ev­ery­thing was so [tightly pack­aged]. The one with the most tech­nol­ogy is the new Panam­era. It’s just like two worlds. A guy I work with, we had a 356 with a bit of a clutch prob­lem, and I had to take the en­gine in and out about nine times be­fore he was happy. Some of those things, it was a real chal­lenge, but you didn’t care how long it took. You just wanted it right.

Tools have changed quite a lot as well; is the job eas­ier to­day?

LM: No, it’s more dif­fi­cult. The days of the car­bu­re­tor and the points are long gone. Ev­ery­thing on the car is in­te­grated. All the com­put­ers talk to each other. It’s a dif­fi­cult job, and for some­one new to come in off the street, that’s quite a daunt­ing task.

Do you have tricks to re­mem­ber ev­ery­thing you’ve learned?

LM: I don’t keep track of it. I re­mem­ber the old cars; you just kind of keep it straight. I work with a guy named Randy Yates. We’ve worked to­gether for 35 years. So we can just say, “You re­mem­ber this?” Or, “You’ve seen that.” It re­ally helps. AM

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.