I get lots of different requests from all over the World asking me to find a specific Porsche, their ‘dream’ Porsche and let me tell you that can range from a 924 through to a Carrera GT.
So when I get a call or email asking for help it’s always interesting to find out what is on the clients mind.
Most will have a very set idea, for example the customer says they must have a red one with manual gearbox and only with the black leather from 1991 for less than ‘x’ amount and all that’s fair enough. One should have whatever one likes. After all we come this way only once and no one actually needs a Porsche. Its a want.
My experience of this situation is slightly different. I used to take these requirements as set in stone , but quickly learnt not too, when you see the chap one day in a yellow one, not re, with a coupe roof, not a convertible, from 1987 and not 1991 and for twice the budget we originally discussed.
So although I take notice of the requirements I will try to offer other things that I think might be attractive.
Therefore when Brian asked for a pre 1980 911 Targa in mint condition I thought it may be a tough call. Finding a truly mint SC from the eighties would be hard, crikey its hard enough from the ’90’s.
For getting on two years we had correspondence, and nothing suited. The requirements were unusually exact….and unchanging. A mint pre 1980 911 SC right hand drive. Frankly the chances of this working out and me earning a profit from it was getting less likely.
I really thought I had it licked. I had found an early 911 3.0 Sc targa, one owner from 1985, one previous, dead original, original paint on most of it, sensible mileage, lovely history and just darn gorgeous. Done. Surely done. This is it. I was beside myself, was it the meagre profit or was it the the feeling that the finish line, after all this time was in sight?
Well you wouldn’t believe it. For while Brian was delighted with my efforts, impressed by the commitment and charming to a fault. He didn’t want it. Why? For goodness sake why not?
It was too new. By a month. January 1980. My customer wanted pre 1980. To avoid ever the need to have an MOT in Ireland. I said lets get his mechanic to do the MOT. But no, some of us do know what we want. And Brian knew what he wanted. Even if it made little sense. He knew what he wanted. Pre 1980. The search goes on.
You know how sometimes in the middle of the night a thought comes to mind, and by morning most are gone. I had that thought, and managed for once to recall it in the morning.
Gold in your garden. Not exactly my garden but the idea is there are opportunities right under our noses. And so it proved. I remembered that about 6 years ago I supplied a Boxster to a gent in Plymouth. At the time he had a nice honest early 911 SC Targa. He would sell it for a song. But not to me. He had promised it to my friend and business colleague Andy Moss who runs a business nearby solely servicing Porsche. He is our service Partner for Devon and Somerset.
At the time I balanced greed against guilt, I wanted that SC especially at the price but promised to Andy. So in deference to my friend I let it go. And that was my midnight revelation. Andy still had the car. Right under my nose. From late 79. Dry stored, dry used for the last 20 years. Not perfect and not mint. But straight, strong, healthy and no one had mucked it up.
This was our start. All I needed was to get Andy to sell it. Well I do have some skills. Our Irish dreamer (client) was delighted. But needed a mint SC. Hmmm.
Now I have to tell you the best business is swift in swift out. Keep doing that with a profit and your on the way. What possess me to undertake a restoration like this can only be a form of stupidity. Maybe as a lad I missed something. But I like saving a worthy Porsche, I love resurrecting them, and I like making a customer dreams come true.
And that’s where we are. With an SC in a 100 pieces, Andy with money in his pocket to expand his business just at the right time. And my job is to oversee the reconstruction of this car, bring it to the standard that Brian dreamt of, hopefully to surpass those expectations and have a delighted customer. And have a nice time doing it. Andy is doing the mechanics and reassembly. Tony is doing the paint and removing the spoilers, making the original colour of solid black look like new.
So far we have removed the engine to deal with some small oil leaks and fit it with a full stainless steel exhaust system which should make a nice sound and elicit a little more horsepower. Also conversion to hydraulic chain tensioners to aid reliability, removal of the air pump and plumbing, checking heads and cylinders, replacing oil drain tubes and powder coating the tinware. Replacing or refinishing the cadium coated parts and generally making the old ‘lump’ look, sound and perform as it ought to.
On the body, we have removed the spoilers, removed the front spot lamps, the Ariel, then drilled some additional holes to fit a left hand mirror which I fought the client over, he insisted he needed a left mirror and I was set on keeping the lines clean….I lost. We have removed the targa roll hoop and rear screen (not the work of a moment I can tell you) and the state of play as we speak is that the new holes are being drilled in the engine lid to re position the 911SC badge correctly now that the spoiler has been removed. We have removed the rear wiper too (a small win for me).
Any day it should be painted black and start to go back together at long last and we will drown it in waxoyl as we go, hoping its going to help this old girl last forever.
The customer regularly comes to view what we call progress as he has fixed the due date for the end of February (that’s 2012).
I have to say its great fun pulling the project together, how commercially prudent it is remains to be seen, however, we wwill have a lovely 911 and a happy Irishman. That’s the aim and I will let you know how near to the target we get.
The next post should see this project reassembled and once more beginning to look like a complete car once more.