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Classic Porsche 911 - Surveys owners, repair and operation of 911 news stories and page model, sales and much more in ou...
Classic Porsche 911 - Surveys owners, repair and operation of 911 news stories and page model, sales and much more in our club fans and fans of the legendary series cars Porsche 911. All about 911-901, 930, 964, 993, 996 and new era 997 and 991-series.

If you're buying a used 911 as an investment, send me your address so that I can arrange a visit from the boys. Investors who never drive their 911s bring a word to mind. That word is 'pimp'. As 911 diehards, the boys don't like pimps, so when they arrive, make sure your engine is still warm, the exhaust system is making that tinkling noise and there is evidence in your tyres of some recently accomplished brisk cornering.

All 911s, from 1963 to this afternoon, share a characteristic 911 'feel', but that varies greatly in degree. Bog-standard used Coupes from the late 1970s or 1980s once delivered the goods for sensible money but they might demand some restoration work now.

Choosing a 911 is such a very personal matter. Just go for what you really want, get the best straight car you can find and look after it. Reliability is legendary but repairs can be costly.

My choice is currently the 993 Carrera 2 Coupe of 1993-98. Its predecessor, the 964, was respectable but dull. The 993's different, agile feel makes it terrific to drive and good ones go for less than £30,000 - this week, anyway.
It's the last air-cooled 911 model but so what? Later models lost nothing by being water-cooled. No, pick a 993 for its exhilarating agility, and its price.

A friend of mine paid £26,000 for a superb 1994 993 Carrera 2 in late 2013. He loves it, whether he's tootling about the shops or on a 300-mile blast through the remote Highlands of Scotland, where it truly excels. And that's no more than it deserves.

Porsche 911 Carrera RS
1973 // £500,000
The eternally great, ultimate development of the original 911 concept, it combines high performance and low weight with inch-perfect precision handling. Superb but the price of this model now, sir, is officially‘through the roof'. If you buy one, promise us you will use it.

On an autumn day in 1972 the salesman from Porsche GB came to visit our house. 'We're making a special car,' he told my father. 'Only 200 will be built, and we're offering them to our best clients first as demand is sure to be strong.' They built more than 1500 in the end, and demand was so great that, instead of management having to use them as company cars to use up unsold stock as expected, Porsche sold out the first batch of 500 immediately and had to build two more series.

Why the fuss? Because the RS is so much more than the sum of its parts. It was derived from the relatively humble 2.4S, but with flared rear arches and wider wheels (a 911 first), bored-out engine (at 2.7 litres Porsche's biggest road car motor to date), a rear spoiler (another first, and not just for Porsche, so initially illegal in some markets) and, last but not least, weight-loss that took the RS under the magic 1000kg in 'lightweight' trim.
The result: 150mph, 0-60mph in 5.0sec, handling to die for (and you would if you lifted off mid-comer) and a string of victories on every continent including rallies, Le Mans and the Targa Florio. Oh, and you can drive it to the shops.

Mine's been in the family for 42 years and has never once 'failed to proceed'. Beat that, Enzo...


Porsche 911 GT3 (997-series, generation II)
2009-12 // £80,000-120,000
The 997-series Generation II cars were terrific in their time and the naturally aspirated 997 GT3 was a hugely powerful, seriously fabulous machine, subtly better in fast corners than previous GT3 models.
A classic in waiting - bound to be a sound long-term investment.

Any brand new 911
2015 // From around £75,000
Admit it, they are absolutely brilliant. If you don’t want one, you should. Buy it, keep it, service it properly. One day, it will be a classic but, meanwhile, enjoy a few happy decades driving it. The best of all worlds.
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  •   Ben Koflach reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    WORK OF ART PORSCHE 1973 CARRERA RS

    The 1973 #Porsche-911-Carrera-RS is recognised by many as being the finest #911 ever. Hailed by many as the greatest road-legal 911 of all time, the #1973 #Carrera-RS remains top of the desirability stakes more than 40 years after its launch, but how many people are aware of the links between this desirable #Porsche-911 and the mighty 917? Words: Keith Seume. Photos: Stefan Bau.


    Some people believe that the Carrera RS is the best road car that Porsche ever built, and it’s easy to see why they might think that way. But can you really say that this 42-year-old car is better than, for example, a modern #997 GT3RS, or the newly-announced #Cayman GT4? That’s an impossible question to answer, for you have to put the RS in context with what else was around at the time.

    Modern limited-run, high-performance Porsches, such as the 911 GT3 (and its sibling, the turbocharged GT2) are undoubtedly breathtaking cars: they are seeringly fast – too fast, one might argue for road use – and, in the case of the GT3RS, pretty uncompromising. They are brutal trackday machines that are, to be frank, a pain in the proverbial to drive on anything other than billiard-tablesmooth roads. Drive a GT3RS for very long on the average British country road and you’ll soon be visiting your dentist to have your fillings replaced…

    And this is where we get to the crux of what makes the 1973 Carrera RS such a fantastic car. It is simply a great all-rounder. But before we go any further, let’s take a step back in time and look at the circumstances surrounding its development and release.

    Elsewhere in this issue you can read of the story behind Porsche’s greatest race car of all time, the mighty 917 (The Big One). As the cost of developing and competing at the highest levels of sports car racing – Can-Am in particular – had spiralled to what many within Porsche believed was an unacceptable level, the company began to consider other more costeffective ways to promote its products.

    Ernst Fuhrmann is well-known in classic circles today as the father of the four-cam motor in the 1950s. After a sabatical period at Goetze, he returned to #Porsche in #1971 initially as Technical Director, before being appointed Chairman of the Board in 1972. Fuhrmann’s return to Porsche coincided with the departure of Ferdinand Piech, father of the 917, who left to go to Audi. Fuhrmann made no secret of the fact that Piech’s obsession with the 917 and its race programme wasn’t in line with his ideas on how best to promote the marque. In Karl Ludvigsen’s Excellence was Expected, he is quoted as saying of the 917’s participation in Can-Am ‘That was a very interesting adventure, but one cannot constantly play on so many pianos. Now we are going to stay closer to production cars…’.

    But Fuhrmann still believed in the value of racing as a way to improve sales, and even though he was personally at the forefront of the movement within Porsche to ultimately kill off the 911 in favour of the 928 (plans for which were already on the drawing board in the early 1970s), he knew the rear-engined, air-cooled model still had a few years left in it. ‘Racing is good advertising for every car,’ said Fuhrmann – even a flagship front-engined V8-powered GT, like the future #Porsche-928


    Fuhrmann was a shrewd businessman as well as a great engineer. He looked dispassionately at the #Porsche-917 programme, weighing the expense incurred against the monetary returns in terms of sales – ie, did the 917 actually make the company any money? Amazingly, it seems it did, for the cost of the race programme was more than offset by the return in publicity generated by the 917’s successes on track.

    Just two months after he was appointed chairman of the board, Fuhrmann gave the go-ahead to develop the 911 for racing. Not since the days of the #911R had there been such a push, but this was not to be a short-term effort like the lightweight R. Porsche entered a raceready 911 in the #1972 GT Championship, beginning with the 1000km event at the Österreichring in June.

    Driven by Björn Waldegaard and Gunter Steckkönig – an experimental race engineer with Porsche since 1953 – the highly-modified 911 was forced to run under the looser, but highly-competitive Group 5 classification. It finished 10th, behind a series of all-out competition cars. Now lay the challenge of how to apply the lessons learnt from this early success to the 911 as a whole.

    The main questions were how to make the 911 more competitive on the track, and then to examine what modifications would have to be incorporated into a limited-series, road-going production car. To satisfy the requirements of the FIA Group 4 regulations, Porsche would need to build 500 examples – a far cry from the 25 (or, initially, 50) required years earlier for the 917 to be given the go-ahead.

    Norbert Singer was placed in charge of the project and his first task was to see how he could ‘build in’ lightness, to achieve a target weight of just 900kg. This was done by reducing the thickness of the steel used on the body pressings of the earliest cars, from 1.00 or 1.25mm to just 0.7mm. At the same time, the glass used in all other 911s was replaced by thinner, lighter material made by the Belgian company, Glaverbel. Lightweight glassfibre panels replaced the steel deck lid and rear bumper/ overriders, too, on models destined for the track. Interior trim was an obvious candidate for attention, with the rear seats deleted, all sound-proofing removed and new door cards installed, which dispensed with the normal armrests and door pulls in favour of plain panels with lightweight plastic handles from a #Fiat-500 and a pull-cord door realease.

    The heavy stock reclining seats were replaced, too, this time with lightweight buckets with thumbscrew adjusters to set the angle of the backrest. Oh, and there was no clock, no passenger sun visor, threshold trims or glove box lid. In short, anything that wasn’t needed got left in the parts bin…

    The bodywork came in for some significant restyling, too, with wider rear wheel arches designed to accommodate 7Jx15 Fuchs wheels, the fronts remaining at 6Jx15. Tyres were 185/70x15 and 215/60x15 #Pirelli-CN36 radials. Under those wheel arches were #Bilstein gas shock absorbers, which helped save just under 4 kilos, while a thicker front anti-roll bar (18mm instead of 15mm) was fitted, along with a 19mm rear.

    Visually, the most significant change to the 911’s profile was the distinctive RS ‘ducktail’ on the rear lid. This followed extensive wind tunnel testing at Stuttgart in the early 1970s, which led to the incorporation of the small lip spoiler under the nose of the 911S models. That was fine for a car with the performance potential of the regular road-going ‘S’, but at higher speeds it was discovered that airflow over the rear of the 911 generated significant lift at speeds over 150mph. By adding this simple ducktail, according to Ludvigsen, lift was reduced from a heady 320lbs to just 93lbs at 152mph. At the same time, the Cd figure fell slightly from 0.41 to 0.40 – a small improvement admittedly, but still worthwhile in the quest for perfection.

    A further advantage of the new spoiler was that it improved airflow into the engine bay, providing extra cooling and intake air for the new engine. And what an engine it turned out to be.

    The contemporary production unit displaced 2341cc (optimistically tagged ‘2.4’ by Porsche), but by increasing the bore from 84mm to 90mm, the capacity rose to 2681cc (nominally 2.7 litres). This was a deliberate choice to allow the engine to be developed for use in the 3.0- litre class, and in fact meant the Carrera had the same bore and stroke as that of the 5.4-litre 917/10: 90mm x 70.4mm. As we are starting to see, the Carrera RS owed much to the mighty 917…

    The lessons learnt from the all-conquering 917 didn’t stop there, for the Carrera’s engine featured Nikasil-lined aluminium cylinders produced by Mahle, in place of the Biral cylinders of the #Porsche-911E and #Porsche-911S models. This process proved to be far tougher than the previously-preferred chome-plating used on aluminium cylinders, thanks to the tiny grains of silicon-carbide contained in the coating. It also had the added benefit of allowing an oil film to adhere to the cylinder walls more effectively.

    The new (or rather ‘revised’) engine, which shared the remainder of its major components with the 2.4-litre unit, produced 210bhp at 6300rpm and some 255Nm of torque at 5100rpm. The transmission – type 915 – was the same as that used in the mainstream models, other than a slightly taller fourth and fifth gear ratios than those used on the 911S.

    The plan was to build just 500 examples of the Carrera RS (as the model became known) but as history has shown, the response was so great that this initial run sold more quickly than had been imagined possible. Four versions would be be available, the rarest being known as the RSH (for ‘homologation’) – a lightweight (960kg) model of which just 17 examples were built. Then came the #M471 and #M472c options, better known as the ‘Lightweight’ and ‘Touring’ respectively.

    The former was essentially a productionised version of the RSH, with slightly less attention paid to all-out weight savings. As a result, the factory-specified weight of the M471 model was 975kg, just 15kg more than the RSH. The #M472 , though, featured the same interior trim and detailing as the regular 911S, other than a smaller 380mm-diameter steering wheel. This trim package added around another 100kg to the all-up weight. The final offering was the 2.8-litre RSR (option M491), of which 55 examples were built for competition use. Ultimately, 1580 Carrera RSs were sold, not including the RSR – a far cry from the original planned run of just 500. However, by building 1000 (or more) examples, Porsche could now homologate the RS for use in the very competitive Group 3 GT racing category.

    The value of genuine, original RSs has, over the last few years, gone through the roof. After a period in the late 1980s when even a Lightweight could be purchased for £20-25,000 in the UK, they have continued to rise in value at an almost alarming rate. This has led to tales of fakes and forgeries (which is where the latest forensic examinations of VIN numbers comes in useful – see Drive-My News, so it is a wise man who seeks expert advice before entering into the purchase (or sale) of an RS today.

    But is an RS really worth a high-six figure (or more) price tag? How much better a car is it than a good 2.4 911S? That depends on who you ask. With a good ‘S’ costing between a quarter and a third of an equivalent RS, you’d need to be pretty set on Carrera RS ownership. But, on the other hand, there is no doubt that an RS is something very special – it’s a limited run model which has direct links to the 917. It was developed by Porsche’s finest engineers for use in the most competitive of all race categories. The letters ‘RS’ stood for RennSport, and that’s a pretty good indication this is something special. If you’ve not driven a 1973 Carrera RS, it’s hard to appreciate what a perfectly balanced package it is, be it in Lightweight or Touring trim – it’s definitely far more than just a ‘hopped up’ 911S. It hasn’t become the stuff of legends without cause. But what would you expect from a 911 born at a time when Porsches ruled the racetrack?
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  •   Ben Koflach reacted to this post about 3 years ago


    With prices continually rising, getting on the #911 ownership ladder has never been trickier. We consider an underrated air-cooled classic: the 911SC, plus the #911T and #964 – all should make for appreciating classic investments in #2015 … 911SCs. Long the poor relation of the Carrera 3.2, the 911SC is now being appreciated for what it really is – a great 911. Values are rising accordingly so now could be the time to buy one – while you still can… 964 v 911T. Got a little more cash to splash on a 911? Two decades apart, the E-Series and 964 proffer alternative prospects for around £35k-50k…

    Living In the shadow

    Long the poor relation of the Carrera 3.2, the 911SC is now being appreciated for what it really is: a great 911. Values are rising accordingly so now could be the time to buy one, while you still can… Story: Philip Raby. Photography: Anthony Fraser.

    Did you know that Mozart had an older sister who, at the age of 12, was considered to be one of the best pianists in Europe? And then her pesky kid brother got in on the act and overshadowed her, to the extent that Maria Anna has been all but forgotten while little Wolfgang Amadeus went on to become a legend. It’s not uncommon, being eclipsed by a young brother or sister – psychologists call it younger sibling syndrome and it can lead to all sorts of conflicts, as you may well know if you have children of your own.

    It’s happened with the Porsche 911, too. For instance, the #996 today lives in the shadow of the arguably better-looking 997, while the 964 was long usurped by the curvaceous and supposedly more reliable #993 . And then there’s the 911SC which always struggled to play catchup with its golden child replacement, the Carrera 3.2. The 3.2 has long been portrayed as the perfect air-cooled 911, for first-time buyers and enthusiasts alike, while the poor old 911SC has been seen as second-best, the car you’d buy if you couldn’t afford a Carrera 3.2. I’ve always thought this was rather unfair, so now is the time to set the record straight once and for all.

    The 911SC arrived in #1978 and was significant as it streamlined the previous somewhat confusing range of 911s – which comprised the base 2.7-litre 911, the sportier (but also 2.7-litre) #Porsche-911S and the top of the range Carrera 3.0 – into one single model. If you wanted to buy a normally aspirated 911 in the late 1970s or early 1980s, your choice was made for you: an SC, take it or leave it. To create this one new model, Porsche took the bare bones of the previously range-topping Carrera 3.0, rejigged the 2994cc engine with reduced power (180hp) and a cheaper aluminium rather than magnesium crankcase, while the impact-bumper bodyshell and interior remained largely unchanged.

    The moniker, meanwhile, was never explained by Porsche. Some have said that SC stands for ‘Super Carrera’, ‘Sports Carrera’ or even ‘Special Carrera’, while others have argued that it signified the S version of the C-programme of 911 development. I once even heard someone suggest that it meant ‘Single Carburettor’! Personally, I like Super Carrera but am happy to accept the name SC for whatever it may stand for. Incidentally, the SC was a landmark Porsche in that it was the last 911 for many years to actually carry a ‘911’ badge – later cars all had a ‘Carrera’ label slapped on their rumps. It wasn’t, then, the most auspicious start to a new 911. There was nothing at all wrong with the SC – far from it – it just, well, didn’t offer anything particularly new. The engine was a peach, though, even in its original 180hp guise, as it produced more power and torque at lower revs than the rather peaky Carrera 3.0’s unit, while remaining remarkably free-revving and eager. Power on non-US cars was increased to 188hp in 1980, thanks to revised timing and a higher compression ratio. Then, the following year, the output was raised to 204hp by hiking the compression ratio further, which demanded 98 octane petrol. US-market cars, incidentally, were stuck with 180hp throughout the SC’s life – and Yank owners were incessantly reminded of this unfortunate fact thanks to a speedometer that read to just 85mph!

    For the rest of us, though, the 911SC, especially in 204hp guise, remains a lot of fun to drive. Its low-end torque makes the car a relaxed and easy cruiser when you want it to be but drop it down a gear or two and the engine really comes alive as it eagerly revs to the redline. Indeed, drive an SC back to back with a later Carrera 3.2 and it’s the older car’s engine that shines, while the 3.2 feels just a little bit reluctant (a trait not helped by higher gearing) and its extra power (the 3.2 produced 231hp) can be hard to notice next to the enthusiastic SC engine. Porsche quoted a 0-60mph time of 5.7 seconds together with a top speed of 148mph for the SC and, even today, that seems quite achievable.

    It’s not just the engine that stands out, either. The SC retains that wonderful lightness of feel which is such a classic 911 trademark. Sure, the non-assisted steering is heavy at parking speeds (by the late Seventies the tyres were much fatter than when the 911 was conceived in #1963 ) but once on the move you can pilot the SC with your fingertips. The rack is quick and the feedback through the wheel is remarkable. It’s a car that encourages finesse as it dances delicately through the corners. Yet it’s also surprisingly forgiving, thanks in part to the relatively supple torsion bar suspension, so long as you don’t try anything silly, in which case that rear-engined bias can bite back. Get it right, and an SC can be so much more rewarding to pilot than a modern 911 with its extra refinement and driver aids which get in the way of the experience. It may sound pretentious (and it probably is) but drive an SC hard and you really do feel at one with the car, as its compact dimensions shrink around you.

    Yet despite its directness, the SC is also surprisingly refined and it makes a superb touring car. Those high-profile tyres are forgiving and don’t transmit the road noise which is a bane of modern sports cars, while the seats are supremely comfortable and the whole interior remains solid and rattle-free. It’s a car you can cruise in all day and get out of feeling refreshed – and there aren’t many Seventies sports cars you can say that about.

    It’s a tough old unit, the SC engine, too. Sure, you hear stories of broken head studs (although that’s not exclusive to the SC) but, on the whole, there’s no reason for a well-maintained example not to cover 200,000 miles without any major work needed. The slightly more stressed 3.2 powerplant, on the other hand, while also strong, is more likely to require at least a partial rebuild by around 140,000 miles (which, to be fair, is in itself good going).

    The SC is mechanically reliable in other ways, too. When new, the model gained a bit of a bad reputation for transmission problems because it was originally fitted with a rubber-centred clutch. This was meant to reduce gear chatter at low speeds but, in reality, it had a habit of breaking up so Porsche dropped it in 1981 while most earlier cars were quickly updated by conventional – and trouble-free – clutch assemblies. The five-speed 915 gearbox was carried over from previous 911s and was criticised in some quarters for its agricultural feel, plus many suffered from poor synchromeshes. However, start with a good 915, treat it gently (especially while the transmission oil is still cold) and, once you’ve mastered the changes, the ’box is a real joy to use and part of the appeal of an older 911.

    The big killer with SCs, as with all 911s from the Sixties and Seventies, is rust. The SC had a fully galvanised bodyshell when new but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. Galvanising will slow down the rust process but won’t stop it, while there’s a fair chance that most SCs out there will have had at least some bodywork damage at some point in their lives, which can break the galvanised coating and give corrosion a foothold. Indeed, it’s rare to find an unrestored 911SC that doesn’t suffer from at least some rust. And once you find some rot, there’s a fair chance that there will be more lurking under the surface, ready to hit you with expensive bills when it’s uncovered. The 911 has a complex bodyshell and proper repairs aren’t cheap – you have been warned!

    Get a good one, though, and an SC is an appreciating asset. We’ve seen prices rocket in recent years. Just six years ago, I wrote that £13,000 was top money for a 911SC and, for that money, you’d expect to get a lowish mileage example with an impeccable history, with less good but still acceptable cars costing under £10,000, which made the SC the perfect ‘first 911’ for those with a tight budget. How things have changed! Today you wouldn’t even buy a rough example for £13,000, with most starting at around £23,000 upwards. Increasingly, though, good cars are selling for in excess of £30,000 with a few exceptional ones going for over £40,000. In fact, SC prices are now generally slightly higher than those for the previously more sought-after Carrera 3.2. Despite these increases, I still believe that the SC is undervalued and we shall see further price rises. Although over 60,000 were built during its production run, which isn’t much less than the Carrera 3.2 that followed, the SC is today the rarer car. That’s because, during the many years it was unloved, many were neglected and ended up being scrapped, crashed or modified in some way. Which means that good, original 911SCs are now few and far between. That rarity, combined with people’s realisation as to what a great #Porsche-911 an SC is, and the fact that earlier (and later) aircooled 911s are still going up in price, means that they’re in great demand, in the UK and overseas.

    However, I think it’s wrong to buy a 911 as an investment. It’s far better to buy a Porsche that you can use and enjoy and, if it happens to go up in value during your ownership, then that’s a happy bonus. And an #Porsche-911SC is certainly a 911 that you can both use and enjoy, while remaining affordable to buy and to run, refreshingly rare, and more than likely to appreciate in value. What more could you ask for from a car?

    And if all that isn’t enough to convince you of the SC’s worth, here’s something else to chew on. It could just well have been the car that saved the 911 from extinction. You see, back in the 1970s, Porsche’s then boss, Ernst Fuhrmann, thought that the 911’s days were numbered – it was just too old fashioned and not advanced enough to lead the company into the 1980s, so he commissioned the 928 – a larger, more sophisticated front-engined car – which would eventually take over from the 911. The #Porsche-928 made good inroads but the SC was always the better seller (in #1983 it sold in double the numbers of the 928), a fact that wasn’t lost on new chairman Peter Schutz, who also realised that the 911 was the only model #Porsche was actually making any money on, so he made the sensible decision to keep it in production. For which we should be forever thankful.

    So there you have it. The 911SC has at last been dragged out from the shadow of its little brother, the equally talented in its own way #Porsche-911-Carrera-3.2 . Now it’s time to let it flourish and thrive as the great Porsche that it should always have been.

    OPEN AND SHUT CASES

    The SC was the first ever 911 to be offered in three body styles. First there was the evergreen Coupé, which today remains the most sought-after choice, for its classic looks and rigidity. Then, as with previous 911s, there’s the Targa with its distinctive roll-hoop and clever lift-out roof panel which folds up and stores in the boot. Finally, you have the Cabriolet, which was a first for the #911 and wasn’t introduced until #1982 ; in fact, just 4096 SC Cabriolets were built before the model was replaced by the Carrera 3.2.

    Despite its directness, the SC is also surprisingly refined and it makes a superb touring car.

    A GOOD SPORT

    A popular option for the SC was the Sport package which comprised a whaletail rear spoiler, rubber front lip spoiler, driving lamps, 16-inch Fuchs alloy wheels (up from the standard 15-inch) with #Pirelli-P7 tyres, firmer #Bilstein (instead of Boge) dampers, Sports seats and an improved stereo. Ironically, though, tastes have changed and few people now want the big rear spoiler, preferring the pure lines of a standard engine cover. If the whaletail is removed, though, you should really also take off the deeper front lip spoiler to ensure balanced high-speed aerodynamics, although not many owners bother.

    The SC retains that wonderful lightness of feel which is such a classic 911 trademark.
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  •   Malcolm Thorne reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    LEARNING TO FLY / #Porsche-911S / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche /

    It took just a few minutesʼ drive for ʻMalibuʼ Larry Koch to fall in love with this Porsche-911S , but another 43 years to form whatʼs become an unbreakable partnership… Words: Alex Grant / Photos: Andy Tipping

    ‘Malibu’ Larry Koch and his four-decade love affair with a 911S.

    Just west of Malibu along the coast from Los Angeles, Deer Creek Road rises steeply away from the Pacific shoreline into the beautiful Santa Monica mountains. Painted orange under the warm glow of a Californian evening, its sun-cracked concrete weaving a path through the mountains.

    Larry Koch, better known as Malibu Larry, knows this route well. And it shows. Now retired after 38 years as a TWA pilot, he reckons heʼs flown most of the best-known passenger aircraft in service during what heʼs been told were the ʻgolden yearsʼ of aviation. But itʼs this distinctive brown 911S, and an incredible road only a few miles from his home, where heʼs at his happiest.

    His enthusiasm is infectious: ʻAnytime I get in the car and start it up I feel great,ʼ he says, reaching for another gear. ʻHangovers, colds, whenever the wifeʼs yelling at you – just get in the car and go for a ride.ʼ

    Larry might be a local, but his obsession for air-cooled cars came from a childhood in France, eventually making his way through a multitude of tuned Volkswagens, with a Forest Green ʼ67 Beetle as his mode of transport when he was working as a flight engineer.

    ʻIn 1972 I was made co-pilot, my salary doubled and a Porsche seemed like a natural upgrade,ʼ he explains. ʻSo I drove up from Orange Country to Encino, to the Gabriel- Olsen Porsche-Audi lot run by Roman Gabriel and Merlin Olsen from the Los Angeles Rams – the American Football team. But there wasnʼt a car on the lot, the sales guy said heʼd sold all of the ʼ72s, so he suggested I talked to Roman.ʼ

    Larry arrived well-researched, convinced by magazine reviews that the mid-spec 911E was the one to have. But Gabriel had a single 911S at the dealership, his own car. It had 600 miles on the clock and, at $9500, it was offered to Larry at $10,500 less than list. But whatʼs since become its most recognisable feature wasnʼt a selling point at first.

    ʻI asked what colour it was – he said brown, and I said I didnʼt want it,ʼ he recalls. ʻHe says take the keys and go for a ride, take as long as you want. I was out for ten minutes, if that, before I came back and said Iʼd take it. That was it – I donʼt know how he got home.ʼ

    Larry brings the 911 to a rest as the road takes a sweeping right-hander inland, the crests of Pacific waves twinkling in the distance. Under the reddish tint of a fading afternoon, itʼs hard to imagine that the distinctive Mocca Brown, now such a rare colour, was ever an unattractive option. Helped by its flared arches and colour-coded Fuchs wheels, the coupé has made an ugly duckling-like transformation during the 43 years since Larry brought it home.

    But that four-decade partnership has brought plenty of unwelcome attention, too. Not least of all from the local law enforcement, whose radar it appeared on almost as soon as it left the dealership. Several fines down, Larry decided to scrub off some of his need for speed by joining the Porsche Club of America and getting some time on track at one of their time trial events.

    ʻAnyone who owns a Porsche should have it on the track at least two or three times to know how it performs. Theyʼre completely different to everything else youʼve ever driven and thatʼs what makes these cars so beautiful – theyʼre a unique car to learn how to drive. I went on every track in California: Willow Springs, Sears Point, Riverside – before they tore it down – and of course, my favourite, Laguna Seca.ʼ

    You wouldnʼt know to look at it. Aside from the harnesses, wrapped around a harness-bar spanning the top of the folded rear seats, thereʼs little evidence of its track career. A small plaque on the dashboard marks it out as a contender in the 1975 Riverside Race Hunt, its first race, and the turning point for whatʼs happened since, as Larry explains: ʻI spun the car every time I took it out, it was the only way I could figure out how hard to push it,ʼ he says. ʻI didnʼt have a lot of experience, and I was learning on the run so I busted the transmission on that event.

    ʻThis guy comes up to me, he had a VW Bus that he had converted to Porsche running gear...it was beautiful. He said heʼd tow it home and swap out the transmission for 250 bucks – heʼd give me a rebuilt one and Iʼd give him mine, which sounded like a fair deal. He towed it to his garage – he had a lot of parts in it, so I said to put some new shocks on for me, too.ʼ

    It wasnʼt the good deal he was expecting. Putting the new parts through their paces on the way home he realised he was being followed and, as he pulled up on the drive, a Volkswagen screeched up to a halt in the road, and a pair of armed police officers started barking orders at him.

    Larry was dumbfounded: ʻApparently they had been watching this guy, as he was dealing in stolen Porsche parts. They arrested me right there – the engine was stolen, the trans was stolen. ʻWeʼre impounding your car, and youʼre under arrest.ʼ I had no idea!

    ʻThe transmission had its numbers filed off, so it was confiscated, but I got my car back, and they asked if Iʼd testify against this guy. He cost me a bundle because I had to buy a new transmission outright, but he was guilty, and they deported him.ʼ


    But, having had a glimpse of how the car could be even quicker with aftermarket parts, the Porsche took a change of direction. The 930 Turbo Carrera launched that same year and, while it was outside the reach of a TWA co-pilotʼs salary, the wider wings that set it apart from lesser models were an easy upgrade. At least, they should have been.


    Instead, Larry wound up with a six-month separation from his car, as the bodyshop closed down mid-way through fitting the glassfibre wheelarch flares and it disappeared, eventually turning up in the painterʼs back yard in Costa Mesa before being hastily finished.

    Baulk if you will at the thought of hacking apart an early 911S, but those glassfibre add-ons were a short-lived addition. Two weeks after his six-month separation was over, a spare wheel escaped from underneath the van in front on the freeway while he was out driving with his wife. There was nothing he could do.

    ʻI tried to turn really hard, but it wiped out the whole side of the car,ʼ he says. ʻThe flares ripped off, it blew both tyres, it just trashed it. Then this guy comes walking down the centre divider of the freeway and asks if anyone saw a spare tyre. It couldʼve been the most expensive walk he ever took – luckily for him he was working for a company, and it was their van.ʼ

    The trade-off for some waiting was a massive upgrade in parts quality from the insurance-funded repair job: ʻThese are ʼ76 Turbo flares – these are steel,ʼ says Larry, tapping the rear wing. ʻWe also found another “S” front spoiler and welded on about a foot on either side to the original spoiler to make it line up. That time, I went to the paint shop every day to look for it!ʼ

    By the end of the ʼ70s, the Porsche had changed completely. Larry says heʼd been inspired by the International Race of Champions (IROC) cars and, as was the trend at the time, had styled his to match, including adding the eight- and nine-inch Fuchs wheels that still fill out the arches today.

    But, of all the parts that swelled the S beyond its factory body lines, itʼs the whaletail still propped up in the corner of his garage that made the biggest difference. A genuine part from Vasek Polak, the dealer who prepared the ʻJellybeanʼ 911 racing cars, it was a glassfibre replica of the wing fitted to the 911 Turbo, but with an extra cooling grille, and it was functional, too.

    ʻIt had the most beautiful lines and curves I had ever seen,ʼ says Larry. ʻVasek made only a few, many tried to copy it but they were never the same graceful lines as his work. The mould was broken after the ʼ74 IROC season, but I was able to get one for my newly flared and painted car.ʼ

    It wasnʼt until 1986 that the original North American-spec 2.4-litre engine was treated to matching upgrades, though typically it came out of misfortune. Part of one of the valves broke off on the freeway and, despite shutting the engine off almost immediately, it was too late. Instead of rebuilding it back to factory spec, Larry had the capacity increased to 2.7-litres to match European cars and, in doing so, gave it muscle to match the bodywork.

    ʻIt probably doubled the torque, thatʼs whatʼs made this thing really interesting,ʼ he explains. ʻFrom a 2.4 where you had to keep the revs up all the time and the cam doesnʼt come on until around 5000rpm, it was possible – not that you would – to accelerate in fourth or fifth from 2000rpm, without the engine bucking out the back. It made the car a really fun drive.ʼ

    But, for once, itʼs not damage or theft thatʼs toned down the styling to the subtle levels itʼs reached more recently. Larry kept the 911 almost unchanged for over 20 years, even resisting a slant-nose conversion during the 1980s, before members of the Early S Registry suggested its wide arches would be a good foundation for turning it into a replica of the homologation-special 911 S/T.

    So, at the end of the ʻNoughtiesʼ, the original decklid came out of storage and the rubber bolt-ons dictated by the US Department of Transport made way for colour-coded bumpers matched to the centres of the wheels. Itʼs also running a cut-down version of a stock 911S exhaust system, albeit with the baffles removed to make the engine a little more sonorous as it approaches its 7300rpm redline.

    This did mean re-learning some of the carʼs limits after two decades of familiarity, though: ʻThe problem is as you get older your mastery level diminishes a little bit,ʼ says Larry, laughing. ʻThe last rally that I was on, I was clipping along fairly good, and weʼre out in farmland where there are no cars anywhere. This is the first time Iʼd driven my car without the whaletail, and I come tearing into this 90 degree turn where a farmer wouldnʼt let the road go straight.

    ʻI took it just the way I thought I would take it and I realised as I was coming out that it wasnʼt going to happen. So I kept my foot in it and drifted off onto the opposite side of the road and into the dirt. Fortunately the fences were set way back so there was plenty of room.

    ʻThe whaletail made that much difference, you have to drive it totally differently – at least 25mph difference in entry speed. Anything over about 80 is where it really works, and it was amazing. A real eye-opener.ʼ

    Toning it down might have taken a little of the grip out of the back end, but that brush with near-destruction on a Californian road was a reminder that the colour which he once walked away from has just become fashionable: ʻIronically, just recently, with the meteoric rise in the early 911s this colour has become more popular as it was only available for a couple of years, thus making it period correct for 1972. Now I know how much my carʼs worth, I donʼt wanna wreck it.ʼ

    Which would make this a pretty solid investment, considering the price he paid. But Larry isnʼt entertaining that idea: ʻEven when Iʼm feeling really good about life, getting into my Porsche and firing it up makes me feel even better. Thereʼs no way Iʼll ever part with it.ʼ

    He pauses: ʻBut who amongst my family will get it after Iʼm gone? Maybe in my will I will stipulate that first it be insured to its full market value, then each kid gets it for a month, then itʼs sold to the highest bidder, with the remaining kids splitting the profits. Iʼm not sure.ʼ

    Buckled back in and with the low growl of idling flat-six behind us, youʼd have to wonder what sort of profits would ever make this worth parting with. Despite the setbacks, with roads like this on his doorstep and time now finally at his disposal to enjoy it, this one-off 911 is worth far more than even the most generous offer for the sum of its parts.

    Above: Gone these days is the Vasek Polak-sourced IROC rear wing, the original ʻsmoothʼ look finding favour. Being a 1972 model, Larryʼs 911S, of course, features the one-year only oil filler flap…

    Far left: Well, letʼs face it, wouldnʼt you be happy with an early ʻSʼ, empty SoCal mountain roads and wall-towall sunshine?
    Left centre: Eight- and nineinch Fuchs wheels shod with Kumho tyres fill out the Turbo flares nicely.
    Left: Contoured Personal Fittipaldi is Larryʼs steering wheel of choice.
    Above left: Recaro sports seats in tan match the Mocca Brown exterior well. Full harnesses are evidence of time spent on track.

    Above: Original engine suffered a dropped valve, leading to a rebuild to 2.7 litres and ʻEuropean specʼ.

    Below: Living so close to the Santa Monica mountains, Larry Kochʼs favourite way to relax is to head for Deer Creek Road and explore the 911Sʼs performance.

    “THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LINES I HAD EVER SEEN…”

    Above: Larryʼs 911S has been through a few guises, but the current S/T-inspired look is his favourite. Fender flares are steel 930 panels.

    Far left: Throughout four decades of ownership, Larry has accumulated plenty of paperwork, including this invoice for the 2.7-litre engine build and complete transmission overhaul, which totalled just $6323.60 back in 1988. Oh how we wish we had a time machine…

    Above: What better way to see off the summertime blues than going for a quick blast through the twist and turns of the roads above Santa Monica?

    Left and far left: In its original form, the #1972 #Mocca-Brown 911S was a pretty desirable car in its own right, but with the progression of time itʼs now become one manʼs personal quest to create his perfect Porsche.

    “I SPUN THE CAR EVERY TIME I TOOK IT OUT…”

    “A PORSCHE SEEMED LIKE A NATURAL UPGRADE…”
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  •   Axel E Catton reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    PRANGED PORSCHE DISINTERRED / #Porsche-911S / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche / #Porsche-901 /

    Clockwise: shapely tail shows evidence of its altercation with Firebird; flat-six good for 180bhp; interior complete; 911 hidden for two decades.

    2015 / #Nick-Zabrecky from LBI of Philadelphia has been telling me of the company’s latest discovery, this 1967 #Porsche 911S.

    Stuttgart’s legendary flat-six made its public debut at the #1963 Frankfurt-Motor-Show , with the higher performance 911S – short for Super – introduced for the #1967 model year. The new variant had forged magnesium-alloy wheels, special gauges and many interior features that were optional in previous years. With 180bhp being tamed by ventilated disc brakes and Koni adjustable dampers, the 911S was well received by drivers and, to this day, remains one of the most highly sought-after versions among 911 enthusiasts.

    The story of uncovering this one was remarkable, a chance conversation leading #LBI to a wooden barn in which the Porsche resided. The car had been bought by the owner in 1972 and used for many years until it was rear-ended by a Pontiac, at which point it had been laid up.

    Zabrecky told me: “The Firebird’s distinctive pointed nose left a telltale crease in the rear deck that is still visible.” The accident damage and the salt-laden roads of the north-eastern United States led to the owner putting it away in the barn some 20 years ago and it had not been driven since.

    When discovered, the Porsche was complete and still fitted with many original components, including the rare 4½x15in Fuchs wheels, carpets, seats and gauges.
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    HAPPY DAYS EKLUND RALLY PORSCHE 911

    We take a look at the recently-restored Per Eklund #Porsche-911-SCRS rally car. Swedish rally star Per Eklund ran this factory-built 911 as a privateer in the WRC in 1978 and #1981 , and now it’s been totally restored. We caught it in action on the rally stage at 2014’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Words: Johnny Tipler. Photos: Antony Fraser (statics), Johan Dirickx (archive), Johnny Tipler (action).

    I duck instinctively. A cloud of dust, stones flying everywhere as the white 911 sweeps sideways round the final bend on Goodwood’s Festival of Speed rally stage, barrelling angrily along the final run between the bales to the finish line. It’s Johan Dirickx, Belgian Porschephile extraordinaire, resolutely helming his latest acquisition, the ex-Per Eklund SC.

    Whilst snappers are liberally showered with shingle, there’s no particular danger of an off as Johan is familiar with the course, having run his Bastos SCRS here on previous occasions. He has a penchant for 911s with provenance, and bought the Eklund car in 2013, its illustrious rally star owner having abandoned the restoration that he’d implemented a full 15 years earlier. In the past year, under Johan’s tenure, the car has been comprehensively rebuilt from the bare shell – including a repaint and replicating the original Happy People livery – at Johan’s 911Motorsport workshops in Kontich, Belgium. All mechanical work, including a comprehensive engine and transmission rebuild, has been expertly carried out inhouse by Mike van Dingenen.

    A passionate collector, Johan makes an acute assessment of the Eklund 911: ‘There were two factory cars – the East African Safari cars – and then there were three cars built to most of the Safari specs, and one of those is this one, the Per Eklund car. I think two of the three client cars still survive. So this car was pretty much built up like the Safari cars, and that’s why it is a little bit higher, and if you look at the rear wheel arches you’ll note that they are much wider than SC wheel arches, more like STs. There are signs that this is an experimental engine; you’ve got the high butterflies and single-plug ignition, which is strange because most of those engines ran on twin sparks. The engine sounds pretty similar to the SCRS; it’s a deep boom. I absolutely love it.

    ‘Also the suspension is different to what you would expect, and it could indicate it was a prototype, because the car is much higher. Those were some of the little things that #Porsche did at the time when it was built into a race car; all those little things that only Porsche did that no individual would ever have done.’


    The car has an intriguing provenance. Chassis number #911 410 2989, it only competed in a couple of WRC events, though Per Eklund campaigned it in a number of less important rallies, the car ending up with 935 style front bodywork doing autocross, a discipline (if that’s the right word) that Eklund excels in. A works Saab rally driver from #1970 to 1979, he scored a fair number of podiums at the wheel of a 96 V4, and like several of his countrymen he is up there with the gods of the WRC. He was Swedish Rally Champion in 1978, and Swedish Rallycross Champion as recently as 2004.

    So how come the #Porsche-911 ? In 1978 Per was looking for a suitable rally car for the #1978 WRC season, and was introduced by his pal, Prodrive engineer David Lapworth, to the exalted short run of rally 911s that Porsche was building in Weissach at the time.

    This batch consisted of just five cars, two of which were retained by the factory, one ordered by Alméras Frères (winners of the 1978 Monte Carlo Rally with Jean- Pierre Nicolas), and one by Prodrive, in the pipeline for Henri Toivonen to contest the 1984 European Rally Championship, while the fifth went to Eklund Motorsport.


    Rather than being the very latest kit to come out of Weissach, the specification actually dates from four years earlier, 1974, when Porsche homologated the 911 to FIA regulation 3062. The competition department didn’t actuate the homologation until 1978 when they decided to build up the SC as a competition car to Safari spec, based on FIA 3062. The factory finally decided to go for the East African Safari Rally and nail the win, according to Jürgen Barth, who was, predictably, involved with the project at Weissach, along with Roland Kussmaul.

    Working backwards, in 1974 Porsche created what they called the ST kit, which seems to have been an adjunct to the pre-existing ST race car spec that came into being as a factory-derived competition car in 1970. Although not well documented, it’s likely that 15 examples of the original 2.3-litre #Porsche-911ST were built in race and rally format, with a further 23 units of the 2.5-litre 911ST documented as race cars. In The Porsche Book, Jürgen Barth lists the chassis numbers of 15 special 911S race and rally cars from 1970 and 1971, with 23 race cars from #1972 . The ST designation was an in-house amalgam of the #Porsche-911S engine and the lighter #Porsche-911T chassis.

    Eight years on, it enabled Porsche to build this small run of rally 911s to comply with the #FIA papers based on the 1974 car. Porsche judged the 1974 car to be the lightest base-model of the range, and so that was the starting point for the 1978 project. While a number of key privateers like Kremer and GELO Racing acquired STs and SC packages in the early ’70s, these later kits were so rally specific that only Alméras, Prodrive and Eklund Motorsport got them.

    The Alméras SC was also a narrow-body Group 3 lookalike, and they had a second 911 which was the Group 4 car, built up as a wide body Tarmac specification car, on account of the fundamentally Tarmac requirement of French rallies, whereas Prodrive and Per Eklund stayed with the narrow bodied 911, given the gravel-strewn surfaces of the rallies they would be entering.


    These two cars were built at the same time, but with significant collaboration between Per Eklund and David Lapworth. As such, the cars resemble each other very closely, and were equally similar in specification to the two 1978 works Safari cars (see sidebar).

    The comprehensive ST kit installed in the lightweight car comprises the 300bhp 3.0-litre flat-six built by Porsche Motorsport (with butterfly injection instead of the slider injection that was prone to jam due to dust on rally stages), a close-ratio gearbox with oil pump and cooler on top of the ’box (like the RSR), a 10,000rpm rev counter, competition clutch, competition exhaust manifolds and system, and a front-mounted #Porsche-935 oil tank.

    The uprated suspension components include front springs and struts with coil-over rear shocks, wrapped alloy trailing arms, and uprated brakes based on the 935’s at the front. There’s a front-mounted engine oil cooler, bias-adjustable pedal box, rear ducktail engine-lid spoiler, rear wing extensions in metal, and front alloy crossmember. The shell is reinforced in strategic places, including the engine bay and suspension mounts, with double-skinned front wheelarches and alloy roll cage. A battery of four Bosch spotlamps on the front lid completes the image.

    According to Per Eklund, the kit did not include the additional rally equipment of sump guards, seat, spotlights and steering wheel, and hydraulic handbrake, which he didn’t like. At the time, seats and steering wheel were left to driver choice, and sump guards were fitted according to the nature of the stages the cars were rallied on. The fuel tank was original so the spare wheel could be carried. Fuchs wheels were fitted at the front, and Fuchs or ATS Cookie Cutters on the back, depending on the nature of the stages. Per Eklund confirms that he received the complete ST kit from Jürgen Barth as one of the three selected teams, and indeed Jürgen refers to the batch as ‘STs with Porsche Motorsport’.

    The Per Eklund 911SC (or is it ‘ST’?…) began life as a standard car, converted with Porsche support in his Swedish workshop and remained in his ownership until Johan bought it. Bedecked in its jolly Happy People livery, its moment of glory was Finland’s FIA 1000 Lakes Rally of 1978, where Per and co-pilot Björn Cederberg finished 4th – having been 3rd on the road but docked a place for speeding on a transit section and receiving a time penalty.

    The 1000 Lakes was also nicknamed the Thousand Jumps on account of the notorious ’yumping’ over countless blind crests. A photo in Motor Sport’s October 1978 edition shows the Happy People car chucking up mud while spectators on a sunny hillside shelter under brollies. Amazingly, this was the very first time that Porsche scored points on gravel in the World Rally Championship.

    And the sponsor? According to Johan, ‘Happy People was a non profit organisation, and it seems that it still exists.’ But whether any funds changed hands, or Per just liked the logo is a moot point. As Johan says, ‘Per did not have any sponsorship and therefore volunteered to carry “Happy People” on the car, and even if that isn’t 100 per cent true, it is a nice story.’ The Eklund SC was then used at National Championship level with a good degree of success in rallies like the Hunsrück in 1979, and in the #1981 Swedish Rally where, notwithstanding its age, Per finished 9th overall, sponsored by Publimmo, with co-driver Ragnar Spjuth. This pair contested the 1981 Rally of 1000 Lakes, but failed to finish because of mechanical problems. Resplendent in white Clarion livery, Per then went rallycrossing with it, funking it up with 935 style droop-soot nose, front lid and polyester bumpers, all parts supplied by Porsche. These period parts have been kept with the car, including the original Swedish number plate, HOH 276. The car was then retired and placed in the local motor museum at Arvik, Karlstad, Sweden, part of which is dedicated to Per and his WRC successes, including his formidable Metro 6R4 from 1986.

    Back in the late ’90s Per decided to restore the car with the idea that he would enter the European Historic Rally Championship, so he extracted it from the museum. In 1999 the original Porsche Motorsport engine and gearbox were dispatched to Francis Tuthill for overhaul, though they remain under wraps and have never been reinstalled in the car. The projected restoration was never finished: Per was pulled from the project to run an X-Games (X = Extreme sports) team in the States, so in #2013 ownership of the car passed to Johan Dirickx.

    Perfectionist that he is, Johan instantly embarked on a full restoration, from bare metal repaint and application of the red-nosed clown and Happy People identification, based on a multitude of period archive images, to a comprehensive rebuild of the drivetrain and running gear. Happy People? A genial identity for such a fierce bolide. Still, it makes everyone smile.

    Which brings us to the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s Rally stage. I asked Johan’s friend, Alan Benjamin from Denver, for his impression of hurling it around the Goodwood rally course. ‘Absolutely fantastic, and a huge grin every run,’ enthuses the laconic Colorado man. ‘I am one of the few American rallyists here; we don’t really do rallying in the USA that much. Except for Pike’s Peak, which is now all paved. But Johan, my best Porsche buddy in Belgium, allows me to do this, and then he comes over to the US and races some of my Porsches at Laguna Seca, so we have a good international alliance.

    ‘But the Goodwood rally track is narrow, it’s pot-holed and the edges of the track, as we would say in the US, are trees, so when you’re driving someone else’s expensive car you try and leave a little bit out there and let the car owner and the pros really go for it. But it’s absolutely fantastic and the car is getting better every day.’

    What about the particular methodology of driving a loose, off-road rally stage? ‘The skill sets are completely different. There are way bigger slip angles, and if you had that much slip angle on pavement you would be dramatic but overall you would be slower, a lot more power and oversteer, less four-wheel drifting, but either way, it’s a blast!’ From last year’s 3m 24s in the Bastos car, Johan managed 3m 11s in the Eklund car. ‘We could have done better if the gearbox and final drive were more adapted to the terrain,’ mused Johan. ‘If this had been the case, 3m 05s would have been possible.’

    The Happy People SC remained in Per’s ownership for 35 years, and that’s a testimony in itself, even though it got neglected latterly. But now it’s in Johan’s tenure, benefiting from a nut-and-bolt rebuild, and knowing of his penchant for letting his beast off the leash, we’ll be seeing lots more of the car in historic rallies. Happy days!
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    ONE OF THE FAMILY

    Ron Fleming has owned his #1972 #Porsche-911S for four whole decades… Not many people can boast of having owned a car for as long as Ron Fleming, for he bought his black #911S 40 years ago! We look back over four decades of life with a 1972 #Porsche . Words & photos: Keith Seume.

    Ron’s name will be familiar to many people with a passing interest in high-performance Volkswagens and off-road racing. His company, FAT Performance, based in Orange, California, has an enviable reputation for building race-winning motors for cars competing in the SCORE off-road race series in California and Mexico.

    Ron is still also heavily involved with the world of VW drag racing, a sport in which he first became embroiled back in the late 1960s, first at the wheel of a Bug called Underdog, later in control of a legendary racer called Tar Babe. And today, he competes regularly in the VW Super Street championship in a 300+bhp nine-second Beetle. But let’s turn the clock back a way – back to the early-1970s, in fact. Having spent (who said misspent?) his youth racing VWs on the drag strip and embarrassing muscle car drivers on the street, Ron – like so many other #VW owners, then and now – began to lust after a Porsche. He bought a 911T which he proceeded to modify, with a hot 2.4-litre engine, boredout Webers, Carrera-style flares and suitably wide Fuchs wheels. It scratched the itch, but he still wanted more – more in the form of a 911S.

    In 1975, He sold the #Porsche-911T and tracked down a black sunroof 911S. Being a 1972 model, it had a 2.4-litre engine and oil-filler in the rear quarter panel. The stock engine (which displaced 2341cc) produced 190bhp at 6500rpm and was equipped with the original Bosch mechanical fuel-injection. The car already had an interesting story attached before Ron bought it. The ‘S’ left the factory in Light Yellow, destined for sale at the famous Vasek Polak dealership at Hermosa Beach, on Pacific Coast Highway. It seems that a customer came in one day and was desperate to buy a new 911S, but it had to be in black. After some phone calls, the salesman came back with the news that there were no black ones available anywhere.

    The solution? Take the Light Yellow car sat in the showroom and repaint it for the customer! Can’t help wondering how many dealers today would go that far to get a sale – and how many customers would be happy to accept a new car that had been repainted before it had even turned a wheel? Not many, I’m sure.

    With just 34,000 miles on the clock when it came into Ron’s ownership, the 911S was sound in wind and limb but, Ron being Ron, he dropped the engine out in his workshop and tore it apart to check all was OK. It almost goes without saying that it was fine after so few miles but Ron just wanted to make sure…

    However, it was perhaps inevitable that Ron’s hot-rod instincts would come into play before too long, so it was only a matter of time before he tore the engine apart and rebuilt it with a pair of SC-spec cams, which helped boost power to a very useful 212bhp – 22 more than stock and enough to keep Ron happy (for now).

    Ron’s programme of personalising the ‘S’ has manifested itself in a number of ways, some subtle, some not quite so. None, however, have done anything to detract from the character (and desirability) of this most sought after of early 911Ss. Ron likes black cars – his race car had been black, as was his old Oval-window VW street car – but to him the 1972 #911 just wasn’t ‘black’ enough. ‘When the later cars came out, with their black-anodised trim, I knew that was what I wanted,’ says Ron.

    But rather than have the brightwork around the windows and door frames anodised, he chose to have them powdercoated instead, because he’d seen how black anodising often suffered in the strong California sunshine, turning purple before your very eyes. He had the headlamp rims coated, too, along with the door handles and ‘S’ body trim. He also swapped the door mirror for one from a 1974 model as it was the smallest available in black, at the same time fitting factory-supplied tinted glass all round.

    The personalisation process didn’t stop there, though. Turning to the interior, Ron had local trim specialist, Don ‘Brad’ Bradford reupholster the seats and door panels in his trademark ‘fat biscuit’ style. This is a reference to the double-stitched pattern on the seat inserts, which many thought resembled a tray of freshly-baked biscuits! Brad’s handiwork was regarded as unsurpassable for quality in the 1970s and original examples of his workmanship are treasured today, particularly within the VW scene.

    Among other changes Ron made to the interior were to fit the passenger door card from a European-spec RHD 911 to the driver’s side door of his LHD car. This meant that he now had a proper arm rest and door pull on both doors, for greater comfort and convenience. Later, he also had Brad stitch up some new footwell mats, which included a pair of speakers so that he wouldn’t have to cut holes in the retrimmed door panels.

    Ron drove the car like this for close to 10 years, by which time the paintwork was beginning to show its age. Needless to say, he had it repainted in – you guessed it – the original black. Well, what else did you expect?

    By the mid-1990s, the car had clocked up over 230,000 miles on the rebuilt engine and showed no signs of needing anything other than routine maintenance and tyres – ‘Oh, plenty of tyres!’, quipped Ron. He drove the 911 virtually every single day to work from his home in Yorba Linda, California, and was constantly hassled by people wanting to buy the car.

    One Japanese visitor would regularly leave his business card under the windscreen wiper, while another hopeful offered Ron the sum of $25,000 for the car… Yes, we did say $25,000. That was quite a bit for an old 911 back then, even an ‘S’. But, as the owner said at the time, ‘What else can I buy that would give me as much pleasure?’ – and he was right, what could he have bought?

    And talking of prices, one of the little extras of which Ron is most proud is the factory touring kit, which he bought for the car not long after he acquired it. Consisting of all that was deemed necessary to keep the 911S on the road during a lengthy transcontinental drive, it includes a spare valve spring, a new belt for the MFI pump, a drain plug, fuses, clutch cable and a set of plugs and points. In the 1970s, it cost just $27, but it’s hard to imagine what it would change hands for on the open market today.

    You can’t own a car for this length of time and not have some stories to tell, particularly if you’re a hot-rodder at heart. Ron still smiles when he recounts his two favourite tales, one being of the time when he was heading across the desert on the way to a show. Feeling the need for ‘refreshment’, he spied a sign stating that the next service station was 143 miles away. As his needs became more urgent, he planted his foot to the floor and rolled into the gas station within the hour…

    The second story is one of those which are best enjoyed around a fire with a beer or two to hand. Ron and a friend were on the way to New Mexico, rolling along at a steady 130mph, or so, when they were spotted by a member of the Highway Patrol who took a rather dim view of the 911’s rate of knots. Pulling the Porsche over, clearly the officer thought it was his lucky day as he took out his notebook and wandered over to speak to the anxious driver.

    Ron, knowing that the safekeeping of his licence lay in the balance, immediately launched into a tall tale that he hoped would appease the officer’s obvious wrath. When asked why he was driving so fast, his reply was to the effect that the car was suffering from serious fuel-delivery problems, thanks to the belt-driven fuel-injection pump. ‘I need to keep the engine rpm as high as I can, or it won’t run at all!’ he told the patrolman. ‘If I leave it in low gear, it overheats, so I need to drive as fast as I can to keep up the airflow.’ he said.

    The officer gave Ron a sideways look and asked if he thought it was possible to reduce the speed just a little. ‘Would a hundred be OK?’ asked the driver, to which the officer mumbled something which Ron took to be in the affirmative, at which point the black 911S headed off down the road, with one very relieved owner at the wheel.

    In more recent times, Ron has continued to make changes to the car, the most evident of which is a swap to 16-inch wheels, which have been detailed to resemble the earlier style of Fuchs (the original 15-inch rims are tucked away safely in the garage). This has broadened the choice of tyres and also helped to sharpen the handling. In addition, Ron carried out another engine rebuild, swapping the cams for new grinds from WebCam, who also supply camshafts for his drag race motors.

    Today, the black ‘S’ competes for Ron’s favour with his beloved rag-top #VW-Beetle , with which it currently shares garage space. He’s taken the ‘S’ on R Gruppe ‘treffen’, and frequently visited the late lamented Cars & Coffee at Irvine – he’s even lent it to yours truly on several occasions. But it doesn’t get used as much as he would like, so Ron occasionally talks about how maybe he should think about selling the 911.

    Sadly, the way the market is now, it’s too valuable to drive every day in rush hour freeway traffic, and he can no longer simply park it outside while he dives into his favourite sushi bar for fear of theft or damage. But selling it would leave a Porsche-sized void in the garage which he would struggle to fill. And anyway, how could anyone bring themselves to sell a member of the family?
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  •   David Simister reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    ‘S’ FOR SEPIA! BROWN GIRL IN THE RING

    Car #1973 #Porsche-911S-2.4

    What was once an unpopular colour is now the height of good taste. Restored in France in 2013, imported into Britain and tweaked by Autofarm last year, this sepia brown 2.4S could be the perfect period 911. Its six-figure price tag reflects that quality – and the current market trend… Words: Johnny Tipler. Photos: Antony Fraser.

    Here’s one boxer that I wouldn’t mind going the full ten rounds with, and I’m not just talking fisticuffs. Stringback Les Lestons rather than bulging Alibaba thwackers. Bam! It’s not just the car’s pristine condition; a spirited drive through the lanes of north Essex and south Suffolk tells me that I’m at the wheel of a classic #Porsche-911S . Zesty, lively and, the faster I go, delicately poised on the edge of the outer limits. We’re visiting specialist Paul Stephens, purveyor of interesting historical Porsches and noted bespoke build specialist with his PS AutoArt range. Touring the showroom, our gaze alights on the sepia-hued non-sunroof #Porsche-911 coupé, and while it’s not quite love at first sight, it certainly is an intriguing proposition.

    Sepia Brown is one of the more conservative choices on the Zuffenhausen colour chart in the early ’70s, vying for attention with louder hues like Viper Green, Roman Purple and Blood Orange, no doubt being chosen by dint of intriguing understatement rather than eccentric ostentation. Sepia 911s are rare birds; I’m told there may have been only six finished in that colour with tan leather interiors, though our subject car is spec’d in black from new, with typical vinyl and aluminium strip below the dashboard, which is a signature of a 2.4 911.

    A recent arrival on these shores, Brown Girl (chassis #9113301078, engine #6331688) spent most of her life in France, having been delivered to the Parisian concessionaire (Sonauto) in May 1973. The bulk of the copious information in her bulging history file relates to a major restoration carried out between 2009 and 2013 by Special Auto SARL, based at Herblay, 20km northwest of Paris. This included a full mechanical rebuild and bodyshell respray in paint code 415, under the direction of proprietor Daniel Dechaumel, who's described as ‘highly recommended, an outstanding mechanic, a little gruff, but a real pro.’

    There’s no sense that this was the resurrection of a basket case, but its overall condition prompts the assumption that it was a comprehensive renovation. Apparently the odometer read 51,945 kilometres before the restorer re-set it at zero on completion of the restoration, which was clever of him. Or not.

    Right now it reads 38,000kms, though Charlie Abbott of Paul Stephens, who is now marketing the car, reckons the reality is probably more likely to be 152,000kms. In view of the work done on it, the mileage is not particularly relevant, though a stamped log book saying who did what and when is always helpful.

    In 2013 the car passed on to Automobilia, a well-regarded classic Porsche specialist in Reims, were the subsequent indepth 230-point inspection and report by sleuthing Peter Morgan was sufficiently complimentary to prompt its purchase by its Devonian custodian. It was no sooner imported than it was handed over to Autofarm for a couple of engine-out bids to identify and staunch a number of oil leaks. After British registration, including distinctive number plate NVV 73, Autofarm had the car MOT’d locally, having traced an oil leak to the nearside lower crankcase. That was done on 27th June 2014, and no sooner completed than it was back with them for another engine-out procedure in July, where another oil leak was identified seeping from a crankshaft dowel-pin.

    Whilst the drivetrain was out, the shift linkage was replaced and a new fuel pump fitted, the indicator switch rectified and the hand throttle adjusted. Also at Autofarm, the underside of the car was Waxoyled and it was professionally detailed inside and out. ‘The owner is the kind of guy that wants it to be perfect, down to spending £600- worth of machine polishing just to finish it off,’ comments Charlie. No question about that: the two stints at Autofarm cost £8200 and £8719, respectively.

    In today’s financial climate, there’s no question it was worth spending the money. Not only is this brunette bombshell a fine example of a 1973 911, the fact that it’s an S is a bonus, too. In several ways the 1973 F-programme 911S represented the zenith of Porsche’s roadgoing sportscar programme in the early 1970s.

    For one thing, the 'S' employed the final incarnation of the free-revving 2.4-litre type 911/53 engine, delivering 190bhp against the 165bhp of the 911E and the T’s 130bhp. Their rarefied colleague, the competition-focussed 210bhp 2.7 Carrera RS, was in a rather different league and aimed at a distinct marketplace; competition derivatives of mainstream models – such as the Lotus Cortina and Alfa Romeo GTA – were quite unusual at the time.

    The 1972 E-programme 911s were the first to receive the new 915 transmission, which was stronger and slicker than the previous 901 ’box, while the embryonic aero kit was also novel: the 2.4S sports a front chin spoiler to reduce front-end lift. Both sets of front and rear Fuchs rims are shod with Michelin XWX 185/70 VR15s, making this F-programme model the last to be built with the same size wheels back and front. Significantly, its 2.7 Carrera RS stablemate came with 215/60 VR 15s on 7J rears, setting the precedent for all subsequent 911s, post-1975.

    Being an F-programme 1973 model year car the oil filler has reverted to inside the engine bay rather than via the shortlived external hatch on the 1972 model year. Accordingly, it has black horn grilles and black Porsche letters on the engine lid, and a single rectangular chrome mirror on the driver’s door. A pair of period-correct yellow-lens driving lamps came with the car.

    The cabin interior is a tidy place; all the carpeting is new, as are the seats, though the seat frames are not factory issue. ‘The original standard vinyl seats have been replaced with accurate Recaro reproduction Sport items, even down to the Recaro script on the levers,’ declares Charlie. ‘They fold forward as they should and are more supportive than the rather flat original items. The door cards are in good condition, and the elastic of the door bins has been replaced.’ In the dashboard lives the restored Becker Europa radio with auto-switching iPod connection. It has the correct period seat belts, and the back seats are as new.

    Under the front lid lives the 85-litre long-range fuel tank, and space-saver wheel and tyre. Also stashed in the trunk is the correct green-dot Bilstein jack, plus a complete repro tool kit in an appropriate pouch, while other appendages are contained in a smart flight case and include spare key, original compressor and an original spare Pudenz fuse kit, two original sets of red and black keys. All locks operate with the same key code, and there’s a key code card stamped with chassis and code number.

    The maroon new-old-stock handbook wallet contains the owner’s handbook in English, the guarantee and maintenance booklet in its own original maroon wallet, plus the 1973 technical specifications booklet. A copy of the French registration paper – Carte Grise – states that the car interior was originally black leatherette with standard seats, but as mentioned earlier those have recently been replaced by the black leather sport seats.

    Before the current owner it had two previous keepers, and documents showing each transfer of ownership are also in the history file. However, the paucity of documents prior to 2009 means that you take a lot on trust with this car. It’s gratifying to note that Daniel Dechaumel at Special Auto and Franco Lembro’s Automobilia are reputable specialists, but the three beacons that shine brightest out of four dark-age decades are Peter Morgan, with his par excellence knowledge of the model, Autofarm – peerless practitioners on classic Porsches – and Paul Stephens, supremely knowledgeable and entrusted with its pitch by an owner on the other side of the country. With these leading lights in the picture its provenance is firmly anchored.

    The new owner retained all the reportage made prior to purchase: ‘Panel gaps are all good for the year,’ remarks Peter Morgan in his report, before continuing ‘the rear bumper assembly is accurate, no stone chips, there’s no wear in torsion bar supports, and it bears the correct logo on the engine-lid grille.

    'The front suspension has all been rebuilt, the oil cooler pipework is good, heat exchangers have been painted silver and it’s got a new Dansk silencer. New Koni dampers front and rear, trims on wheel housings, tinted electric windows, rear anti-roll bar hardware is all well finished, the oil tank appears new, oil return tubes are new with no leaks.’ And so it goes on. Amongst the documentation is a #Porsche Certificate of Authenticity.

    Being a French car it’s a left-hooker, which happens to be my preference in any case. The newness of the Recaro seat means I’m sitting ‘on’ it rather than sunk ‘in’ it. A bit of throttle as I turn the key and it fires up. There’s no engine note to match the aural delight of a smaller-capacity flat-six, and the 190bhp 2.4 unit complies.

    I ease out into the byways and press the throttle pedal. Acceleration is brisk, the flat-six snarls, and we’re away. It has a smooth, accurate gear shift, and it gives every expression of its 1973 origins as it darts a little bit, finding its way over the minor undulations. In a slightly paradoxical way, classic 911s benefit frombeing given their head, yet ruled with a firmhand. Instantly it feels lively, energetic, sprightly, and yet it’s elegantly poised as I control it on the throttle and ever-solight, fingertips-on-the-rim, steering. Flicking the slim fourspoke wheel this way and that as the brown girl and I twist through the Suffolk slalom. The handling is as nice as I’ve experienced in an early ’70s 911, and it has the zesty pizzazz of the ‘S’ motor, too. It really feels on the button as the engine revs sweetly to 4000–5000rpm.


    Guiding it through the bends, seeking apexes and exits to aim for, it turns in without a second thought, and it’s balanced, and corners assuredly. I can influence oversteer and understeer on the throttle, which is pleasingly sensitive. No problem with the braking, and the ride is agreeably firm because it’s an ‘S’ riding on tall-walled tyres, which have a big influence on compliance and ride quality.

    So why is the car on the market, barely a year after coming to the UK? Blame another 911S, a low-mile, full provenance car that that the owner has found in Texas. Once the owner of the yellow ex-Earls Court Show 911S, he was seduced by the interloper’s light ivory and tan leather colour scheme and the fanatical Texan owners’ log.

    ‘I wouldn’t settle for anything less than an “S”,’ he tells me. ‘The day the Sepia Brown car came on the market I was over to Reims and bought it there and then. Peter Morgan’s examination revealed a few errors in the restoration, so it went straight to Autofarm for a deeper investigation to get the mechanical aspects ironed out.

    'I wanted everything correct, so we changed a few things like the sun visors and the rear numberplate lights to the right ones. Paul Stephens is asking £200,000 for it, so we’ll see what happens. There aren’t many about and certainly not as good as this one.’

    In the light of that, inevitably we have to consider the values of classic 911s, and that rather quashes the wild, carefree driving experience that these cars were all about, 40 or 50 years ago, framed by cult movies like ‘Two-Lane Blacktop’, ‘Vanishing Point’ and Steve McQueen’s ‘Le Mans’. The 2.4S doesn’t bask in the same glow as its rarer 2.7 Carrera RS sibling, so obviously it isn’t as valuable, and its worth has been inflated by the escalation of RS prices. However, the whole classic Porsche phenomenon has really to be viewed as iconic, the embodiment of exciting historic sports cars, and indeed the 2.4 ‘S’ is still an uncommon car (3160 coupés and just 1894 Targas) from the firm’s halcyon days when the only way was up.

    Here is a car that defines that era precisely. This Brown Girl is in the ring – the sale ring, that is, so if only the best is good enough, this sepia spinster could fit the bill.

    CONTACTS:
    Paul Stephens Sudbury Road Little Maplestead, Halstead Essex CO9 2SE Email: [email protected] com www.paul-stephens.com Tel: 01440 714884

    Vented ‘S’ brakes are adequate without being over the top. Type 915 transmission was an improvement over the old dog-leg 901. 7200rpm redline on tach hints at engine’s character.

    Black grille, black badging: everything about the 1973 is understated – except the sound and the performance. This is a car with which somebody is going to have a lot of fun…

    “The newness of the Recaro seat means I’m sitting ‘on’ it, rather than sunk ‘in’ it…”

    The 2.4-litre 190bhp engine means the ‘S’ is almost as much fun to drive as the iconic Carrera RS. CofA confirms original spec Partially blacked-out trim. was a foretaste of what lay ahead in the later 1970s, but polished brightwork on each flank gives the 1973 ‘S’ some old-school sparkle.

    Our man Tipler gets the bit between his teeth as he hustles the 911S through the Essex countryside. 190bhp gives the coupé exciting performance.

    “Sepia Brown is one of the more conservative choices on the Zuffenhausen colour chart in the early ’70s”
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