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  •   Chris Randall reacted to this post about 10 months ago
    Hexagon’s Speedster and Carrera coupé are barely run in. Far right: Stephens’ lovely 1984 targa is £38k

    ‘Condition matters more than spec, and the market for good, well-maintained examples is still strong’

    QUALITY IS KEY TO BIG-BUMPER 911 / #Porsche-911-3.2-Speedster / #Porsche-911-3.2-Speedster-G / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche-911-Speedster / #Porsche / #1989 / #Porsche-911-G-Modell /

    As we reported in July’s 911 feature, values of the Porsche 993 have well and truly taken off, but if you grew up in the ’80s, chances are that your notion of a ‘proper’ 911 will be the 1974-’1989 impact-bumper model.

    A trawl of the internet will turn up plenty of well-used examples starting at around £30k, and even a few for just over the £20k mark, but at those prices we advise caution. “Values took off from 2013-’14,” says specialist Paul Stephens (www. paul-stephens.com), “but scruffy to average cars are due a correction. Condition matters more than spec, and the market for good, wellmaintained examples is strong.

    Those are now £40-60k, with the best 3.2s making £100k, and rarer versions fetching even more.” These Porsches are durable, as evidenced by the superb 88,000- mile 1984 targa that Stephens is currently offering, but be diligent. “Spend £250 on an expert inspection,” he recommends. “Although galvanised, they can still hide rust – particularly targas. Also, in spite of a reputation for being bulletproof, some will need engine work.

    It’s down to the type of use, with late-’80s examples, in particular, being prone to top-end trouble.” Of course, if you want the 911 experience without the spectre of corrosion, accident damage and mechanical maladies, there is still the option of buying new, but London-based Hexagon Classics ( https://hexagonclassics.com) has a tempting alternative. Its left-handdrive 4428-mile ’1985 Carrera must be one of the lowest-mileage 3.2 coupés remaining. At £84,995, the price is on a par with an entry-spec, six-month-old example, which in a sense is what it is – but without the electronic driver aids. If that’s too commonplace, the firm also has a 1989 3.2 Speedster. One of only 65 UK-market cars, it’s covered just 1180 miles and is yours for £220k.
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  •   Malcolm Thorne reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Tried & tested with consultant editor, Chris Horton - #Porsche-911-Carrera-3.2-Cabriolet #1988 / ‘F’ 70,718 MILES / £26,995 #Porsche-911-G-Modell

    It had become something of a long-standing joke between me and RPM Technik’s Darren Anderson – entirely good-natured, of course – that none of the company’s cars featured in these Tried & Tested stories over the years had ever managed the full quota of four rows of five ticks in the Value at a glance panel at the bottom of the page. Happily, though, I can now redress the balance by giving this genuinely lovely #Porsche-911 Carrera 3.2 Cabriolet precisely that top rating. It is just about flawless in every significant respect.

    Registered on 1st August 1988 – hence the ‘F’-prefix registration – it has had seven owners in its 26 years. RPM has known the car since 2006, last May selling it to professional valeter and detailer Rob Goulding, now based in the building right next door. Rob spent the next few months, plus several thousand pounds’ worth of brandnew parts and his own and others’ labour, turning what was plainly already a very good car back into a truly exceptional one. But he always had his heart set on a 997 of some description – partly to help promote his then new business – and late last year did a deal with Darren on a white Gen 2model, part-exchanging the 3.2 back to RPM. I shall return to the car’s stunning condition in just a moment, but first let’s look at what you will get for your money in terms of specification and equipment. Guards Red paintwork, obviously, and inside the cabin a beguiling mix of cream leather with red piping, and black carpets.

    Those are protected by after-market black overmats, again with red piping. Gearbox is the later #G50 five-speed manual unit – so much better than the now generally terrible 915 found in earlier 3.2s and previous 911s.Wheels are colour-coded Fuchs five-spokes (with locking securing nuts), and all four tyres recently fitted Pirelli Cinturato P7s. Back inside again, there is a modern and as a result perhaps slightly incongruous Sony head unit, and also a Viper alarm/immobiliser, which I am pleased to report is – unlike many similar systems – almost seamless in operation. There is no air-conditioning – it was a rarity back in those days – and I can’t tell you whether the quirky semi-automatic heating and ventilation system works precisely as it’s supposed to, but it certainly cranks out plenty of hot air from all the right places. (Although you might want to take a look at the blower control; one of the fans seems to be running permanently at low speed.)


    The car’s condition, as I have suggested, is genuinely breathtaking. There has plainly been some new paint over the years, not least to eradicate unavoidable front-end stone-chips, but it was clearly to a very high standard, and many hours of expert machine-polishing by Rob Goulding (with not a trace of ‘product’ residue to be seen) has left the entire car with a deep, glossy lustre that’s hard to resist touching simply for the sake of it. There remain a couple of tiny chips – primarily on the leading edge of the right-hand wing, and on the trailing edge of the left-hand door – and the lower front apron is plainly original and thus in need of a refurb, but the overall impression is of a brand-new car, and most definitely not a 26-year-old.

    No less impressive – unsurprisingly for a professional detailer – is, well, the detail. Bumper bellows, front ‘smile’ (the strip beneath the leading edge of the bonnet), the so-called shark’s fins behind the doors, sill and bumper strips, and not least the trailing edge of the classic whale tail rear wing: all straight, black and perfect. Likewise the recently refurbished wheels – the red enamel is like glass – and the manually operated convertible hood, both inside and out. The fabric looks new, and the plastic rear window is unmarked. I didn’t lower the hood, but I have no doubt that it works impeccably. The front seats, too, were professionally cleaned and refurbished during Rob’s tenure of the car (Furniture Clinic; 01582 380750) and unlike some similar items we have seen look absolutely superb; like new. Thanks to what must be fairly new struts both front and rear lids remain fully open unaided, and everything inside both of those compartments is exactly as it should be: spotlessly clean, and simply as new. Remarkable.


    The car drives – of course! – as well as it looks. No rattles or squeaks (and not too much wind noise), a nice, pliant ride, light steering that loads up reassuringly as you turn in to a corner, and predictably great brakes (all four discs are unmarked). A broad spread of pulling power from that classic and famously torquey engine, and not least the precise, easy gear change that the 911 had deserved right from the start. If I was being picky I might suggest that the clutch is rather heavy, and bites quite near the upper end of its travel, but it’s smooth and progressive. The door windows, too, are a little slow in operation. But neither would put me off the car, and certainly wouldn’t warrant deleting one of those crucial ticks!

    CHECKLIST

    Background: A classic #Porsche 911 Cabrio that has had the benefit of being owned and at the same time modestly refurbed, inside and out, by one of the UK’s up and- coming detailers, leaving it essentially perfect – and an ideal basis for a concours contender. Good service history – comprehensive, but not overwhelmingly so, and nicely presented. Road tax to the end of May, MoT to early June, and obviously comes with RPM’s usual generous warranty
    Where is it?

    RPMTechnik is at Units 6 & 7, Old Airfield Industrial Estate, Cheddington Lane, LongMarston, Hertfordshire HP23 4QR; tel: 01296 663824; www.rpmtechnik.co.uk

    For: Condition. It’s that simple! Colour, mileage, history and provenance, too, of course – and even as a Cabrio-sceptic I’d be quite happy to live with that rather pram-like hood for the sake of everything else this amazing vehicle offers.
    Against: Not much at all. One or two very minor gripes – clutch and windows; see main text – but neither should be a deal breaker. And it’s probably not a car you would – or even should – use every day.

    Verdict: These earlier 911 Cabrios can be an acquired taste, but I think there will be a long queue of eager buyers for this one, so best get your skates on. If you’d like Rob Goulding of ExtremeDetailing.

    To work his magic on your Porsche, by the way, call 01296 660000, or e-mail him at [email protected]

    Value at a glance
    Condition 5
    Price 5
    Performance 5
    Overall 5

    Poor 1 / OK 2 / Fair 3 / Very good 4 / Excellent 5
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  •   Malcolm Thorne reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    TUTHILL ON SAFARI #Porsche-911-930

    The name ‘Tuthill’ has become synonymous with competition #Porsche-911 s, and with one event in particular. #Richard-Tuthill explains his ongoing love affair with East Africa and the Safari Rally… Story: Martyn Morgan-Jones Photography: Andy Morgan

    Often referred to as the ‘Cradle of Humankind’, East Africa, home to the legendary Safari Rally, is a truly special place, blessed with an oft-mesmerising landscape; punctuated with regions that have either been slowly massaged into gentle, benign forms, or violently reconfigured due to the actions of conflicting, visceral, forces. Factor in the rich and vibrant palette, the diverse culture, the abundant and varied wildlife, and it’s easy to appreciate why this magical although, sadly, troubled part of the world enthrals visitors.

    Richard Tuthill, director of globally-renowned Porsche specialist Tuthill Porsche, is one of many to have fallen under its spell. What’s more, it’s something of a family trait: “Dad has always adored this part of the world,” explains Richard smiling. “And endurance rallying. He competed in the 1980 Marlboro Safari Rally in a Saab 95 V4 and took the whole family with him. I was only seven years old at the time, but I have this amazing and enduring memory of my first time in East Africa, Kenya in particular. The colours, the sights, sounds and smells. Like dad, I’ve been in love with the country ever since.”

    In love… and, in more recent times, deeply involved too, although the Tuthill’s motorsport’s lineage can be traced back to humbler, more modest roots. “Dad was originally a farmer,” mentions Richard smiling. “But he also owned a garage. Just a general garage, with sales, servicing and repairs. However, because he competed in motorsport, and prepared his cars well, the garage, and the excellent services it provided, became well known. His participation in the 1980 Safari helped raise its profile, although this wasn’t dad’s first endurance rally. Prior to this he’d competed in the 1977 London-Sydney Marathon Rally driving a Beetle. In fact, he’d campaigned Beetles for many years.”

    Partnered by Tony Showell, Francis Tuthill battled through to complete the London-Sydney, a gruelling 30,000km event, in 36th place. Having discharged its duties well, the Beetle, which is still in the family’s possession, made way for other Beetles and other cars, including the aforementioned Saab and a 911 Carrera 3.0; a car that happened to catch the eye of a certain David Richards. At the time, Richards, who’d recently co-driven Ari Vatanen to the 1981 World Rally Championship title, was making the transition from active participation in motorsport, to establishing his motorsport consultancy. Crucially, he was in the throes of bringing Rothmans and Porsche together, a move that would not only lead to the creation of Prodrive in 1984; it would also mark the Tuthill’s first association with the 911 in rallying.

    “David, who knew dad through rallying, asked to buy the Carrera 3.0,” tells Richard. “He said he was pitching an idea to Rothmans and was planning to mock up a 911 rally car in Rothman’s colours. Dad agreed to sell David the Carrera, but with the proviso that Tuthills would do the bodywork and paint. The car looked great, the pitch was successful, and Rothmans and Porsche got together. The rest is history. Our part in the success of this venture wasn’t overlooked either. We were subsequently given the preparation work for the Coleman and Toivonen 911s, and went on to repair the accident damage and do the paintwork on all of #Prodrive ’s 6R4s, BMW M3s and Subarus (Legacy and Impreza), up until the company started to focus on the WRC. Dad was still competing too.”

    Still competing on a global stage. In 1993, former London-Sydney competitor Nick Brittan set up a company to concentrate on endurance rallies, beginning with the 25th anniversary re-run of the original 1968 Marathon. One of the first people to sign up for it was Francis Tuthill.

    “Dad rang his old mate and navigator Tony Showell and they hatched a plan to build a 911 for the event, and one for a client,” remarks Richard. “As it transpired, dad and Tony won. That win marks the big break in terms of our involvement with historic Porsche rallying, as it resulted in a number of people contacting Tuthills to build 911 rally cars. Mind you, we’d had some previous experience of this, as we’d been involved with a small number of 911 owners, including Beatty Crawford whose rally Porsche 911 we’d rebuilt.”

    Crawford, a renowned co-driver, enjoyed great success, partly because of his undoubted skill, and partly because he employed the services of top drivers such as Walter Rohl, Stig Blomquist and Bjorn Waldegård. It was actually thanks to Crawford that Waldegård would forge a special association with the Tuthill family, and Richard in particular. “I met Björn in 1991, I was just 17.

    Having passed my driving test one week earlier, dad booked a ferry, put me in Crawford’s rally 911, and told me to drive it to Jyvaskyla: the start of the historic 1000 Lakes Rally, where I was to meet Bjorn. I met Bjorn, he jumped in and we meandered along the high street where he proceeded to check the seating position and test the steering and brakes. Even this low-speed and short-lived run was an enormous privilege. The following year I looked after the 911 he drove in Killarney – he won! And, I was undeniably the luckiest guy in the world to co-drive for him in Ypres during 1996. Bjorn, who sadly died last year, and is hugely missed, drove for us on many occasions and won the 2011 Safari Historic in one of our 911s of course. This was the first-ever Porsche win on the Safari, some 40 years after he’d first attempted the feat.”

    In the early ‘90s, the period when Richard and the Tuthills began forging a relationship with Bjorn and classic rallying, the sport was in its embryonic stage. “Back then, and for quite some time afterwards, the regulations and the clientele were rather different,” recalls Richard. “So too was our business strategy. If you were lucky, and if he liked you, dad would agree to build you a car. Then, usually around six months later, the car would be collected. Yes, we did a bit of onevent servicing and some driver/team support, but it was a casual arrangement. It’s important to remember that the rally scene was different back then. People tended to do their own things” This somewhat ‘laissez faire’ approach is markedly different to how the company operates now and how it has been operating since just before the Millennium. “From around the late ‘90s the sport began changing, becoming more competitive and strictly regulated,” Richard elaborates. “Along with the changes, we were finding that there was a new breed of driver on the scene. These drivers simply didn’t want to be involved in the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the car, and many wouldn’t know how use a spanner if the opportunity presented itself! Which is why we have championed the ‘arrive and drive’ format.

    We offer bespoke packages, tailored to each individual’s particular needs/aims, and we ringfence the price. Essentially, we prepare and supply the car, run it on the event and handle every detail, right down to the minutiae.” It’s this attention to detail, the sublime quality of the car and its preparation, the calibre of the staff it employs, along with Tuthill Porsche’s desire and drive to achieve the very best results that truly sets this company apart. And, although he’s extremely modest about what he has achieved, and what he has done for the sport, it’s Richard who deserves much of the credit.


    “Although I’d done some work for dad in previous years, it wasn’t until 2003 when I became intimately involved with the business and the Safari Rally,” reminisces Richard. “Mike Kirkland decided to reintroduce the Safari Rally in 2003, as ‘The East African Safari Classic’, a biannual event for classic cars. I’d been driving in the North American Rally Championship but didn’t have a drive for 2003. As it happened, dad had been approached by Stuart Rolt, a super chap and a very good driver, and chairman of the #BRDC for many years with a view to building him a 911 for the Safari, but only if I’d train him and also navigate him on the event. Which I did. We finished third. Frédéric Dor, in another of our 911s, finished second. The rally was fantastic, and a life-changing experience.”

    Not only life-changing, the Safari would soon become a huge part of the company’s rallying portfolio. “We have become inextricably linked with the Safari. It’s such a major part of our working life,” enthuses Richard. “It’s a real buzz and a proper adventure. Despite what some people may think, the Classic Safari is a proper mission, sharply-focused, and extremely gruelling. Stig Blomquist, who finished second in 2011 and 2013 in a Tuthill 911, told me that it’s just as demanding as the original WRC Safari was but with the opportunity for a little more sleep! Every second counts and the incredibly demanding nature of the event really brings us together as a team. Nothing else matters. We work incredibly hard, but we have fun too. It’s mega. Plus, we must be doing something right, as every two years we manage to convince up to 70 professionals, drawn from around the globe, to come and work for us.”

    It’s this symbiotic relationship with the Safari which, in many ways, has helped define the company. As has the relationship it has forged with the marvellous, hugely-capable and charismatic Porsche 911. Over the years, Francis Tuthill Ltd., and, more recently, Tuthill Porsche have become bywords for excellence in terms of classic 911 competition preparation and general service.

    “The 911, particularly the classic 911, is at the very core of our business,” Richard articulates. “Obviously, we are biased, but there really is no better car from that period, certainly for classic rallying, especially endurance events. It has a strong monocoque bodyshell, superb traction, good brakes, terrific reliability, and great speed. In FIA terms/years, we are dealing with cars from 1965 through to 1985. In Safari terms we focus on 1973 to 1977. As for the optimum base car; that’s either the 3.0RS or RSR, or the 2.8RSR. Deliberately, we build a very generic car. For example, we built a 911 that won the Tour Britannia and then went on to compete in Kenya. Our Safari cars are simply FIA cars with some additions. When they come back from the Safari they can be returned to FIA-spec within a matter of days.”

    The 911 has, of course, steadily, yet significantly, evolved over the years. As has the way Tuthill Porsche builds and prepares its 911s. Decades of Porsche experience, countless events, along with feedback from club competitors, world champions, and industry experts alike, ensures that Tuthill’s 911 rally cars are undeniably fit for purpose and devastatingly effective. They are also refreshingly simple… albeit in a supremely well-engineered way.
    Which translates into podium places and event wins, including that Safari win: a win that you won’t find listed on Porsche’s motorsports’ CV, however hard you look.

    “Porsche’s downfall on the Safari was due to its desire to demonstrate the 911’s ability/durability by running the cars with the minimum amount of maintenance and with a total reliance on factory, or factory-specified parts, such as the dampers,” explains Richard. “Ultimately, given the damper technology available at the time, the aluminium arm simply could not cope with the constant hammering such components take on the Safari, and failed.”

    The Tuthill Porsches don’t have this problem because they are equipped with strengthened steel rear arms. They also all use much larger diameter EXE-TC WRC five-way adjustable dampers, complete with remote reservoirs. “We have reforged the Porsche front uprights to accommodate these new dampers,” remarks Richard. “We use the company’s dampers on the rear too. Good damping is extremely important on a car with such a rear weight bias and given the incredibly rough conditions it has to contend with. I can honestly say that these dampers have brought about the single biggest improvement in the performance of our 911s. They are so capable and so reliable. One set will do the entire Safari Rally and much more.”

    Along with the suspension revisions and upgrades, bodyshell preparation is another Tuthill trademark. Including full seam-welding, the preparation takes the technicians around 300 hours, with particular attention being paid to the bodyshell’s Achilles’ heel: the sections where the steering rack passes through the bodyshell. “There are massive open cavities around these areas, which leads to structural weakening,” expands Richard. “However, this is no longer a problem as we have laser-cut strengthening plates that beef up these areas significantly. In fact, we use around 70 laser-cut panels, varying in size from very small to quite large, in the preparation of the bodyshell.”

    These panels, which are Tuthill-designed, and the result of 30 years of development, beginning with the Rothmans Porsches, are part and parcel of why the 911 can survive the rigours of the Safari Rally, and still come back for more… barring accidents of course. “Understandably, we are stuck in a specific time period with the 911, but we have always worked our utmost to protect the occupants,” states Richard. “The strengthened shell helps of course. Then there’s the roll-cage. Because of the regulations, the roll-cage is an evolution of the very first 911 designs, but it’s very strong and made to the highest quality.”

    Quality is one of Tuthill’s mantras, and the company works closely with specialist suppliers to ensure that the parts are designed properly, and are the very best available. Many are bespoke. That said, a good percentage of the components, because they have been proven to work well, and be reliable, are plucked straight from Porsche’s parts bins. “For example, because they have never given us any problems, and because they are very effective, we have always used standard brakes,” informs Richard. “But, for this year, on the top cars we might try modern brakes. They are more cost-effective and will probably result in less pad ‘knock-off’. It’s not about performance, it’s about safety.”

    The cooling system also makes extensive use of standard, factory-issue parts, save for a few minor modifications and refinements. “The inherentlyreliable air-cooled nature of the car is a massive benefit,” continues Richard. “The only water we have to worry about is topping up the windscreen washer fluid! For the oil cooling, we utilise two modern matrices. These are frontmounted in the space previously occupied by the batteries. All cars carry a link pipe in the event of one cooler becoming damaged. We use Millers 10/60 synthetic oil exclusively. Millers is a great company to work with. We’ve had rallying clients that have driven from London to Mexico without changing oil, because they couldn’t be bothered, and the engine’s been absolutely fine. After the event we sent the oil for analysis and it’s been found to be perfect.”

    With the very occasional exception, all Tuthill 911 rally cars run 3.0-litre engines, which feature a raft of standard components. “We use standard cranks, standard rods, standard rockers but competition pistons,” tells Richard. “Although the engines are not particularly sensitive to fuel, some of the fuel on the Safari is of an exceptionally poor quality. To cater for this, we have designed a very precise fuel filtering system.

    This system filters the fuel as it enters the tank, and again when it’s on its way into the engine. Dust is another engine killer, so the air filtration also goes through two stages, using K&N gauze filters that are sleeved with an outer foam filter. The foam filters are cleaned at the end of every day. Power outputs on the Safari engines vary between 280 and 290hp, torque is around 240lb ft at 5300rpm. Interestingly, we have won the Masters Race Series twice, using a 911 fitted with one of our rally engines! It’s torque that really matters, especially on the Safari, when the car is ploughing through mud or battling acres of dusty soil.”

    For the most part, the gearbox is also standard. “We use the 915 five-speed gearbox,” says Richard. “It’s very strong and has ideal ratios. We’ve refined and slightly strengthened it internally and it runs an internal cooler. The plate type LSD is manufactured to our own design. Top speed on the diff ratio we typically run is 125mph. For ease of servicing, and because the EXE-TC dampers are so good, we have switched to 6.5x15 inch rims and Dunlop 205/65/15 tyres all-round.”

    It’s this impeccably-engineered, supremelystructured, and carefully-finessed approach, along with the massive investment in quality materials and component parts, and plenty of dialogue with manufacturers that turns a Tuthill Porsche into a winner… a Safari winner. When we visited Tuthill Porsche, preparation and organisation for the 2015 Safari was only just getting underway, but it was obvious that this is a company that loves what it does, relishes a challenge, and is at the top of its game. The level of expertise, preparation and workmanship eclipses that of many current WRC teams. Nonetheless, Tuthill Porsche certainly isn’t resting on its laurels. Not at all; it’s hell bent on winning many more. And the team are going to do their damndest to win the Safari in 2015.

    “The Safari has become a way of life for us,” Richard declares. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience that we are fortunate to be able to have every two years. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the event, despite the colossal organisation required, and the exceptional hands-on nature. If you ever have to opportunity to take part, then you should grasp that opportunity with both hands and we can make it happen for you!”

    Thanks to: Tuthill Porsche www.tuthillporsche.com +44 (0) 1295 750514

    STIG BLOMQUIST TALKS ABOUT THE SAFARI RALLY AND THE TUTHILL 911:

    “The roads and tracks used on the Classic Safari are very similar to when it was a #WRC event, so the strength of the car has to be the same. I found the Tuthill 911 to be fantastic, very strong, and it didn’t have one problem. I had to drive it very, very hard for seven days, so it must be good! It has great power too, and excellent torque, but the best thing is the way the suspension works. I remember chatting to Bjorn, who’d been testing a 911 with Richard in Morocco. This was before I drove the Tuthill 911, and he told me that the suspension was incredible, you could drive flat-out, however rough the conditions. I have found this to be true. Tuthill has a wonderful team too, very professional, with great people and great planning. I’m looking forward to working with them on this year’s Safari, driving one of the Tuthill-prepared Race4Health 911s. Historic motorsport is getting more competitive each year, but I think a Tuthill #Porsche 911, especially for the Safari, is the car to have. The team have developed it so well.”

    “I don’t think I’ll ever tire of the event despite the colossal organisation required”

    “We have become inextricably linked with the Safari. It’s such a major part of our working life”
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  •   Malcolm Thorne reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Does it ever rain in South Africa? Vivid Guards Red paintwork sings in the sun, on an early morning run to Bloubergstrand – Table Mountain as the backdrop.

    CAR #Porsche-911SC / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche /
    Run by Graeme Hurst
    Owned since June #2015
    Total mileage 196,712km
    Kilometres since acquisition 1712
    Latest costs £45

    BOXER FULFILS A TEENAGE DREAM

    My mates call it an early mid-life crisis, but it was actually my teenage, wall-poster memories that fuelled our latest acquisition when a #1979 SC found its way onto the fleet last year. That, plus spiralling 911 prices in recent years as the Rand weakened and collectors hedged their bets with hard-currency priced cars. It was now or never.

    My passion for 911s was kindled more than 30 years ago, when my late father’s best mate Syd bought a Guards Red 3.2 out of the box in ’84. I remember being mystified by the unusual howl of the flat-six as it tore down our road unseen for the first time and my father Peter exclaiming, from the depths of his workshop: “Syd’s bought a Carrera!”

    Two years on and that sound (along with Dire Straits’ Love over Gold ) got etched into my cerebrum at dawn every Saturday morning as I rode in the passenger seat on the way to a part-time job at Syd’s factory. With the sunroof open, sun rising ahead and the speedo needle way over to the right (the first time I’d been in a car at 200kph-plus), it was an intoxicating experience.

    One that fuelled my passion. Fast forward to 2014 and I got to explore the performance myself when visiting Syd in Australia, where he and the 911 now reside, with a trip to drop off the car at his exhaust man, Fast Eddie. Now heavily tuned up as a track-day weapon, his 3.2 is a serious piece of kit that I did my best not to bend, although Syd brags that his 911 is just a one-owner car driven by a little old guy at weekends…

    My 911 experience was further intensified with a run in my brother Andrew’s early-’70s 2.2 T on the same visit. Once I was back home, I was browsing through Gumtree and Autotrader for a permanent ‘fix’.

    I know from various C&SC features that these cars are robust and can handle huge mileages. But the paperwork in many a Case history has shown that they can also bite if they’ve been neglected. And they rot. That kept me at bay until a mate texted a photo of one that he was selling. It was a tidy early, lefthooker SC that was previously in the same ownership for 20 years and had 195,000km on the clock.

    He was selling the SC only because an ultra-low-mileage 3.2 that he’d owned 20 years ago was back on the market. With the car being on the other side of the country, I took his word and asked for his bank details before getting it transported down.

    Happy? Definitely! The condition was as described. It had clearly been the recipient of a respray and partial retrim, but that’s expected for a 35-year-old car. Mechanically, it feels very strong, with no slop in the controls or ominous noises. It has plenty of poke, too, despite not having the kick of the 3.2 Carrera that got me hooked. The early SC – or Super Carrera, to use the full model name – boasted just 180bhp compared to the 3.2 model’s 231.

    The first job was to get a Certificate of Roadworthiness. This is a bind with an old car because South Africa doesn’t have an annual MoTstyle test. Instead, vehicles are only inspected after a change of ownership, meaning that maintenance issues can build up progressively and you could be hit with a big bill.

    Fortunately I wasn’t, but the SC failed on three counts: the foglights weren’t functioning, one headlamp was pointing to Mars and there were signs of oil on the gearbox casing, which the tester didn’t like.

    The foglamps were a later addition so I offered to remove them there and then, which the tester was fine with – as long as I also removed the switch. I didn’t fancy having a hole in the dash so I decided to get them working. Adjusting the errant lamp turned into a bigger job after the captive nut inside it (for the adjuster) snapped off. My attempt to epoxy a nut in place failed as soon as the adjuster was turned, so I removed the bowl and tried to find someone who could braze on a nut.

    While out searching, I dropped into Italsud Motors to get the flatsix steam cleaned. Seeing the car’s one-eyed front, proprietor Tony L’Abbate offered a quick fix with a nifty machine that reinstates the captive nut by inserting a threaded rivet into the hole. That’s providing the surrounding metal has enough meat in it to be drilled out. It did, and the light was back on in less than 15 minutes. An hour later I had the important COR, along with nicely parallel headlamp beams, ready for my own early morning blasts.
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