Suitably attyred / #1983-Porsche-944
Owned by Glen Waddington
Two kids, two mortgages, two oldish potential money-pits in the garage… And it’s been an extremely busy year. So much so that the 944’s road tax became rather suddenly due, at which point I realised it needed an MoT, too. And it failed.
Nothing major, thankfully, but, even without any other work, the need for four new tyres meant I’d have to save up for a while. Before you knew it, late summer had turned into deep winter.
I booked the Porsche in with Templeton’s Garage (www. templetonsgarage.co.uk), my local performance car specialist, owned and run by my mate Stuart Templeton. He’s serviced and worked on my BMW a couple of times, and it’s come back feeling so much better as a result. And he knows 944s as well as he knows E30s…
First I wanted to sort my tyres. Handily, Vintage Tyres of Beaulieu (www.vintagetyres. com) is run by another mate of mine, Ben Field – we used to work together years ago on another magazine. I’d bumped into him at Goodwood Revival, and our tyre conversation grew from there: which make to go for? And which size?
The latter was something of a mystery. It’s well-known that some Porsches of that era ran bigger tyres at the back, and the Michelin handbook states that standard-fit OEM front tyres for an ’1983 944 should be 185/70s. Only mine was on 215/60s all-round. Hmm.
The Porsche-approved fitment is a Pirelli but, well, I told you about my financial commitments earlier. So Ben did some digging and suggested Continental Premium Contacts in the 215/60 size. But then he discovered that Dunlop makes a matching set (185/70s plus 215/60s, V-rated for 15in wheels) in its new Sport Classic range. And they’re much better suited to my budget than the Pirellis or the Avon ZZs that are also available in that combo.
But then I did some digging. I discovered my original dealer brochure, which states that 185s are standard and 215s optional – though, unlike with the 911s of that era, they’re not mixed. I have a Porsche certificate of authenticity too, which lists the options my car was fitted with at the factory. Bingo! It should be on the 215s after all.
So, 911 owners, you now have an option other than Pirelli for your odd-sized tyres. And, while I’ll report more on their ultimate grip next time, I have a set of Dunlops that look suitably period, are quiet, ride well, and have proved suitably safe in recent cold, damp weather.
As for the rest of the works, Stuart discovered that the 944 was running lean and turned up the wick a little. That, and fresh sparkplugs, seem to have liberated more power! It revs much more keenly, and sounds sharper and deeper as it digs in from around 2500rpm.
All four brake calipers have been rebuilt, and now bite harder. Best of all, my 944’s strange tendency to tramline and to weight-up in corners is now banished. Perhaps the tyres (29psi front, 36psi rear) are due some credit. But I reckon that refitting the front anti-roll bar the right way round certainly has something to do with it…