The first step is finding a candidate car. If you're lucky, you have one. Maybe it was your father's, maybe you found one online. There are plenty of cars out there, but you have to know what to look for. To many who aren't familiar with Porsches, a vintage model is a goldmine, regardless of condition. So asking prices tend to be high. And the market as of this writing (and for the past several years) has been high. Finding a decent candidate car, at a decent price, is difficult.
One of the Friends of Refresche contacted me about a project car that became available. The car was a ROW '79 911 SC coupe, with an '85 3.2 liter 930/20 engine. That's a mouthful. Let's briefly break it down for those who don't know. "ROW" means the car was not built for the U.S. market, but for the Rest of the World. ROW cars, also known as "euro-spec" cars, were different than U.S. cars. Among them were different headlights and tail lights, side markers located high on the front fenders, smaller bumperettes and no sunroof. There were other differences, but that's the basic idea. The lack of sunroof is significant because U.S. coupes without sunroofs are hard to find. Sunroofs don't age well and can leak. They also add weight. Now look at the engine. Notice that the engine is a 1985 3.2 liter, rather than a 1979 3.0 liter, which would have been the original engine. Since the engine is not original, I am free from my compulsion to restore the car to original conditions. Also note that the engine is a model 930/20. That was also a ROW model, which didn't have strict emission controls, so it made about 24 hp more power than the U.S. counterpart. It's a desirable engine.
Here's the car ready for towing to my shop, along with Keith, the current owner. The car was there for ten years. Keith had the forethought to prime it, so it was fairly well protected. Some weld work and panel replacement was done and there was some surface rust. The car was fairly complete, but partially disassembled. The engine was removed, but the transmission was still installed. The heating system was complete (the parts are hard to find). I knew there would be some surprises, but the car looked like a decent value. We discussed the price and I paid Keith on the spot. A few shots of the car as-purchased are below.
Here are the car and parts outside my shop, and tucked in for the night. I'm ready to start building a Safari tribute car.
Hi. I'm Eric Kelner. I restore, modify, collect and, most importantly, drive Porsches. One of my friends has a t-shirt that says: I'm pretty sure my last words will be "Oh sh#%, that didn't work!" These are writings about my experiences restoring, modifying, maintaining and enjoying Porsches. Feel free to comment.