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Reviving Hans Mezger’s Personal 911S

Per Michael Eiden, the current owner of this red 911S; “The previous owner was really desperate. He had the body of the car restored and also replaced the side panels with the corresponding spare parts. But when assembling it, nothing fitted together again – it was like it was jinxed.” But the reason the bodywork wouldn’t fit back together wasn’t immediately apparent. It seemed that there was no logical reason that this ’68 911 shouldn’t be like all the others- at least until its ownership history was thoroughly investigated.

This particular 1968 911S was owned first by Porsche itself, and then from 1969-1973 by Porsche engine master Hans Mezger. Mezger, perhaps best known for his work with turbocharged engines, had been associated with the company for decades by the time he did his best known work. In the 1950s Mezger worked on the Porsche Formula 1 program. In the 1980s he designed the TAG-Porsche V6 used in Formula 1. In the 1990s he brought us the turbocharged 911 GT1 flat-six- an engine which would power top-tier Porsche models for more than 15 years after its inception. Even in retirement, Mezger is still tied to Porsche, and contributed expertise to Singer.

What is little-known, however, is that Mezger helped design the original 911 engine. “There was still a lot to do when I joined the team in 1963”, recalls Mezger. The most important action was to redesign the valve drive. The previously centrally positioned camshafts migrated into the cylinder heads of the 2.0-liter six-cylinder boxer, which – as with the Formula 1 V8 – was also given an eight-bearing crankshaft and thus better tolerated higher engine speeds. »

Mezger’s design not only aided power, it also made the cars more efficient. “Two things happened whenever we made the angle of the valves smaller: the power output increased and the fuel consumption dropped”, explains the technical genius.  The engineers worked at their drawing boards for a long time before committing themselves: 27 degrees to the vertical for the inlet valve and 33 degrees for the exhaust valve – a perfect decision that was retained until the end of the air-cooled boxer. »

Secrets of Porsche’s Ownership

But simply being owned by a master engineer doesn’t necessarily make the car hard to restore. This 1968 911S wasn’t just any 911S, it was a pre-production car which carried many of the features of the updated 1969 cars. The air-cooled flat-six was equipped with mechanical fuel injection, and the car received ventilated brakes. Most importantly, this 1968 received the 57mm-longer 2,268mm wheelbase used from 1969 on. This additional 2.24″ meant that the 1968 replacement panels no longer fit. The final piece to the puzzle apparently came from Mezger himself, who indicated that the car had been used as a company car of Ferdinand Piëch, then head of development at Porsche. .

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Watch This Classic 911S Inspire Your Next Great Road Trip

There’s nothing quite like going for an early morning drive across the Southern California desert in a vintage aircooled 911. The folks at CPR Classics have the right idea here, as they bomb across the wide open expanses in a 1971 911S. If you’ve never had the glorious experience of desert driving like this, well, what are you doing with your life? Hop in your Porsche and head for the American Southwest, as it’s just spectacular. With a variety of occasionally snowcapped mountaintops dotting the otherwise dry and hot landscape, there are spectacular views in all directions.

It’s spring all across this great nation, and there are tons of amazing vistas to be spotted. If you haven’t been on a cross country road trip in a while, invent a reason to do so. Find a spot on the map about 2000 miles away and head for it. Drive as far as you can in a day, stay in nice hotels, stopping for local cuisine and finding the best back country driving roads, of course. Make a week, a month, a year of it if you must. It’s well worth the time and money spent to travel. Take someone you love. Treat yourself.

Heck, 99% of work can be done from anywhere with internet and a telephone these days, so you could probably even take your work with you to extend the trip another month or so. This video was meant to get people dreaming on a work day, and it absolutely worked for me. Lets all go on a nice Porsche road trip. What do you say?

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Cars to buy in 2019

The winter road salt is beginning to recede, and the days are getting longer and warmer. Summer is on its way, and with it, the promise of another season of driving excellence at the wheel of your favourite Porsche 911. But which 911? If you’re thinking of a change to your stable or have your eye on something new for 2019, then look no further than Total 911’s annual and ever-popular ‘cars to buy’ guide to help steer you in the right direction.

There remain bargains to be had when comparing 911s with other models in the same price point, while many other models still represent guaranteed investment-grade quality, providing you’re prepared to play the long game. There’s also a host of 911s ready and willing to provide you with oodles of fun – more fun than any amount of cash in the bank can offer. So wether you’re looking for road or track-based frolics, a great value 911 or a decent investment proposition, we’ve got the answers readily compiled for you over the next 12 pages.

And don’t just take our word for it. Once again we’ve sought the opinions of experts from around the industry, those who work within the Porsche marketplace on a daily basis, and whom in the ensuing years have seen values of cars peak and dive, and trends come and go, building a healthy resistance against market naivety as a result – and their knowledge and insight is hereby being passed exclusively to you. We’ve asked more specialists than ever, our panel this year offering wisdom from a combined 101-years of experience selling fine Porsche. As a result, no other resource will offer such a compelling insight as to what 911 models you should be focussing on for 2019.

This year, to reflect the breadth of 911s on offer, we’ve split the experts’ choices into three categories: best value, long term investment, and outright fun, all of which provide compelling options for a variety of budgets. It makes for a tantalising read: have your wallets at the ready as we present the 911s to buy for 2019…

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How to buy a project Porsche 911

How brave do you feel? Buying a project 911 isn’t for the faint-hearted; we’ve all heard tales of running repairs that snowballed into fully-fledged rebuilds. But for those with sufficient time, patience and money, restoring a car can be an edifying and enjoyable experience.
Here we round up what you need to know and look out for, with help from Autofarm founder Josh Sadler and his 911 2.7 Sportomatic.

Money is, of course, the elephant in the room. Parts availability for classic (1964-1989) 911s is at its best since the late 1990s – one positive side effect of rising values – but many components are expensive, and some still need to be custom made. Also, since most of us don’t possess the skills to restore a car ourselves, the task usually involves paying a specialist. With labour rates typically around £60 to £100 per hour, costs soon escalate.

It’s therefore best to approach most projects as a labour of love: a chance to save an ailing 911 from the scrapyard, rather than a business opportunity. Unless the car you plan to restore is a special model, such as an RS, you may find it hard to make a profit – even in the current, still-buoyant Porsche market. Work out how much you’re willing to invest before you start, not forgetting the cost of the car itself.

Josh’s 1976 2.7 Sportomatic is a perfect example of a project-in-waiting. On the plus side, it’s a very original, three-owner UK car with a verifiable MOT history and no obvious structural rust. Less positively, it’s covered 183,000 miles and hasn’t run since 1999 due to an undiagnosed engine problem. Josh wants £30,000 for the 911 and estimates it would cost a further £30,000 to fully restore. 

 

ENGINE

The engine is nominally the most complicated part of a classic 911, yet frequently the easiest to fix. “They’re a great big Meccano kit,” says Josh. “There are very few electronics to worry about compared to a modern car, and engines are potentially good for 200,000 miles if looked after properly. That said, I’d usually factor the cost of a rebuild into any project.”

The air-cooled flat six doesn’t suffer a pivotal, defining fault like the IMS issue that plagues early 996s. However, it evolved hugely over the years, so later cars are markedly more reliable. Josh singles out the final evolution of the original 911, the 1984 to 1989 model year Carrera 3.2, as having “a very solid and sorted engine”. 

One persistent problem that was fixed for the 3.2 concerns the timing chain. As 911 engines got bigger, torquier and lower-revving, more strain was put on the chain tensioners, partly with emissions in mind. These were pressurised in the 3.2, and many older cars have these upgraded tensioners retro-fitted – including Josh’s 1976. “Ironically, if you rev an early 911 hard, you get dynamic tension in the chain,” explains Josh. “So if you want your Porsche to be reliable… drive it like hell.” Advice we’ll happily adhere to.

Some oil seepage from the engine is almost inevitable, but oily cylinders are bad news. Look carefully at the crankcase: the O-ring seal around the crankshaft nose bearing expires, meaning the entire case needs to be removed and opened up. Cylinder head studs are problematic on earlier 911s with magnesium crankcases and also the 1978 to 1983 SC, as they can pull out or rust. Porsche partially solved this issue with coated studs for the Carrera 3.2, but the best replacements are 993 studs or ARPs.

For the full guide on how to buy a project 911, with specialist advice for engine, chassis, interior and body, plus our ten golden rules to consider before purchasing the project, get your copy of Total 911 issue 165 in shops now or available for direct delivery here

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Classic icons: Porsche 911T v 911E v 911S

In issue 159 of Total 911 we compared the 991.2 Carrera, GTS and Turbo S, declaring them the “modern-day interpretations of the 911 T, E and S”. Now, we’re rewinding the clock 45 years to the classic originals. Meet the mainstream F-series range as it was in 1973, the final year of the ‘long bonnet’ before the impact-bumpered G-series arrived, a move which changed the 911’s look forever.

Why ‘mainstream’? Well, as Porsche enthusiasts, we all have ‘1973’ branded on our collective consciousness as the year of the first road-going Rennsport. The Carrera 2.7 RS is a fully paid-up icon and arguably the greatest 911 ever made, yet, then as now, it was exclusive and expensive. So, just as we excluded GT models from our 991.2 triple test, the RS fails to fit the brief here.

The three-tier 911 hierarchy was established in 1968, when the entry-level T (Touring) and mid-range L (Luxury) joined the flagship S (Super) – the latter introduced in 1967. At this stage, all had 2.0-litre engines and a 2,210mm wheelbase. The carburettor-fed L gave way to the fuel-injected E (Einspritzung) in 1969, when wheelbase was lengthened to 2,271mm. A year later, the flat six grew to 2.2-litres, then 2.4-litres in 1972. The 2.4 F-series models were thus in production for just two years, compared with 15 for the G-series.

The three cars gathered today – kindly sourced by Paul Stephens in Essex – all hail from 1973, and look near identical at first glance. Get closer, though, and it’s apparent there are detail differences, most obviously the colour of the engine shroud: black on the 130hp T, green on the 165hp E and red on the 190hp S. However, as those power outputs suggest, by far the biggest difference is felt on the road.

I start in the middle with the 911E: a model Paul describes as “undervalued”. This particular example is resplendent in Light ivory (colour code: 131) on polished 6×15-inch Fuchs. It’s the only UK car here, which explains the round door mirrors – both the T and S are US imports and sport rectangular mirrors – while the absence of optional bumper over-riders or chrome wheel arch trims results in a cleaner look.

The E being a right-hooker helps me acclimatise more quickly, yet there’s still much that feels alien about a 911 of this era. The hand throttle, a hinged choke lever nestled between the seats, is one notable quirk, as are floor-hinged pedals that force you to skew your legs towards the centre of the car. Unassisted steering and a five-speed 915 gearbox that’s obstructive when cold are further features that would confound drivers of modern machines – not least anyone accustomed to water-cooled 911s.

To read the full article on our Porsche 911T vs E vs S mega test, pick up a copy of Total 911 issue 161, in shops now and available to buy here or download.

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