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Resurrecting a 911T, Dust and All

Graham bought his 1969 Porsche 911T back in the mid-1990s, long before the air-cooled 911 boom. Graham found his purple 911T in the Netherlands, and after parting with a then-substantial number of guilders (which Porsche reports was equal to about €21k), he drove the car home. Upon his return the purple T became Graham’s daily driver. It made regular forays to UK shows, trips across the continent, and braved London traffic for the next four years.

After four years with the car though, Graham left for the UAE, and the car was left behind in a London parking facility. While Graham thought he would be spending just a few years in the UAE, his brief move quickly turned into a decade, and the 911 sat. It sat, accumulating dust, and amusingly the word « shill » was fingered into the dust on its flank.

When Graham returned, the dust-shrouded 911 was sent to Tower Porsche, who had cared for the car before he departed. Surprisingly, the long-idle car returned to life swiftly with a fresh battery and a few cranks on the air-cooled flat-six. With some further fettling, fresh Michelins, and tuning the car was returned to running order.

But Graham opted not to clean it. Still ensconced in its protective layer of London car park dust, the car was driven from London to the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed. There Porsche spotted Graham and his purple 911T, and concocted a plan: Bring John’s classic T and the marque’s modern-minimalist Carrera T together.

While the Flatsixes staff is somewhat split in our feelings on the new T, seeing the new and old cars together warms the cockles of even my curmudgeonly, blackened heart. The two cars are separated by five decades, seemingly dozens of ECUs, and about 1,000 pounds, but they are united in both layout and spirit.

Gallery

 
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Frisco: A Globetrotting 911T

Naming a car is funny business. Should you humanize your car by making it sound like an old friend? Should you make it sound like a pet? I’ve always given my cars vaguely absurd (and sometimes insulting) names, though that strategy is not for everyone. Andre Bezuidenhout is the first person I’ve heard of naming their car for a cheap cup of coffee. Frisco, a Sanka-like instant coffee from South Africa, lends its name to Andre’s 911T. This former-racecar, former-2.7RS-clone, now-touring car owes its name to Andre’s mother reminding him to stay humble.

Andre first encountered this 911 in the early 1990s, when he used the modest 911T for club racing. The Petrolicious film shows a young Andre on-track at Kyalami in the car. Then just a white track car, it is rather overshadowed by its on-track company. The 911 is shown sharing the course with everything from sports prototypes to Formula Fords. It’s a rather terrifying mix of machinery to be out on track at once, falling somewhere between an open session at Gridlife and a Historics event.

Following an off-track excursion that reportedly bent the car rather severely, Andre and the 911 parted ways. When he encountered the car again several years ago, now as a 2.7RS clone, Andre knew he had found his old car due to a distinctive click while opening the door.

More than twenty years after first purchasing the car, Andre found himself once again the owner of the T. Now repaired, refinished in a bespoke shade of green, and powered by a carbureted 2.7-liter flat-six, this 911 is not only ready to cross continents, it’s already en route.

As profiled by Petrolicious this retired racer’s retirement we should all envy. With its slightly-incongruous combination of roll-bar and roof-rack, this Ts passport stamps would probably make the most avowed jet-setter envious. From South Africa, to New Zealand, to Australia, and on to Japan later this year, this distinctive 911T is bringing just a bit of Andre’s mother’s sensibilities to all areas of the globe.

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Porsche 911 Carrera T de 2018 vs Porsche 911T de 1970

Pour savoir si la Porsche 911 Carrera T a renoué avec les performances légères qui ont commencé avec la Porsche 911T originale au début des années 1970, vous pouvez vous adresser au Dr Leslie Kuek, un chirurgien plasticien originaire de Singapour, qui a piloté les deux. Conduire la Porsche 911 Carrera T est en effet …

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Why Porsche Doesn’t Owe Enthusiasts Anything, Really

Porsche has been building cars longer than most people reading this have been alive. For seven decades they’ve been tearing up their own script and occasionally re-writing it wholesale. People complained when 356 production ended in favor of the heavier and more expensive 911. People complained when the 964 debuted because it had coil springs of all things. Similar levels of upset were thrown around when the 996 debuted with water cooling. Enter the 991.2, the current 911 on showroom floors today, coming to the market with turbocharged engines in every trim. There are always « purists » resistant to change and unable to accept that the way they like their Porsches isn’t the way Porsche will build them forever. Here’s Alex Goy of Carfection saying the thing that nobody really wants to say, Porsche doesn’t owe you anything.

Enthusiasts are great for a brand, just look at this site as an example, and Porsche has really built their past on sports car fans, motorsport fans, and serial 911 buyers. There are many people who have bought 911s for decades, and will likely continue to do so. The 911 has become larger, more comfortable and significantly faster as it’s aged, and they like it that way. For every hundred of those kinds of folks, there is one that says they’ll never buy another 911 because it’s water-cooled or because it’s turbocharged. Porsche isn’t building 991s for that buyer. They’ve been continually making the 911 (and the rest of their lineup) more conducive to every day driving, more appealing to the average luxury car buyer.

Porsche is up front about the fact that they don’t owe you anything. They’ve stuck to their guns and continue to build some of the best sports cars in the game. They’ll defend PDK to the death, even though enthusiasts shout and wail about it. They’ll happily make hundreds of thousands of Macan compact SUVs to the ire of people who remember when Porsche only built 911s and 912s. I personally hate the nomenclature they’re using to bill luxury cars as inspired by hardcore models from the 1960s. The fact is, they’re growing larger than they’ve ever been, and selling more cars to more new customers than ever before in company history. They have nothing to apologize for. It’s that simple.

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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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