1968 Porsche 912
The first time I heard about my 912 was around October of 1998. A close friend of mine David, who knew that I was a Porsche fanatic, told me a story of woe. A friend of his had a Porsche that had recently been severely battered after a short drive with no oil. The resulting damage was a blown engine. She spun the crank and burnt 2 rods which I'm sure sounded "pretty" as it went down the street. A couple weeks later I arranged to see the car at a local mechanic. My first impression was very good. The body was straight, with only VERY minor parking lot type dents in the doors. There were only one or two places with any noticeable rust one of which is the front bumper which I wanted to change anyway. The mechanic was quoting 4k for a rebuild but I had some concerns about the integrity of his work, which was confirmed after a few conversations with Harry Pellow. The owner needed a decision as quickly as possible. The mechanic understandably didn't want the car laying about if he wasn't going to fix it so I decided to take the engine bits home with me to store in Davids basement and have the car towed to the owners home for the time being while I made up my mind about how to proceed.
My first reaction was not to buy. I did some research on the web and found out approximately how much the car was worth, and got a rough estimate as to how much it would cost to just get her running. It didn't look good. To be honest even then when I thought that I was being fairly generous with my estimates I was still
way to low. Anyone heard this story before!? Even still I couldn't foresee the multitude of problems that the car had left for me to discover. Still, hidden beneath the reality lining of finances I really
So in early January of '99 I made my first payment to the owner of the car, and began in earnest my search for a mechanic who could resurrect my Porsche. Via the Internet I located "The Maestro" & his company HCP Research at his home page:
I sent Mr. Harry Pellow an email outlining what I had, what I needed, and what I wanted.
He gave me a rough outline of the price. He wanted to see the engine before he made a full estimate. I arranged to drive the truck bed full of parts to his garage in Santa Clara. His initial prognosis was not entirely positive. The parts appeared to be a mishmash -including some inappropriate Volkswagen bits. It would take a little while to catalog the parts, make sure everything is there and magnaflux the crank. If the crank had turned up bad, the project probably would have stopped right there. However the results were good, and the process began.
The list for the final work done on the engine is quite long. Perhaps someday I will transcribe this for these pages. The cost was impressive as well. Paying cash for the engine, the total came to $6500.00 even. This is before install. My first sight of it was a bit breathtaking. It was gorgeous. Black and beautiful. It seemed so impossible that the gray soiled mess that I dropped off could be transformed thus. Even today, the engine is still the centerpiece of the car.
David and I loaded the engine into the truck, tied it down and were on our way. We got the engine back to Monterey, unloaded it at my office and there it sat for a week. It perfumed the office with a delightful new oil smell that I don't think my co-workers could appreciate, but I loved every minute of it.
In Monterey I began searching for a suitable shop to install my new toy. I called around and based on price, location and the myriad of beautiful older sports and luxury cars always in his shop, I went with John at Classic Coachworks(831.375.9909) of Monterey.
Step one, clean engine bay. Oh lord it was a mess. What with the oil leak that prompted this whole scenario and the years of neglect, this was quite a job. I cleaned most of it myself, removing tar paper bits and loose odds and ends. Classic Coachworks(CC) installed some insulation and tied off some of the various wire bits making everything nice and tidy. A proper frame for the engine that was soon to inhabit the bay.
Step two, install engine. Everything pretty much dropped into place. Needed a new throw out bearing, done. The shifter was VERY sloppy so I replaced the bushings on the shift linkage. Good to go, right? WRONG... both the rear calipers seized rendering the car mobile, but not happy about it.
Step three, new brakes
New Master Cylinder, new front calipers, rebuild kits for the rear, new brake lines. All that and taadaaa! I can stop when I want and go when I want!
Step four... ditch this stupid step thing
One constant difficulty that has plagued me since the install has been a frustrating lack of power off the line. There have been times when on hills I have had to back down (much to the chagrin of the people behind me) and select alternate paths to my destination. The root of the problem seems to be my large 44 IDE Webbers. Now nearly a year later I think I have everything sorted out. Power off the line is good and roll on over 2k RPM is great.
Currently I'm at about 1600 miles on the new engine (9-19-00).
October 18, 2001
So it's been quite some time since I've made an update to this page and a number of things that I haven't been able to, for one reason or another, document with images. A whole years worth of things, where to begin...
I've installed new door stays, fixed the elastic on my door pockets(this is a fun one...), replaced the headlights, windshield wipers, spark plugs, plug wires, removed the rear seats and seat belts (like anyone can fit back there anyway), cleaned my K&N Filters, re-jetted for high altitudes (I'm in Aspen, Colorado now), added a Alpine tape deck and remote 12-Disc changer in the boot, a set of Alpine 5" speakers in the rear deck speaker box, new (proper) battery, steam cleaned the carpets, new window cranks, got the license plate bracket for the new bumpers, got the new bumpers from GT Racing (911R rear and 911S front -CAN'T WAIT), new aerial, new tires, rubber kit for the strip/repaint, decal kit for the engine compartment, decal for the hood 911R style... I'm forgetting about a dozen things, but I will get back and update this again soon!
October 21, 2001
Right, I promised didn't I? Back again. I'm planning on going back and explaining some of the restoration work I've done in the past year in more detail, if there is anything you have specific questions about I'd be happy to do my best to answer them, at least from my experiences.
The biggest bit of frustration I've run into lately is a new oil leak... *wince* It appears to be located around the front main seal between the bell housing and the crank case. I've also picked up shaky first and second gear synchros, so the good news is I will be able to get a new seal in there to remedy both problems at the same time. I'm guessing that the primary cause for the leak is that after I passed my break-in period I switched to Red Line racing synthetic oil. At the time the engine was absolutely sound with nary a leak or even a bit of oil on the case below, but about two months after switching I noticed that she began "wetting the bed" a bit and quickly changed the oil to Mobile 1 synthetic. This doesn't seem to have cured the problem as I still have a fairly significant leak, so I will probably go to a more standard grade oil... *sigh*
It's sort of a mixed blessing I suppose that I won't be driving her this snowy season in that I will be able to get a bit of work done in the down time. The part that I'm almost a bit embarrassed to admit is that the reason that I don't want to drive her is not because of the car doing poorly in the snow (I'm convinced that Porsche's years of rallying in all sorts of horrible conditions sets the record straight as far as the car's abilities in adverse weather) but because I'm deathly afraid that some over-confidant idiot in a ridiculously over-sized SUV who thinks that driving 75 MPH, talking on the phone, drinking a cup of coffee while on icy mountain roads is okay just because he/she has ABS and four wheel drive will slide into me and effectively turning my "significant other" into so much scrap. But enough of that and don't you dare tell her that I said such a thing!
I'll try to do more updates, even if it's just a paragraph or two, then perhaps when this page gets to long I'll break it apart and actually dedicate a whole section to the Porsche and related things. On a sad note, the Porsche Unleashed: Owners Unleashed list has died. The list has now been silent for nearly a year and our weekly competitions have ceased. That was a great group of guys and if any of them should ever read this I just wanted to say thanks for all the great races and good times talking. One thing I will never get over is the closeness of the Porsche community and that is no small reason why I will always own at least one of these beautiful automobiles.
Take care all. I'll see you on the roads, with a wave, a smile, and a flash of my lights.
I have sold my Porsche. I will keep these pages in the hopes that they contain some valuable information for owners out there. I feel confident that I will own another of these wonderful cars again in the future. Perhaps when I have a nice large garage to park a few of my projects in and the space to work on them at leisure.
Thank you to all the other owners out there, all of your highly valuable information, as well as the warm sense of family.