So as we promised we begin the new year of 2008 with 31 days of 31 fabulous blog entries dedicated to our passion – cars. As you can only imagine I am the least technical of the iA crew and least knowledgeable when it comes to cars. Yet, I do know what I like based on the criteria important to me, looks, looks and performance. Please note that I had to consult Stephen a ton on all the technical history associated with this particular blog, so this is actually a shared effort today!
For my first blog this month I have chosen a car near and dear to me and my boys – my Talbot Yellow 1976 Porsche 911 S. In 1976 this car retailed for approximately $14,500 and came with a flat six 2.7L engine, 165 horsepower and top speed of 124 miles per hour. This series of 911 started in 1974 and ran until 1977. Porsche had not only made changes to the body with the new DOT bumperettes and a style that carried through the end of the 80s but also mechanical changes. The engines were supposed to be light and strong. Something Porsche had always been known for. In these few years they manufactured the engine cases from magnesium. This in theory was a grand idea but in reality was anything near spectacular. The cases indeed were light but along with these new changes also came new emission requirements. One of which required an example of what was the predecessor of the catalytic converter. These new units were called thermal reactors. These reactors were to burn off the pollutants in the exhaust much in the same way our modern cats do. They also create an enormous amount of heat and in very short time these light cases would warp and even worse, pull the head studs out of the case. The heads would lift from the case and separate from the heads. A rebuild was always the answer, but not necessarily the fix.
This is where my car comes in. Stephen (PorschePhD) found this car in a little shop in Peoria Ill. Like all the other models we have seen of this era the motor was trashed and literally in a dozen boxes sitting inside the car. The car itself only had 50K on the odometer, original paint securely preserved by 12 years of dust on the surface! Once hauled back to the great state of KS Stephen quickly time-certed and line bored the new case to make it stronger and better than before. He added special cams, he says they are a variation of SCs and high compression piston and cylinders. He then added SSi’s and an open baffle muffler. This is actually my favorite part of the whole car. Often he will run around the block after completing an adjustment and the boys and I can hear him several blocks away running through the gears. To hear that little motor at 7K rpm is not like any car you have heard. The harmonic growl is just breath taking. Initial dynos quickly showed these changes yield some very nice gains. Dynoed on our Mustang 500SE the little car that could netted 198wheel HP/247Crank HP. This was up from the estimated 165 Crank HP and estimated 130ish wheel HP. These numbers are in line for the factory RS of that era. Stephen also suggests that the 124 top speed is far from the top now.
After all these changes were made I started to drive the car when the weather would permit and I wasn’t concerned about my hair tying in knots as the wind whirled around me. Stephen noticed that the many hours he had spent on the case was in vein as it still continued to leak. It is my understanding after listening to him spit some mechanical jargon out that the case is just beyond its life span in regards to what the metal can withstand. In normal fashion he set out to find the best replacement case he could. The end result was a sand casting case from a 1967S 911. These cases originally housed a 2.0 liter setup but after some series machine work an intermediate shaft upgrade and a distributor change the motor was complete. This time, leak free, strong and worry free for as many years as we can imagine. It should also be noted that the transmission was rebuilt during the engine rebuilds.
Once these changes were made and the mechanical components were solid he moved on to the rest of the car. New door panels were fitted along with new carpet, knobs and even new “press” stickers for the seat belts. The car looks as if it rolled off of the dealer floor.
The next round of modifications included the change of the suspension which had been in place and untouched since 1976. Nothing is ever touched without being upgraded in this house and this was no exception. A set of coilovers were sourced, new tie rods, ball joints and bushings were readied. When the old suspension was being removed this time preserved car had in fact suffered some damage. The front suspension pan was eaten on the left side. This is where the battery sits and the vented batteries would often spill out of the vent and the acid would run down this section of the trunk, over the pan and if not addressed many years later would eat its way through. What Stephen thought would be a quick Labor Day fix turned into a weeks worth of welding. Probably twice the time it would normally take but it was important to preserve the look of the car and make it look as if it was never touched. New pans were welded in, seams were sealed, bottom was undercoated and the top chip guarded and painted body color. At last the trunk looked like the rest of the car, perfect. The suspension changes were made and the car corner balanced and aligned. It now drove better than it did in 1976 and had the Euro stance.
We are active members of our local Porsche Club of America – the Kansas City Region – so anytime there is a show and shine or concours you can bet my car is entered in the event. Many times over the years we have won best in our class and have plaques and certificates to prove it. It has been an awesome car but like so many others before it, will be headed off to a new owner this Winter or Spring in order to make room for our next family Porsche project. I will definitely be sad to see my pride and joy sitting in someone else’s driveway. Hopefully it will sell close to home so I can visit it!
For more information and reduced pricing this month on components for your 911 engine or body restoration please give us a call or email us with what you are looking for. 913-310-9927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.