Friday, 29 August 2014

911T Project - The Light At The End of the Tunnel

You might expect that once your project car is back on its wheels with the engine installed in the right place you are nearly done. The past weeks I've spent franticly working through a long work-list belies that; putting the glass in, sorting out lights, exhaust, bumpers, wiring, controls, interior and a host of other small tasks took all that time and more, but I'm finally about done.

It was the nasty, cheap, smelly and suspiciously sticky carpets installed in the car when I bought that it really started me on the whole project. I seem to remember my initial objectives were to renew the carpets and fix the smokey engine, before it all snowballed into the restoration I've detailed here. 

Anyway, here is the old set laid out on the lawn for reference:

Rancid carpet

After a couple of abortive attempts to order carpet from a well known Dutch supplier I decided (with the help of a trimmer friend) to make my own. It took eight metres of carpet, and a good couple of days in a hot workshop on the warmest day of the year to cut out the dozen or so pieces I needed. I've selected an original Porsche carpet known as Salt and Pepper.  
Carpet template.
Right handed scissors + left handed user = sore hands

This all needed to be fitted into the car, which took another couple of days breathing fumes from strong contact adhesives, but the end result is looking promising. 

Re-trimmed rear shelf,  basket weave vinyl, and salt 'n pepper

I decided to re-use the exhaust that came with the car. A go-faster stainless set up is the ultimate goal, but this will allow me to get the car running. 

Yellow silencer
When the car was painted, back in the US, there was no attempt to mask the system, so the silencer was covered with yellow overspray. A few hours with the wire brush in the grinder and some light coloured high temperature paint sorted that out.

Grinder and wire brush; instant exfoliation

Bright shiny exhaust straps, white silencer, waiting for the
rain to stop falling on my 'workshop'
Trying to source a set of bumpers was a saga in itself. The glass fibre RS style front and rear bumpers that were on the car originally were of poor quality, and I didn't like the RS front air dam without the matching RS ducktail. In any case they were wrecked when the paint was blast cleaned off the car.
Bumpers V1.0
Modern road conditions and my heightened sense of self preservation means I probably won't venture much above 90mph so I can live without a front spoiler. So I sourced a standard, steel non-spoiler front item on ebay The car will look like the 911Rs that were raced before Porsche really started to understand that air flowing under the car generated lift, and therefore needed to be stopped with air dams and spoilers.
A 911 generating lift

The ebay buy was in good condition, so it just needed the trim holes filled and then painted. 

I also bid on a cheap used rear unit, but when it appeared it seemed to be only good for scrap; certainly it needed more glass fibre repair work that I was capable of. I was about to order a new unit from one recommended supplier when they told me delivery would be delayed by a month while the workforce went on their summer holidays. I then tried another specialist, but when that one arrived it had none of the brackets needed to fit it to a car. 

By this stage I had three of the damn things littering the place, and not one good enough to send to the paintshop. Then, while wandering around the local sailing club, I had a bit of a brainwave. I found a local chap more used to sorting out damaged glass fibre dinghies, took along the cheap ebay bumper, and a week later collected it looking almost as good as new. 

When the engine was in the car it became clear the the Carrera 3.2 specification oil pipes I'd so carefully cleaned and painted were the wrong length to match up to the earlier engine. So I estimated the dimensions of what I needed using some stiff wire and had a suitable flexible hose made up by a local hydraulics specialist. 
£50- worth of flexible oil pipe

At this stage, I needed to go and get the seats that had been sitting on the shelves of an understanding Joe at Trimdelux in Littlehampton ever since I stripped the car a couple of years ago. Over that time we've had long discussions over colours, fabrics and finishes, and the final decisions have been made. This gives an idea of what we're going for - a combination of traditional 911 materials, black leather, and modern seats.
Rear seats in progress

Salt 'n Pepper, basket weaver, belts, extravagant
hide covered B pillars
Finally I'd got about as far as I could with the limited facilities available. There's only so much I can achieve working outside on the driveway, and without an ability to get properly under the car even tasks that would be simple with a lift, like attaching the petrol pipes or fitting the earth strap to the back of the gearbox, are next to impossible lying under a car. 

So earlier this week the car was pushed onto the back of another trailer and taken off to Jez at GCS in Horsham. He's been tasked with setting the suspension geometry and ride height, checking all the nuts and bolts are tight, sorting out any of my FUBARs and obtaining a MOT certificate.
Off for the finishing touches?

As I write, I'm waiting for Jez's verdict. 


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