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|11th April 2010, 00:22||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Las Vegas, USA
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My Porsche 911 story: Update & pics on page 6
I joined this superb forum couple of days ago. I wanted to share my ownership experiences of some interesting automobiles over the years. I listed present and past wheels that I was blessed to own in the Introduction section. I also wanted to do this because, I want other members and people who visit these forums realize that these cars are not out of reach for an average Joe. Hell, if Iíve managed to own them, lot of people here on this forum can if, they really want to. Since this is the ownership experience thread, Iíll use separate topics for each of my cars. If the moderators think itís not appropriate, they are welcome to combine them. This will be a loooooooong post but I hope itíll be worth it. Mods please let me know if this is too long and pathetic. So, here we go and start with the 1971 Porsche 911T.
The 911T story
A long time ago in the ancient past around 1993, for some till to date unclear reason, I decided doing my Masters in Canada would be good for my future. So myself, who was an average bachelor engineer working in the Middle East living a ďno worriesĒ life, packed up everything and landed in Canada. This also meant that my life went from a company provided accommodation and nice car to a poor student. Also meant, the price of good old healthy Marlboros went from $10.00 a carton to a whopping $4.00 a packet, which made me promptly quit smoking for good.
Canada being the poorer cousin of USA, every body seemed to be driving the Chevy Cavalier, a car that I hated then and still do today with a passion. Coming from one of the wealthiest countries in the world where 911s, Mercs, Lambos, RRs etc were taken for granted, to see an exotic in the city where I lived, was a total jaw dropping drool event for the general public. I, who was a total German car nut, decided to buy anything but a Cavalier started looking for my royal wheels, as long as it was cheap. And lo and behold one day as I was passing by a dealership on the best ride for the average Canadian city dweller, the transit bus, what is it that I see? A used AUDI SPORT COUPE in the lot!! Got off at the next stop and ran (well walked) back almost half a mile in the Ė30 C weather to the dealership. I had already decided Iím buying this car, provided it ran. Of course, the dealer ripped me off and I bought the 1982 Audi for the princely sum of $1500. The A/C didnít work but, everything else did and it was manual shift. See attached pictures after I had it repainted. I used the car for five long years and it never let me down and in fact, gave it away free to a very good friend of mine in 1998. Of course, Canadians immediately declared that I was a total nut case to buy this German junk when I could be buying perfectly good American junk aka; the Chevy Cavalier.
Well 3 years flew by and I had already started working while still writing my thesis, when one day I took my Audi to the German car garage where I always got it serviced. In front of it was parked this mint white 1968 Porsche 911E for sale for $11000 which, today I would consider a steal. I must have drooled over every nook and corner of that car for at least an hour. There was no way I could afford it, but heck we can all dream, canít we. The chief mechanic who saw me ogling at the car obviously felt pity for me and came over. He tells me ďHey, my brother-in-law has a 1971 911 for sale, why donít you come a take a look. It needs some work and he wonít sell for a penny less than $6000Ē. I said sure thinking unless his brother-in-law was willing to drop a zero from his asking price, I wouldnít be able to afford that either. But that weekend I drove to his house to check out the car, anyway. Apparently, the car had been sitting on the lawn for the past three years with intention of being rebuilt, which hadnít happened yet.
And there it was, with its flared fenders and its red paint and my first reaction was ď God, that car looks fabulousĒ. My next reaction was ďGood god, this car has no interior!!!Ē meaning, the only thing inside the car was the lower portion of the driver seat with the steering, dash and gear lever. But what was most impressive was that it fired right up and that sound, oh that sound. The new Porsches simply donít hold a candle to the rawness of their pre-1980 predecessors. It was a 2.4L 911T with a 4-spd sportomatic transmission. This was the transmission that Porsche had used for their racing programs at one time. Sportomatic transmission combined a torque converter like an automatic transmission with a four speed manual shift. There is no clutch pedal. An electric contact at the bottom of the gear lever disengages the clutch and the appropriate gear can then be selected. When the driversí hand is removed from the lever, the gear is engaged.
I told him Iíll think about it and went home. Next day I decided to try for a bank loan. The loan officer looked at me and blurted out ďwe donít finance 25 year old cars. What car is it?Ē Told him itís a 911. He looked at me with a quizzical face and I walked out of there. Somebody upstairs must have interceded for me to some higher power, for I got a call from him the next day to come to his office. Needless to say I took rest of the day off, went to his office where he tells me that the only reason he will loan me the money is because itís a Porsche. As far as I was concerned he could think of me as the biggest moron in Canada to buy that Porsche as long as I got the check. I took the check and had the mechanic bring the car to the shop for a detailed evaluation. The engine and tranny were declared to be in decent shape and I became the owner of a Porsche 911. Of course, it was a long way from being road worthy.
During the next 15 months, the paint was stripped to the bare metal, any and all rust was cleared, all dings smoothened and repainted with Viper Red (that the red used on Dodge Viper), a complete interior in RED was sourced from a 1978 Porsche that was totaled. Engine and transmission were refreshed. And finally in fall of 1997, the 911 was ready to hit the road.
Then I got the call I was waiting for. THE GARAGE HAD BURNT DOWN and lots of cars were damaged. See attached newspaper clip as to my feelings.
However, contrary to the newspaper report, there was no damage to the car except, for the smoke getting inside the car. The car was de-odorized and detailed again and now was ready for the road. It cost me around $10,000 to get it on the road.
The First Drive
Got the call again, this time for real. With my pulse racing and sweaty palms I walked into the garage. Even though I had seen her in different stages throughout the rebuild, the final version just sitting there, looking, no staring at me actually made me nervous. I had actually done it. I was about to drive my own Porsche, the only sports car that I really dreamt about all my life. Till now, this moment was somewhere in the future. Dieter, the owner and by now a very good friend, was smiling. In fact, the whole shop had turned out. He says ďcome on, get her outta hereĒ.
The car seemed to be mocking me, daring me to fire her up. I fired her up. She barked and snarled and immediately felt the challenge she threw at my face, ďyou think you can drive? Iím not one of those Japanese sewing machines and Iím not your family grocery getter. I donít have no fancy traction control, no stabilitrak and all them STD, DTE and ABCsĒ. Totally nervous and freaked out by now, I eased her out of the shop and into the city streets. The transformation of the city traffic and public was almost instantaneous. Drivers were thumbs-upping, people suddenly broke out in smile and there seem to be good cheer all around. Nevertheless, I was profusely sweating by this time. I was not used to such instantaneous response from my foot or the steering, from any cars I had owned till then. You looked somewhere, the car went there. I was so nervous I drove straight home and parked it in the garage. I donít think I went above 50 kph that day. At a stop sign, the brakes were so powerful; I was almost thrown thru the windshield. Reminded me of going from an Enfield to RD350 when I was in school back in India. I was glad to park it that day. I could hear her derisive laughter as I put the keys away, still sweating.
The Real First Drive
Got up next day at 6.00 am and determined to tame the vixen, drove her out of the city and into the countryside. Canada has a speed limit of 100 kph for its highways, which, I thought would be good enough for the first real date. I was also just getting used to the sportomatic transmission. Before I knew I was in third gear and already doing 100 kph and barely touching the accelerator. By now, she was laughing with utter contempt at my driving skills. I was now into the Canadian Shield, the highway was a two-lane with winding smooth curves and at 100 kph, barely moving. I had driven these roads numerous times with my other Ďsportsí car and knew it to be very lightly patrolled.
It was still barely 8.00 am, very light traffic, no cops anywhere, it was time for me to find out what I was made off and more importantly what she had to offer. Mustering some courage, I gently squeezed the accelerator pedal. Before I know I was well into the 130s and rising. The car seemed to get smoother and her bark slowly turning into a steady growl. She seems to be snapping at me with a mocking smirk asking ďand you call yourself a good driver?Ē Trees were now passing me at a fast clip, curves approaching at a steady rate but the car was nonplussed and barely breaking a sweat. I was now into the 150s and approaching my favorite section of the highway. Her growl had now grown noticeably louder and I thought I saw a hint of smile from her, just a hint. I had grown in confidence by now. An 80-kph curve was approaching fast. I took the outer line, aimed for the apex and thought maybe I needed to slow down a bit and took my foot of the accelerator and almost cost me my life and more importantly, the cars'. She taught me my first lesson that day about Porsches. You do all your braking and speed control in a straight line BEFORE you enter a curve on a Porsche. You DO NOT take the foot off the accelerator in the middle of a curve. You power through it. The rear of the car jumped out. She barked at me for being stupid and I flicked the steering a tiny bit to get the back straightened out and gently powered thru the curve.
By now, well into the 190s, her growl now a full-fledged deep-throated low-pitched roar, her demeanor had changed completely. The rear engine left her roar somewhere far behind as a warning for others to keep their distance. The rear wing pressed the car into the black top and she stuck to it like a leech. She was now openly laughing and giving me the all-knowing look as if she had finally parted with a long kept secret. Now the entire complexion of this game had changed. I had another 10 to 15 miles left in my favorite drive. The surrounding trees and the mountainside had become like a long tunnel. The car became like a well-oiled Winchester rifle. Lock, load and fire became the modus operandi. Accelerate into the 190s on the straightaway, slow down before the next curve to around 130s depending on the curve, select your line of attack and accelerate through and out of the curve. Towards the end of the run I crossed briefly into the unchartered territory of 200s once or twice but well below its 250 kph top speed. She threw her head back and laughed, this time with me. Strangely by now, my pulse had steadied and was not sweating at all. I finally reached my usual destination, a lake created by some meteorite eons ago, the name of which Iíve completely forgotten since, I moved out of Canada in 1998. Parked the car, both of us absolutely spent by now and lounged around the lake for a couple of hours and then drove back home at a more moderate pace. It was almost like she was letting her hair loose to let the air blow through them and letting me know almost arrogantly, ďboy there are many more lessons in your future but today you did okĒ. Well that was good enough for me.
That drive till this date remains the best of all time for me. I distinctly remember pulling behind some Mitsubishi or Toyota sports car. I must have shown up on his rear-view mirror out of the blue. Saw him speed up with an intent to put up a fight but in a couple of seconds realized the futility of it and gave up resignedly. As she passed him in a flash I thought I saw a struggling smile laced with a tinge of defeat on the drivers face. A feeling I have had many times. That day an average, well maybe slightly above average, driver was schooled by a legendary motor to be worthy of driving her. But, still a long way to go even today, before I can claim to have tamed her. Maybe I never will, especially now that her engine has been significantly upgraded.
Living with the Beast
Iíve had the car since 1996. Since, this is not a daily driver, living with her is not too bad. She does not see any winter or rain (unless caught in a shower when out). She gets regular oil change, Mobil 1 Extended Life Ė full synthetic only, every 3000 miles or at least once a year. Please note, not all Mobil 1 oils are full synthetic. I changed all the bushings in the car from rubber to polyurethane, which makes the drive a little tighter and harder. Iíve changed the tires, $110 per, once.
Her engine started leaking oil, which is a common ailment of air-cooled Porsches, a few years ago. After much head scratching, I decided to upgrade the engine. Itís been in the garage for the last three years, mainly because I have been extremely busy, but more importantly, I did not want to plunk a whole wad of cash in one go. So I told Chris, he is a master Porsche mechanic and regularly builds Porsche race engines, to take his time and Iíll pay as I go. Please remember, Iím a regular Joe and I like to plan around how I can afford my toys. Well the engine is almost done. Itís been upgraded to a 2.5L with a whole host of advanced components and built with reliability and longevity in mind. Cost me close to $20,000. The car should be out some time this year. Meanwhile, my other toys keep me plenty busy. If anyone is interested, this is Chrisís shop out of Cleveland, OH.
I apologize for the limited photos since most of my photos have my better half in it. I donít think sheíll appreciate her photos plastered all over the web. Iíll however, post updated photos as soon as the car is out of the shop.
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|11th April 2010, 17:19||#3|
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Mumbai & BLR
Thanked: 311 Times
Woah! Your review was awesome BTW, you said you spent about $10k to get it on road. Does that include the cost of purchasing the car as well?
|The following BHPian Thanks prateekm for this useful post:|
|11th April 2010, 18:36||#4|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Punya Nagari
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This was a superb read. I love the way you described your first drive and could really imagine myself in the driver's seat. Congrats on possessing a real driver's car.
|The following BHPian Thanks R2D2 for this useful post:|
|11th April 2010, 19:24||#6|
Join Date: Apr 2008
Thanked: 185 Times
Thats one of the best write ups i have read on Tbhp. Especially that part you have described about your first drive in the Porsche. Awesome and inspirational!
|The following BHPian Thanks sai_ace for this useful post:|
|11th April 2010, 20:17||#7|
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: New Delhi
Thanked: 115 Times
Very nicely penned down, VLOCT. Any reasons for choosing the particular username?
Here in India, we can only dream of owning such beauties. We are still stuck with the Japs and the Koreans.
|The following BHPian Thanks Utopian for this useful post:|
|11th April 2010, 21:07||#9|
Join Date: Oct 2009
Thanked: 113 Times
Even i want to own a Porsche now.. And i mean right now. Only if I could buy one for $10k here in india.
Very passionately penned down.
BTW how long did the stroke last when you came to know of the fire at first?
|The following BHPian Thanks akshaymahajan for this useful post:|
|11th April 2010, 21:14||#10|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Austin, TX
Thanked: 611 Times
I was eagerly waiting for this thread when you spoke about the 911T in your 'Introuction' post. Amazingly maintained Porsche this one is! You are really passionate about your rides. Would love to see more pictures of her.
|The following BHPian Thanks theragingbull for this useful post:|
|11th April 2010, 22:06||#11|
Join Date: Jan 2010
Thanked: 19 Times
Amazing writeup, I could imagine myself in your car with you while you were doing 200 on the highway. Looks like she was still smiling while you were posing for the picture ( the first porsche pic ) . Please do post some more pics of the 911 ( both inside and outside ).
|The following BHPian Thanks prguru for this useful post:|
|12th April 2010, 08:11||#13|
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Las Vegas, USA
Thanked: 606 Times
Thanks for the appreciation.
1. New 2.5 L pistons and cylinders - The compression ratio has increased from the original 8.5:1 to 10.5:1. Amazingly, cylinders in these engines can be removed instead of the typical practice of re-boring engine blocks.
2. Replaced the 2.4 L mechanical fuel pump witth 2.5S specification pump - These cars have mechanical fuel injection. Very few qualified experts are present even in the US, who knows how to work on these. These pumps are miniature engines with six cylinders and pistons that provide fuel to each engine cylinder and are driven by a belt and pulley by the engine block.
3. Port and polish the intake and exhaust ports - includes new valve seats.
4. Titanium Engine bolts.
5. Upgrade to 2.7L crankshaft.
6. Upgrade the camshaft lobs to provide the required timing for the upgraded engine.
7. Refreshed Transmission
This is a job for master mechanics with extensive knowledge. Its very complex to make all these mods work together. Check out Chris' garage from my original post. 99% of his customers are Porshces. He only works on german cars.
|12th April 2010, 09:34||#14|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Phoenix, Coorg
Thanked: 491 Times
Wow VLOCT!! Awesome as this is my most favored and admired cars of all times!!
Your drive had me gripping in my seat as i read through it at a normal pace. Simply amazing.
Great nothing happened to the car during the fire!! My heart wrenched when u wrote that
|The following BHPian Thanks maddy42 for this useful post:|
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