The start of the journey. Actually the engine and transmission have already been removed. The original plan was to do some mechanical work to the car and get it back on the road. As often happens, once the owner started looking at the car he decided that he would like to have it painted. Before we move ahead it is interesting to know that the original owner kept this car for more than 35 years. He was a school teacher in upstate NY and he kept every receipt for any work or parts used on the car. Going thru the paperwork we found the original sales documents that shows that he ordered the car in the USA but had a European delivery. The car was sent to Pon's Porsche in the Netherlands where he picked up his new Porsche and spent some time driving the car in Europe before sending it back to the USA. This car was very well taken care of its entire life and there was alot of emotion when the original owner sold the car to its next caretaker. The odometer showed just over 98,000 original miles when he sold the car.
The engine was running well but there were a few oil leaks and the original plan included a complete engine inspection and overhaul. These early 911's have a magnesium crankcase that was at the leading edge of automotive technology in the early 1970's. The magnesium case was very light weight and the casting was very detailed and required much less machine work to finish for assembly. Porsche was using magnesium engine cases and other production street car parts in their racing cars, so it really was a situation of the street department and racing department benefitting from each other. Selling street cars made money to go racing, and selling the street cars was easier if proven technology from racing was being used in the street cars. Since the beginning of Porsche the informed driver not only felt the difference but also understood that Porsche was serious that the street cars utilize the latest technical developments - both in performance and safety.
Here is one half of the magnesium engine case after complete disassembly. The engine was in very good condition. The bottom end of the engine had never been apart, we found receipts for a top end overhaul in the 1990's. All the engine components were original 2.2 911 T, we will assemble the engine with some improved parts to increase reliability and also produce more power. The original 2.2 liter T engine had a compression ratio of 8.6:1 and 125 horsepower, we will increase the compression ratio to 9.5:1 and achieve around 150 horsepower. The picture shows a tool that is used to remove all the studs from the engine case. With the engine case completely bare we were able to perform all the necessary machine work which included: align bore the crankshaft bore, deck the cylinder spigots, install time-serts for the cylinder heads studs, and maching the chainbox surface. Proper machine work is the foundation of a proper engine overhaul.
While we could spend alot of time detailing the many operations required to overhaul the engine I will summarize so we can move to the chassis restoration. This picture shows the completed long block with all new gaskets, seals and bearings. The chome-moly Pauter connecting rods are new, new CP pistons, freshly reground 911 E camshafts and rebuilt cylinder heads with new valves, valve guides and valve springs. Rebuilding an older engine is still a mechanical exercise but now it is also part restoration because you are trying to make a 40 year old engine look fresh again. It is hard to keep track of all the time spent cleaning, measuring, finding parts, organizing the engine parts, and getting everything just right. This particular engine overhaul required close to 100 hours of total time to make ready for installation.
While a transmission overhaul is quite interesting we will also move quickly thru this process. This picture shows the original matching number transmission completely disassembled with various Porsche factory workshop tools and new parts ready to install. Also notable is that the transmission housings are also magnesium on this 1970 911, the transmission housings would not become aluminum until 1978. I have been overhauling Porsche transmissions for over 30 years and it was a pleasure to work on one of these early 911 units again, something I did many times when I was young. This was a complete and very thorough rebuild that included measurement and adjustment of every critical dimension as determined by Porsche. The five split rings laying on the bench are called synchros and they are a critical component in making the gearshifts feel new again. The tools on the bench are absolutely necessary to do the job correctly and there are quite a few more. Many jobs on the 911 are doable by the home-mechanic but engine and transmission overhauls are quite difficult without the tools and experience.
After complete disassembly the chassis is taken to a bodyshop that specializes in metal work and fitment. The car had been painted once before in the original color of Silver and there was some evidence of a light hit in the left rear. There was very little rust found but anywhere there was rust it was cut-out and new material was welded in. There are no short cuts to good bodywork, it is hard and dirty work. I am very respectful of bodyguys who do the job right. At this point it seems like the project is only getting bigger, once the paint is off we found a number of areas that we decided to improve on. The gaps between the body panels are also being adjusted, having even bodygaps is very important to make the final product look original.
Once the car goes into primer you can begin to see a beautiful car again. This is one of the points of the restoration process that gets you excited, now you can see the project moving forward. After a couple of days of sitting in the sun to let the primer shrink back the entire car is block sanded and prepared for the next coat of primer. The final paintwork is only going to be as nice as what is underneath, so this is the time to find imperfections and fix them. At this point we are very happy with the car, even though this car will be a driver we are taking the time to make it look like a show car.