Saturday, 19 November 2011

911 Summer Holiday

I was not very well paid at Maltin’s but I was learning a lot. I got to drive virtually every Porsche old and new that was in everyday use, often taking the customers cars home to really pick up all the snags and make sure they was working perfectly down to the ashtray light.
On one occasion, I privately rebuilt the transmission on a 1968 short wheel base beige coloured Porsche 911 Coupe for one of our customers in my own time at the farm. Chris had arranged that I could use the car for my holidays in return for my labour, as he wanted to help out this particular customer who was at that time a bit short of cash.
I asked an old school friend of mine, Bob Steel if he fancied a trip around Europe with me in this Porsche 911 and he jumped at the chance. So shortly after, we took off for a whistle stop tour of Belgium, North Germany, Denmark and Sweden and back again.
During the trip the starter motor started to play up, working intermittently and a number of times we had to bump start the car, which was a bit embarrassing. However we wised up to this and from then on, always parked the Porsche 911 on a hill facing down, so starting was not a problem as we just selected 2nd gear and switched on the ignition.
I took Bob Steel on a re-run of my previous trip to Denmark and Sweden except this time we were just tourists with no motor racing. We met up with a couple of the girls I knew in Karlskoga and spent a couple of nights there and then drove south again back through Copenhagen.
We had serviced the engine before leaving England so it started first time and the car ran perfectly throughout our holidays other than the starter motor problem. I remember when we got off the ferry returning into Germany we came alongside an orange Porsche 2.2 litre 911S Targa and as there were no restrictions on the Autobahn ended up pushing the limits of both cars. Theoretically our Porsche 911 had a top speed of exactly 135mph as per the gear ratios and the 911S Targa slightly more at 140mph, so both cars were pretty evenly matched. I was driving at the time and soon both Porsche’s were flat out. I think we must have gone for at least 20 minutes like this hovering around the maximum of our car’s limits. The sheer exhilaration of driving at 130mph plus for that period of time changes your senses and even slow curves on the Autobahn tightened more quickly.
This was in the early 1970’s so traffic on the Autobahn was not what it is today and you could drive quickly provided you took great care. We eventually waved our Porsche Targa friend goodbye, as we needed to stop for fuel. I let the engine idle for a few minutes to settle temperatures and to check the oil level on the dipstick. Upon opening the engine lid I noticed the carburettors were all iced up! It must have been down to the fact that we had been travelling so long near the maximum. In any event the ice soon melted.
I let Bob Steel take over the driving us back to Ostend and he remarked just how responsive the engine was. It was as crisp as you could imagine and we were sure the long hard run had done it a wonder of good. We eventually returned home to Hounslow and I delivered the car back to the customer the following Monday after sorting the start motor problem out.
A short while later I had a call from the customer saying that his car had never felt or gone better, which only goes to show that Porsche does thrive on being driven in a sporty manner!

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