One of my first engine and transmission rebuilds was on a Porsche 911T belonging to Andrew Gladstone, who was a friend of one of our early customers, Bob Best.
I had rebuilt engines and transmissions previously, but Chris always kept an eye on my work, but as I was now basically self-sufficient in this kind of work, Andrew’s rebuild was done completely on my own and I just let Chris know what I needed in terms of spare parts. I think it took me the best part of a week to undertake both rebuilds in our engine shop. Upon completion, I took the car home and used it for a few days to make any fine adjustments and to make sure everything was as it should be.
Andrew came and collected his car and called Chris the following day to say he was delighted and what a good job we had done for him.
He came back the following week for its first service and then again a couple of months later for its 12,000 miles service. I did not notice it at the time as we were very busy with other customer’s cars, but Andrew’s car seemed to be in for a service every few months.
It was less than a year since I did his rebuild, when Chris came and said his Andrew car was in for yet another 12,000-mile service and the engine sounded a bit loose and noisy and I had better check it over very carefully. So I proceeded to check the compression rations, which we a bit uneven, and the timing chains and chain tensioners were certainly noisy. I became increasingly worried that something was wrong on the engine rebuild, and it had come back to haunt me. However, when I took the mileage on this particular occasion I realised that it was excessively high.
We always had a job card on a clipboard for each job and I always noted the customer and car details on it every time. I thought I must have written down the mileage incorrectly on previous occasions and I went to see Chris and we pulled his file out. It turned out that Andrew had done over 80,000 miles since the last rebuild. We thought this couldn’t be correct so we double-checked everything. Chris said he would call Andrew for a chat, as something was not right here so it needed clarification.
During the service I noticed an excessive amount of metal filings on the engine sump drain plug, as well as on the dry sump oil tank plug, which were magnetic to collect such particles. I advised Chris and we began to think the car had in fact done this extremely high mileage, although it still seemed improbable in such as relatively short time frame. Chris came back later in the day and said Andrew was up and down to Scotland every weekend and was also using his car every day in his work and that he said the mileage was indeed correct. Chris advised Andrew that we had better strip the engine for an inspection and he had said to do what was necessary.
I removed the engine and stripped it down and sure enough after measuring everything and inspecting the bearings and found it needed another rebuild. This job was not as extensive as the first one, but it was a relief to me that it was nothing that I had done previously. Chris said we needed to keep the bill down so I only replaced what was necessary, which in the main was bearings, piston and cylinders, timing chains and ramps, tensioners along with a gasket set.
I think Andrew was the highest mileage Porsche driver I had ever met then and ever since!