Monday, 28 May 2012

Nut & Bolt Rebuild

A couple of years later, in early 2000, when I was established in my new house, which I had self-built along the Clyde Valley, I stripped the Carrera down to its component parts in my double garage and undertook an nut and bolt rebuild myself. 
I had built the house myself, so I had put a lot of work into the garage so it was well lit with fluorescent tube lights, heated with a double radiator. I had also sunk a substantial steel RSJ beam into the garage foundations to hold my Porsche engine cradle. I build some sturdy wooden benches, added some basic tools and I was ready to commence work. I had grown up on early Porsche 911 cars, so this was going to be a challenge but also great fun, as I basically knew these cars like the back of my own hands. 
Over the following months, I took the car apart, and the more I discovered during this process, the work started to pile up. Whenever you plan a project like a total nut and bolt rebuild, you think you have things covered, but there are always things that come up that you didn’t allow for.
I finally got the car stripped to its bare body shell and I then took it on a trailer to a local man to shot blast the shell inside and out. After this process, the Porsche 911 body shell, looked like a colander for straining vegetables in your kitchen, as it was full of holes.  On this particular model year, the introduction of the galvanised floor pan had taken place, so only this was in reasonable condition. The rest of the shell was normal steel and had suffered over the years. I had the chap spray it in an etching primer to protect it whilst I made arrangements with a decent body shop.
Ian Skelly, who were the VW Audi Dealers at the end of our village, were well known locally and as they had all the equipment to repair VW and Audi to modern specifications. After a lot of negotiations with the management, I got them to undertake the works for me. They soon restored the bodywork and repainted the car in its original guards red. They did a marvellous job but complained to me after that they had spent 50% more time on the car than planned for, but as we had agreed a fixed price, I was happy and held them to it.
I then moved the restored chassis on a trailer to my double garage at my home, put it on large axel stands and set about putting the Porsche 911 Carrera back together.
In the meantime I had the entire component parts shot blasted, re plated in cadmium or powder coated black as required. I did this to keep as much of the components original, but replaced things that were old and tired where necessary.
I then placed a massive order on AFN for spare parts ranging from circlips, nuts and bolts, gaskets, bearings, etc.
Whilst the body shell was being attended to, I took the type 954 (911 SC RS) engine apart and rebuilt this over the period and added a B+B stainless steel exhaust system, which included a limited heater.  I used the B+B system, as it would not affect the power too much whilst offering some heating comfort as much as possible on the early Porsche 911.
I replaced all the oil, fuel, brake hoses and fittings with Aeroquip, which are standard aircraft materials. I purchased a British 180mph cable driven speedometer instrument from AFN and slowly it started to take shape again. 
I also covered the dashboard and plastic Recaro buckets seats in black hide leather and fitted new black carpets throughout.
However, the whole project took me two years to complete and considering the limited resources I had available to me, it turned out extremely well indeed if I don’t say so myself. Certainly all the people that saw it thought so. 
A few years later I returned to work in the Middle East. I stored my 911 in a lock up near a friends service garage and he was meant to run it and use it occasionally, but some years passed before I came home on leave to see it and unfortunately my friend had failed to use it and keep in cleaned and stored correctly and it subsequently caused it to deteriorate beyond all recognition. I totally sympathise with people who have older cars when they say they need regular driving to keep them in good serviceable condition. 
In hindsight, I made two mistakes during the rebuild; firstly not cutting the doorsills off and secondly not having a Porsche qualified company do the body shell restoration. The first error was to cause problems several years later and the second; caused all sorts of fitting problems at the time of reassembly. Ian Skelly had inadvertently welded various holes for brackets and mounting points up and these only came to my attention when bolting things back together and I had to re drill them, which was not ideal. 
Anyhow I had great fun on this project and I will probably find another Porsche to restore in the future when I am retired.

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