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Classic Velocity Blog

Filtering by Tag: Porsche

Petersen Porsche

Classic Velocity

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The Petersen Museum is routinely regarded as one of the world’s best.  From the building itself, now with an artistic exoskeleton, to the contents, it sets high expectations. We have visited before (see A Visit to the Petersen), but it has been a while. The Petersen is large enough to have multiple exhibits going on within its walls at any given time. It keeps it fresh for return visitors, and they have a ridiculous inventory of vehicles to rotate through and to borrow. This is, after all, Southern California, and Hollywood is a stone’s throw away. This visit was special because the museum was running a Porsche exhibit. Dubbed “The Porsche Effect”, the exhibit chronicles the history of Porsche from beginning to modern times. This is a challenge that the Porsche Museum struggles with, so the Petersen had to have an interesting approach. 

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That approach was centered around a strategic sampling of machines, augmented by some storytelling posters and placards. If you are a stickler for chronology, you could proceed in a roughly anti-clockwise direction on the first floor. If not, you could just move easily from perfect examples to prototypes that never saw production, to race cars. This show could fill the entire Museum, but it was all housed in a portion of the first floor. Despite this, it did a good job of creating a journey. An entire wall was dedicated to the memorable and iconic race cars from the 550 to LMP. A 356A started the road car story, but along the way you got to see a 904, the early 911, the 914, a slant nose, a 4 door 928 birthday gift to Ferdinand, a Ruf right in the lobby, and the last of the air-cooled 993. And, in the style of the Petersen, you could get right up close with all of the cars.

This alone would have been worth the price of admission, but there are two more floors of the Petersen filled with interesting vehicles.....

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Dakar Rally Record Setter

Classic Velocity

One of our favorite cars of all time is the Porsche 959 Rally Car (see Porsche 959 Paris Dakar). Partly because it is so far from the intent of the production car, partly because it is a rally car, and partly because it looks great in Rothmans livery. Even the replicas are cool and expensive. Porsche was always pretty good at keeping track of its race cars, so we guess it just waited for a special occasion to let one of these machines change hands. And this is why the Porsche 70th Anniversary auction included one of the 1985  Paris Dakar cars, and then it sold for $5,945,000 ! And this was not a winning car, just one of 3 that all retired with issues. There are four more of the seven produced in the Porsche Museum. We were narrowly outbid, but maybe next time ;-)

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On Receiving Gifts II

Classic Velocity

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 A bit of recycling here from 2012, but it became relevant once again due to this quote we stumbled across this holiday season in Santa Fe, NM. "Always give without remembering and always receive without forgetting.”

The car sat under a tree, wedged in between a rusted out Plymouth Valiant and a tractor-trailer that was being used as storage. It was covered in that grayish greenish brown mix of pollen and dirt that renders all of the glass opaque. It also made it hard to tell exactly what color the car was. The final top had split in several places due to the ravages of sun and rain and tree sap. The engine compartment had more acorns and leaves than the tree under which it rested. The tires were remarkably round and still held some amount of air, but were dry and cracked on the side walls. The driver's seat was shot, and someone had cut the dash for a more modern stereo. The chrome was mysteriously pitted in random places as if to emulate some strange rash. It was a mess, and I had to have it. I mean, who would let such an icon just sit outside and deteriorate? This was a not inexpensive sportscar that was desired, acquired, and pampered at some point. Now it was just another case where eminent domain should apply (see The Theory of Eminent Domain)

I had stopped by a few weeks earlier and left a note, but no call. This time, I caught the shop owner, Steve. It was a typical case of a customer who had brought the car in for some repairs, and found that those repairs were going to be more expensive and extensive than he bargained for. The car sat. Steve vowed to contact the owner that night, and I left once again. Two days later I got a call. Yes it was for sale, but for more than it was worth. Today it would sound ridiculously cheap, but at that time, things were different. We haggled a bit, but the owner was sticking to his guns. I wondered if he had seen the car recently. No deal.

A few days later, I was about to call and up the offer, such was my craving. Before I had a chance, the owner called and accepted my initial slightly low offer. He had been to see the car and was surprised at the condition. He told me that Steve had promised to keep it inside, finish the work, etc, etc. I was at his place with the money the next day, even though it would take a few weeks to pick up the car. Then, with title in hand, I returned to the shop and took a more complete inventory. A lot of work, but doable. It even turned over with the battery from the shop, although it did not fire. I hauled my gift home and began the discovery process.

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Three weeks and an awful lot of work, diagnostics, and a few parts were required in order to get the car running. That first time it fired and ran was a gift worthy of a sacred garage celebration. Too bad nobody was around to see it. It became a rolling restoration, although I hesitate to use the word restoration as the intent was to make it a driver. The body and interior cleaned up remarkably well, and over the years, the ailments have been mostly addressed, while delivering the gifts of wrenching and the parts hunt, and the community of like-minded madmen. The stock 2.2 litre flat six engine has been solidly reliable and has taken the car on many trips and many hundreds of miles with nothing but oil changes and tuneups along the way. It has gone around the track at LimeRock and Watkins Glen. It has toured New England in the fall with a rebuilt targa top stowed in the trunk. It has attended many a club event with two small children in the back. It has given the gift of joy and laughter.

And more than a decade later, on the way to a breakfast one weekend, the car delivered more gifts. While I was getting gas, a woman smiled and said "That's a lovely car" as she walked inside to get coffee. On the way out she asked what year it was and we chatted for a minute. She never stopped smiling. A few minutes later, the car flew down a lonely section of interstate at 120mph. The speedo wavered back and forth between 120 and 125 as I kept going. The car always begins to feel good above 80mph, and it sees triple digits on occasion, but it is not usually up in the 120mph area. We were only there for about a minute, but the car did not feel strained, and I had more tach to go. I was not far away from the top speed of the car when new, and this car is 43 years old. Stock points and ignition, stock Zenith carbs, stock motor, stock wheels, stock steering wheel. I never stopped smiling, and I am pleased in this Holiday season to once again receive a gift from a vehicle which keeps on giving.

The $800 CV Boot Revisited

Classic Velocity

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Some summer recycling here with a post from 2010 made relevant again due to a current S mall repair that turned into a much bigger bill. It also points out how prices have changed ;-)

The project started innocently enough. One of the CV boots on the Porsche 911T was torn and had sent grease all over the heat exchanger and everything else. Like many ailments to the early 911, a keen sense of smell is critical to early detection. With the pre-war VW heating system in these cars, you tend to develop a sense of what your engine smells like under normal circumstances. This is useful because by the time you actually see the flames shooting through the grill on the rear decklid, it is often too late. I detected burning grease, and shut things down. Satisfied that it was the boot, I nursed the car home.

Someday, I hope to hear a satisfactory explanation for this design, which is common to so many different vehicles from this era and well beyond. A complex and expensive flexible joint which has high speed rotating parts, which is under the car exposed to dirt rocks, etc, and which must remain lubricated, is protected by a $6 (probably 50 cents back then) rubber boot fastened by metal or hard plastic hose clamps. Anyone?……anyone?…..Bueller?…

The next day, I ordered some boots. A CV boot for an early Porsche 911 costs about $6, and I had ordered 4 just to be safe, and to get to the $20 free shipping limit. $6 and a few hours should have me back on the road. The next weekend I launched my assault. I got the rear of the car up on jackstands, and spent a good while cleaning up the mess. I had boots, tools, a can of grease to repack the axle, and I was all set. Except, I wasn’t. While cleaning up I discover that the driver's side heat exchanger has several holes and the outer housing is basically detached from the exhaust header. This would explain the rattling sound heard on occasion. Although work continues on the cv joints, thoughts have already shifted to heat exchangers.

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I do want to maintain heat in this car, so headers are eliminated. The next day, I search the forums, Ebay, and Pelican. I find a pair of heat exchangers in good shape from a fellow owner about 130 miles away. I decide that the budget will not withstand new SSI units, to I drive a few hours and come back fairly pleased with the parts, and fairly displeased with the magnitude of the unplanned expenditure. I also remember that I have a pair of heater control valves form the prior year’s Hershey swap meet. Better tackle them now as well.

During the following week, I remove the heat exchangers, and notice that one of the oil tubes is leaking. Well, with the heat exchangers out, now is the time to address them, and since we are tackling oil leaks, I need a pair of valve cover gaskets as well. So I order the items to arrive before the weekend. That weekend I dig in again. I quickly discover that a couple of the heater control valve nuts are rusty and seized. I leave them soaking overnight in penetrant. Of course, these two nuts are in the most inaccessible locations, so the next day it takes heat and a couple hours of contortionist positioning to finally get them off. I celebrate like I won the lottery.

During the next week, I finally get things back together. $800 and almost 3 weeks later, the $6 cv boot with 2 hours of labor is successfully replaced. Saturday afternoon I go for a drive. The glorious aroma of hot metal and a little paint seeps into the cabin when I open the heater control valve. Having your engine smell just right as you fly down a country road…..priceless. 

Hershey 2017

Classic Velocity

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The weather forecast was not helpful. Not that this is unusual for an April event in Pennsylvania. We have attended this event in snow flurries, hail, 80+ degree heat, and torrential downpours (see Hounds of the Basketweave or Hooked on Hershey). However, as the value of the cars rise, the willingness to drive them in less than perfect conditions plummets. A shame really for arguably the best handling machines of the 20th century, and even the beginnings of the 21st. The weather also seems to have impacted the swap meet vendors. There were noticeable gaps in the rows and rows of vendor spots. Were they just no-shows on this gray day, or did less people actually sign up?

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In any case, none of this stops the die-hards. Hershey is an annual gathering of friends not seen since before the winter, or since the last Hershey. It means that spring is here in the mid-Atlantic region, and cars are back on the road. It was great to see members of the crew out and about, shopping, searching, browsing. As shocking as it is, it was great to see that the hobby supports $2800 tool kits and a $1200 seat that needed a complete refinishing. On the other hand bargains were still to be found on a nice 944 for $5000, and an early 911 deck lid for $200. This is the magic of Hershey, friends, bargains, non-bargains, and French fries.  

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And then there are the cars. Despite lower than usual turnout, there were great examples of the marque from its' earliest models, to the latest. Between the show field and the Porsche-only parking area, you could find whatever you loved. A Reuter-bodied 356 Coupe, to a few weeks old GT3. As always, you could find many examples of any given year and model. 968, 912, 928, 993, etc. If you like the vintage models, this is still the place to be in April, although there is increasingly more for the newer cars. We were reminded that 911SCs, and 944s, and even 928s are now 30 years old. 20 year old $80k supercars with reasonable mileage are now under $30k. Time marches on, old classics remain timeless, new classics are emerging, but the place to see it all is still Hershey Pennsylvania in April.  

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Of Krausers and Kronenburgs

Classic Velocity

Right there, between the doors of the two door garage, in a pair of cubby holes designed to fit them, were a pair of Krausers. This is one of the irrefutable signs of an interesting garage. Someone was using every available space. Someone had taken the time to adapt or construct something in an unused space, to house luggage for a vintage motorcycle. You don't do that unless you care. Someone cared. If you cast your eye about the suburban garage, you would glimpse a Wixom fairing, and red Brembo brake calipers behind Fuchs wheels, and a 2 into 1 exhaust for a /5, and a 2 into 2 exhaust for a 911 SC, and 2 R100RS tail sections, and DOT race tires hanging from the ceiling, and a 915 gearbox, and lots of other stuff. Stuff that someone might need if he really liked machines from Germany of a certain era, that had air-cooled horizontally opposed engines. He does. The number of wheels that touched the ground could be 2, or 4. Either is fine, some of both is better. This is our kind of someone.

These things are scattered around 2 Porsche 911 SC cars parked nose to tail with one punched through a wall at the back of the garage so they could fit, and a BMW R1200GSA. And lest you think that is the only "encroachment" into the house, there is more. A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I had a VW beetle engine in my kitchen. I rebuilt it over a month in the winter. A few years later, I had a slash 5 I was repairing on a tarp in my apartment for the entire winter. Both were before marriage. Since then, efforts have been redirected toward getting adequate heat in the garage. Not someone. He has managed to put 6 motorcycles into a carpeted fully climate-controlled room of the house, and his wife is fully aware. We don't know what kind of a deal had to be cut to get this to happen. Better not to know.  

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The lineup includes an R69S, an R100RS, a /5 toaster, an RT cafe conversion, and an R90S. All are nice, none are pristine. Some high mileage, a few need work. A few have unique tail racks, or fairings. All have a story. One took a very long time to find. Another was owned, sold, and then owned again. We can relate (see repeat offenders and recidivism). The walls are adorned with posters and pictures. If all the bikes were show quality, this would be an eccentric arrangement. Since they are mostly "riders", this space is a real coup. We met many years ago, at a 2 wheeled event, and neither of us had any idea that there was more than BMW motorcycles in common, until we met again at a 4 wheeled event. This is our kind of someone.

Back to the garage, one of the SCs is being transformed into a street legal "Driver's Education (DE)" car. It has the engine out, roll cage in, rear seats out, coilovers in. It is the winter project. Another set of wheels is the rear of the garage next to the drill press and the miniature lathe. The SC has a Wevo shifter, modified guage package, dual oil coolers, 5 degrees negative camber, Kirkey seats, 5 point harness, etc. It will feature a Kronenburg engine management system from the Netherlands. Cool stuff. A year ago someone did his first DE event. Someone is on the slippery slope.  This is our kind of someone.

Clash of the Marques

Classic Velocity

It had been a long time since the tribe gathered at the traditional summer breakfast spot along the river. The impending end of the driving season caused our fearless convener and keeper of the flame, Monde, to shame us all into showing up and driving the cars. Good thing he did. However, as the normal flow of O Gruppe machines rolled in, several cars from another German marque intertwined themselves amongst the others. A beautiful 3.0CS, a 2002, and a 2800CS. These invaders were almost as strong in force as the Porsches. Fortunately, drivers emerged from their vehicles revealing regular members of the P-Car tribe. Traitors ? Marquerious ? Would hostilities break out ? 

No, this group is well known for having a well-rounded appreciation for fine vintage iron of all stripes. There are known owners of Alfas, and air-cooled motorcycles among them. Heck, they even complimented a vintage Ford Ranchero driving by. Breakfast involved much catching up and swapping of smartphone pictures, and consumption of eggs. The gathering spilled out into the cold for a good while as cars were admired and parts were swapped, and projects for spring were contemplated. Stuttgart forgave the sins of Munich and vice versa. As one attendee aptly said, Its about the people....

Beauty and the Bratwurst

Classic Velocity

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Porsche napkins, Porsche water, a Porsche Super 90 Cabriolet on display, an RS2 parked at the entrance, and yet, this was not a white tablecloth gathering at the country club exclusively for the well-heeled. It was an open house for a shop in Allentown, PA. Specialty Cars is a small shop in a nondescript industrial park, and, when closed, does not really hint at the jewels that regularly flow through the doors. On this day, it was clear. In the driveway, and on the streets surrounding the shops, was an impressive array of Porshes from vintage to the very latest.

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Customers and friends of owner Mark Burkit turned out to ogle cars, shoot the breeze, and eat bratwurst hot dogs. Dick brought his lovely 993, Ed brought his 912, Bruce brought his SC, and Girt showed up with his 02 to disturb the Porsche lineup. There were many special cars in and around the shop including a 1966 911 in need of a total restoration, Nick's award-winning IROC replica resplendent in blue, and the aforementioned 356 Cabriolet. Shops like Specialty Cars are becoming more and more rare. A family-owned businesses that is equally comfortable doing race prep or restoring a 356, and which cooks a mean bratwurst.....

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Porsche Pilgrimage

Classic Velocity

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It happens every year. The calendar says April and two events immediately spring (pun intended) into focus. The first this year is the Hershey Porsche Swap Meet. It landed early in the month, which meant that we were caught off guard with preparations. Well..... actually... We are always caught off guard, but this year it sounds more plausible. The combing of the basement, and the sorting of the parts was not completed. The cleaning of the car was not completed. This was no way to begin a pilgrimage.

But it happens every year (see Hounds of the Basketweave or Hooked on Hershey). The typical pilgrimage begins with an awakening at zero dark thirty. This is followed by a hurried spate of last minute loading up and then a departure to meet fellow pilgrims, get coffee, drive a couple hours, and get to the gates of the temple before opening time. So there we were, sitting in a long line of vehicles with engines turned off, watching the sky go from black to grey to the lightest shade of blue. And then the gates opened, and in we swarmed like locusts upon a leafy crop.

Some selling, some buying, some finding their sacred place. The day is long, but the bargains go early. Best to sprint around and cover all bases, then make additional laps at an increasingly more leisurely pace. A Half hour after opening, buyers are returning to their cars to unload precious purchases. A set of 1971 Fuchs, or a 2.0 motor for a 914, or a 924 steering wheel. Others are pulling Radio Flyer wagons with a few choice items on board. 356 bee hive turn signal lenses, and triple Webers in need of a full rebuild. 

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As things brighten up and warm up, it becomes apparent that this is going to be a perfect spring day. You can tell because the cabriolets start to arrive in the Concours area, and the Targa tops come off. The early devout pilgrims give way to those that stopped for a decent breakfast or just slept until a decent hour. A school of 928s (they are sharks after all) roll in, and the non-show Porsche only parking lot begins to fill up and wrap around the event.

If you needed to see an example just like yours, or just like yours was, or just like yours wants to be, this is the place.  If you are looking for Porsche unobtainium, this is the place. If you are looking for new old stock, or a superior modern version without the flaws, this is the place. If you want to gauge the price of almost any model of vintage Porsche this is the place. If you think you know what you are talking about and want to be tested, this is the place.  If you just want to wander around looking at 900 or so of the world's most iconic and beautiful cars, this is the place.

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And then somewhere around 3pm, Porsche city begins to clear just as fast as it appeared. Tents come down, trailers get packed, cars head out, and suddenly, it is a mostly empty giant parking lot again. We head off for a bite and a beer and swap stories about the deals and the rare finds, and the ones that got away. But one thing is not in doubt, we will make this pilgrimage again next year.

 

VIEW THE FULL HERSHEY 2016 ALBUM

Porsche Sportomatic: Visionary or Delusionary?

Classic Velocity

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Nobody asked for this. Not in a Porsche. Not in 1967. Some say that this was the emerging influence of Sales and Marketing. Some say it was just being responsive to US customers who had to deal with traffic, and who were lumbering along in high gears at low revs. Some say it was preparing for an inevitable full automatic (Porsche did call it an Automatic). Regardless, it was a relatively surprising option for the Porsche 911 in 1968.  The idea was pretty simple. Allow shifting without using a clutch. Eliminate that pesky third pedal. This was not born out of an avalanche of complaints about coordinating the clutch pedal. There was no such barrage, at least not from 911 owners. Porsche was not losing sales to Corvette because people did not want to change gears. Porsche was doing quite well.

From an engineering standpoint, this was interesting stuff. Developed by Fichtel and Sachs, the gear lever actuated a switch, which operated a vacuum servo, which operated the clutch. A torque converter prevented stalling (along with  the choke/throttle handle between the seats) and allowed the driver to start in any gear. There were 4 forward speeds labeled L, D, D3, and D4. There was also a "Park" setting which fixed a countershaft gear in position. Operation was often described as odd or quirky. The lever was sensitive to touch, and to drive in a sporting manner, you needed to keep your hand suspended above the lever. This gearbox would be fine in a VW beetle or a Karmann Ghia, but not efficient in a pure flagship sports car.  Period Porsche literature described the gears as follows :

 L (Low): For ascending and descending steep grades or for slush, mud and snow.

D (Drive): Normal driving from 0-60 miles per hour. For rapid acceleration, the transmission can be shifted through all ratios like a typical manual transmission.

D3 & D4: For highway cruising. D4 is essentially overdrive, while D3 can be used for passing and downshifting under braking.

P (Park): This is necessary since due to the torque converter there is no mechanical link between the engine and transmission.

R (Reverse): Acts as it would in an automatic. It can only be selected if the car is at a complete stop. Slight increase in engine speed may be necessary to actually move the car.

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The press was mixed. Car and Driver said "So we’re unhappy. And we’re unhappy be­cause the 911 is still something of a stan­dard for judging roadholding and ultimate cornering ability."   Road and Track liked the speed of shifting, but thought the car sounded like "A GM City Bus".  Sports Car Graphic said "Putting an automatic transmission in a Porsche is like artificial insemination: it's no fun anymore."  Motor Trend said "We'll agree with Porsche that the Sportomatic is easier to shift......But do Porschephiles resent shifting?" Motor was more positive, stating "...it doesn't detract at all from the pleasures of fast driving on twisty roads....easy to drive for those who spend a large time motoring in particularly dull conditions.." Autosport indicated that "It has proved unexpectedly popular in Europe...Only an idiot would attempt to compare the Sportomatic with the five-speed box.."

In 1972, the Sportomatic was strengthened by using the type 925 with a case similar to the 915. In 1975 it was reduced to 3 speeds and strengthened once again. It remained an offering until 1979 when full automatics were offered. Of course today, a semi-automatic transmission is common even in economy cars. Porsche went on to develop Tiptronic, and PDK, while paddle shifting is now acknowledged as the fastest means to get from one gear to the next for any marque, and in F1 at the pinnacle of Motorsport. When looked at in that light, the answer to the question that nobody asked, is now the best answer to the question of how to shift.   

A Plethora of Porsches

Classic Velocity

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The annual assemblage of Porsches old and new at Hershey in April is now an international event. You are likely to hear several different languages as you walk around, but there is one that all of the attendees share; Porsche. We have covered it here before (see Hounds of the Basketweave or Hooked on Hershey), but it is always worthy of coverage. It is a giant car show. It is probably one of the world's largest Porsche only parking lots. It is a swap meet with rows of parts, paraphernalia, and patina. It had a tractor in the Concours event. People come seeking that elusive final accesory to complete the project, while others are seeking sheetmetal to begin one. As a Porsche fan or fanatic, on a glorious spring day, you would be hard pressed to be in a better place. See the full photo album

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Porsche Targa

Classic Velocity

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In September of 1965 at the Frankfurt Auto Show, Porsche introduced the Targa variation of the 911, but it took over a year for the first ones to roll off the assembly line. It is not quite clear whether the word Targa is from the Italian translation of "Shield", or if it was named due to Porsche success in the Targa Florio road race. Either way, Porsche marketing liked the linkage. At the time, it was a rather novel approach to open top driving in that it was not simply a cabriolet with the top chopped off a coupe version. It used a roll bar which was a feature confined to race cars. The roll bar was of course a good way to preserve some of the structural rigidity which was always lost when the roof of a coupe was removed. The prior 356 had used a number of reinforcing tricks to achieve the same goal, but the 901 chassis needed extra help. The Targa format was also thought to satisfy impending US department of transportation laws which would ban traditional cabriolets. However, it may just have been fortunate timing for Porsche. 

Initial press photos showed the roll hoop trimmed with vinyl, but production cars had the hoop finished in a brushed metal look. The soft removable rear window along with a vinyl removable top, came suitably close to a full cabriolet, and with the rear window in place, you had the effect of a large sunroof.  The rear window was easily removed by zipper, and covered beneath a tonneau which fatened to snaps. The targa top was easily removed or put back in place with two clamps and two locating pins. The top folded nicely into a form which would easily fit in the trunk. The combination was thought to have provided flexibility and convenience. The Targa model added weight (110 lbs) and cost, but sold so well that production struggled just to keep up with German domestic demand at first.

In 1969, a fixed rear window was offered on the Targa, which subsequently became heated. Vertical vents in the roll hoop improved cabin ventilation. With the exception of the S model (as you might expect), the Targa matched or outsold the coupe variation into the 1970s. The word Targa made it into general automotive lingo describing a roll hoop and a removable section of roof.

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Porsche HLS

Classic Velocity

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A great story about a Porsche which never made it. This was an engineering project to create a racing coupe with a "folding" roof.  We think it bears some resemblance to a Saab Sonnett when viewed from the front, but was based around the 911 and probably had influence from the 904. That makes it strange as the beautiful 904 was in production around this time, and the folding roof idea seems like pure novelty. The Swiss Porsche Diba based on the 911 platform came later, but also has a lot of similarities. See the original story at the link below.

http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/classic-cars/news/a24466/not-even-google-has-heard-of-this-porsche-911-hls/ 

Porsche 908/01

Classic Velocity

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For 1968, the FIA's Commission Sportive Internationale which determined rules for sports car racing outlawed the big 7 liter engines popularized by Ford, and introduced a 3 liter and a 5 liter option. Few people thought it was worthwhile to introduce a brand-new car and sell 50 (later reduced to 25 for the 5 liter) of them for homologation within one year. However, Ferry Porsche saw an opportunity, and had been getting a head start. He ordered the development of a 3 liter car, and chief engineer Ferdinand Piech sprang into action. By the summer of 1967, a flat 8 engine was being developed.  The Porsche 908/01 was basically introduced in 1968 to take advantage of the new three liter displacement option in Group 6 prototype. The older Porsche 907 had a 2.2 liter displacement, and the initial 908 was based on that car, but with the air-cooled flat eight four cam engine they had developed.

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The 908/01 enjoyed a good start to its initial season, winning the Nurburgring 1000km race. However, that turned out to be the highlight of the year. The rush to get the car ready meant that testing and development had been limited. Teething problems plagued the car, and reliability was compromised due to the heavy differential fitted to cope with the extra torque. Despite top class drivers in Elford, Siffert, and Hermann, the car did not see the podium again. In fact it was bested on many occasions by the 907 it was meant to replace. The 908 did go on to produce /02 and /03 variations, and of course the 5 liter version became the mighty 917.

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Hershey 2014

Classic Velocity

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There is no greater gathering of Porsches in the USA than Hershey. Chances are, at the peak of the day on Saturday, there is almost every type of Porsche made. Chances are, there are cars from almost every year since Porsche production began, to today. If you wanted to take a walk through the history of the marque, it is better than any anthology. If you are a fan of a particular model, say a 914, you can see every variant in every condition from the show field to a basket case. 

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If you are seeking parts, it is not as rich as in the pre-Ebay days, but the swap meet is rows and rows of everything from new OEM parts to rusty pieces of sheet........metal. It is a treasure hunt and a shopping mall, and that aspect has been chronicled here before (see Hounds of the Basketweave). This year I found a cigarette lighter that I had been seeking for 2 years, I was tempted by a deck grille, I bought some fries soaked in vinegar with salt and ketchup, I sold a car, and I bought a book I had not seen before. Hershey is a wonderful and dangerous place (see Hooked on Hershey). Chances are, you will go home with something that you were not planning to get.

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The expertise walking around Hershey is staggering. If you think you really know your stuff about a particular model or year, you can be taken to school by some guy in a Pith helmet with a Porsche crest on it. If you are selling something that is labeled incorrectly, you can be chastised by 17 people per minute. If you think you know the story behind the design of some part, some guy who spoke with the original retired engineer last week has a better one. Best to approach Hershey as a graduate classroom, where you are clearly the student. Or you can hang out with a bunch of your buddies and laugh all day and meet friends you have not seen since last year. Regardless of your reason for being there, chances are, you will have a great day.

 

See the Hershey 2014 Album

Rallying Type 902

Classic Velocity

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There is perhaps no more celebrated racing sports car than the Porsche 911. Books have been written on its success, and more will probably be written as it continues to win. However, the little brother of the 911, the 912 or Type 902, enjoyed its own success early on. The 912 was the true marriage of the 356 and the new chassis designed by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. It placed a 356 Super 90 flat four into the new body, and was even affectionately referred to as a 356D. The 912 was introduced in April of 1965, trailing the 911 which was introduced in 1964. Despite this, the more reasonably priced 912 outsold the 911 each year from 1965 to 1968.

The 912 was also true to its Porsche roots by immediately appearing in sports car racing and rallying. This happened entirely in the hands of privateers as the factory support understandably concentrated on the 911. There was a fair amount of campaigning in Sweden with the 912 competing in Group 1 (Touring Cars). The Group 1 specifications at the time were pretty close to stock. The most notable success though came at the hands of Sobieslaw Zasada. He was Polish rally champion, and went on to campaign the 912 in the European championship in 1967. In that series he emerged as champion in the Group 1 class, gaining more points along the way than the more famous Group 3 winner Vic Elford in his 911. He also finished 2nd overall in the Czech Rally, and won the Polish Rally outright. 

It was said that the lower weight and altered front/rear balance of the 912 made it a preferable tool to the 911 in certain circumstances. The 912 was discontinued in 1969 in favor of the 914, but made a comeback in 1976 as the 912E.

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Holiday Recycling

Classic Velocity

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Twas the night before Christmas and all through the garage
Old vehicles were resting some small, and some large
And nearby were fuses and wrenches and rings
In hope that repairs would be finished by spring
The engines were silent just taking a nap
With visions of seeing 5 grand on the tach
The battery tenders were doing their job
The keys were all motionless next to key fobs
The fluids were clean and the oil had been changed
To wait for the salt to be cleansed by spring rains
With centerstands down and with wheels that were chocked
It was clear that for winter the stable was locked
While viewing todo lists and starting to dream
I vowed to do better in two thousand fourteen

 

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