Category Archives: restoration

944: And the next thing to break is….

944 balance shaft belt broken
A rather forlorn-looking balance shaft belt. Not sure if it was the culprit or just a victim.

Yes, the cooling system. As I feared from the start. Based on my experience with my 1964 T-bird, cooling is almost always the problem with old cars. And it’s often the problem with race cars and high-horsepower cars too. Heat dissipation is a constant battle in any motorized vehicle.

So what happened? Continue reading 944: And the next thing to break is….

Porsche 944: Keeping cool on a hot day

86 porsche 944 engine bay
86 porsche 944 engine bay

After feet and feet of snow a winter or two ago, it’s quite welcome that summer brings driving weather. At the autocross a while back, though, it was really, really hot–not that I’m complaining or anything. But it was other-end-of-the-spectrum hot. At the autocross, I was lucky enough to bring one recent-vintage car (Porsche 997 Targa 4) and two older cars (1973 914 and 1986 944). Keeping the machinery cool became more of a focal point than when I’m just running the newer car. Even the newer car can hit 250°F+ for coolant temp when running at a race track like Palmer or Thompson on a hot day. Idling waiting for runs at the autocross drives up the temps no matter what, so you get a lot of heat that doesn’t have the benefit of fast airflow like you get when running laps on a race track. So how can we keep things a bit cooler? Continue reading Porsche 944: Keeping cool on a hot day

Porsche 944 – Race, Break, Repeat

Back in July, I had the amazing fun of bringing three Porsches from very different vintages to an autocross in RI. It was a blast, to say the least. It was the maiden (race) voyage for the ’73 914 and the ’86 944. And I had no idea what to expect from them. I expected the 914 to be a handful. And it delivered on that promise! The 944 was actually more of an enigma, really. Having done a bit of mending of suspension bits, I already had an appreciation for the fact that this car was driven hard and put away wet for it’s prior lifetime. I knew I was getting into a project with this one, but little did I really know. Continue reading Porsche 944 – Race, Break, Repeat

The ’86 944 Punch List

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Work on the 1986 944 in Copenhagen Blue has commenced. I’ve grown rather fond of the little thing these days as happens to many of my cars. This one appeared fairly complete on delivery but soon started to show that all was far from perfect. But I wasn’t looking for perfection. I was looking for a project. A car that needed some love so that I could do some learning. And I got what I bargained for.  Continue reading The ’86 944 Punch List

Wheeler Dealers – Porsche 914

I’ll admit to being a fan of the Wheeler Dealers show from the UK that appears on Velocity from time to time. If you haven’t seen it, the two main characters find old cars (“motors”) and try to get them back on the road, trying to sell them for a “profit”. Since they don’t factor any labor costs into the restorations, I find the numbers to be quite fictitious. Ed China, the mechanical miracle-worker, has a garage with a full lift and many specialty tools that are very cost prohibitive for a home mechanic. So I hardly find this show to be the home DIY tutorial that it purports to be. But its great fun to see the classics they source and the love they put into getting them back into fighting shape.

Here’s to finding a “cracking motor” for yourself! Continue reading Wheeler Dealers – Porsche 914

Taking Stock of 914 Parts

The last two days involved getting most of the bits that came with our purchase of the car. The prior owner is a very nice and clearly quite diligent person who carefully acquired the many items needed to convert a 914-4 to a 914-6. Having just watched Van Svenson’s 40+ page tutorial on how to rebuild a 914 motor in gory detail, I’m starting to understand the “signal” that I have much to learn and that real motor work is not for the faint of heart or budget. At least it was a good primer for me to think long and hard about what to do with two 1.7L motors and a 2.7L 911 motor…

Here are the bits that are now stored away. Everything except the 911 motor is present and accounted for.

Air cleaner
Air cleaner
Extra bumper cover (for making fiberglass mold maybe)
Extra bumper cover (for making fiberglass mold maybe)
Center console w/o gauges
Center console w/o gauges
Original steering wheel
Original steering wheel
Metal bit, not sure what it is for
Metal bit, not sure what it is for
Exhaust
Exhaust
Metal bar, no idea what for yet
Metal bar, no idea what for yet
Shifter and cable tunnel?
Shifter and cable tunnel?
Bumper grills with fog light holes (no fog lights)
Bumper grills with fog light holes (no fog lights)
Chassis stiffening kit
Chassis stiffening kit
Stock torsion bars
Stock torsion bars
Rear hub
Rear hub
Shift cable reinforcement
Shift cable reinforcement
19mm master cylinder from 911 (yay, brakes!)
19mm master cylinder from 911 (yay, brakes!)
Steel rocker panels (the plastic ones on the car used to get cracked in shipping cars from the factory)
Steel rocker panels (the plastic ones on the car used to get cracked in shipping cars from the factory)
Side window glass
Side window glass
A-arms
A-arms
914-6 motor mounts
914-6 motor mounts
914-6 motor mounts (inside box)
914-6 motor mounts (inside box)
914-6 cheesehead for engine cooling (?)
914-6 cheesehead for engine cooling (?)
Various bits
Various bits
Rear glass
Rear glass
911 front suspension, rotors, brakes
911 front suspension, rotors, brakes
Extra transaxle
Extra transaxle
1.7L motor (may have been rebuilt but origin unknown)
1.7L motor (may have been rebuilt but origin unknown)
Back of 1.7L motor
Back of 1.7L motor
6-cylinder headers with heat exchangers
6-cylinder headers with heat exchangers
Half shafts (have 4 total)
Half shafts (have 4 total)
Clutch assembly
Clutch assembly
Steering spacer (needed to gain clearance with 911 front suspension bits)
Steering spacer (needed to gain clearance with 911 front suspension bits)
Boxes of fasteners
Boxes of fasteners
Front end stuff - wheel bearings, axles, steering boots, tie rods
Front end stuff – wheel bearings, axles, steering boots, tie rods
Tie rods
Tie rods
Wheel bearings and bolts
Wheel bearings and bolts
More bolts
More bolts
Axles for 5 lug conversion
Axles for 5 lug conversion
6" and 7" Fuchs wheels (best wheels ever!)
6″ and 7″ Fuchs wheels (best wheels ever!)
Sweet mother of lots of parts. Generator, intake bits, gauge housing, tin bits, wires, oil cooler, door handles (inner), and more!
Sweet mother of lots of parts. Generator, intake bits, gauge housing, tin bits, wires, oil cooler, door handles (inner), and more!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Nearly forgot two headlights (confirmed to work) and a pile of articles, books, and 914-specific documents. The second one on top caught my eye immediately – how to fix the shift feel of the 914 so it is crisp! Looks like I have some work to do.

 

Originality Is Fleeting

When we picked up our little 1973 Porsche 914, she looked remarkably good and fairly correct. I was having misgivings about her potential to become a track car or a 914-6 replicar. Even with steel flares and a 2.7 911 motor in hand, I was having trouble with the idea of molesting a fairly nice, original car.

As I poked and prodded, photographed and documented the car, I got the feeling she is not quite as original as I thought at first.  Continue reading Originality Is Fleeting