1973 1/2 Porsche 911T
Adventure and Misadventures
How it all began...
It was a spring day in March of 1974 when I heard a noise coming around the corner of the street I lived on in Gulfport, MS. I was out playing in the driveway with the hose when my father pulled up in his new car. The new car was a 1973 1/2 911T sunroof coupe. The car it replaced was a 1968 Cougar XR7 with the S-Code 390 and Shelby heads. I thought it was nice, and it certainly was an attractive car, but I guess my father thought it was time to move on. My father owned the Porsche until Katrina paid a visit to the Mississippi Coast on August 29th, 2005.
The Porsche was parked in its respective spot alongside my father's Morgan Plus 8 when things got nasty. He was out of town at the time and lives about a block off the beach. Most everyone has seen pictures of the storm's devastation, and they certainly don't lie. I was actually the first one to make it to the house about five days after the storm. Thanks to satellite high resolution photography I knew the house still stood, but didn't know the extent of the damage.
When I reached the home there was flotsam everywhere. Parts of neighboring houses, parts of the beach walk, and parts of everything else lined the driveway. Luckily the house is located on the northwestern corner of the circle and the waters came in from the southeast. In between the house and the southeast section were houses to act a bit like a dam so the water did reach the house and the car, but not nearly as bad as it could have been. Many of the house on the other side were gone or severely damage. However, I thought the car was probably a total loss. It looked fine, but salt water is an evil thing that can destroy just about anything.
My father had been through Hurricane Camille in 1969 (the worst storm to hit the continental U.S. up till Katrina) and this was the final blow. He gave me the car which up until recently had been always kept in immaculate condition. Recently a few things needed to be addressed, but I feared that Katrina would turn it into a big pile of red rust. The engine and transmission were surely shot, and the costs of restoration would certainly outweigh any sentimentality I had for the car. However, I really didn't relish the thought of sending it off to the crusher or being sold at auction. The insurance company did total the car, but I sent out feelers on the internet to people who were familiar with these cars and asked them their opinions.
I got responses that ranged from "run... don't walk" to just change the oil and see what happens. It was about then that I got a message from a Porsche owner in Alabama who said I should speak to someone he knew who lived down on the Coast. I thought, sure I'll talk to him. Well, this guy knew Porsches and was actually familiar with the car. He agreed to take it to his new shop a couple hours north of the Coast (he too had grown tired of being blown away) and check it out.
A week or so later he reported that the car was in remarkably good shape. Certain things did need to be addressed to save the car. He mixed up a cocktail of double-secret ingredients and sprayed it in the crevices to thwart rust. The 911 got a new clutch and throw-out bearing as the t/o bearing was making some noise. But shockingly the engine and transmission were free of salt water. All essential fluids were changed, and while water did get into the car to the tune of about three inches, the luckiest thing was that the carpets were out of the car at the time!
The car came to Atlanta in October 2005, and made the six hour trip without a hick-up. I ran it in a rally in early November at spirited speeds and once again without an issue. In the past year or so I haven't done anything since tucking the car away in my garage. The car does need plenty of attention, and I'm formulating my list right now.
Mechanical and other work will be covered and detailed as it occurs. Please feel free to drop me an email about any tips or tricks as I've got a lot of ground to cover to get up to speed.
That's it for now,