On Thursday I made a little a visit to Historika to check on the status of #503. The car is still in metalwork but that is nearing completion now. The 100 litre fuel tank is almost finished fabrication too.

  

The all important #503 markings on inner dash and on rear deck are all present and correct, which is a nice touch. Some parts needed more work than others but it’s very straight despite having a slight crunch in the front at some point during its history. The hood has a lot of bondo – something that lots of American cars suffer from, but Historika are on top of the case and sorting it out.

 
The Sports Purpose direction has led me to add a rear cage and Schroth harness. The cage means I won’t be able to get both boys in the back – but the cage is an important addition for safety and overall aesthetic. The rear parcel shelf is mostly new…
  
The rear deck lid has had the traditional hinges removed and 911R external hinges added. Such a nice detail.

  
The Weber carbs have been completely reconditioned and they were returned last week. They look so good. Engineering art.

 

The engine is in the engine bay and needs a REALLY good clean. I would estimate that there’s 25 years of grime there as that was when Andial rebuilt this matching numbers power unit. The gaskets look hideous too – not a genuine Porsche part that’s for sure. All this will be sorted by Historika though, so I’m very relaxed. After the clean, it’ll get a major service and should then be good to drop back in.

  
Just today, we’ve been talking to Seattle Speedometers about a partnership with Club Mulholland. That partnership will allow us to provide completely bespoke dials for our builds and members cars. The first test piece will be for this SWB – CMR001. This piece of branding will be added to the original period-correct dash clock. The Heuer detail will be nice as it’ll match the pair of Heuer dash clocks that are being fitted as part of the build – it’ll also have the Heuer branding on the outside of the car.

  
This final image is a quick render of how the SWB will look when completed. Scheifergrau is the colour. Hoping it’ll be ready by late July as there’s stay her fine event later in the year that she needs to be at!

Okay, so this post is a bit of a proud Dad moment, so you may want to pass…

On Good Friday at Easter, my eldest son Bailey (aged 9), had his first ever karting experience at Daytona in MK. The circuit was a little damp, and he came – well, last. That said, he set a fastest lap of 33.638, which was only 2.5s off the fastest time and he managed 18 laps. This was just to see whether he liked it – and he did. He really liked it. 

 

A few days later, on Easter Monday, I took him for his second try. The weather was better and we’d had a chat about what a ‘racing-line’ is. Yeah, yeah, pushy Dad…

Well, it worked… He was faster. Much faster. His fastest lap was fourth fastest of the day with a 28.491 and he came second overall with 24 laps. His best lap was just 1.3s behind the fastest time – done by a girl with all the gear who has been doing this for many years. The winning boy – who did one more lap – was 5 years older. The improvement in just a few days was impressive. His lap time had improved by a very massive 5.1 seconds!

  

His third time trying karting came today. He hasn’t been for two weeks and the weather was far colder, so I was expecting his best lap to be nearer the 29.0s. That didn’t phase him though and he certainly did an excellent job of proving me wrong.

  

To cut a 15 minute session to just a few sentences, he came first. His lines were better, his confidence had grown. All in all he did 31 laps and his fastest lap was a truly brilliant 24.382. That’s another improvement – of 4.1 seconds.

In the space of two weeks and three sessions, Bailey has knocked 9.25 seconds off his lap time and gone from 8th to 1st. His confidence his high and he’s learning a great deal – and whilst he’s trying hard at school I’m willing to keep giving him this opportunity to see where this goes. He’s been offered a full-days training at the next half-term which would allow him to race properly. We shall have to see…

And today, inspired by his big brother, little Isaac had a try at karting too. He’s only 6 years old though, so he had to pass a ‘Bambino Module 1’ test first. He’s never fast – he’s slow at cleaning his room; teeth; getting dressed; leaving for school… the opposite to Bailey who is always racing to be first. Wasn’t expecting Isaac to be very good to be honest, but he did great too – passing his test first time out. Well done son! This could get very expensive…

   

 

The new Porsche GT4 is being hailed by the automotive press as one of the finest cars that Porsche produce. A beautifully balanced mid-engined Cayman that has had a heart transplant from the 911. A 3.8 litre flat-6. With many shared parts from the big-brother GT3, this is a car that every Porsche enthusiast wants.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to say that I will be getting one of these GT4’s. I have had my LOI (Letter Of Interest) in for over 1 year for this car. I was the first name down at my OPC.

Porsche 918 Spyder owners have been given first refusal on all Weissach developed cars – GT4 and GT3 RS. That means that three 918 owners at OPC Solihull will get their cars before me – and my car will now be delivered in October. However, my spec has the carbon-backed bucket seats, and that means I will have to wait a further 8 weeks for the car – sometime in December. It’s a long time to wait for a car that I specced yesterday…

That said, I may as well wait until 01 January for the GT4 so that it is a ‘2016’ car. And then it struck me. My Porsche 911 SWB is a 1966 car. It was registered on 01 January 1966 so it will be exactly 50 years old on 01 January 2016 – the same day I want my GT4 to be registered.

  

Both of these lightweight sports-purpose cars share many common traits – the GT4 is a Motorsport developed car, as was my 911 SWB – being developed by ANDIAL Motorsport in the USA. I have therefore decided to spec my rebuild of the 911SWB in a similar way to the GT4 with a colour change from silver to Schiefergrau – the same grey that Steve McQueen specced his own 911S. What better birthday present for the old car?

  

Historika are currently working on the 911SWB and it should be ready at some point next month – hopefully in time for Le Mans in June, when I will take it to the chateau that McQueen lived in when filming Le Mans.  

The SWB will be better than new. The job Historika are doing is simply sublime. I think I’ll have the best pair of Porsches you could hope for, but then again I could be a little biased… 

Separated by 50 years. Exactly.

Porsche celebrated their own 50th birthday with two grey Porsches too. I think I need to start planning a birthday party. Who wants to come?  

 

Seeing the chaps at Historika can be a bad thing. Late last month I went to the Silverstone Classic to see Historika competing their early 911 – unfortunately they were having some mechanical issues… And so was I having driven my SWB to the circuit that weekend. On the way there, the brakes needed pumping and on the way back the oil pressure was playing up. These things are normal on old cars, but rare on mine. Maybe it was a sign? A sign that the old girl deserves a vacation to Historika just outside Ipswich maybe?

After a chat with Nick at Historika today, we agreed that they will come and collect #503 before I go on the Club Mulholland Italian Grantour. So what am I going to do? Well, the bodywork and respray will be done in a few months – so these will be interim works and improvements.

I’m a big fan of the 1967 911R, so many influences from there are going to make their way on to #503 – perspex rear window with external support struts; 911R rear deck lid hinges that open fully; black mesh for engine grille and rear 911R lights.

I’m looking at a Capristo exhaust system for the Porsche Spyder which will improve sound and performance, so I can hardly leave the little SWB out. I will be taking some advice from Historika, but I want a twin-pipe historic racing Porsche system with a non-tarnishing Ceramic coating in factory grey – which should take the sound up to around 120dB!

Finally, the engine will get some real TLC, full service and tune up. The carbs will also get rebuilt. And, if there’s time, I’d like to get the central fuel filler fitted. The 911R front bumper probably won’t go on until the respray. The Fuchs will probably be left here and I’ll get Neil Bainbridge at BS Motorsport to do those – traditional finish or satin black? Decisions, decisions.

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You may remember that several years ago I commissioned James Paterson to paint me a film-poster style painting of Steve McQueen with his Porsche 917 from the film, Le Mans. That painting has been with me for two years and secretly waiting for its companion to be completed. Its companion, is Ayrton Senna. Commissioned at the same time, I wanted a second painting to compliment the McQueen one showing Senna driving the yellow Porsche 956 at the Nordschleife – my favourite driver, one of my favourite cars on my favourite track. Also, not that many people know that Senna partnered with Pescarolo and Johansson in 1984 to drive the Porsche.

As I’ve said that was over two years ago – I was hoping to have this piece by September 2012. James is incredibly busy, so I knew this was going to be a while coming, but it’s now finished and ready to be shared on here… And it was worth the wait.

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I don’t know what you think of it, but I’m thrilled. The yellow of Senna’s famous lid and the yellow of the car make for a brilliant negative space. The design and composition is mine, but the masterful artwork is 100% James Paterson’s. Hopefully it will arrive soon and find it’s place hanging in the hallway next to Steve McQueen – at 40″ tall I can’t wait to see them together.

If you haven’t seen the McQueen one, I’ve included that below. Having just put the two image side by side, I wanted to say I love that both McQueen and Senna appear to be looking in the same direction, at the same thing. A happy accident.

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Just over a week ago I picked the SWB up from Historika. It had been with them for around 10 weeks to have various bits and pieces done. Upon closer inspection, it became clear that the bodywork was not going to be a small patch-up job. Estimated at 150 hours bodywork required, we agreed we would postpone that element until winter 2014. Reason was simple, Historika have a lot of bodywork on and they couldn’t fit it in until May – that meant not having the car for the GRRC 72nd Members Meeting and missing out on driving it all summer.

The agreement is that we would do a remedial list of modifications that will increase my enjoyment of the car for this summer – and it’ll go back to Historika in the winter when it would normally be hibernating anyway.

So what was part of ‘Phase 1’?
Quite small elements that would not be effected by bodywork. The list was as follows:
– fitment and colour matching of Cibié spotlights
– fitment of new black Rennline foot plates on driver and passenger sides
– fitment of reconditioned original dash clock
– change Motorsport hood crest to original period correct piece
– new Recaro S front seats in leather
– 911R louvred rear side windows

‘Phase 2’ is slightly more involved:
– 150 hours bodywork
– complete respray
– centre-fill fuel tank
– replace 911S front bumper for 911R original item
– new lightweight RS carpets throughout
– retrim rear seat pads

In between I am also going to give the car to Parr Motorsport to give it an overhaul and service in terms of the engine etc.

It’s great to have the car back, really missed it. And having just returned from the 72nd Members Meeting at Goodwood, I’m pleased to say the car didn’t miss a beat and was pretty well received…

Roll on a summer of fun and driving before the car goes back to Historika to be made utterly perfect. In my eyes anyway.

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The week over Christmas has been a busy one. First, a deal was done on a brand new Panamera. I had a deposit down on the new Macan, but despite early interest my enthusiasm for this new model has waned – it looks a little bit small, almost like a hatchback. I need a new daily driver that comfortably fits four adults and has a reasonable amount of power. I dropped an email in to my OPC (Porsche Solihull) to see what was happening on the new Panamera…

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Just over a week later they had sourced me an unregistered, brand new Panamera in the exact spec I wanted plus a few other bits such as a sunroof. A fabulous deal was done and I had a new daily driver. It arrived in the UK on 17th December, was shipped to OPC Solihull on 22nd and I collected on Christmas Eve. All happened very quickly, but I’m very pleased with the big Porsche so far.

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On the 27th December I readied the 911 SWB for its trip to Ipswich in East Anglia – the HQ of early Porsche Specialist, Historika. I made the decision earlier in the year to put the SWB in for some modifications and improvements… After getting some initial quotes, I decided to give the work to Historika. Run by an enthusiastic father/son team, they are probably the top specialists in the UK for SWB 911s.

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Timing is great, as I wouldn’t be using the car very much over the next two months. As for what I’m having done, here’s a rough list:

– engine overhaul
– carburettor service
– complete service
– bodywork tidying on a few spots of bubbling
– centre filled fuel tank
– 911R metal front bumper
– lexan 911R rear side windows with louvres
– handmade leather Recaro S sport seats with houndstooth
– retrimmed rear seat pads in matching leather and houndstooth detail
– new original dash clock that actually works
– bonnet mounted Cibié spotlights
– Rennline foot plates
– original 1960’s 911 bonnet badge

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Can wait to get it back in March. It means the some of the parts Magnus Walker fitted are being replaced and will therefore be for sale – the seats, runners and 911S front bumper being the main things. Watch out for those on eBay soon!

The drive to Ipswich was an absolute joy, I know I’m going to miss the SWB badly but at the same time I think it’ll be a big improvement when it does finally get back. Perhaps seeing the car in next months issue of GT Porsche magazine will help – the feature they’ve done is 7 pages long so I’m looking forward to seeing that!