Like most car projects this one started out innocently enough. We bought this 89 Carrera from a customer with the plan of cleaning it up a little and reselling it. The car had 61,000 original miles and was in good running condition with just a few rock chips in the front bumper. A couple of days later I noticed the right fender, which had been previously painted, did not color match the rest of the car very well. Since the car was going to the paint shop I decided that we should remove the engine and gearbox to inspect the clutch. Removing the drivetrain quickly moved into removing the cylinder heads to inspect the valve guides. When we discovered that the valve guides were out of spec I wondered what condition the pistons and cylinders were in, they were found to be with-in spec but toward the end of their specified wear limits. So there I was, on top of that mountain, looking at how nice and original everything was on this car. No rust, never hit, 75% original paint - all it needed was a little clean-up. So follow us on our journey, a journey that no man should ever, under any circumstances, share with his wife!
One of the first things we did was to remove the engine and gearbox to perform an engine out service and check the clutch. Everything was in decent condition but I decided that since the engine was out that I would clean everything and replace all the gaskets and seals I could easily get to. That was a slippery slope, soon I had the heads off to check the valve guides. When it was found that the exhaust guides were worn out I sent them off for a complete rebuild including new valves and valve springs.
One thing led to another and before I knew it I had the entire engine taken apart. The thought being that I did not want to have a good looking engine that had oil leaks. The picture shows the engine coming back together. We replaced all bearings, gaskets, seals, and timing chains. The connecting rods were reconditioned and assembled with new Raceware rod bolts, the crank was checked, polished and measured, and the oil pump was inspected.
I did not want to be a cheap skate so I replaced the Pistons and Cylinders with original Mahle parts. Even though the old ones were still useable it just did not make sense to leave them, by this time everything we were doing to the car was pushing us to make everything as good as possible. One problem all 3.2 liter engines have is that the original head studs are known to break, we replaced the head studs with new Raceware studs.
The cylinder heads are a very important part of the engine and we replaced all the valves, valve springs, and the valve guides. The heads were reconditioned on a precision CNC Newen machine. All the exhaust studs were removed, time serted, then we installed new exhaust studs. The assembly of the engine requires alot of time and patinence, but the bottom line is that the engine is only as good as the machine work.
Here is a picture of the engine ready to install. All the sheet metal was stripped to bare metal, epoxy primered and power coated. All the brackets and hardware were either replated or replaced. The fuel lines on top of the engine were replaced. Fuel injectors were flow tested. Everything looking nice, clean and original.
The gearbox is an often overlooked part of the car, until it fails. After the gearbox was completely disassembled, cleaned, and inspected it was assembled and all the critical measurements were set with specialized Porsche factory tools. All the synchos were replaced, the pinion shaft four point bearing, differential bearings, all gaskets-seals-shims, and other misc. parts. Although no major problems were found it is still nice to know the gearbox will be in perfect working order for many years.
The rear suspension was removed from the car and all parts were cleaned, the spring plates were replated and the rubber bushings replaced with the Elephant racing rubber bushings and the rear wheel bearing were replaced. In addition all the hardware was replaced and during assembly we used an anti-sieze lubricant on all the fasteners to protect against any corrosion in the future.
The front suspension was also removed from the car, stripped, epoxy primered and powder coated. New Elephant Racing rubber bushings were installed, new Bilstein strut inserts, new ball joints, and all the hardware was replaced. It was definitely a little over-kill to restore the suspension this way but since the rest of the car was headed in the same direction it only made since to do everything the right way.
When the car came back from the paint shop it was beautiful. There was no paint work on the under-carriage, it is all original and was only cleaned up. Everything was removed from the bottom of the car, A/C lines, oil lines, etc. It really became a fun project at this point, the car was super clean and every part/bracket/nut and bolt going back on the car was either cleaned, restored, or replaced.
How many new parts can you spot in this picture? Oil lines, brake caliper ( all four replaced), brake rotor ( all four replaced), new shock ( all four replaced), misc brakets and hardware. Our goal was to make it look like it did back in 1989 and get the car ready for many more years of enjoyment.
Engine and gearbox about to be installed. The rear of the car was looking great, for the most part everything you see on the rear of the are original parts that were carefully cleaned, we did replace the rear tail light lenses, which had not yet been installed. There is alot of work to get the project to this point, but quite alot of work left to actually get the car fully ready for the road. At this point you really want to drive the car but there were many more hours of work before that would happen.
When I look at the car in this nearly finished state I start to forget about how long it took or how much it cost, everything is starting to make sense. All the details are now hidden behind the red paint and the black rubber smile under the front hood. Many years ago I was told that the 911 is the only car that is smiling at you when you look at it from the front - that smile still makes me smile.
The interior just needed a little clean-up. Perfect dash, original carpets, just how it should be.
This picture is an example of what we do. It is not about what other people say, not about what other people see; sometimes it is just how it makes you feel when you look at what has been accomplished.
No paintwork in the trunk, all original, just cleaned up. Never any accidents. Normally this view is hidden behind the black velour carpeting. Soon the carpeting will go back in and hide all these wonderful details.
More details looking up into the right front fender well and the oil cooler. Ready to start getting dirty again!