We originally bought this 1969 911T from Topanga Canyon in Malibu California, it was sold to us from the body shop, as the owner couldn’t afford to finish the project.
The car condition was given as the following;
“Matching number’s 1969 911T, fully stripped, restored and painted, just requires re-building, customer can no longer afford to continue with the project”
At the time it seemed like an ideal candidate for us, all the hard work was done & all we had to do was re-build the car, throw in some modifications and upgrades whilst adding our own twist.
The purchase price was agreed upon, we asked for all the parts that belonged to the car to be put inside it, and make it rolling so it could be easily transported. We arranged collection (turns out the car was now in Compton, CA at the back of a body shop covered in sanding dust). The car was collected and delivered at the docks ready for transport to the U.K.
Arrival, after 2 anticipating months wait, the car arrived at Felixstowe port in the U.K, we arranged an enclosed trailer to collect the vehicle and bring it up to us in Daventry.
The car arrived with us in the morning, during the unloading, it was already obvious the car condition was not as advertised, the boot on the car was so badly rusted there was no internal structure, the car leaned hard to one side and the paint was not the best.
Initially, the car wasn’t touched straight away, we had a quick look through the provided parts and threw out and old GM, Ford & Chevrolet parts that seemed to have been included inside the car, we then pushed it to the back of the unit and contacted a few people to come and look at the shell to see if it needed anything.
The first guy who came to look at working on the shell filled us with hope, he told us what it needed (a lot more than we expected) and what panels we would have to order. With the panels ordered and other parts starting to arrive the excitement was building, but unfortunately, after many false promises and an entire year of waiting, we started to run out of Patience.
The process of finding someone else started all over again, we found another local fabricator who specialised in resurrecting relics, ordered more panels and parts and moved removed the engine ready for the next stage.
Whilst the engine was separated from the car, we thought it would be a good time to blast all of the “crap” from underneath the arches, engine bay. We sprayed our Citrus Cleaner on all of the grimy surfaces and left it for 10-15 minutes to work its magic, we then blasted off years of crud with our Short Trigger and the 15-degree nozzle.
After the shell had been thoroughly cleaned, we attempted to do the same on the engine (although we were a lot more careful with how we blasted the engine)
After removing the engine and pulling it inside we realised how long the car had actually sat for, the engine was complete and rotated freely but a mouse had dragged sound deadening from the engine bay and stuffed it down inside the engine and fan shrouds, it was everywhere.
With the engine out but the shell still moveable, we transported the shell into their workshop ready for the next stage in the process, strip down.
Strip down began, all parts that were non-essential to the repairs needed were removed to gain better access and a better understanding of what would need repairing, this is where the real terror set in, the removal of the suspension, wheels, brakes and body panels exposed a whole heap of new problems, bad repairs, Ill fitted panels, a cubic ton of filler and fibreglass & even more rust.
It was at this point things ground to a halt, the fabricator taking on the work realised the extent of what he was taking on and the time it would take. The project was shelved (literally) and the other projects he had booked in were brought forward to allow a bigger time window for us at the end of the year, unfortunately, that never happened, the car stayed in storage for over a year, and an awkward phone call had to take place.
It was during this time period we had found someone to rebuild our 2.0 911 engine, Angus at Greatworth Classics, we spoke a few times over the phone regarding the condition, spec and what was possible, he knew his stuff and booked a day to pop over and take a look, within a few days he was loading the engine into the back of a T5 and asking for a rough build spec and the route we wanted to take, he spoke about his business, the different departments and that they had, he mentioned his shell shop that builds and restores 911’s shells and that if we needed anything to give him a call.
After a week of deliberation, I gave Angus a call for more information on the shell shop and lead times for builds. He told me of his fabricator and that he was employed solely as that, he didn’t do brakes, he didn’t do engines, he did shells because that’s what he’s good at. The lead time given was less than 6 months, even with the sheer amount of work needed (optimistic I thought) but with that information, I made the decision, bit the bullet and made the call to the previous fabricator to pull the shell and transport it to Greatworth Classics.