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1977 Porsche 924
|July 5, 2017 - Not Much Change - Every now and then, I spot one of my former cars somewhere - today the Porsche showed up on eBay Still in Virginia Beach, and showing only ten more miles on the odometer. Based on the ad text, I think it got parked and had next to nothing done to it and then has sat for the intervening four years.
|November 30, 2013 - And GONE!!!! - I took the Porsche around the block again today - once she warms up, she goes great. But one of the front tires is going bad - I can hear and feel it. I also discovered that the cooling fan is jammed due to the warped radiator. Needs to be pulled and straightened. The car needs a Warm Up Regulator to drive properly. There is a lot adding up here - nothing major, and sadly, mostly due to the guy who stored it. He flattened the tires, which broke the belts. He towed it from the fan bracket and ruined the condenser and bent the radiator and fan. The car is solid, pretty, and coming together in amazing time, but with no garage space and winter knocking on the door, I listed it on Craig's list today and sold it in a matter of hours. I basically got ll my money back out of it - good enough, and the guy got a very good deal. It was either sell it now, or start the slippery slope of fixing everything up. Where do you stop? The new owner is a Porsche novice like me, but is looking forward to playing with it. I have no regrets at all - it was fun to get it going again, and I got to drive it. Quite frankly, it wasn't really comfortable for me - the head room is a bit tight. Anyway. no longer an issue!
November 23, 2013 - Running and Driving! - One day short of a month since we dragged the Porsche out of the field, I drove it around the block. I ended up having to buy a battery, but that was after she started up on the the old Hyundai battery (too tall for the hood to close over). It still needs some tinkering, of course, but everything except for the fuel gauge works. This includes the clock and Alpine radio/cassette! No smoke from the tailpipe, and it feels strong and smooth once it warms up. The oil drain plug is stuck, which thwarted plans to change the oil today, and I don't think the cooling fans are coming on. Still, minor stuff to worry about. You can see and hear it run on YouTube here:
|November 21, 2013 - Ready to Go! - The new fuel pump arrived yesterday, and other than being shiny and clean, it was a perfect match for the old one. The mounting clamp was pretty bad, so I got some new ones and put it all together tonight. It was getting late, and since the car is outside, I didn't want to be working on it as folks went to bed. With all the underside work done, I took it off the jackstands. I'll wait until Saturday for the last steps - running the pump to flush the lines, installing the fuel filter, and seeing if this car will start!
|November 16, 2013 - Putrid Pump/Mounted Mirror - After troubleshooting the electrical system, I finally determined that the pump itself is locked up from old fuel. I can feel it kick when power is first applied, but it doesn't move. I took it off in hopes of cleaning it and getting it going, but the ground wire post (circled) was rusted and snapped off. So I have a new one on the way for $45 including shipping! I took care of some small jobs as well - found a hood prop clip at O'Reilly's Auto, and picked up an adhesive kit to reinstall the rear view mirror. The mirror mount fell off two weeks ago when I tried to adjust the mirror - common issue with windshield-mounted mirrors. The process is easy, but you need to make sure you don't take shortcuts or it will fall off again. I marked the outside to show where the mount was located, scraped off the old glue patch, cleaned both the glass and mount button with alcohol, and put the primer and glue on the button as noted in the instructions. You have to clean off the old adhesive on both the mirror mount and glass or it will not hold. The Porsche has to wait for the fuel pump now. Hard to believe it's only been 3 weeks since I brought the car home!
|November 10, 2013 - Brakes! - No luck with the fuel system, though I did determine that the fuel pump is not getting power. Next comes jumping the solenoid and seeing if that works, but the battery got too low to continue. I left it on charge, and got the brakes to come up to full pedal! That was a big relief - even if they go down again, I should have very little to do to repair the system. I cleaned the wheels and tires and checked underneath. Front brakes look like they were new, and the suspension struts also look like they were replaced. Looks like another week before I can get the car going, though. Still, not bad progress for just over 2 weeks!
|November 9, 2013 - Little Progress - I've been traveling a lot for business and haven't had time to do much of anything on the 924. I have two correct fuel filters in hand now, and have installed new gas struts for the rear hatch. I also got in another taillight assembly for the passenger side to replace the damaged one. No luck checking the fuel pump - I need to get her back end up in the air to get access to the power contacts. Little stuff coming in - I have showroom sales folders, a Martini and Rossi Edition keychain coming all the way from England, and a few other odds and ends. Cheap stuff, but it adds up. Guess I should focus on getting the car running!
|October 27, 2013 - Good News, Bad News, Good News - Today was disappointing, but not all bad. I got the fuel system cleaned out (good), but the fuel filter that everyone had was the wrong one so I had to order it (bad). However, the battery actually took a charge can cranked the car, which was an unexpected bonus (very good). Only to find the fuel pump isn't coming on - [possibly a sticking relay (bad). The cranks well and all the electronics appear to be working, including the hideaway headlights and the Alpine AM/FM cassette, which started playing a cassette tape! So far the goods outweigh the bad. The new fuel filter will be in Tuesday, and I will check the relay tomorrow.
|October 26, 2013 - Fuelish Mistake - The Porsche was stored back in 2002, and mostly ignored until it was sold and driven to a different garage on the then 6-year old gas. It still had a little over 5 gallons of what USED to be gasoline in the tank. Happily, it seems to still be mostly in fuel state. that is, there was no gum, no residue, and no rust present in the gas I drained out today. However, it STANK! The system is designed for easy access, with a fuel line from the bottom center of the tank and the electric fuel pump just a few inches away, connected by a rubber line. I flushed the tank out with some clean gas, and plan to flush the lines and pump tomorrow. The injectors are all easy to access with the rubber air intake removed. Add a new filter and plugs, and she should be ready to start. Fingers crossed!
|October 25, 2013 - Cleaning Up - I spent most of today cleaning the inside and engine bay. With the dirt and algae off, the left rear quarter paint turned out to be somewhat damaged, either by poor prep or chemicals of some sort. It's not all that visible and some careful polish should bring it out some. The carpet cleaned up pretty well, and the engine bay looks better. The dash is probably cracked, with a Coverlay over it that looks good. The car is not perfect by any means, but it is still far better than I had any right to expect. Tomorrow the fuel system cleaning starts.
|October 24, 2013 - The Porsche Patrol! - MG buddy Richard and Cougar Jack and I rode back out to the Eastern Shore today to get the Porsche using Richard's Suburban and enclosed trailer. I was expecting a few disappointments in the brighter light of a sunny day, but it was a nice trip out and ended up with a number of pleasant surprises instead. First of all, the car has a really nice pearlescent white repaint - considerably fancier than the plain white it came with. We got it up into the trailer with relatively little trouble using a come-along and chains. David showed up while we were loading and got me in touch with the original owner, who still lives in the area. He ordered it new from Germany through a local dealer. He said it was the first Martini and Rossi Championship car - have to check that through the serial numbers, I guess. He had a brother who ran a sports car restoration shop, and sometime in the early 1980s the brother did over $1800 of upgrades to 1980 specs as a birthday present. This included the front and rear spoilers, and the rear 'Porsche' filler panel between the taillights. He confirmed that the only known issue with the car was a need to flush the fuel system. I have his name and number and plan to get more of the car's history later. The trip home was uneventful, and we got the car into the driveway with additional help from neighbor. I took everything out of the back, and discovered a new dash cover, the bag for the sunroof panel, and a pair of sheepskin seat covers plus Porsche logo fabric covers. I also found that the car has a full-sized spare instead of the standard space-saver mounted on another of the special white alloy wheels! Next came a good bath with Whitely's Whitewall Cleaner and car wash, which really made a big difference. The car still needs a lot more cleaning, but it looks really good with the accumulated grime and algae knocked off. I have tomorrow off from work, and will continue the cleaning and evaluation, plus first attempts to clear out the old fuel. And I have the battery on charge. Unlikely to work, but it looks good and may have been replaced in 2010. Time to put the car in the portable storage unit and hope for the best in the morning.
|October 19, 2013 - First Look -
A friend in my MG club told me about a $700 Porsche 924 for sale on the
Eastern Shore of Virginia last Wednesday, the night before I left to head
up to Hershey PA and the world's biggest antique car flea market.
He thought it was a 1978 Turbo with a good body and interior that had
been sitting in storage since 2002. It had been put into storage
because the owner had other cars and needed to make room, not because of
any issues with the car. In 2010, he apparently realized the folly
of storing a car and sold it to a friend who got the car going and drove
it to another friend's garage. Sadly, this owner got sick and died
soon afterwards, so the Porsche sat in a shed until about 7 months ago,
when it was finally pushed outside. The owner's widow said to get
rid of it. That friend mentioned the car to my friend, who told me.
OK. Enough history. Hershey turned out to be a wash -
literally. Nine inches of rain in 36 hours, which meant everyone
was closed up, which meant I spent no money. So I came back from
Hershey with some disposable funds left. The Porsche intrigued me
- I had looked at a 1977 Porsche back when they were new and I was an
enlisted first-termer in the Air Force. The dealership in
Victorville, California had a black on black 924 demonstrator that they
would sell me for $8000 - it was an $11,000 car at the time. I
test drove it and was blown away by its looks and performance.
They offered a good trade in on my 1975 Fiat 128. Between that and
the reenlistment bonus I would get if I re-upped I could afford the car.
BUT - I was under 25 and even in the middle of the Mojave Desert,
insurance on a Porsche was $1600 a year. I could afford the car,
not the insurance! That ended my Porsche fantasy.
Fast WAY forward to today, when I finally made the 100-mile trek to look at the 'barn find' Porsche. I was not expecting much, despite descriptions. However, the car turned out to be amazing! While the description was not completely accurate, pretty much everything was for the better. It's a 1977 Porsche 924 non-turbo Martini & Rossi Special Edition (2,000 built) custom-ordered from the factory with front and rear spoilers. This is the first limited-edition 924 made, and had special white alloy wheels, a special red and black interior, leather-wrapped steering wheel, anti-roll bars, tinted glass, and rear window defroster. This car was custom-ordered with front and rear spoilers and A/C. The car appears to have no dings or dents, the paint looks excellent, there was only one fingernail-sized rust bubble under the paint over the trim strip in one spot, the interior is very clean and showed no rips or tears. The tires all look good and are supposed to be about 6 years old with very few miles on them. It has the owners manual and the original luggage compartment cover. I was able to turn the engine easily by hand, and it looks complete and unmolested under the hood. While a 78 turbo would be marginally more valuable, it would also be far more complex and more expensive to fix. The left side faced the woods and had a coating of algae that will clean off. There were also wasps in the engine compartment, spiders in the interior, and the fellow I got it from told me he found a snakeskin in it back when he moved it out of the shed. (Optional equipment) We had one mishap - the fellow hooked a tow strap to the cooling fan bracket thinking it was a frame piece and ended up breaking either the AC condenser or a connecting hose - no coolant leaks, so the radiator seems to have survived. The system hissed loudly, so it was still well charged after at least 11 years! Should be an easy fix. Anyway, I passed over $700 and will go back to pick the car up sometime this week or next weekend. Check out the photos below.
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