I bought this as a "catch and release" car - complete, running, in good shape, with the intent to enjoy it for a few years and then move it along. Now's the time. 1973-and-a-half saw the introduction of CIS electronic fuel injection for the 911; 1973 is the last year of the "long-nose" body style favored by many (it also introduced the large rubber bumper overriders, which aren't so great, but are easily swapped if you feel like it). It's been great fun.
It seems that most of these cars have been molested in some way - hot-rodded with a 3.2 motor or cut up to make a cosmetic "clone" of the 2.7 RSR (usually without the engine and suspension bits that really make those cars interesting). What attracted me to this car is that it is exceedingly original. It gave me the opportunity to experience the car as the factory intended: I was too young to buy one new, but I've now had the chance to live with it as it might have been then.
Of course, that's both good and bad. Good: lots of power (for the day), light weight, bulletproof CIS injection, relatively skinny tires that make it fun to toss in the corners, the wonderful Targa setup (in my opinion, the perfect solution for open-air motoring). Bad: questionable weather sealing, an imaginative electrical system, barely adequate HVAC (the aftermarket VPC air conditioning was supposedly much better than the factory's attempts, but neither was what we expect today), the finest in monaural FM radio.
I'm the fourth owner. I don't have a Kardex or COA, and I don't know if the engine number matches because I've never felt motivated to remove the a/c compressor to find out. I can't imagine why it wouldn't. No, the tensioners haven't been upgraded. I haven't ever heard the rattle. If I were going to do the upgrade, I wouldn't go to hydraulics because they will be so glaringly non-original looking; my inclination would be to use the "911SC solution", which involves going to the "new" chain guides -- five of the taller black guides, one of the original brown, instead of what is there now (all brown) -- plus going to the wider double-bushed chain tensioner idler arm with the corresponding narrower chain tensioners. There are SCs running in that configuration with over 300K miles on them.
I bought it from Stan Hanks, who some
might remember from the Porschephiles list of old. He told me:
"Story is that a school teacher and her engineer husband were on vacation in Montana in the early 80s and saw this car with a for sale sign at a restaurant. They ate, and when they came out it was gone. They drove around town for most of the day before finding it again, buying it from the original owner, and driving it home to Portland where it lived the rest of its life. It was her car, her baby, for years. She retired from teaching school in 2002 and decided to sell it because she was moving back to Minnesota to be closer to family. She couldn't bear to subject the car to that.
I bought it via a car broker who was handling the transaction as a favor to the seller. I wasn't really in the market, but it was really nice, and it was a pretty easy decision once I got the full inspection done."
I have Stan's records, but nothing before then.
As it turned out, I ended up doing a moderate amount of work:
ELECTRICAL: Rebuilt alternator, new solid-state voltage regulator. Added relays and circuit breaker for headlights (wired through original fuses). Added driving lights using brackets similar to the factory foglamp brackets, using the factory harness and a proper round relay. Added a circuit breaker under the dash for the instrument panel lights. All of the electrical changes can be returned to stock, if someone wants to, but these are, for the most part, safety improvements over the factory's marginal wiring harness.
CIS: 1973-and-a-half means that it's a CIS car. It started hard cold, so I replaced the fuel pressure accumulator - that did the trick. Everything else about the original fuel injection system works fine, and I haven't felt the need to mess with it.
BRAKES: All new hydraulics: master cylinder, calipers, hoses.
TRUNK: New carpet and seals.
TOP: New upper windshield seal - this is the proper "old school" shape as reproduced by Cars Inc., so it (mostly) doesn't leak. New side seals, trimmed to fit properly.
INTERIOR: Cocoa mats, just because I love the look. The car came with the original wheel and touring seats; I installed Recaro KRS seats and a Momo "prototipo". The Recaros have been removed and sold, but I will give the buyer right of first refusal on the Momo. Photos show it in both guises.
MISC: Replaced inner speedo cable and speedo boot, replaced the wearing parts in the shift linkage, rebuilt the pedal assembly, replaced the accelerator pedal.
The engine has been running fine. I did most of the repairs and upgrades; Tom Amon of Mobile Works West has done the ongoing maintenance while I've had the car. The transmission is running Swepco.
This is one of the most original, unmolested, un-messed-with examples of this era that I've ever seen. Just shy of 79,000 miles. It appears to be an older, well-done respray of the original Oxford blue paint. It still has the factory undercoating! No, it's not perfect, but it's a 36 year old car! It's a veteran of the California Melee and the Snowball 500. Restore it, or just drive it. Seems like a shame to hotrod it, but you could do that, too.
Again: it's not perfect. The right buyer for this car will recognize that this car has some cosmetic issues that will need to be dealt with eventually - but not immediately. If you want a fully restored car, look elsewhere. If you want a really great tourer that is very original, and can deal with the patina that comes with a car this old that didn't leave the factory with galvanized sheet metal, then let's talk. (Yes, that means rust. There are no "rust free" 911s before the '77 model. What this car is typical, not that bad, and non-structural.)
If you're interested send me mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (650) 326 6350.