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Porsche Classic Restorations

In this episode we take a look at the Classic Restoration Division at Porsche Centre Vancouver. As a classic certified Porsche dealer, Porsche Centre Vancouver is participating in the Porsche Canada Classic Restoration Challenge. The challenge enables every Porsche Centre in Canada to restore and enter a car to be judged as the best restoration in a variety of categories. Porsche Centre Vancouver is building a tribute to the safari classics of the 70s by restoring and modifying a 1977 911 with engine upgrades and rally suspension. We also see some of the other classics they are working which includes a 1965 356 SC which is having the engine and transmission rebuilt.


Hi folks and welcome to Center Lane, I'm Bruce Hitchen. Today we're at Porsche Centre Vancouver and we're going to be taking a look at their classic restoration program. There's a number of cars here that they're working on, one of which belongs to Kim Trowbridge. Now, I featured Kim on previous episodes. He has a 356 and we're going to see that car. They've got the transmission out of it, the engine out of it. They're starting to rebuild that, put it back together. We're also going to be looking at some of the other cars that they're working on. So, if you like this programming, please click 'like' and subscribe to my channel. Let's take a look at the cars.

So, Porsche does have a division called Porsche classic that's based just outside of Stuttgart. Their primary focus is reproducing and remanufacturing parts. So, ensuring that there's a constant supply of parts and any parts that are questioned from dealers or customers are built and available. And then they also have a division where they actually restore customer cars. You know, everything from mechanical and cosmetic in Germany. So that's grown out to trying to have a global presence, is creating a classic division within dealerships so that technicians and dealerships can support and keep classics on the road. By definition for Porsche, to be a classic is for the series to be 10 years out of production. So, the most current car that's a classic would be the 996-911. I'd say the most common that we see in our shop are our 993s and 996s. We certainly do 964s and then you know G-body 911s. We have a few 356 clients. I've got two different restorations ongoing on 356's now and then of course uh you know 944, 928s. We did a 928 restoration that just finished this week. That was probably about the last five or six months. Not every Porsche dealer is what's called a Porsche Classic Partner and that's actually a certification process that we're going through but there's requirements there that you have a certain number of technicians and hoists that are designated towards classic repair and restoration. That your parts team is educated on classic so they can locate the parts. And then even your sales team have experts when it comes to classic cars. So, for our dealership to be classic certified, we have to certify some of our techs through factory training specific to classic. Our parts department...the parts advisors have to go through classic training and get their accreditation. And then our sales team, we also have to do classic training too. We're lucky, we've got some pretty long-term sales team members that have been selling since before the cars were classics too. Most of our classic work, I would say 90 percent of it are client cars...keeping their client cars on the road. Occasionally a client will buy a car that wants us to restore it. A lot of it is just ongoing maintenance of classic cars.

This is the second, the second iteration of the Porsche Canada Classic Restoration Challenge. So, every Porsche Centre in Canada can enter a car. What we decided to do was to kind of do a tribute to the safari classics of the 70s. We've seen, you know, people have been building them. Haven't really seen one in the flesh here in Vancouver. It's something that we're interested in and we just felt like it was really relevant to the life in the Pacific Northwest and life in BC to have a high riding 911 that's a four-season car. Kind of be something unique from what we've seen other dealers build and even what we did in the past.

This engine, it was, it's amazing that it even ran because it was leaking oil from everywhere possible. It looked like it had the timing chains break at one point or come loose because the valves had hit the pistons. There was some damage to the oil pump, the chain housings had been cracked.

So this is refurbished. The air box below it is new, the intake runners are refurbished. Valve covers are new, fan shroud is refurbished. All the hoses on it are new, spark plug wires are new, I think I said, valve covers are new. Cooling fan housing, cooling fan, belts, pulleys, distributor all new. All the hot air ducting that's all new because all that was missing so the car had no heat when we first got it.

You know we've we stripped it right down to the body in white. We had, through our certified collision centre, AutoMind basically did a full, took out every bit of corrosion of the car which wasn't bad. We repainted it. Kept it its factory color which is Grand Prix White. But then where it really gets wild is everything else. So, we've got a full rally suspension from MCS. So basically, the car will end up with about a two and a half-inch higher ride height. We had everything re-machined, everything cleaned up. We've restored what we can but there's a lot of new parts in that car.

These are new, the heat exchangers, clutch, pressure plate are new. Engine wiring is new. All the hoses are new.

So, we have the output shaft of the transmission assembled. Still waiting for a couple parts for the input shaft and to be able to put the rest of it together. So, we have here is a new input shaft, with new bearings, gear and then the rest of the components that are going to go on it are here but we're waiting for one bearing shell that's got to go here which is holding up the process. A new limited slip differential with a new ring gear, and then we have a fifth gear and all the reverse gear components.

So, he initially brought it in for a reseal and some suspension work. The mile...his known mileage was really low, but we sort of had some questions about it and this is part of what we go through when we're going through like a larger restoration. So, we dove a little deeper and we actually were able to source out and find out that the engine was replaced in Germany in 1974. And the mileage was a lot higher so as much as we thought his car had, you know 35,000 kilometers, it probably had about 135 maybe 235. It's been around, but his body is very clean. The interior is perfect. So the current state is…everything was a lot more worn. It needed more than just a reseal.

So this is a Porsche 616 engine out of a 1965 356 SC. Cylinder heads, piston cylinders and then split the crank case and then measure all the internals. Crankshaft, connecting rods, etc, etc. And inspect every, you know, all the components for wear. If the cylinder heads are reusable yeah, they'll get, probably speed blasted, new valve guides, valves, the valve seats machined, if they're reusable. This is the flywheel and then the clutch will mount to it but this flywheel has got worn starter teeth on it so that's going to need to be replaced. You're probably looking at 30 to 40 hours you know, on the transmission, probably another 40 or 50 on the engine.

If you ever go to Zuffenhausen, they'll tell you, you know there's, there's uh no such thing as old Porsches, there's only new drivers. You know there's motivation to keep every single one of these cars on the road. I said 70 percent of Porsches ever built are still on the road. It would be easy for a big shop like ours to stay busy servicing cars all day long because the classics definitely take up productive space. But I think if you look at myself and our technicians and our team, we're all with Porsche because we love Porsche. We love the cars; we're driving enthusiasts and keeping them on the road and seeing them on the road is our primary motivator. Yeah, I mean, kind of look around, I've been pretty lucky in my career of 25 years in automotive and working for quite a few brands. This was the pinnacle to earn this earn the seat here and it's not just about the cars. It's also about the people that drive them. That's the part I like. You know going to a track event and just getting to know people and just sharing the passion of cars. You know, I can talk cars all day long, which I do.

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