Ferdinand Magazine’s Early Porsche 911 Project

I’ve had a longhood Porsche 911 T for a while now and have been to and fro on selling it or keeping it. My business plans for the next two years leave almost no project time, so I’m getting close to selling and letting someone else have the fun of building it up.

A friend of mine is looking at building a period competition car and has been in search of inspiration. It seems to me that a good way to go with the RS-arched T would be towards a Carrera RS, an ST or Le Mans GT category car, like the version successfully raced by Porsche devotees Raymond Touroul and Andre Anselme at Le Mans in 1971.

I know Touroul’s was white, but I would keep the Gemini Blue base and apply some wild race paint – like the Audemars car we all drooled over at the 2008 Classic Le Mans.

I love the look of short wheelbase 911s but, as Paul Frere rightly points out, the long wheelbase B series has always been a much better proposition for competition tuning. My car, a ’71 T, has a 2.2E engine in unknown fettle but with MFI and allegedly rebuilt not long ago. That is a nice base to start with. Alternatively, the rules also allow carbs to be used, so it could run Weber 46s. OK, neither way is easy or cheap but with 10.3 compression it’s pretty hot.

The engine would be the dearest part of the work. Some bits can go but some can stay and that helps keep costs manageable. The cars used by Larousse and Waldegard to 1-2 the 1970 Tour de France are another inspiration, particularly as they are/were punchy but mega light (250/260 bhp in under 800 kilos) with plastic front ends. I love these pics by Larousse himself (borrowed from the Sportcar Racing Website). Again I think Gemini with silver, green and purple Tour de France-type graphics would look top notch.

Suspension and brakes were relatively standard on these cars and to be honest I have no idea what is fitted to mine but the underpinnings are pretty easy to come by. That is another plus.

I would get the 7s and 9s the car needs to look right made by Harvey out in the US – I prefer Fuchs to the Fuchs front/Minilite rear looks most people use. Although the famous ‘sunroof ST’ is rather gorgeous.

The only problem with pics of the Sunroof ST and the also very famous French ST (below) is that they are both superb colours! It’s tough not to rip all the Gemini paint off and go with them. That said, if you are taking off RS arches and welding on ST versions, then the paint is coming off anyway.

I think it’s worth going to town on stiffening the shell as much as possible, with seam welding and a welded cage (like Lex’s car below), but I think it is probably possible to build a nice car for sensible money and then go have some fun. Thanks to working my butt off on freelance jobs since the recession kicked in, my hobby finances are in ever-improving shape, so I may yet do the job myself.

We’ve moved the car to Racing Restorations workshop now, so I guess it’s time to go look at Gemini and get a proper idea of what is possible. And how much it’s going to cost.

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