I picked up my latest bargain last weekend: a classic Porsche 944 restoration project. The eBay description was short, sweet and very accurate.
I have owned this car for 15 years. It has not run for 10 years. It has been garaged for 8 years. It needs a total new interior, new tyres, new brakes. We were told by a mechanic that the engine turns over but it needs a new E.C.U. unit. The body is in good condition for the year. It has all original service pack etc. and an excellent number plate: A911 DRY, which I am told is valuable. The car is white. The car will need to be transported by the successful bidder.
I collected the trailer from Rob on Saturday evening and left home, destination Pagham, at 5am on Sunday morning. The M40 and A34 were clear, so 90 minutes later, I stopped for a coffee at Tot Hill services, just south of the M4. Tyre pressures checked and lights cleaned we were back on the road, but I immediately noticed a vibration from the truck that I couldn’t pin down to a corner, and the fuel started to burn faster.
The end of the road was 65 miles away, so I kept going, stopping a couple of times to check my tyres weren’t overheating and/or delaminating. I reached Pagham at 8am and found the house. Passing the car on the way to the front door, I could see the trim was absolutely destroyed. Not a disaster but not too attractive either. The 911 DRY plate looked even better in real life, so there was no doubt that I was taking the car.
Steve (the seller) opened the door and we settled down for one of those conversations that quickly turns into two guys who could have known each other for years – the parallels were amazing. The car was his son’s, but Steve was handling the sale as the owner was abroad most of the time. They had bought the car back in the early ’90s from from Nick Faure, who was a friend of the family. The plate came later.
Steve was a very famous guitar player back in the day, before moving into the motor trade, so we had lots to talk about, and we did. After our tea, we went outside and loaded up. Once A911 DRY was on the trailer, we did the paperwork and I was gone, promising to return when the car was back on the road.
The drive home was laboured. The truck was shaking quite obviously at certain revs and the car was a little far back, so I stopped at Sutton Scotney services, rechecked the tyre pressures on all three units and slid the car up a touch – was much better over 60 after that. A quick look up the skirts of the 4runner revealed that the vibration was the prop UJ failing, causing the prop to bind slightly, dragging the engine down and pushing the fuel consumption up. Another job on the list. As we are stuck for space at home, I dropped the car at the farm, handed the trailer back and came home to finish the deal on a paraffin heater I had sold on eBay.
I hadn’t spent any time looking at the car before I picked it up and, though the inside is beyond distraught, the body looks good. Though it has been parked for 10 years, the car has only done 88K miles from new and there is plenty of service history (the book pack is mint). The brakes are completely seized, but off; not on. The exhaust, tyres and clutch etc are likely to be well past it, but I will buy a good runner with a test and a knackered body and swap what I need over, fitting power steering at the same time.
I am looking forward to getting this on the road, looks great and deserves to be in use – early 944s have to be worth keeping when in this sort of condition.