Phil's Porsche 911 3.2 - A Customer's First-Hand Experience

Phil's Testimonial - Part Two

Please note: this is the second part of Phil's testimonial, for the first part click here.

“I can't believe that its been five years since I last wrote an article concerning the rebuild of my 1986 3.2 Carrera that was undertaken at the Porscheshop Halesowen, how time flies. If anyone remembers reading about it they will remember that what was initially a simple task of replacing one wing and repainting the front end turned into replacing both wings welding the inner wing and part of the n/s sill, up-rating the front brakes with four pot calipers, new cross-drilled disks back and front, completely striping the bodywork down whereupon a full windows out repaint took place.”

“Now one can imagine that I had well and truly blown the budget on this project so to keep the costs down Ian Heward, who owns Porscheshop advised me to leave the n/s B post as the few bubbles that where on the lower half did not seem to warrant ripping it out and replacing it but just sanding down and lead filling would be more than adequate This I agreed too and that job was left until funds where available. Well you know how jobs just sometimes get left and in subsequent years I had all the heating components in the car replaced, hot/cold air blowers, heater valves and stainless steel heat exchangers fitted, not cheap but noticeably increased the performance.”

“Now five years has past and the gremlins have started to attack the lower half of the the B post again, but I must admit that it still did not look that bad, just a few unsightly small bubbles amassing about three inches down from under the door latch. This in my view was the one detriment that blighted what I considered quite a nice car and the more times I opened the passenger door the more these little fellows where annoying me, it was as if they where saying 'hello mate we are still here eating away at your nice paintwork' and so it got to a point where they just had to go.”

“Back to the Porscheshop and a consultation with Ian on the best way on how to alleviate my car from the dreaded tinworm. So it was decided that as the rust spots where just in one small area we could get away with cutting the panel from just under the door latch and welding in a half section so that it matched the profiling of the bodywork , this would be more cost effective than replacing the whole panel and an easier job to undertake. 'What we will do' said Ian 'we will removed both of the covers sills and inspect each side of the car to see how 5 years of wear and use has stood up'. this all sounded fine so I left my car with them for the necessary work to begin. A few days later I retuned to the Porscheshop after getting a call from Mark there chief mechanic to 'come down and have a look ' now that sounded ominous to begin with , Ian showed me first the off side of the car where the previous owner had had the kidney bowl replaced. ' They haven't done a bad job' said Ian 'but they didn't seal it properly and although the kidney bowl is ok the lower part of the sill back from the jacking point is beginning to corrode' so it was suggested that, that section be cut out and a part sill welded in, which I agreed too, 'Thats the good news' said Ian 'the bad news is the kidney bowl on the n/s is rusted through'. Now that WAS bad news and on inspection they where only too right also my car has apparently been fitted with the later G50 kidney bowls which incidentally are Porsche parts only and are 5 times the price of the earlier ones that can be obtained through a company called Dansk. They also are longer than the earlier type which means to replace it they have to either cut the whole sill off and in order to do that they have to take the front wing off or cut part of the outer sill away just back from the jacking point, after some discussion we decided that cutting a perfectly good sill off was really unnecessary, so I choose the later option as the way forward. I knew the guys at the Porscheshop would do a good job that I had no concerns about my only concern now is when everything is striped away what sort of state are they going to find the inner sill in, did someone mention deja vu.”

“It's been a few days now and I am back from the Porscheshop, and its sort of good news. All the welding has been done and my fears of corrosion in the inner sill where unfounded. The car is now at the paint shop and should be ready in a week or so. The not so good news is that the firm that replaced the off side kidney bowl before I purchased the car had double skinned the end sill and welded in a support plate under the back of the lower wing which was quite unnecessary. As they did not sealed it properly the rust and corrosion was quite apparent and if left would have crept up the entire quarter panel, According to Ian 'we have caught the problem just in time' but not before they had to cut half the b post out and the back end of the sill to remove all the double skinning and botched repair work. So let this be a lesson to anyone contemplating giving there pride and joy to people who don't know or understand how Porsches are put together.”

“It's been three weeks now since I last saw my car and its now back from the paint shop and awaiting to have the trim and cover sills refitted (using all stainless steel bolts). I have to say the guys at Porscheshop have done an amazing job on the panel work, the welding is first class and all the contours of the car are exactly how they where the day it left the Porsche factory, well done.”

“Tuesday 16/04/2014, sun shining as I pick up my car from the Porscheshop, all finished washed and valeted and I am delighted with the end result. What did disturb me was the pieces of sill and metalwork that the guys had cut out of my car (see photos) looking at the top side one would deduce that all was solid underneath, its not until you turn the pieces over that one realises how much rust and corrosion there was and if left would have eventually led to serious structural problems.”

“I love these old air cooled 911s, they are iconic and they have a presence that modern day Porsches can not even come close to aspiring to (opinions will differ). We have seen over the past 2 or 3 years these impact bumper SCs and 3.2s are beginning to increase in value and some people might be tempted to buy one as an edge against our miserable interest rates for savers or as part of there pension plan. This really to my mind is not how these cars should be viewed but who am I to judge, but for whatever reason one decides to buy an early Porsche BE WARNED the youngest 3.2s (impact bumper type) out there will be at least 25 years old and no matter what the vendor says 'its galvanised so it wont rust' IT WILL and THEY DO. Make sure it has had all the necessary work done on it before you even think of making an offer, i.e.- front wings replaced, sills, kidney bowls, edges of the windows and the heat exchangers like mine has, and no this is not a sales pitch mine is not for sale, Any bubbling, anywhere, suspect the worst and if you are not prepared or skilled enough (like me) to do work yourself then walk away, because these cars can be money pits. For instance front wings are now £785 each, suspension pans £270 (Dansk), outer sills £63 (Dansk) and so on, add on top of that welding, striping the body down and paintwork, one can easily rack up a bill of between 6 to 8 thousand pounds. It's also worth remembering that its not what you can see that rots on these cars its what you cant, like where the outer wing joins the inner wing and those loverly shiny covers sills can be hiding a multitude of horrors, and this is just the bodywork I have not mentioned any of the mechanics that may need rebuilding such as the gearbox at £1500 or a top end overhaul at £3500 minimum. So buyer beware tread very carefully, have your car inspected before purchase, buy the best one you can afford and find a specialist like Porscheshop to look after it for you and you won't go far wrong. Don't forget this job I had done on my car started out as just 4 or 5 small unsightly bubbles not even breaking the paint and yet I ended up with quite a hefty bill.”

“But aside from all that I have mentioned above these cars are intoxicating to own, invigorating to drive and stunningly gorgeous to look at. Treat a Porsche right and it will be your wife a Ferrari will always be your Italian girlfriend. On a loverly summers day put on a pair of sunglasses some 80s music on the CD player and go for a drive in the country. Life just does not get any better.”

Phil's Porsche 911 3.2 Pictures - Part Two

Please see the pictures below and click to enlarge them.

There are also pictures from the first part of Phil's testimonial, click here to view them.

Phil's Testimonial - Part One

Please note: this is the first part of Phil's testimonial, for the second part click here.

“Gordon Brown has tried to encourage us to spend, spend, spend like no other Prime Minister has done before, he has poured billions of pounds into the banking system in order to stimulate the money supply and free up the markets. Alistair Darling has cut V.A.T. and the Bank of England interest rates are the lowest ever. Far be it for me to thwart our leaders fiscal policies, I decided to do my bit to help our ailing economy, so earlier this year I booked my 1986 3.2 Carrera in for a long awaited front end restoration and repaint.”

“Since purchasing the car, some 3 years ago I had noticed with increasing frequency the amount of bubbles appearing around the n/side headlight, but what really annoyed me most was that the front bumper, spoiler and wings from previous repaints and touch ups that had been done prior to my ownership where in 3 different shades of white. It looked ok viewed from ten feet away, it was when you were up close you really noticed it, well I did anyway.”

“I have known Ian Heward and Paul Taylor from Porscheshop for a number of years, and always had my previous Porsches serviced and maintained with them, so it was logical that I commissioned them to undertake the work. I had already had two lengthly discussions with Ian on how to proceed with the job and what did and did not need doing. It was agreed that a new n/side front wing would be fitted, for which I had purchased some time ago and had stored it under my bed, shot blast and repaint the front bumper, repaint both wings, bonnet, spoiler and near side of car, repair the small ding in the door and finally repair the off side wing (there was a patch of bubbles on the top where it joined the inner wing). An estimate was produced which I accepted, and on the 17th of January I took my 3.2 for it's last spin before delivering it to the Porscheshop, everything sorted, no problem, straight forward.”

“Well those of you who have had cars restored or have restored them yourselves know that all is not so straight forward in the world of restoration, a few days later I received an email from Ian saying they had found a few small problems and would I like to come in and see for myself and discuss the matter. I arrived at the Porscheshop to find my pride and joy sitting on a ramp minus it's n/side wing, spoiler, front bumper and wheels and looking very sorry for itself. Ian pointed out 3 areas of concern, the inner wing had about a 12 inch strip of corrosion right on the top, which only became apparent once the outer wing had been removed, there was a small area at the front of the inner wing ,opposite where the battery is housed that also needed attention, finally, the rear of the near side sill, just behind the jacking point had corroded badly and also there was a small hole in the off side sill. "It's ok" said Ian with a smile, he must have seen the forlorn expression on my face "it's nothing serious, seen a lot worst cars than this one". We then moved to the rear of the car and inspected the back bumper, which initially seemed in good condition, it was only when the car was on the ramp and up close we noticed all the usual signs of oxidization, so it was agreed that the rear bumper would be removed, shot blasted and painted along with the front one. "Just one more thing" said Ian, "we are going to remove the off side wing as it will be easier to repair once it is off the car and also we will be able to inspect the inner wing for any corrosion". Well that all seemed logical so I gave them the go ahead to continue the work, I left the Porscheshop with slightly mixed feelings, happy in the knowledge that they where leaving no stone unturned and doing a professional job but feeling that this was not going to be the simple make over I had originally envisaged.”

“The next email I received read like the "good news bad news joke", though I am sure it was not intended to sound that way, "The inner wing is fine,solid as a rock, but the outer wing has corroded far worse than we first thought, so I would suggest replacing it with a new one". OUGH that had not been planned for. The following Saturday I visited the Porscheshop again and inspected the offending wing, now it would have been possible to repair it but there would be no guarantee that sooner or later the rust bubbles would not rear there ugly little heads again,so a new one was duly ordered. At this point I must add that Ian is dead against the fitting of second hand wings or aftermarket copies "It's false economy" he says "you only fit them once so fit the genuine ones then you will have the peace of mind knowing they are going to last you at least another 20 years".”

“A few days later I returned to the Porscheshop to collect the old wings to sell on ebay, (lt's surprising what you can sell on ebay), when a proposition was put to me. It transpired that 911 and Porsche World had approached the Porscheshop in order to do a big brake upgrade feature, and Ian was wondering if I would be interested in allowing them to do the upgrade on my car. Now those of you who drive SCs and 3.2s know that when it comes to the braking department, let's say it's not there strongest point, it's something that we live with and get use too. So the chance to have the front brakes renewed with 4 pot calipers and cross drilled discs and to have the car in the magazine was too good an opportunity to miss, so I eagerly gave my permission. The new wing had arrived and was sitting in a large cardboard box at one end of the workshop waiting to be prepped so I felt confident and relaxed that everything was now moving along nicely with no more worries. I can recall this feeling of contentment lasting at least 10 seconds "just one little problem I have to point out" said Ian in his usual pleasant manner "the small hole in the off side sill is no problem to fix but, in order to do it we have to drop the oil lines and there is a very slight chance they may split , but don't worry we will be careful". he said don't worry twice as he could see the look on my face had turned a whiter shade of pale. On leaving the workshop I encountered Mark there chief mechanic who gave me another sobering piece of news, the bodyshop,in order to do a proper spray job with no masking lines, wanted to take out the front screen and in doing so there was a 10% chance that it might crack, "but it won't "said Mark confidently. I drove home thinking of the worst case scenario, dreading what the next email might say "spilt oil lines and a crack screen" this was not doing my blood pressure any good, so for the next 3 weeks I stayed away from the Porscheshop and let them get on with the job in hand.”

“Eventually came the news I was waiting for, the car had been repaired and painted and was ready to be reassembled. Bumpers, side sills, quarter panels and other bits of bodywork were all stored on the top floor of the Porscheshop newly painted and ready to be fitted, the front wings which the bodyshop had fitted were going to be removed so a comprehensive job of under-sealing and stone chipping the inner wings could take place. Which I must say impressed me, for there are some so called restoration specialists that simply would not have bothered. The front brake kit had been assembled, big shinny red calipers and cross drilled discs adorned the front axles,and they looked awesome, in fact they looked too good. You see the whole point of this exercise was not only to restore the car but to have continuity in the paintwork now that continuity had been compromised by the fact that the front and rear brakes did not match, so I asked Ian if he would fit cross drilled discs on the back and have the rear calipers painted red to match the front ones, which he said would be no problem. The only problem was, that the budget had been blown ages ago, I now know what the treasury must have felt like when they finally costed the millennium dome, still I was pleased with the way things were progressing.”

“The following week, after thoroughly stone chipping the underside of the car, it was sent back to the bodyshop for "mopping" and a few things that Mark was not pleased with (never did find out what) he also informed me that the front fog lights where naff so I spent the next few days sousing a new pair whereupon I delivered them to the Porscheshop one evening when Ian was working late, the car was back from the bodyshop by now and was in the final process of bring reassembled. Initially I was only going to have the front and near side of the car repainted, but the rear end was added due to the oxidization of the back bumper. Which only left the off side quarter panel and door in the original colour, but it appears that no matter how much "mopping"was applied there was still a noticeable difference between the old and new paintwork, and knowing my insistence, that the colour had to match Ian had the remaining panels repainted, which meant that the car has now had a total re-spray and I must admit it did look good even though there was still a great deal of work left to do on it, but Ian promised it would be ready for the Porscheshops open day on the 21st of March.”

“Friday 20th of March, just had to take a sneak preview of the car before the open day so I left work early and raced down to the Porscheshop. Now I know this may sound silly but I felted like a 5 year old child just about to unwrap his presents on Christmas day, imagine what you where like at 5, all the adrenalin, excitement and emotions swirling round your body, as you ripped open the wrapping paper in search of your favorite toy, for they say men are all children at heart only the toys become more expensive, how true that is. But do you recall the felling when you found that toy you wanted so badly, well it was the same feeling when I saw my porsche, I am not going to bore you with superlatives, only two words come to mind when describing my car "simply stunning". It sat there in the middle of the workshop, gleaming white with a flawless finish and near perfect shut lines, but that's what we have come to expect from a repaint I hear you say, and thats true, but it was the time the lads at the Porscheshop had taken in detailing the car that made it special , for example they had painted the spoiler grill black, powder coated the door handles, replaced all the naff rubbers, fitted rear stone guards, new number plates and bonnet badge and a whole host of other things you don't notice but adds that final touch of perfection. For lets not forget this did not start out as a full resto job with unlimited funds, and there are areas of the car I would like to improve and I will have them done at a later stage, but for all those people who where at the Porscheshop open day who viewed the car must have surly been impressed. It only leaves me to sincerely thank all the team at the Porscheshop for a fantastic job.”

“Just one last thought, if we all spend our money and have our cars restored and our engines rebuilt, then Gordon Brown will have no worries and the recession will be over and it will all be thanks to Porsche.”

Phil's Porsche 911 3.2 Pictures - Part One

Please see the pictures below and click to enlarge them.

There are also pictures from the second part of Phil's testimonial, click here to view them.