The survivor-look 911
Obsession, it can strike at any time. Unfortunately, mine struck about five years too late after the price of air-cooled 911s had rocketed. I can’t quite put my finger on why I now needed an air-cooled 911, obviously the timing was out five years ago. Maybe a combination of young kids, busy job and a garage full of motorbikes meant that just wasn’t the right time. I definitely was aware of them, scrolling though old pictures on my phone there was plenty of ratty 356 (when a cool patina driver was about £20k) rusty £6k 912s and 964 on BBS splits, but I had never gone to view one to buy.
Having swapped motorbike track-days for classic car coffee meets, a parked classic 911 was my go to car. Even in fields of Astons, Ferrari and other exotics, a 911 was guaranteed to get my full attention. By this time I had bought a lovely manual 996 C2 with a great spec, I even managed to convince myself it was the best 911 for my limited budget and I didn’t really need an air-cooled Porsche, but I still kept looking.
One evening in the summer I was scrolling through various websites and facebook groups collecting pictures and daydreaming about air-cooled 911s when by chance I found an old ad for a 1976 911S Coupe. This was my preferred 911 generation, still having many of the early classic attributes, but was galvanised and importantly the last true narrowest of narrow bodies. Even better, this car was a survivor which had some useful mods and was still in regular use. Truthfully, I hadn’t seen a usable early 911 price start with a 2, let alone an early 2. The only issue was a time delay of 10 hours, a distance of 3,500 miles and an Ocean…
Despite the fundamental issue of me being in another country, I strongly believed this was my last realistic chance of owning a classic 911. I emailed the seller and discovered it was still for sale, more photos and information was sent back and forth and a deal agreed. Fortunately, I was able to sell my 996 really quickly and a fire-sale of anything of value ensured I had just enough for the car and the shipping deposit. I could worry about the rest later! A few nail-biting weeks passed as I waited for information and then photos of it arriving at the New Jersey docks started to fill my email inbox. I couldn’t stop smiling at the thought of this tired old 911 was now properly mine and heading to the UK. I had named it the ‘sunburnt lobster’ a reference to the cool patina paintwork and bright lobster red tweed interior that covered every surface.
The 3,500 miles was dispatched relatively quickly and a few days after clearing UK customs, it arrived at my house on the back of a trailer. Unfortunately, the battery was dead and so much to the amusement of my neighbours, it was pushed in to my garage. After lots of cleaning and a new battery, it fired straight up and sounded awesome thanks to the silencer hack. As we were now approaching a typical English autumn I was able to start working through a long list of items and enjoyed many hours tinkering and fettling the old 911. I prefer the ‘survivor’ look, so, have no plans to repaint it. Hopefully, 2021 will be kinder to us and the ‘lobster’ will be sorted enough to use as a daily driver in the nice weather, cruise to shows and generally enjoy with like-minded enthusiasts.
I think my obsession is now cured, I couldn’t wish for a ‘better’ 911. This one suits me perfectly, we are both 44 this year (2020), so must have finally come of age!