Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Porsche 1971 911T targa auto-biography, part II

A 1971 Conda Green Porsche 911, similar to what my car must of looked like when new, although there are modifications to this car that include wheels, lights, and front valence.

Great excitement ensued when the flatbed with the Porsche on it arrived at my home. My daughter, Lisa, and her friend Stephanie, both 10, were in the driveway cheering as the car gradually descended from the flatbed. The car had run during a brief test drive that I had before purchase, but as it turned out, it would be the last time it ran for some time. Lisa and Stephanie sat in the back seat, only to be horrified by the two holes in the side upholstery, where rear speakers had once been mounted. Their fear was that hands would somehow appear out of the holes. Perhaps an irrational response, it was still a portent of things to come with this demon-possessed car.

Perhaps I should say a thing or two about the car as it should have been, before countless sins degraded it to the heap I now owned. 1969-1973 Porsche 911s are known as long wheelbase, long hood 911s, in contrast to the short wheelbase 911s that preceded them during he years 1965-1968 and the shortened hood 199s that appeared beginning in 1974. Between 1969 and 1973 these cars came either as coupes or Targa models – the Targa being touted as the world’s first safety convertible, named for the race in Italy and sporting a roll bar, initially covered in stainless steel. Furthermore, there were three variants of these coupes or Targas, namely, T, E, or S, the T designating a touring model, the E a fuel injected version, and the S the most powerful 911 of that day, and now the most collectible and valuable. My 911 was a T, and as one would have it the least valuable and least collectible, even though it sported S trim as an option.

A few facts about my T:
Price in 1969 -- $7300.00 ($42,409.55 in 2008)
Options: 5 speed transmisson -- $80.00
Comfort group -- $520.00
Antenna -- $20.00
Blaupunkt radio -- $160.00
Original color was Conda Green.

Engine: 125 b.h.p. @ 5800 rpm.
Displacement – 2.2 liters, 121.5 cubic inches
Curb Weight – 2370 lbs.
Fuel capacity 16.4 gallons
Oil capacity 9.5 qts.

Performance – 0-60 mph 7.8 seconds
Top speed – 129 mph
Fuel economy mpg -- approx. 19-25

The 1969 Porsche 911 was road tested by race driver Mark Donohue in the March, 1969 edition of Car and Driver.

The T rather than the E or S, was the favorite of Donohue and also the Car and Driver staff. It was easiest to drive in traffic. “But what really made the Targa a standout in a group of outstanding cars was the overall balance it exhibited. The two fuel injected models turned out to be more difficult to handle in traffic situations and were filled with mechanical noises not entirely out of keeping with their more highly stressed temperaments. But in a reversal of the expected, the roadster turned out to be a much quieter car – a factor much appreciated on longer trips.”

“Porsches are arrogant. Only the fact that it has four wheels makes a Porsche a ‘car.’ It is a trip, it is an expression of understanding what the world is really like, it is a teutonic [sic] NASA mobile miniaturized for the highway. Porsche knows; Porsche cares; Porsche lives.”

My newly acquired Porsche was on life support, however.

More on my Porsche restoration adventure follows!

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