At last I called Jaz to be informed by Claire (Steve’s Mrs) that enough bits had been returned to allow engine reassembly to soon commence. Fantastic news so I went up to Jaz a couple of days later to have a look at the component parts before they became embedded in the built-up engine.
A pretty depressing 24 hours after Steve called to relay the news that my crankshaft was cream-crackered (knackered, kaputt) he called again with a novel solution to the problem which essentially saw him donating his just reground and polished 2.0 short stroke crankshaft to replace my duff one.
I’d had a call the previous week from Steve at Jaz to let me know that he’d had a blazing row with the company sorting out the cylinder heads. They’d had the heads since mid-July but still hadn’t started any work on them so Steve is going to have to take them back and give them to another company.
Answer: Scattered over various parts of the UK and Germany.
From my previous blog – you’ll know that once the engine was fully dismantled and the component parts of the engine were cleaned and dispatched to various specialists for “fettling” (i.e. machining, refinishing, re-plating and rebuilding).
One slight problem that we’d not allowed for was that from a timing perspective – this coincided with peak holiday time for a number of the engineering companies so through no fault of Steve or Jaz – progress was in certain instances painfully slow. Consequently the bits of my engine seemed to be liberally spread across England and mainland Europe for many weeks.
With true German efficiency and despite the “Summer Hols Effect” – the MFI Fuel Metering pump arrived back first with the other parts slowly trickling back with the exception of the cylinder heads and the crankshaft.
Newly plated nuts, bolts and clips looked great in as-new golden coloured finish. Chromated engine cam and timing chain covers also looked fantastic as did the black powder coated engine tinware.
Despite Steve regularly chasing the engineering companies and shouting at them – a lot, progress was effectively halted by lack of progress on some key components.
Steve was most frustrated by the lack of progress on the cylinder heads.
After dropping the car off at Jaz Porsche in Wembley on 3rd July the engine was quickly whipped out and the strip-down commenced.
Steve and Dave (his engine man) let me know subsequently that it was the dirtiest 911 engine they’d ever encountered both internally and externally.
Externally the cylinder cooling fins were completely blocked with dirt and assorted crap. Internally it was the same story with some very horrible gloop clogging up the MFI fuel metering pump and the guts of the engine. Not good and a clear sign of issues to come.
The 911 is a very peculiar beast. Without going all Clarkson by railing about the bonkers rear engined VW Beetle layout – the most peculiar thing about the 911 is the length of time it’s been in production.
With 50 years of continuous modification the 911 offers seemingly endless opportunities to update or backdate cars according to personal taste, prevailing fashion or market values at the time.
My 911 saga began actually began with a dream of owning an earlier Porsche model – the 356, but much research and inspection of cars led me to the conclusion that:-
a) Buying a decent 356 at that time was beyond my means and
b) Using a 356 as a daily driver wasn’t really terribly practical.
The 356 engined 912 became toy next Porsche target and I looked at a few cars until Porsche expert Andy Prill pointed out that the cost of fully restoring a 912 are pretty well the same as for a 911 but with two cylinders less than a 911 the resulting value of the car would be significantly lower and thereby represent a less compelling long-term investment.
As the weather was much better than forecast I went down to Brooklands early yesterday morning. It’s a bit of an anorak’s paradise but there is some interesting stuff there and the remaining sections of the banking are quite poignant.
the old workshops
The old workshops and sheds contained some nice old cars & bikes and there were also some interesting original and replica planes in the big hanger. John Cobb’s 23 litre Napier Railton is one of my favourite cars – it set a Brooklands outer circuit lap record of 143 mph. There was also a fantastic Alfa streamliner that was originally designed by Vittorio Jano to challenge the all-conquering Silver Arrows but he was sacked by Alfa before it was completed. It disappeared and then resurfaced again in 1978. It’s been restored back in Italy and looks fantastic with a mid-engine, central driving position and passenger seats either side. Shame it never received the V12 engine it was intended to have.