My trip to Hedingham 2015 started well as I drove passed Stansted Airport to find myself accidentally sandwiched between two 2.4 911s. We managed to pick up another 2.2E along the way to match mine and to bring our noisy convoy of early 911s up to 4, much to the delight (or possible consternation) of other road users!
This year’s Hedingham Porsche gathering delivered an enormous and varied turn-out of classic Porsches which confirmed the burgeoning popularity of the event, further enhanced this year by the inclusion of a Classic Porsche Auction run by Coys of Kensington.
The Porsche Museum, Porsche Cars GB and some very trusting private owners enhanced the already great turn-out with some extra-special cars including beautiful and rare 356 Carreras, 550 Spyders, a 904 and an iconic Gulf liveried John Wyer 917 (as used by Steve McQueen in his film Le Mans).
It’s a RHD 911 2.2E Coupe manufactured in Oct 1970 and first registered through AFN in Isleworth in Jan 1971.
I acquired it as a “project” in 1997 along with new wings, supposedly rebuilt engine, re-trimmed (leather) seats and other parts through Peter Andrews (Transend) who’d been tasked with finding me a 2.2 or 2.4 early 911 Coupe.
The engine that came with the car was actually a 2.2T with Zenith carbs which turned out to have pulled head studs. I replaced it with a second hand period 2.2S unit acquired again through Transend. This came with its MFI and was running but with no information in terms of mileage. With the addition of SSI heat exchangers and initial set-up and maintenance by Jaz – the engine gave me 15 years service but it eventually received it’s long overdue rebuild at Jaz. The amount of engine work required shows how Porsche reliability can lead to them being their own worst enemy as engines will just keep on running even when they’re completely worn out.
The gearbox is an original 901 5 speed dogleg unit which provided a couple of years service before receiving an extremely necessary full rebuild by Steve at Jaz. Apart from the long reach – it’s a lovely gearbox to use with an unbelievably light clutch. Dogleg 1st initially took some getting used to but I haven’t reversed rapidly into anyone from a standing start yet!
The suspension that came with the car was a an odd coil-over set up rather than the original self levelling system used on the E model. This was replaced with a more conventional Bilstein set-up at the end of the racing season from one of Steve’s (Jaz) race cars. New vented brake discs were fitted and the standard front brake callipers were upgraded to the alloy S units. I wonder how many E’s still have the self-levelling Boge set-up?
The original colour of the car was Olive Green (colour code 3939) but even Bruce at Sportwagen who’s normally a stickler for returning cars to the same colour they left the factory agreed that Zitron Gelb was a much better alternative – still very 70’s but less offensive/an acquired-taste!
OK – so it’s not a matching numbers car but with the exception of a few necessary and/or sensible updates all of the modifications made to it are in line with those available at the time the car was new or nearly new.
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.