Porsche Emergency? Dial 911 F-I-R-E

Everyone should drive a good Porsche once in their life. Even better, you should drive a bad-ass classic Porsche. It’s always easy to knock ‘mainstream’ brands like this, but the truth is that reputations aren’t built on hollow foundations. Driving an old school Porsche is an art: it’s all round the wrong way, and the more power hanging out back just means more weight trying to swing you into an unfriendly hedge. But the challenge and, of course, that utterly iconic shape are like automotive drugs – once you’re on board the Porsche train, getting off is nigh on impossible.

So it was with Bruce Holder and his Porsche. Not this Porsche. The other one. This is Area 52 Bruce of the utterly bonkers, gravitationally-challenged Series 1 Land Rover, who a year or so back got his first tantalising whiff of possible Porsche ownership. Potential project cars frustratingly came and went away again just as fast, until he managed to persuade an online friend that he should sell his 912. Even though it was in Canada. And there was no bulging bank account to pay for all this dreaming.

The 2016 Autosport International Racing Car Show, held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham

Still, across the Pond Bruce went, taking in an epic road trip on the way (the full story covers 32 pages over on the Retro Rides forum), to pick up his new baby in Toronto. But then this happened. This mess of metal and flaking paint; this fire-bombed victim of a 911 that was hardly looking like Stuttgart’s finest hour.

The 2016 Autosport International Racing Car Show, held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham

Oh, but it is.

The 2016 Autosport International Racing Car Show, held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham

Already in possession of one 912 and likely out of his mind on clean, Canadian air, Bruce knew he had to have this 911 as well. It started with a picture, of this car, in this condition, going full pelt into a corner with the inside front wheel madly flailing in the air as the copious horses out back shoved the car around the track. It looks crazy. It looks awesome. It looks like crazy, awesome fun.

The 2016 Autosport International Racing Car Show, held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham

What about the little issue of money though, and the lack thereof? Bruce might have a hedge, but he hasn’t got a hedge fund. Time to ring our own resident mad-man, Bryn. Want to go halves on a car? “I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” was the surprisingly sober initial response. Then Bryn saw the car. Then Bryn was in, and Bruce was flying all the way across Canada to Calgary and into the welcome arms of Scott Sherman.

The 2016 Autosport International Racing Car Show, held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham

The car’s story is epic in itself. At one time back in the dim, distant past it was a beautiful little red number, innocent and pretty; a ’73 911T owned by the president of the Canadian Porsche Club. Then there was a fuel tank drain, a sparking ember… and a garage in flames along with three Porsches.

The 2016 Autosport International Racing Car Show, held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham

Everything changed. The 911 was sold into racing slavery, and on the exterior retained all the evidence of the conflagration. The thing is, fresh paint doesn’t make a car fast.

The 2016 Autosport International Racing Car Show, held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham

The exterior is a burnt husk. A big whale-tail spoiler had been added by Scott, mounting the oil cooler, and there was the impact rear bumper; but to say it’s no frills is an obvious understatement. There’s still a bracket for mounting a lighting cluster between the rusted headlight bulges.

The 2016 Autosport International Racing Car Show, held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham

When Bruce picked it up, there was no engine and the farmland it stood in went up and through the car. It had mulched down into the local agriculture – but it could be reborn. This 911 wasn’t the Team Phoenix car for nothing; Scott had run it hard in previous racing seasons before standing it down.

The 2016 Autosport International Racing Car Show, held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham

Underneath all the brutality is one hell of a Porsche. Out back is a 2.7-litre 7R race-spec motor in place of the original 2.4; it’s got a Megajolt running on EDIS with a switchable map available via a cockpit switch; there are modified S cams; opened-out intake ports; re-jetted Zenith carbs; Chrysler Voyager coil packs and various RSR upgrades.

The car is slung on ’80s SC suspension with uprated torsion and sway bars, with a homemade strut brace; it sports a complete 930 brake system and Pagid RS29 pads at all corners.

The 2016 Autosport International Racing Car Show, held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham

Inside the cockpit there’s an appropriately agricultural-looking rollcage that’s straight out of ’70s NASCAR; two-inch diameter bars that could survive a moon launch (and return).

The 2016 Autosport International Racing Car Show, held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham

Somehow after remedial work to kickstart it back into life (and an extension to that awesome road trip), the Porsche is now here in the UK. There’s obviously nothing about this car that says comfortable street cruiser – and it’s going to stay that way. Bruce and Bryn were grinning like the mad-men they are, as people’s jaws hit the ground at the recent Autosport International show. Left and right were gleaming supercars and pristine tuner specials – then there was this.

The 2016 Autosport International Racing Car Show, held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham

The rat look is nothing new, but there’s nothing deliberate here. This Porsche simply is. There’s such honesty; the Porsche’s hard life evident in the patina of the paint that remains and every single dent and bump. It’s why it’s so important, so raw.

The 2016 Autosport International Racing Car Show, held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham

The boys will leave it pretty much exactly as things are, and rightly so. They’ll be concentrating on the undersides and the interior, sort of the reverse of the short-cut brigade, whilst leaving that in-your-face blistered survivor look to fool the lazy onlooker. Shortly before it hands you backsides on track. If I could have a Porsche, I’d have one like this.

Next time Bruce, call me not Bryn?

Jonathan Moore
Instagram: speedhunters_jonathan
jonathan@speedhunters.com

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31 comments

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1

Looks like it returned from HELL... It's unbelievably badass!

2

Saw this at autosport, absolutely loved it! Great to see a spotlight on it :D

3

At the first moment I thought "Oh no, not another car built to look like a rat rod and used only for parking it at shows". Happily, I was wrong! :). This is absolutely great, looks like a rusted shell, drives probably better than most 911's out there! And it actually gets driven on tracks! great car!

4

Would look at home on here

5

Still cleaner than this.....

6

Cool article - Love the car!  Great choice on the Cookie Cutters.   I think it would be truly badass to see this thing on the track passing people like a boss!  Oh the jaw dropping there would be....  Long live Porsche!

7

this reminds of the last race at the track in Calgary when this car showed up. Maybe they are from the same fire lol

8

This beast was in my back yard all these years and I never knew about it. Shame on me.

9

Colby O back when we had a track...

10

Required reading: http://retrorides.proboards.com/thread/184030/nearer-tale-couch-potato-buyers
Such a great story, I had no idea Bryn was the friend haha.

11

GwynnBallantyne yeah this is hella old. it was the last chump car enduro to be held there. Two seven hour races if my memory is correct.

12

Colby O Not just the same fire... That's the same car AFAIK.

13

Reminds me of this one I photographed several years ago, if I was the owner I wouldn't have changed a thing on it.

14

Speedhunters it stank, you could smell it from round the corner!

15
Speedhunters_Bryn

GrantC Colby O Yup, same car alright! :)

16

you would never see a Ferrari like this, a true sports car, a tool used as intended.

17

Thats awesome!

18
Putextinguishersinit

Very Steptoe... 'Arold. 'AROLD! Where's my teeth?

19

lik a ratrod

20
jbfromsiliconvalley

Now

21
julian barometer

my uncle ricky has a bunch of rotten old shit cars in his back yard in west virginia,


you guys wanna come photograph them too?

22

Someone sure is cranky..

23

In my opinion, this car is an example of neglect and a lack of concern.  Not everyone can afford a perfect paint job or new car parts...I get that.  But I feel that we are "care takers" of the things we love.  If we don't love the things we have, why have them?  If a car had a soul...this cars' soul would be a sad one...driven and stowed away awaiting the next event to run...happy to be out on the road again...trying its best to run as fast as it can...but held back by the "care taker".  I Never understood this trend...patina is the result of "I don't care".  Flame on, im ready.

24

@Murph I think this car has seen enough open flame actually...

25

Trial by fire, holy shit this is beautiful. Team Phoenix is right, that thing took the goddamn heat, and still stayed in the kitchen to finish making it's sandwich before kicking down the door to burble on down the road. Definitely made the best out of a shitty situation in turning this into a fun thrash-around vehicle with a whole lot of character.

26
Speedhunters_Bryn

@julian barometer Yup! Colour me interested.

27
Speedhunters_Bryn

@Murph I'll bite :)

You did read that it was a burnt out, salvage only title, stripped out shell right? That was built back up on a tight budget and raced all over Canada and North America? Then shipped to the UK for more of the same? 

It wasn't legally allowed back on the road in those home territories, but now it's in the UK it will be road registered and driven on both road and track. 

Being a care taker for me is all about deriving the most pleasure you can from your chosen project, in whatever form that takes. I know for Bruce and I, restoring this car to any sort of standard outward appearance would sanitise it's history, detract from the whole process it's been through. 

To cover up or hide your scars is to deny who you are. Life isn't always pretty and predictable, acceptable or approved of by the greater population. 

One day we'll bolt a GRP RS replica kit on, spray it white and make it disappear. Would that make you happier? Is that what you're getting at?

28

Speedhunters_Bryn I appreciate your response and I can understand that the scars of life are part of who we are...are part of the cars that we drive.  Covering those scars up doesn't mean that they are gone.  The history remains in tact because once history becomes history it can't be altered.
The story that this car has is a great one...and to document where its come from and where its going in the future is perfect in my eyes...just don't leave it as it is is what i am getting at.  The journey of redemption...from burnt out to rebuilt...that is what id like to see, not ongoing abuse...maybe it was my mis-understanding of the whole point...maybe not. 


At the end of the day, yours or the builders preference is yours or the builders preference...its not mine and I am expressing that...doesn't mean we can't get along right :)


Thanks for the response and the article...if nothing else it is a chance to exchange ideas,

Murph

29
Speedhunters_Bryn

@Murph All good, I appreciate your answer, that makes sense to me. Honestly I think we'll enjoy this phase of the resurrection a little longer yet, but in the future who knows? I'm not one to lock anything in to a certain time and leave it there. Right now the patina is organic, if it becomes forced or we're preserving it, then we're not advancing the car in any way. Hope that makes sense! And yup, good to exchange ideas :)

30

DaveT Now you made me unproductive at work, sir.

31

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