Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Two Porsches and Pictures

This from a letter to a co-worker who asked about my cars and my trip to the 2012 Monterey Reunion:

I don’t yet have the pictures from my most recent Monterey weekend up on the web; I have an older digital camera and it is taking a lot of time to prepare the photos. But in the meantime  here are some pictures of my old car:

I also have the newer, 2005  Porsche 997 Carrera S Cabriolet.  That’s what I drive every day as the 356 is just too old for that kind of mileage.
Here are some pictures of both:

Here’s a little story I wrote to our club’s magazine editor:

In 2004 there was a Speedster (“Doc Hollywood”) show in Carmel at the Quail Lodge. I went and took some pictures in the evening.
The silver convertible behind the ropes with the license plate that begins “K45-“  is Porsche #1, the first Porsche (brand named) made, in 1948.
It’s only been to America twice. That time, and once in 1998, also to Monterey.

In 2001 I edited a book about 356 engines. Now out of print, I published an electronic version (PDF on CD-ROM).  I’m working with the copyright holder’s estate now to reproduce a version of the book for iBook and Kindle.

Now you know what I do when I’m not on the farm collecting eggs ;)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Comparable Cabrios: Two '03s, Seal Grey & Tiptronic

It is raining low-mileage Porsches out there.

Here are two that caught my eye recently. Mostly because they're nearly identical, except that one is a C2, the other a C4 (AWD). How identical? Well, their VIN numbers are 390 apart. Temporally, they were separated at the factory by a couple of days--at most--it is possible they were even built on the same day. Seven years later, and a half a world away from Stuttgart, they're now both once again for sale, separated by a hundred miles or so. One is in Walnut Creek and offered by a Porsche authorized dealer and the other is in Sand City (Monterey) offered on Craigslist by a broker/dealer specializing in Porsches.

They're both 996 Cabriolets, from early in the 2003 model run, which means build dates in the summer of 2002. The both have under 40k miles, and they're both the same color, Porsche's wonderful Seal Grey. They each carry the initial VIN # of WP0CA29943S650, differing only in the last three digits.

#0302, C4
#0692, C2
Mileage: 37,000 mi
Trans: Tiptronic AWD
Color: Seal Grey
Interior: Graphite Grey Leather

  • 680 - Bose High End Sound Package
  • E73 - Carbon Interior Package
  • IXPA- 3-spoke sport steering wheel in Leather
  • XSC - Porsche Crest in Headrest
  • P15 - Power Seat Package
  • 551 - Porsche Windstop (Deflector)
  • 982 - Supple Leather Front and Rear
  • Single Compact Disc
  • 750 - Delete Cabriolet Hardtop
  • M6P - Graphite Grey Floor Mat
  • M392-17-inch Carrera II wheels
  • 446 - Wheel Caps with Colored Crest

Mileage: 35,007
Trans: Tiptronic 2WD
Color: Seal Grey
Interior: Graphite Grey Leather

  • 680 - Bose Premium Sound
  • E?? - Carbon Package-Small
  • Carbon/Aluminum Tip Knob/Brake
  • Aluminum Center Console
  • IXPD- 3-Spoke Steering Wheel-Carbon/Leather
  • Heated Front Seats
  • M586/513 - Lumbar Support Front Seats
  • P15 - Power Seat Package
  • 551 - Porsche Windstop (Deflector)
  • 982 - Supple Leather Front & Rear
  • Multi Compact Disc
  • 750 - Delete Cabriolet Hardtop
  • M498 - 18" Light Alloy Carrera Wheel
  • 446 - Wheel Caps with Colored Crest
  • Xenon Headlamp Package
  • IX76- Side Aero Skirts

The option codes above are a combination of what was described at the Stead Porsche site for #302, applied by best-guess to #692, and cross-checked against the RennTech Option Lookup page for 996 (login required). The carbon fiber trim is slightly different; note that #302 has CF around the side A/C vents, while #692 has a CF e-brake handle. There are differences in the shifter, too, that are difficult to see in the pictures. It appears that #302's is leather, wheras #692's is CF. The C2 also has the aluminum console.


There's a $10k difference in price as listed on both sites. However, a salesman at Michael Stead Porsche has offered #302 on eBay for $6k less(!!), bringing the difference in the asking price between the two to about $5k. This is largely owing to #302 having the C4 transmission, and to it being offered by a Porsche dealer with assumed higher overheads. Given the longer option list on #692, its slightly lower mileage and the 18" wheels, I'd think there's more wiggle room to be had on #302 than on #692. Or, #692 at $35k asking, could be seen as a deal.

Such a deal. Choices, choices. 4WD w/PASM or the purity of 2WD for five large less, if the CARFAX checks out on these ladies, either one would look great from outside or from behind the wheel.

I guess you can get a GT3 for $60k

eBay is showing a $59k 2003 GT3 A little sleuthing and it turns out this is a salesman front for Michael Stead Porsche in Walnut Creek, CA. Nice to see the eBay Buy-it-Now is $3k lower than the dealer website ask:

The interior is all decked-out in leather. Some carbon fiber, but leather wheel and leather console? Odd choices for a GT3. And from the "Z" letters in the option list, it's from the Exclusiv dept, full-custom. The A/C and no roll-cage indicate this is a "comfort" trim model. But taken to the nines with the contrast stich from the Exlusiv dept.

Don't know why I'm sharing this, really, except that I am surprised a GT3 can be had for this kind of money. Still out of my reach though. I do wonder if I'd choose this or the Turbo, price-equivalent. They've got one of those, too. The turbo does have four seats :)

Price aside, this particular one is a non-starter for me because its black. I can abide a multitude of sins in a car, but black paint is is only for hearses, limos and Model Ts. That is only marginally too-harsh; I've seen some beautiful show cars, including some pre-A 356es in black. Who could fault a Bugatti Atlantic Coupe in black. But show cars in black are really to show of the coachwork. "If it's perfect, paint it black," is what I heard in shop class.

But the pricing of these supercars shows both the softness of the current market, and the new glut for 4-5 year-old 911s, probably owing to the boom of those years and subsequent lease returns or just "moving on" to the next cool car.

You could probably test the Stead Porsche 2010 GT3, too. It's listed as "new", but it has 100 miles on it. That smells like, "test driver" to me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Panamera Video on CAR online magazine

Still looks very odd from some angles, but better from others in motion.

Can't wait to see one in-person.

CNN covers Porsche

Light on the details, but a nice piece. I like the native German speaker's "TV English" accent.

Next up: Pictures of Legs, before and after the nose repair. And...Bison Iron Works and Hipshot Engineering collaborate on a 356 parts project!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Thanks, Got Blue Milk

Hooked On Driving's photographer, Got Blue Milk, took these pics of Legs and me at the Thunderhill track day mid-November. Thanks to Matt, I got a CD of all my pics in high-res, suitable for framing. The Got Blue Milk folk are a first-class operation.

[caption: Got Blue Milk photographer Dito Milian shoots a
Porsche Carrera GT coming out of Turn 3 at Thunderhill,
Nov 16, 2008 ]

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Hooked on Thunderhill

I spent a Saturday in late November up at Thunderhill, driving at a Hooked on Driving event. I took driving lessons with Doug. His track ride is a Subaru STi, which has in common with my car...a Flat Four cyl boxer engine! That's where the similarity ends, but Doug was a great instructor. I was driving, so I didn't get any pictures of Legs, but I did take some other shots.

This slide show starts out with some garage pictures of a very, very serious bug. That's Patrick's track ride, a 1969 VW bug sporting a (co-incidence? perhaps...) Subaru 2.5L flat four. Not the turbo version in their WRX, but potent to 180hp nonetheless. Very quick. There's a lot of other track candy in these photos. Enjoy.

Video follows. This uses my in-car IO/Port racing mount, but the camera was my Canon IS-5. It has video recording but doesn't have very good image stabilization.:

My dad writes back and asks me where were my open-back driving gloves! His point, because he gave me those very gloves for Christmas last year. My apologies to him, they were in the map pocket in the footwell. I was so excited I forgot to put them on.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

When it Runs, Drive It!

This in-car video was taken in the summer of 20006. I'm experimenting with rendering-down from DVD size to appropriate on-screen size. Have to admit that You Tube does a pretty good job of this automagically, but I have to provide the final-form SWF files to Adobe's Share Beta

You'll hear I miss a shift on the back stretch. The car in front of me on that second run is a '71 Jag XKE Coupe. Wicked fast, good driver. In 2007 he won the season's "Best of Show" award, presented by the hosts, PCA's Loma Prieta Region.

Just for fun. Where it all began

I should probably enter this post into my other blog, Turn Signals, as this is more up that alley, but because this is a 356 thing, I thought I'd put it here. And I'm also trying out embedding SWF files from Adobe's new Share Beta.

The video here is from Porsche, it is a clip from an 8mm film taken in about 1950. That Porsche is, indeed, Old Number 001. The other car would be an MGTC, the competition of the day.

Monday, November 28, 2005

How to make grinding sounds vanish: lubrication!

In an earlier post, "Running, but now a noise", I noted that on the last run of the spring PCA autocross at Marina airport, Seaside, CA, I was greeted by a loud whining sound emanating from the transmission area. A whining sound that went away when I depressed the clutch. Since then I had only taken Legs out for very short runs, hoping the sound would go away. No, I didn't actually think she would heal herself (though hope springs eternal for the busy and lazy). In the summer I took an afternoon to see how quickly I could replace a throw-out bearing. The thinking was that the pressure-plate and clutch, pressing against a worn-out bearing would silence it, under load, and aligning it under pressure to better than the noisy, sloppy state with the clutch out.
Alas, this was not the problem (more on that if you stick with me here), but I did learn some things. To wit: if you get past the idea that removing your engine is a daunting task, you can R&R a throwout bearing in two hours. I did, and I even had problems with one of the engine mounting bolts (small problem really, requiring more joints in my wrist and elbow and shoulder and wrenches on the starter-side nut than I had available--but I finally got it). I didn't drop the engine completely, but just back and low enough to swap out the bearing. I surprised myself, but still don't live up to those weekend racers that do complete engine swaps between classes and other feats of motoring heroism (let's not even start on what drag racers do!). So I pretended I was in the garage at LeMans, and could still save a first-in-class over those less reliable Matra-Simcas if I could jest get back on the track and log some more laps within the next three hours.
When I took Legs with her new T/O bearing down to the grocers, my heart sank as the sound was still there. No worse, but no better. I skipped the AutoX the next day, didn't make the required 4/6 events in order to score class points for a trophy, and never got to go heads-up against the only other Class Ap entrant of the year.

I was sure that the noise was then coming from the input shaft main bearing. The shop manual illustrations showed that this was a likely candidate for the noise. It fit the symptoms. I ordered a replacement bearing at modest cost. Then went to the shop manuals again and started reading the procedures. Perhaps I should stop trying to educate (and scare) myself before starting any project of this kind. Because it stopped me cold. I started investigating purchasing a new (used) transmission. Opportunity for upgrade, it would be a 741 trans, I would take it to Ron's Transaxles up in San Pablo and have them go through it, I would swap out the stock 716 nose cover (to match the mounting points and A-shifter) and I'd be better than new. But that was a serious $$ commitment, and the $$s didn't fall into my pocket over the summer.

Eager to make the Coastal Driving School's December event at Laguna Seca, I was ready to dive into the removal of the transmission during my T'Givings vacation. Luckily, the lightbulb went off in my head before I did that major surgery (done once before in 2000 to replace a broken hockey stick, but that's a different story). I thought, "check the fluid in the transaxle before you do the Full Monty".

I did, on Wed. Nov. 23, and was rewarded (kinda, but considering the alternative, you know) in only a pint or so of transaxle fluid falling out of the drain hole. The shop manual confirmed a 3.5Liter (3.17qt) normal operational volume, so I was sliiiightly low. Drips on the bottom of the trans case at the median line were observed, and one of the swing axle boots had a tear. Enough to lose 2.75 quarts? Over 4 years, and hard driving, yes. Nary a spot under the car (observed, anyway, there may have been some on the gravel drive) means that the loss was under pressure and probably mostly on the freeway at high gear speeds. The exit point was likely the boot and also at the nosecone-to-trans-case junction. Where, in 2000, I neglected to reinstall the new paper gasket. There's a metal-metal contact there, which shouldn't be, but which is almost good enough, but not quite. So I will be R&Ring the transaxle to fix (rather than patch with a transfusion) this problem, but not until 2006 and warmer/drier weather. And maybe I'll find a good deal on a 741 transaxle when I'm not shopping under a deadline.
The Porsche Gods smiled upon me, when after pumping (and pumping, and pumping--something like 150 strokes of the hand-pump per quart) in the requisite volume of Valvoline multigrade 85-140 gear oil (with the leaks I wouldn't trust a synthetic to stay in), and firing up Legs, the whining vanished like a toddler placed on Santa's lap.