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From 911T to 911ST: A Tribute

Porsche 911 T #9112100727 has been through several owners, finally being reborn as an accurate tribute to the raucous 911ST

IT WAS A COLD, GRAY SATURDAY morning on the 29th of December 2018. I woke up early because Porsche Centre Oakville was graciously hosting a Classic Porsche Enthusiast Meet Up. The event was advertised as “a morning of Classic Porsche-talk with Porsche Classic Certified Technicians and fellow Classic owners”, and included a promise that we would get a peek at a classic Porsche “special visitor”, though no further details were provided.

Arriving right on time at 8:30 am, I grabbed a fresh cappuccino from the super friendly dealership staff to warm myself up. Before I could explore the latest models on the showroom floor, I heard, from behind me, that characteristic air-cooled, boxer engine growl we’ve all come to know and love as Porsche enthusiasts. Looking out the window, a narrow-bodied, long-hood 911 in a beautiful metallic silver was being parked right outside the front doors of the dealership. This was a 911 ST tribute car with VIN# 9112100727, built to 1971 FIA specifications. 

I knew all this because I instantly recognized the newly parked Neunelfer. After all, I just started writing a (well, this) profile piece for it! [Ed: Gary had reached out to Provinz with photos and information on this car a few weeks prior to the event.]

Heading outside, there were three gentlemen surrounding the car, two of them deep in conversation. I greeted the remaining man who introduced himself as Will, the son of the car’s current owner, Gary Turner. Will subsequently explained to me who the other gentleman was – Stephen Fowler, a previous owner of the same vehicle, who had rushed out to greet Gary and Will at first sight of his old car.

“I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to see my old car,” Stephen would later tell me. “I loved that car and should never have sold it.” 

Of course, the car we were all admiring wasn’t always as it is now. When 9112100727 was delivered brand new to its owner in 1972, it was a non-sunroof 1972 911 T, outfitted with a 2.4L flat six air-cooled engine and finished in a special-order Jade Green (227). According to appraisal documents, the car was repainted in the mid-90s to silver; at some other point in its life, the original 2.4L unit was replaced by a 2.7L from a 1975 911 S. The 2.7L unit was professionally rebuilt with factory original European specification pistons and cylinders, along with Solex camshafts by then-owner and well-known air-cooled guru, Yarko Matkiwsky. 

Stephen purchased 9112100727 from Yarko in 2006. “When I had it, she was much as she is now, raw, raucous, and more visceral than any car I’ve ever experienced. She was just scruffier. With her lightweight flywheel she revved freely, she spit flames on the downshift, and she set off every car alarm in my condo garage.”

Already a UCR member at the time, Stephen knew how to enjoy his Porsche as it was meant to be enjoyed – behind the wheel. He took it to UCR driving tours (called fun-runs then) in Niagara and pushed its handling limits at Autocross events too. Besides taking it to events, he would also use it for camping, and was happy to share the experience of 9112100727 with family and friends – he showed me a photo of his mom in the driver seat, giving him a big thumbs up!

“I’m glad that you mentioned that photo.  As part of my mother’s memorial when she passed in 2010, my sister put together a photo PowerPoint that ended with it, captioned ‘This is the Life’.”

After three years of ownership, Yarko called to see if he could purchase 9112100727 back, and Stephen agreed. “One of the reasons I decided to sell her was because I was living in a condo, and doing maintenance in a condo parking lot was far from ideal. One day, she broke an oil line and trailed oil through two levels of the garage. I went through a lot of kitty litter that day. Ironically, shortly after selling the ‘72, my girlfriend (now wife) and I purchased a house with a three-car garage.”

“At the time, I thought it actually was great deal, selling it back for what I bought it for. Essentially, I drove a 911 for a few years for free.” Alas, no one could have predicted the air-cooled craze that followed.

Yarko then sold it to a gentleman based in Ottawa who had big ideas in store for this car. 9112100727 had an altogether different life in this period than it had with Stephen. Almost as soon as it was purchased, the car was placed in the very capable hands of Markus Blaszak, Porsche mechanic and race-car builder, based out of Kingston, Ontario. This was the beginning of a four year-long journey that would transform this 1972 911 T into a 911 ST tribute car. 

Compared to many other resto-mod (a portmanteau of the words ‘restoration’ and ‘modification’) projects nowadays, this 911 ST tribute distinguishes itself in its approach – to be a faithful, period-correct reproduction of the real 911 ST. To that end, Blaszak started by having 9112100727 dismantled completely, back to bare body. Interior soundproofing material was removed by hand. Corrosion, if any at all, was removed and made good. 

The car then went through a process of introducing steel section strengthening welded in the engine and rear seat areas. Metal jacking points were added, along with hidden mounting points for an FIA roll cage. Welding of filets and other body strengthening / stiffening parts was completed in compliance with period FIA 1971 Appendix J Group 4 specifications. This was replicated through referencing original photographs from the Porsche factory back in 1971. For weight savings, a rear deck lid was made period correct to OEM 911 S specification in light aluminum, with a polycarbonate rear screen and a fibreglass rear bumper assembly.

The engine was taken out and apart, rebuilt into a period- and vehicle-correct 2.5L short-stroke flat six by Steve Weiner of Rothsport, Oregon. In this process, only the engine cases from the 2.7L were kept. The engine was dyno-tested at 261bhp before installation back into the car. This proved a dramatic improvement over the stock 2.4L T engine, wgich produced around 140 bhp in stock form. The transmission was stripped down, with its casing sent to CMS Motorsport for renewal. It was then reassembled by Blaszak with a new shorter gear stack, strengthened bearing housing main shaft, new synchros and a ZF multiplate LSD. New clutch plate and lightweight pressure plate were also fitted. A 110L fuel cell and ST specification twin oil coolers were also installed.

With a stiffened chassis and a sizeable bump in power, the suspension and brakes were next in line for improvement. The brake system was renewed with forged aluminum 911 ‘S’ calipers, and the suspension system was completely restored with brand new Bilstein shocks, Elephant Racing camber plates and bushings, and uprated torsion and sway bars.

On the inside, 9112100727 had been re-trimmed in correct light weight carpets, new headliner, door seals, and rubber front mats. Gauges were restored by North Hollywood Speedo Repairs – including a 10k tachometer and 180mph speedometer. Custom-made door pads with RS style pull handles and door release straps, along with period-correct rally map pocket and pen holder on passenger door, compliment the dash, also custom-made using Porsche materials and factory stitching. 

After the completion of this build process, the owner had only put an extra 6,400km on the finished car over a period of a few years, before selling 9112100727 to its next and current owner, Gary, in 2017.

“I’m a long time Porsche man – having owned and driven most 911s from 1971 onwards – right through to a 997 turbo. But my passion has always been early cars,” Gary had told me. He and his wife recently moved to Toronto from the UK. In order to make the move happen, he had sold his collection of cars. 

Since then, he has started the process of rebuilding a collection here, starting with 9112100727. In his care, Gary proudly continued in the same vein as the previous owner, meticulously finishing some remaining details on 9112100727, faithfully to 911 ST spec. 

“It’s as near to a 911 ST as you can get, with everything period-correct right from mechanical specs down to the interior stitching which was done by a retired Porsche factory trim craftsman. It also has the narrow body and not flared arches as so many similar replicas.” 

As a final step, Gary brought the car to Pfaff Autoworks in Vaughan, Ontario. A full glass out / bare metal repaint was carried out clear over base in a modern metallic silver from Porsche’s 2012 colour chart for the 911, which was then wet sanded and buffed.  

Stephen and Gary together share a mutual pride of ownership and some great stories about 9112100727 (Photo by Derek Cheung).

When asked of some of his favorite moments since the car was completed, Gary talked extensively about his experience with the car at the track – 9112100727’s power-to-weight ratio certainly surprised some Boxster and modern 911 drivers, especially when he gave the wheel to a race driver to give him a hot lap around Mosport (now Canadian Tire Motorsport Park)!

“It’s quite a car. I’ve been around and owned a lot of 911s, and this car is just incredible.”

In my opinion, the true value of classic Porsches does not only lie in their aesthetics, restoration accuracy, dynamic capabilities when driven, or objective monetary value. Interwoven with the history of these vehicles and beyond the maintenance records and appraisals that allow them to fetch top dollar, are the stories and aspirations of individual owners. 

In aggregate, Porsche owners do not treat their vehicles as either appliances or pure status symbols. They are more than willing to relish in the enjoyment of driving them and the misery (to the less mechanically inclined, in any case) of restoring them. It is in this level of appreciation for what many other folk would consider a simple mode of transportation that truly makes Porsches, and by extension their owners, special.

As I observed Gary and Stephen discuss the details of their car, genuine enthusiasm permeated their conversation, to the point where you could almost smell their mutual passion for this car. And it is my hope that from these pages, you can feel it too. 

The story for 9112100727 doesn’t end here. When asked what further plans Gary has for it, he said, “Next step is new set of R888R tires, and then back off to Mosport in the summer.” 

“If you are on track this summer and a crazy, howling, early 911 flies by… that’ll be me!” </>

Story by Derek Cheung, UCR Digital Editor | Information and photos supplied by Gary Turner and Stephen Fowler, UCR Members

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