THE PORSCHEPHILE: Tom Elder

Porsche 904 Corgi to Inevitable 911 Outlaw With Attitude!

 

black rockStory and photos by Tom Elder, UCR Member (from Provinz March 2016 page 25)

TB cover“I’m not sure if it was by accident or by design that I ended up with a 911, but, looking back, it seems like there was certain inevitability to my choice. One of the earliest toys I remember having as a child was a Porsche 904 Corgi. I grew up with VW Bee­tles and had one in college. It had no heat, an ice scraper was permanently hung in the defrost vent for scraping frost off the inside of the windshield, and there was plenty of fresh air thanks to the rust-perforated floor. The most important accessory was the pile of blankets in the back seat, used for keeping occupants warm.

DraftingAfter college, I started racing Formula Fords and Formula Vees with some success. During the winter off-season, I explored the limits of Beetle traction while ice racing. To fill the gap after hanging up my race helmet, I moved on to an Intermeccanica Speedster. Owner­ship included building a proper motor for it, punching it out from 1.6L to to 2.2L and adding bigger barrels, a stroker crank, hotter cam, and a set of Webers. There were other sports cars along the way—a Datsun 240Z, a Porsche 914, and an original Lotus 7. Upon reflection, it seems like a logical progression from all the air-cooled hardware to ending up with an early 911.

cadI was really looking for a 356 to build into an Outlaw car but the recession forced me to cut my budget. With a revised scope, my search yielded an early 911 from California that needed some love. The car had previously been dismantled—I assume for the poor paint job it still wears today—and then carelessly reassembled.  The first couple of years of ownership were spent just getting it to run and operate reasonably well. Every system needed work—brakes, suspension and transaxle have all been rebuilt. The saving grace is that it is a very solid, rust-free car.

Country Road

These old cars are meant to be driven and enjoyed, no matter what the weather

The “Pendulum” vanity plate is a little engineering/ physics humour, giving a nod to the early reputation these cars had for stepping out sideways and swinging like a pendulum, due to the mass of the flat six hanging out behind the rear axle.

Why an Outlaw-styled car?

I have a particular fondness for that period in auto­motive design, before the age of electronics, when the focus was on mechanical innovation and styling was not dictated by the need to satisfy safety regulations. This car is a perfect platform or canvas on which to build or create something unique and personal. The basic 911 air-cooled design was built from 1965–1997 so many of the parts are interchangeable and more recent parts can be made to fit an earlier car. Also, there were many versions of the 911—from touring models to extreme performance and full race cars. It’s possible to pick and choose features from all these models that suit the needs of a particular project, which could be anything from a track day car to a touring car. With an Outlaw build, there‘s always the option of designing and fabricating parts from scratch as well.

pedal assy5deck lores

 

The intent of my Pendulum project is to build some­thing unique, a touring car with attitude while retaining the elegance of the original. The goal for the exterior is to make it clean and simple, visually smaller. It is an ex­ercise in subtraction, removing unnecessary trim items like the front and rear bumperettes, to make it shorter, and reducing the ride height to lower the car. The addi­tion of 935 race mirrors contributes to a more compact, leaner profile.

interior Cockpit

The rear deck lid is my own design and was a first-time MIG welding experience. It’s tremendously satisfy­ing to develop something unique; a little art-to-part project that succeeds both aesthetically and functionally. All the badges have been removed from the car as the basic form of the 911 is such an iconic shape it does not need any branding to proclaim its identity. I added a couple of iron crosses to the torsion bar covers to subtly brand it as an Outlaw 911.

The objective for the interior is the creation of a spare, clean look with a touch of mechanical rawness. Updates to the interior include the throttle pedal, shift lever, steering wheel, and BF Torino “Nürburgring R” seats. Any modern, updated, conveniences will be hidden— such as a sound system, speakers, or GPS unit. The car is a work in progress and will be for a while.

As the Pendulum Swings

When I started racing in 1980, Rick Bye was my driv­ing instructor. I was very proud of my rookie-prepared, 10-year-old Titan Formula Ford with its shiny new paint job executed by my brother-in-law. I think Rick thought the shiny paint was the best-prepped part of the car, and he gave me a little speech on not being afraid of getting the car dirty and told me to use it hard, as that is what race cars are for.

Taking Rick’s advice to heart, I worked my way through the pack in my inaugural race at Shannon­ville and took the lead, only to spin into the wet, thick, gooey spring mud on the inside of Corner 6. I have not forgotten that lesson and believe it applies equally well to vintage sports cars. These old cars are meant to be driven and enjoyed, no mat­ter what the weather—and should not be permanently stored in a climate-controlled garage under cover. Perhaps that’s part of the Outlaw ethos, too?

For details on the build see Pelican Parts Porsche Forum http://forums.pelicanparts.com/porsche-911-technical-forum/744845-pendulum-outlaw-build-adventures-misadventures.html

For the Video by Driv­ing.ca see http://driving.ca/porsche/911/auto-news/en­tertainment/the-pendulum-outlaw-this-is-one-mans-ideal-porsche-911

 

ARE YOU A PORSCHE-PHILE?

Join in our member profile page!

If you’d like to be profiled on this page, please contact Porsche-Phile editor, Rhonda Roberts at rhonda@invitalityliving.com.

Garage 7km

Leave a Reply