Over the last two weeks, I’ve begun telling the story of the newest addition to the SCM fleet. I bought a 1975 911 S Sportomatic from the Hershey swap meet corral last October.
The car was represented as having 47,000 original miles. It was originally purchased from Holbert Porsche in Warrington, PA, on July 17, 1975. License plate was 12V784, VIN 9115201489, engine number 6459078.
I paid $46,000 for the car and on October 9 it was on a carrier headed to Avant-Garde Collection in Portland. On November 29 the car was dry-ice cleaned there. On Feb 1, the car arrived at A&P Specialties in Portland, Al Blanchard’s Porsche repair shop.
Over the years Al has ministered to all of my Porsches: 1968 911L, 1978 911 SC, 2000 Boxster S, 2000 996 Twin Turbo, 2001 911 Carrera and 1991 928 S4.
Here are the results of the PPI he performed: https://2un.me/s0rvmtzx
I know what my reaction is, but I’m most interested in hearing yours.
As a straight, low-miles, handsome car with an interesting original interior, I am okay with what I paid. But I have some decisions to make.
What courses of action would you recommend at this point? Please post them below.
P.S. If you happen to have any information about this particular car, please post it in this blog, as well. Thanks.
I would fix what needs to be done and then leave it – and enjoy it – as is.
LEMON – how much you like lemonaid will drive your decision!
I think this particular Porsche 911 Sportomatic would be worth fixing. Re-build the engine and enjoy the car for years!
Prioritize the “A” (RED) items, and develop a cost analysis. If keeping the original engine is critical, then rebuild it. If not, then maybe source a rebuilt one, if possible. I think that you know the rest of the drill. Keep the Faith, and Good Luck!
I have forgotten most of what I knew about air cooled Porsches of that vintage, having steered clear of them due to the head stud issues. All of my air cooled cars were 1986-88 but now I only have water cooled ones, a 996 GT2 and Carrera 2. You will certainly need to rebuild the engine, but first have the mechanic determine how many of the studs are broken. If memory serves, if the car isn’t making scary noises and compression is still acceptable, driving the car in a normal manner won’t result in the engine turning into a hand grenade. HOWEVER: the other problem I recall from the old days is that the cam chain tensioner can go bad in these and that will cause the engine to fail suddenly, without much warning and expensively. Most cars were retrofitted with an oil fed tensioner and I don’t see one in the pictures. If those fail, the engine will likely be junk. If I were you, I would get on the rebuild soon, or maybe source a replacement 3.2 Carrera engine transplant and put the original engine in a box in the garage. The extra power will make up for what the Sportomatic takes away.
It is worth the effort and expense to rebuild the engine. The head studs are a headache but can be dealt with. At 47,000 the engine should not need a lot more than studs and resealed. I wouldn’t expect to find machine work needed. The car has a solid body which is a battle that I wouldn’t want to fight. I would rebuild the engine and then you have a good solid car and you know what you have. I live about 12 miles from Hershey but the car does not look familiar to me. Ed.
Presumably you have already assumed that money would need to be spent on this car when you bought it. Body is rust free, suspension is fine so fix the mechanical things identified in the inspection report and enjoy the pretty car. Plus it’s an automatic which you need. No question about it.
My hot take re: engine:
It’s almost summer. If the engine is running well and the leaking is manageable and not getting worse, I would drive it for a season first before sinking more money in. Safety items of course like brakes need to be taken care of now. Cheers- Phil in L.A.
I don’t “speak Porsche”, but in the inspection report, the technician noted that the air conditioning compressor is “missing entirely”, yet the engine compartment photo above shows what looks very much like the piston-style (York?) AC compressor on the $25.00 ’62 Rambler Classic I owned in 1971. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
I would do the brake work, intake runners, and any minor issues…drive it this season (watching the oil levels) and then rebuild the engine if you decide to keep it.
Fixing the little stuff goes without saying. Like any car that is “new” to you, drive it for a while to see what it really needs. In this case (pun intended), an engine “rebuild” at 47,000 miles is likely to be relatively inexpensive, as you should be able to re-use the pistons and cylinders, cams, and definitely the crank. The intake and exhaust systems sound fine, so no cost there. Heads might need a little cleanup. Can’t recall when Porsche began using pressure-fed chain tensioners, but adding them is simple. If a tensioner fails, the engine will be fine–if you keep rpm well above idle; I once drove a similar 911 from New York to Colorado with a failed tensioner. Since the car is solid and low-mileage, I’d definitely fix the existing engine.
If this were my car, I would fix the motor and install the Carrera (pressure-fed) chain tensioners, or at least the 930-style clips. As others have pointed out, it’s more of a “reseal” than a true rebuild. I own a 75 911S, by the way, and I would certainly keep that nice little 2.7 in the car rather than replacing it.
Don’t have anything good to say, sooo I’m not saying anything. Most people know the problems of the mid 70’s Porches, sportomatic transmissions are rare and there’s a reason for that. Have fun…
How MUCH you have forgotten! You do not just rebuild the engine. Thirty (30) years ago when we rebuilt this type of magnesium engine we found that the case usually needed to be line bored (OUCH) where do you find the shop and the necessary parts (i.e.) bearings. You have a fuel injection system that relies on vacuum to operate the CIS! There are no old guys (which I qualify) that have horded these parts…Every single air conditioning part will have to materialize to make things look like they work. Including an antiquated compressor. Remove the air pump it will clean up the engine compartment. What are you going to do about Sportomatic clutch parts when all the cars have turned to dust. My advice is give the car to an unsuspecting friend. WE have been successfully in the Porsche business for over 50 years. Al Zim
If it runs and drives well, I’d be tempted to drive it as is the few thousand miles it’s likely to get a year for a while. Mostly because I would have used up my fun money to buy it and wouldn’t have the funds for a rebuild for a while. You, on the other hand should still have 30-40k in your pocket from the Citroën sale due to the wonders of BaT. Use some and engine work is kind of on them. So with that twisted logic you have a “free” re-build there for the taking. PNW weather still sucks, so do it now if you are going to and have it ready for action whenever spring finally arrives.
Maybe have your shop talk to Ollie’s Engineering in Lake Havasu AZ. They are a machine shop that specializes in air cooled Porsches. There website also gives a list of standard prices. They would probably also have good information on the availability of parts needed for a rebuild. When I did my 77S a few years back you could no longer get the oversized bearings used after align boring the mains. The alternate solution is more complicated and expensive. Good luck with the project.
In the immortal words of the late, great PCA tech guru Bruce Anderson, buy the best car you can find that you can also afford. I’ve always followed that dictum and it’s never failed me.
That said, I think it also depends on what you’re after here. If you want a project and can snag it for a reasonable price, this 911 looks like it would be a solid starting point, given that it has basically a nice, rust- and damage-free tub, and the rest of the car is all there, including the original engine and Sporto transaxle.
Were it me, I’d want to be able to enjoy the car as a dependable driver right away without having to mess with it too much. I’m not into projects or pricey (to do it right) engine rebuilds anymore, so I’d pass on this one, albeit maybe reluctantly (it is, after all, a pretty nice old 2.7 911). Good luck, though!
Not a Porsche expert (currently) but like you I see something pretty cool in this car. Unusual drivetrain along with fetching paint and that interior is wild; worth keeping just to see the smiles on the faces of your car comrades. I’m guessing you had a number in mind that you’d be willing to hand over to get this one right. Take it there and only marginally above in the name of safety. Other comments from those more expert than me make it seem this may never be as sought after than some other 911s gens, so don’t get bit too hard, just enjoy.
Well…as a mechanic, I can say that I am VERY impressed with the inspection report and the supporting photographs. Now, down to business.
First, I’d be REALLY upset that the description you received clearly omitted many details about the vehicle’s true condition. The engine work, and other needed parts are NOT minor, and there will lots of needed, and expensive, labor. Also, are parts available for a vehicle of this vintage? (I am NOT a Porsche expert by any stretch). If you blow a head gasket, you will probably ruin the engine, so I would be very concerned about this immediately.
Second, I saw what I thought was an A/C compressor in one of the photos. If it is, maybe the compressor is seized – I’ve seen LOTS of those over the years! If the A/C is an R-12 system, refrigerant will be hard to find, and expensive. A retrofit to R-134a would be the most feasible way to go. Again, parts may be an issue. In my experience, most A/C work on all cars gets expensive quickly (thank you, EPA!)
Third, some of the interior photos show what looks like water staining, so I would be concerned about water leaks. However, interiors age quickly in the sun and with the age of the car, it is probably to be expected.
Your budget, and the vehicle value AFTER the repairs, should be your guide. If it won’t be worth much more than what you paid for it after the repairs, is it worth it to you? I realize the body is in good shape, and has no apparent collision damage (why was the fender removed?), but you’ll be underwater with costs.
Is this Porsche rare, or particularly desirable to someone else? 🤷♂️