Well, 2016 was quite a busy year with a number of fantastic cars shows and 968 fun. I’ve also had some bad luck in the form of a large tree branch that fell on Minty’s original paint hood and a transmission problem. Thanks to a master paintless dent remover technician the dents in Minty’s hood disappeared 100%. It is amazing what these guys can do. As for the tranny, I wasn’t so lucky. A roller pin had fallen out of the shifter linkage and deep into the tranny damaging the input shaft and one of the gears. Fortunately Raj had a spare tranny which I picked up from him and used it as the parts donor for my tranny. I’m happy to report that Minty is back on the road and shifting 100% again. Just in time for winter. I can’t really complain though, I’ve owned 4 968s for 20 years and this is my first unexpected expense. That said, I wish it didn’t happen.
968s continue to make their mark in the public relations area. The article on Kaj’s color to sample cab was out in Excellence a few months ago. There was an M030 coupe featured on the front cover of Hemming’s Sports and Exotics. Pano has had a number of 968 related articles including a feature in the most recent issue on Bill’s Pasha 968 “art car”. And if you missed Minty’s (and mine) TV debut on My Classic Car you can find it on YouTube or as a repeat on the Velocity channel. So, there continues to be a regular flow of 968 features which is great so keep an eye out and let me know if your 968 is going to be featured so we can get the word out. As always, if you have something you would like to share with the group just send it along and we’ll get it in a future newsletter.
What’s back there? – 968 cabriolet rear seating area
When the 968 cabriolet was being readied for production and sale in the North America someone at Porsche must have known about the upcoming three point seat belt regulations that were coming out in the US. Because of this Porsche designed the double glove box unit to be placed in the same location as the lap belt/rear seats of the 944 cabriolet. This unit was placed in all 1,953 US-bound 968 cabs making them factory “two seaters”. That said, Canada did not have the same upcoming regulations as the US so the 55 Canadian-bound 968 cabs kept their factory rear seats with lap belt and continued to be “four seaters”.
50 of those 55 Canadian cabs were 92-early 94 cars and had the same lower rear seat that carried over from the 944 cabriolet. It is a one piece unit that covers the entire seating area and has matching upholstery to the front seats and door panels. The inboard seat belts install through it. I have one retrofitted in my 92 cab to make it a “four seater”. You can see the picture below.
Now, I have often wondered about those 5 later cars. These late-94 (3) to 95 (2) cabs had the 993 style seats up front. What did Porsche do for them in the rear?
Option 1: Did they make a 993-style single seat piece like the 944 unit I have in my car?
Or Option 2: Did they have individual pieces like they do on the late 968 coupe?
Or Option 3: Maybe they decided that rather than making a special design as they wrapped up 968 production they would just install the double glove box unit that they had been using in the US???
But with only 5 Canadian late cabs produced out of 2,008 I knew it would take a while to get my answer.
Well guess what? I recently ran into Steve from Toronto who just happens to own #1 of those 5 and he answered my question.
Behold the photo of Steve’s cab which clearly shows that option #2 of my options listed above was the direction that Porsche took. They decided to use the same individual seat design that they did on the late model 968 coupe except they continued with the lap belt that they had used on the earlier cabs. I think it looks nice. Maybe this approach is even a little cleaner than the earlier 944 design. Mystery solved. Thanks Steve for answering my question and that is a nice 968 you have there.
2017 Porsche 968?
Well, not quite. But in case you haven’t heard, Porsche has decided to bring its first, inline four cylinder model since the 968 to the United States and guess what? I have one in my driveway! A new, 2017 Porsche Macan 2.0 Turbo!!
A little background first. For my daily drivers we have a lot of Audis in our family. I’ve had a couple of A4s, now an A5, and my wife drives a Q5, all powered by Audi’s 2.0 Turbo. The 2.0T is a great power plant, excellent performance and mileage, easy to work on and maintain. You also may know that the Porsche Macan crossover SUV, which was launched in 2015, is based on the Q5 so there are similarities. The power plants for the Macan started with the 6 cylinders but there was always a 4 cylinder in Europe. The questions was, would Porsche bring this configuration to the US? Many thought “no” but last Spring Porsche decided “yes”! And it just so happened, our trusty 2011 Q5 2.0T was ready for replacement. I approached my wife and we agreed that a new Macan 2.0T would be our next vehicle.
The Macan 2.0T starts at $47,500 and is fairly well equipped. There hasn’t been a new Porsche available at the sub-$50k price point for many years (early 2000 Boxster??) but just like any new Porsche, there are options galore available to you and the price rises easily. Since we were originally looking to replace the Q5 with another Q5 I discussed the options with the wife and we exercised much control to stay just over our Q5 budget. We kept the options to a minimum and after dealer negotiations we were out the door for under $50k. The salesman said he could not remember the last time they sold a NEW Porsche for under $50k!!!
Then we waited and the Macan finally showed up on August 4th. They had it sitting in the center of the showroom when we picked it up.
So, my impressions? It’s a beauty! The design of the body is fantastic. I’m not sure which I like better, the clam shell hood in the front or the tailgate with those magnificent taillights and quarter panel
budges in the rear. The Macan just looks good from any angle. We picked white as the exterior color for our Macan for the sole reason of showing off all those great body accents.
The interior is well appointed and superbly crafted exuding a pleasurable tactile experience in every area. It is interesting how Porsche added their performance lineage to many of the interior components. You start with the bucket seats that are very comfortable and easy to get into while offering just the right amount of bolstering for the driver and passenger. Next is that steering wheel that seems just the right size. The cockpit is designed with the driver in mind with everything placed in a great location. The PCM is very intuitive and easy to reach. The PDK paddles feel great with a solid, quality operation.
Of course performance is present in every operation of the Macan. With 252hp and 273lbs of torque the Macan moves right down the road. It brakes very quickly but the most noticeable difference from the Q5 is the handling. The Macan is planted and loves the turns. What a blast.
I almost don’t want to mention it here but the Macan is a practical vehicle with plenty of room for 4 people and 5 in a pinch. Storage is more than adequate and it is very friendly when pressed into family duty. I ordered the optional roof rails so next year when we bring my daughter to college we’ll be able to mount the Thule container. And we are seeing a solid 22mpg around town and 26mpg with some highway travel. That’s very impressive and the Macan isn’t even broken in yet.
So, how about that 968 comparison? Well, these are two different types of vehicles separated by 24 years of production. That said, they do share some similarities. Pop the hood and you will see that inline 2.0 four cylinder looking very similar to the 3.0 in the 968s. And there is a ton of room in the Macan engine bay. I look forward to performing my first oil change. But I think the area they are most similar is the “fun” factor driving experience that they deliver which is standard equipment with any Porsche. How great will it be to have a big smile on my face when I depart for my next long, family trip. Thanks Porsche for building a new one for me! We love it.
Hollywood 968 – Found!!!
Many of you may recall my article on the Hollywood 968. It appeared in the May 2013 968 Registry E-newsletter (check the registry site to read it) and outlined my search for a certain Porsche 968 cabriolet. This unique raspberry (pink) 968 cabriolet appeared in two 1994 films, “Beverly Hills cop 3” and “The Specialist”. I wanted to locate the car and went on a search to do just that. My efforts landed me in Louisville Kentucky but I was denied final gratification when the owner told me she had just sold the car. That said, two years later, the current owner contacted me in September!
The good news, the car is located, it is running, and the owner now knows how special it is.
The bad news, the owner did NOT know how special it was and repainted it red! Ouch.
Oh well. Under the trunk still has the original raspberry paint and he told me he intends to return the car to full raspberry someday. The great news is now this special 968 has been located and the owner knows what it is. Below are photos of the actual car when the owner first took ownership and a photo of it as it appears today. Wouldn’t it be great to see it fully restored in the future. I hope it happens.
Like most of you, in addition to my 968 cars I also have a supporting collection of 968-related memorabilia. This includes model cars, posters, and many, many documents and brochures. But recently I was shown a very unique item that I had never seen before, an original MCO for a 968.
What’s an MCO you ask? That stands for Manufacturers Certificate of Origin (also known as an MSO, Manufacturers Statement of Origin). The best analogy I can provide you for this document is it is like a birth certificate for your car. The manufacturer, in this case Porsche, provides these documents to the dealer along with the physical vehicles when they are new. When the vehicle is sold, part of the registration process is that the dealer turns the MCO over to the state’s DMV in exchange for a vehicle title and off the car goes to the first, registered owner.
Today, many manufacturers including Porsche have specific rules for the dealers regarding the handling of the MCO/MSO in order to keep brand new vehicles out of the hands of brokers who are usually looking to avoid paying taxes. Despite those rules, and in some rare cases, that initial registration transaction doesn’t always happen. Let’s say a dealer thinks a particular vehicle will be a future collectible and decides not to sell it. This vehicle would still be with its MCO for many years after it was
initially delivered to the dealer. I have heard of this before. I recall many Chevrolet dealers thinking that 1978 vintage anniversary Corvettes would be worth big dollars some day and kept them on MCO. Boy where they wrong.
Another example of why the MCO would survive is what I believe happened with this rare M030 968, that the vehicle immediately went racing and was later sold as a race car. I guess it would have been a waste of time to register it so the original dealer just sold it on MCO. Or who knows, maybe the dealer was the one who raced it? Somehow, this particular 968 has never had a registered owner and the MCO has stayed with it after all these years. If the current owner was to get the car streetable again and then registered it that individual would be owner number one, 22 years after the car first arrived at the dealer. Pretty cool and an example of a very rare and seldom seen document.
They’re out there!
If you are looking for that specific, special, 968 make sure you watch the market regularly as you never know when one of the rarer gems will suddenly appear. This exact circumstance just recently happened! One of our long-time 968 fans was checking Auto trader when he was shocked to find a Riviera Blue cab listed for sale at a Porsche dealer. It sounded too good to be true! Being 1 of only 5 made, it was also a one owner, great shape, only 89k original miles, and loaded with great options including 220 LSD. On top of that, it was priced at least $5k under value. Needless to say, he promptly got on the phone and after seeing a few condition-confirming photos, made the deal quickly. Good thing he did as the dealer’s phone started ringing like crazy and his email box filled with prospects looking to purchase the car but the deal had been done. That said, two of these prospects were so interested in the car that they asked the dealer to forward their contact information to the new owner in case he wanted to sell the car for a quick profit. However, the new owner plans to keep this rare machine, at least for a while. Congrats to the new owner on a great score of a fantastic and rare 968. For the rest of you, keep your eyes peeled!
Event reviews 2016
2016 was a busy year with many events. A few reviews appear below.
2016 PCA Zone 1 Concours 5/13 – 5/15, Westbury Gardens LI NY – Some people question driving our nice cars to car shows but I always think that is part of the fun. That said, when I plotted my trip to the Zone 1 concours in Westbury Gardens Long Island NY I knew I had some interesting driving in front of me. No leisurely journey through the back roads of Vermont. Nope, I would be heading to that “most fun” driving location, New York City (insert sarcasm here). The route showed that I would be heading over the Whitestone Bridge and then turning east to Westbury. I would have to have all my defenses up to prevent any issues occurring with my speed yellow 968 coupe but the event looked like fun so I made my plans.
Saturday arrived and we were greeted with a beautiful day. It had rained the day before and another storm was forecast for later that day but for the show we had blue skies and pleasant temperatures. My car was all cleaned up and I had the bra installed on the front so I was ready to go. I left promptly at 7am and headed to metro NY. The trip went relatively smooth but with all the crazy drivers you encounter on a NYC trip you have to be extra careful. I finally made it to Westbury and to the beautiful Westbury Gardens estate. This is an old estate that was donated and turned into a park. Apparently it is often used for car shows. The event was clearly marked and I made my way to my parking spot. After a quick cleanup I was off to look at the other vehicles. There were just under 100 Porsches in attendance with examples of all the models. Highlights for me included a 55 mile example (yes, that is 55 miles) 1989 911 Speedster and a signal green GT3 RS with yellow trim. My son Greg’s favorite was a 356 continental edition which was very nice. But my number one goal of this trip was to meet up with Mike B who owns Speed Yellow coupe #5. Seeing two speed yellow 968s together is the equivalent in rarity of seeing big-foot. In all my years of following 968s I have never seen two SY coupes together at the same time so when I pulled in and spotted Mike’s beautiful machine I headed straight for it and parked. I found Mike and we started checking out the two beautiful machines. Mike’s car has super low mileage as well. We got a number of photos of the two lookers before the day was done.
Although there were many activities surrounding the zone 1 event I had only budgeted the time for the concours so by 3pm the awards were given out (we got 2nd) and I was headed back home. The traffic was worse going back but I made it without issue. As I’ve said before, one of the neatest things about the club is attending events at locations you might never have visited. Now I can check Westbury Long Island off the list.
2016 PCA Parade 6/19 – 6/25, Jay Peak VT – There is nothing like a Porsche club parade and this event lived up to that reputation. The Sunday we left was a beautiful early summer day and we headed North for the 5 hour trip. Because this parade was so “close” I decided to bring both 968s so Greg drove the coupe and I drove Minty. The trip was incredible. When we crossed the Vermont boarder we pulled over to get gas and I put the top down. Then we took a slightly longer and much more scenic route to our final destination, Jay Peak. We went past a few beautiful sites including Lake Eden so we stopped for a few photos and to take in those beautiful mountains.
After enjoying a number of twisty roads we found ourselves checked in to the Jay Peak resort and started our task of car cleaning. This was a little bit of a challenge at Jay Peak as many of the driveways were not paved! I heard a number of Porsche owners decided not to go to the event because of this fact. Undaunted, we went to work and got the cars cleaned up nice along with a couple hundred fellow PCA concours entrants.
Sunday night was the welcome banquet where we enjoyed a nice meal and then hung out by the fire pit at night while enjoying the cool air and beautiful moonlit sky. Monday was concours day. We made our way to the golf course and set up the cars. There were two fairways that were used to display the cars and they had quite a good selection present.
We had 4 968s on the show field include Aaron and Minta’s beautiful Cassis Red metallic cab.
Once the judging was completed the Parade organizer had an interesting idea. They conducted a “roving” model demonstration. Here they had a few experts, armed with portable microphones, move around the show field and stop at the various model areas to highlight the history and significance of the
examples. As they spoke their reviews were heard by all utilizing a large audio system. Very cool. With the 924s/928s/944s/968s all celebrating their 40th anniversary I was happy to see that they were given much attention throughout the parade. PCNA also had a large tent set up with the historic display right next to it and gave away plenty of goodies. They brought along a fully loaded Macan Turbo in paint to sample Viper green. Wow!
Tuesday found Greg and I joining a number of Porsches out on the road for a drive into Canada which was a blast. We enjoyed the scenery and stopped at an old abbey. Tuesday night was the concours awards and banquet. Greg had to work the next day so we departed for home at 10pm after the dinner. Vermont is so beautiful during the day but at night it is very dark and quiet. Being that far north we would drive for 15 minutes without even seeing a car, and that was on I-91! But we made it home safely and had a great time. The next Parade is in Spokcane Washington and for 2018 they are targeting New Orleans so I think those drives are just too long so I’ll be off for a few years but if you live near those locations you should consider their great events.
2016 West Coast 968 Gathering 7/8 – 7/10, South Lake Tahoe CA – 968er Bob Frith put together a successful non-PCA sponsored event on the west coast. His review of the event is below. He is already working on the 2017 event so stay tuned for more details. Nice job Bob!
S. Lake Tahoe was a 2-day drive away as we started out from our home in N. Arizona July 7th. We met up with a good friend for breakfast and then we pointed our White 968s, one coupe and one Cabriolet, to I40 and westward toward California to meet new friends. Other 968s were headed to the same destination from the north and west with the same temptation of a weekend with other 968 owners.
Others would begin their journeys from the east and west the following day since they didn’t have as far to drive. We spent the night at a small hotel in Lone Pine, CA with a spectacular view of Mt Whitney. The next morning led to a great drive up CA 395, with a stop at Mono Lake to see its amazing mineral spires and tufa columns. After more spirited driving up higher into the Sierra Nevadas we arrived at the Park 968 hotel. A funky environmentally-executed hotel that was the perfect gathering place to park our 968s.
As more 968s pulled into the reserved covered parking spaces, the owners began to gather and greet each new arrival. After dinner we all congregated in a private patio to get better acquainted with each other, swap stories and share some great bottles of wine, late into the evening.
Saturday morning the 10 cars met down by Lake Tahoe for pre-drive photos.
Matt, our local guide, delivered a specular drive over a mountain pass through a winter ski area and down into Virginia City for lunch and “hangin’ out” where early miners, cowboys (Bonanza!) and an obscure Bay Area 60’s rock-and-roll band (The Warlocks, look them up) played in the bars. Couple other bands passed through the doors including Big Brother and the Holding Company (Janis Joplin of 356 fame) and the Jefferson Airplane. Joined by several other 968 owners during that day we headed off south to our dinner destination. Despite protestations that people were still full from lunch, the Basque family-style multi-course food and wine were cleaned off the plates! I guess all that driving took more calories than we thought it would! A fast run back up the mountain to the hotel capped off the day, except for more night-caps and solving of the world’s problems.
Sunday was another day of spectacular weather and another start from the lakeside. This time we headed south over some more amazing roads cresting at snow level altitudes and drives over some twisty farm roads to gather at a Tuscan-styled winery recommended by Jeff, a local participant, where wine tasting and lunch provided a great mid-day break. Photo ops followed before departing for the hotel or home.
On Monday the remaining cars gathered for final farewells and off to home! Our drive back to AZ took us back down CA 395 and across CA 168 into Nevada and home. CA 168 between CA 395 and NV 95
travels over two 8,000 ft mountain passes through the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest and is one of the more exciting drives I’ve ever had with more tight curvey sections mixed with long straights than most race tracks I’ve been on. What a way to finish the weekend before the boredom of interstates to finish our drive home!
The 968 was absolutely a great car for this trip – fast, agile, comfortable and lots of room for luggage and fly-fishing gear (Can’t go to the Sierra Nevadas without a day on the Carson River with a rod in my hand).
Be sure to visit the new register website. 968register.org.
PCA 968 Register Advocate http://968register.org/