E-Newsletter – June 2017

With the arrival of the Matador on 12/31/2016 I have been fully engaged in getting this rare machine going again and making much progress. I swear, the car is working with me. I took it for its first drive a few weeks back. It runs great and the clutch must be new as it has a great pedal. We went up the road and back without incident. I have to move on to other “life” activities for a while but I have a week scheduled to take off this summer and will be devoted to doing the quarter panel replacement on the car. I’m wondering how many spot welds will be drilled before I’m done. But once I’m done the hard part will be over and the Matador will be officially back.

I’ve scaled back on the car shows this year which will give me more time to work on the cars. I did make it to the Werk’s reunion on Amelia Island in March as my son Greg was working the event. I hung out with my 968 pal Cliff and we had a blast. I got to see Mel’s Speed yellow cab #4 for the first time in person and it was a beauty. There were a number of 968s at the event and the weather was great.

I was looking forward to Hershey but it rained so that was scrubbed. I had to work the weekend of Zone 1 so I had to pass on that one and no parade this year as I’m not going to drive to Spokane Washington however I know that 968ers Aaron and Minta are contemplating the drive. We’ll see what else shows up as we move towards the warmer weather.

968s sales continue to be strong reflecting the classic Porsche market which is a good thing.

As noted in the March newsletter, the 968 Register window clings are now available. Almost 100 of them have been delivered so many PCA 968s are now sporting the new clings. The reviews have all been positive so if you want a cling send me a note. $2 for the first one and $1.50 each for additional clings.

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. If you have an event or gathering that you would like to organize let me know as well and be sure to mention it in a future newsletter.

A trip to the “Junkyard”, circa 2017

When I first got into cars back in high school I can still remember when one of my friends offered me a drive to the local junkyard to pick up some used parts. I had never been to the yard before and it turned out to be an amazing experience. I needed a few items for my newly acquired 70’ Challenger so I jumped in his Skylark and we made the trek to Norwalk CT where three automotive junkyards awaited my visit. The places were a mess with stuff everywhere. There was an old guy at the desk, we told him what we were looking for and he waived us in. We were armed with our portable tool boxes so we set out to find the many treasures that lay ahead. Upon entry I recall taking in the place. It was amazing. Cars of all types were stacked up three high, engines in one corner, tire and wheels in another, doors over here, fenders over there. It was a mess with just a semblance of organization but I was like a kid in a candy store. I set out looking for the Challengers and, after finding one, went to work removing my needed parts. When we were done we brought our pulled parts back to the old guy who gave us a reasonable price, which we happily paid in cash, and headed back home to install our items on our rides. For the next 10+ years I would make regular trips to the yards to pick up parts. They always had a new stock of muscle cars to pull parts from and keep the machines at home going. As I look back and think of the cars we stripped parts from it makes me cringe knowing what they would be worth today. Still, those were great times. I recall visiting junkyards in upstate New York. Unlike Connecticut, they never crushed the cars in upstate New York. They just moved them further down the hill and had cars at the yard that had been picked at for 50 years and were still providing parts. It was something to see.

Many years have gone by since those fun days in 1980 but with my new Matador 968 project I found myself again in need of some used parts. Heavily distorted from the rear end collision, I needed a driver’s quarter panel and a rear tail section. Sure, I could go new but new parts are very expensive and I knew the chances of finding what I needed in great condition on the used marked were good so I set out shopping on the internet. I wanted to find what I needed locally to save on shipping and sure enough I did.

RS820729 was a beautiful 1994 968 when new being painted in the striking Iris Blue metallic and paired with the marble grey/black interior (1 of only 5 made) however sometime in 2014 fate intervened and it suffered a fatal front end collision. Sad as she may have looked her future was determined with the many great conditioned parts she contained including a mint condition rear clip. She was sold by an insurance company to an auto recycling center in Lancaster MA. I spotted RS820729 on the net and made the call to inquiry if the parts I needed were available. They were so I planned my visit. I contacted Larry at the center and told him I was borrowing my brother in-law’s truck and would be up to pick up my needed parts on Thursday. It was then that I made the first of many modern-day “used car part purchase” revelations. Larry informed me that was not the way things worked.

Larry told me that I would have to come up first (2 plus hour drive one way), inspect the part, discuss exactly what I needed, pay for the part, and then they would call me in a couple of weeks when it was ready to be picked up. Well, that’s a pain and certainly not the way “it used to be done” but what could I do? They had the part and I had the need so I followed the process and drove up.

Now for revelation #2; I pull into the place and, oh my, do I have the correct address? The place is beautiful. The parking lot is neat, the building is neat, it is even landscaped! No parts hanging around, no cars ready to be processed, not even a junkyard dog! I checked the sign and it had the correct name so I must be at the right place so I park and walk through the clean glass doors and what’s next?…..

Revelation #3; Cubicals! Just like at my employer! Sure, there are a few automotive related photos on the wall but the place is neat and filled with cleanly dressed staff armed with headsets and computers and talking to people on the phone. A friendly receptionist greets me and then calls Larry who tells me to walk through the door on the side and meet him out back. As I open the door I am presented with Revelation #4, an amazingly neat and organized yard of wrecked cars. They are all sorted and no longer stacked. We get into the yard vehicle (a fairly late model Ford SUV) and proceeded to drive the lot back to the Porsche section. As we drove by the rows of organized and sorted wrecked cars Larry explains that they have 54 acres of inventory. Everything is cataloged and inventoried so they know exactly what they have and they sell to people all over the country every day. They specialize in European only vehicles and the city of Boston regularly furnishes them with fresh inventory.

We quickly and efficiently made our way to the Porsche section and RS820729. The car was already pretty well picked but still holding that beautiful quarter and tail section needed by my Matador 968 project. It was sad to see the RS820729 in this state but one could find Solace in the fact that the donated parts would be put to good use on other 968s including mine.

RS820719 was a looker once, and that quarter and tail section still looked good!

Larry and I discussed the needed parts and where the cuts would need to be made. We then drove back to the office where I paid for my parts and then headed home. A couple weeks later Larry called and informed me that the parts were ready to be picked up. My brother in-law was in the area and picked them up for me and now they are at my house awaiting installation on the Matador.

The new quarter and tail section, neatly cut and awaiting pick-up

It was amazing how my “used car part” purchase experience has changed between 1980 and 2017 but in the end I still got what I needed. I’m thankful I had those experiences back in 1980 as the 2017 transaction wasn’t nearly as much “fun” but in our current environment of insurance oversight and computer-based control I guess this is the way it has to be. However, I do feel sorry for that “now out of work” junkyard dog. Now, to get that quarter panel installed…..

The title of this photo is “So close, yet so far”

Factory production oddballs

Looking over the list of standard features on a North American 968 one of them that you will find is the code 423 console door with cassette holder. The strange thing is that, of the 4,242 North American 968s, (coupes and cabs) 16 of them did not have this code. All 16 of them were model year 1995 coupes. Now, the console door with cassette holder had been deleted from European 968 Club sport models and replaced with a tray. It looked pretty neat and made total sense for the Club Sport’s minimalistic configuration. So, how and why were these 16 North American coupes made with this tray? I have no idea. Did someone see a photo of a 968 CS and tell the dealer “I want my 968 like that”? Maybe. Factory screw up? Could be. But the lack of the standard feature does make for another production 968 oddity. One of the sixteen 968s recently showed up for sale on eBay so I grabbed the photo of the interior below.

Factory production screw-up

I collect a lot of photos pertaining to 968s and specifically their production data. Two photos that I often look for are the vehicle information stickers (stuck to the rear floor or taillight panel under the carpet or page 1 of the maintenance manual) and the door jam VIN sticker. One piece of information I grab from the door jam VIN stickers is the production month and date. It is interesting to see when the cars were being made and how many were produced in a given month.

Recently I received a registration from Ira in Pennsylvania for his black coupe. I asked him if he had the above photos for my database and he sent them both along. That is when I noticed something odd.

His registration was for a 93 coupe, PS820360, and his vehicle information sticker confirmed the VIN but there was something odd. The Door jam sticker he sent me had a different number on it. It was close but it read PS820380. The first 9 digits were the same in both cases including the unique check digit which was a “4”. It was then that I figured out we were looking at a factory screw-up on the door jam VIN sticker. It should have read “6” but they accidentally typed an “8” and used the sticker anyway. This was a case of a “Typo”. Fortunately for Ira, this has not been an issue for him. All you need is one DMV guy to see the door jam VIN and you would have a headache that could last for a long time. There is a PS820380. It is a red coupe but the check digit is an “X” so it read 96XPS820380.

This was a first for me as well. It is an interesting example of the “hand-built” aspect of our cars.

Windshield and VIS VINs:

Door jam VIN sticker (oops):

Front Bumperettes

968er Gene is busy doing a full blown restoration on his 968 coupe project including a wild powerhaus built engine. A while ago I saw him post that he was looking for new front bumperettes for his machine. Since the bumperettes sometime deteriorate I have also had to replace these in the past and discovered that they are yet another example of a “reasonably” new priced new Porsche part. I sent that info to Gene and he’ll go that direction for his project. I wanted to share the same info with you along with the part numbers and retail prices which appear below. Now, if you are a bumperette “hatter” then you won’t need these as you’ll have purchased the euro turn signals which result in the elimination of the North American spec bumperettes but if you want your 968 100% factory correct then you might like a new set of these. Contact your dealer:

944 505 763 00 01C – Bumperette cover (approximately $6)

944 505 764 00 01C – Bumperette cover (approximately $6)

944 505 357 00 01C – Front Bumperette (approximately $23)

944 505 358 00 01C – Front Bumperette (approximately $23)


2017 West Coast 968 Gathering – June 23-25, 2017

There will be a gathering of 968 owners this summer in scenic Mendocino, CA on the N. CA coast! Think U S 1 coast highway and Redwoods!

Not too far off of Highway 101, Mendocino is a funky little seaside town that will be a great base for scenic drives, social time with fellow 968’ers and wine tasting!

Lots of great scenery in the area and plenty of wineries, breweries, art galleries and other fun stuff to keep everyone occupied! Some great driving roads that you’ll have fun with in your 968!

The base hotel is the Hill House Inn (www.hillhouseinn.com) with discount rates of $139/night. There are plenty of higher-priced boutique hotels/inns/B&Bs and just up the road in Ft. Bragg are some lower-priced lodging to suit all pocketbooks and tastes.

Make your reservations soon to check-in on Friday, June 23rd and check-out on Monday, June 26th. Ask for the “Porsche 968” special rates.

For more details and to let us know you are coming, contact Bob Frith at bob911@cableone.net!