E-Newsletter – April 2019

 I apologize for the long delay since my last e-newsletter but I’ve been busy. This newsletter has a number of interesting items for you so hopefully it will be worth the wait. 

Back in September I received an interesting email. It came from Michael S. and attached at the bottom of the email was a photo of a mint green 968 coupe. Wait, how could this be? I know both of the mint green 968 coupes here in the states and neither of them was owned by someone named Michael. 

But as I read closer, my eyes widened as I saw where this email had arrived from, New Zealand! Wow, the complete opposite side of the planet! Amazing. 

Michael and I conversed and he gave me the background on the car. It was originally shipped to Japan and is a factory right hand drive car. This matches perfectly with New Zealand where they also drive on the left side of the road. The car was imported at some point and Michael picked it up in 2015. As a former 15-year 924 owner he has always loved the transaxle 4-cylinder cars and was excited to pick up the 968. He loves it and gets many positive comments. He reports the mint green “threw him” at first but now appreciates the uniqueness. The car is a tiptronic and does NOT have a sunroof. 

It is awesome to welcome Michael to the register and our first member in New Zealand. 

Bling for the 968

Wheels can certainly make a big difference in the appearance of a car and the 968 is no exception. When it comes to Minty, my Mint green cabriolet, the car was well equipped from day one which included the desirable option code 403 17” cup 1 wheels. These wheels are iconic for Porsche and look fantastic to this day. Recently a set of just 4 cup 1 17” wheels sold for $3500 on bring a trailer so you know they are desirable as well as good looking. 

The later-available option code 398 17” cup 2 wheels look great on the 968 as well. But what about the standard 16”s? 

Porsche has a number of names for the standard 5 spoke 16” wheels. You can see them referred to as “Turbo Design wheels”, “Cup design”, or “new 5 spoke design”. They are okay looking and one could argue that they provide the best ride for your 968 due to the increased sidewall but we all care a lot about looks and they come up a little short in that area. Many of the 968 owners who own 16” wheel cars have upgraded including myself. 

The SY coupe with the original 16” wheels, aren’t they cute? 

When I picked up the Speed Yellow coupe #8 back in 2011 it was wearing its original 16” wheels. I decided I wanted an upgrade and went with the 17” cup2s that were optional and correct for the car. I also painted them in body color to add a little more flash along with matching painted crest center caps. 

Although these options were not found on my car when new they were all available and correct. I was happy with the result. But then Jim called me. 

Jim is the owner of Speed Yellow coupe #9 and his car is arguably one of the most interesting 968s in North America. It is so special that I’ll save a full profile on the car for another issue. That said, the car did have some modifications and he was looking to return it to a “closer to stock” status. This including getting rid of the wheels. His 968 was originally equipped with the 17” Cup 2 wheels so he had purchased a new set to install on his car. What he was pulling off the car was a set of original 18” speedline wheels and he was on the phone offering them to me! 

Now, there are a few things out there that we can define as “automotive jewelry” and if you know these wheels you know they qualify. They are so detailed in their construction and with their 18” size they result in even less tire sidewall and more wheel making them even more pronounced when looking at them mounted on a car. On top of that they are huge. The 8” fronts have 235/40 tires and the rears have 265/35s steam rollers. These were the actual type of wheel that was original on the uber-rare 968 Turbo S. 

I knew they looked amazing and mounted on my 968, would make it look even better so I decided I would take the plunge. Jim and I negotiated a purchase price and I stopped by his home and picked them up. 

The next day I pulled the SY 968 coupe out and started the swap. These wheels and tires were huge and I was afraid that they would not fit but once mounted and after the suspension settled I stood back and took in the results. Wow. That was something. The car looked fantastic but adding those wheels took it into the stratosphere. Needless to say, once I had the car out for a few shows I received many positive comments on these special wheels and the resulting look on the car. 

I have owned many cars and have done a few selected modifications over the years but I have never made a modification that has impacted one of my cars the way these wheels have. Truly an example of automotive jewelry if I have ever seen one and the opposite extreme from the OEM 16” wheels that came on my car when new. I get the sense that the 968 likes them too. 

968 Auction Review – Gooding & Company

The wife and I headed down to Amelia Island in March to see my son Greg, who was working the event, and check out the many various automotive related activities including shows and a number of auctions. I had my eye on the Gooding auction as they had a 968 headed for the block. The initial review of the car was just lukewarm. It was a Polar Silver coupe with a classic grey interior and a tiptronic transmission. Nothing too interesting but once I saw the car in person and learned about it the more interesting it got. 

First off, the car had only 15k miles on it. It was part of the Brumos collection and was being sold. It was decently optioned with partial leather, painted crest center caps, body side molding, a painted rear spoiler, and a factory CD2 in-dash CD player. It was one of only 423 coupes equipped with a tiptronic transmission. The condition of the car was very nice. Not perfect but close. As many know, classic grey interior is a pain to own as the various materials change to different shades of grey when exposed to the sun. Not the case with this interior. It was pretty much in as new condition. I’ve never seen a classic grey interior as nice. 

It also had one very unusual factory feature. Of the 4,242 North American 968 coupes and cabs only 16 of them came from the factory with a Club Sport center console tray instead of the center console lid and cassette holder. This car was one of the 16. 

On top of that, this car was part of the “last batch” of true 968 coupes (not a 718 car) and produced in the final production month of October 1994. It was a true 1995 and as it turns out, this coupe was the 10th to the last North American 968 coupe produced. 

Next up was the car’s pedigree. The car was originally spec’d out and delivered new to PCNA executive Bob Carlson who owned it for its first 11 years and put the limited mileage on the car before selling it to Brumos. Bob was a true Porsche enthusiast and it was noted that he enjoyed owning his 968. I would have loved to talk to him about how the car came to be but unfortunately he passed back in 2008. The car came with all the documentation including a recent, thorough service done at the dealership. 

Gooding had placed a pre-auction estimate on the car’s value of $40-$65k. When the car made its way over the block the hammer dropped at a final bid of $40,250. Not bad for a super clean tip coupe with low miles. 

I hope the car continues to live a charmed life with the new owner who values its great condition and interesting history. I was glad to have been able to see the car in person. 

968 White Rhino Key quest – submitted by 968 register member Richard Shelton, PCA Sacramento Valley Region

My wife, Julianna and I just purchased in April a 1994 968 Black Cabriolet with cashmere interior, Tiptronic transmission, with 37,000 miles on it. All the servicing was done, new Michelin tires and all the parts and pieces that came with it from the dealer the day it was delivered to the original owner. Best Birthday, Christmas and a few other days present ever! I gave it a full concours detail cleaning and entered it into a PCA event and won our class. There was a crowd of people around it all day asking questions. Many of them remarked on how they hadn’t seen one before and had a lot of questions about it. Thanks to Jeff doing a full history report on it, I had some great facts to share with our fellow Porschephiles. I have been in the PCA from a very young age. I was 19 years old when I first joined in 1973. I have had the pleasure of owning 356s, 914s, and currently a concours winning 1969 / 912. We brought a 968 to save back the 912 and to take on longer trips. Did I mention it has air conditioning? The wife loves the A/C, and Tiptronic, and I have become a huge fan of it myself! I wasn’t sure I would be at first, until you really drive in all the different conditions we face in every day driving. Porsche figured this out 24 years ago with the first Tiptronic being available in 1994 and matched it up with the 3.0- 4 Cyl. 236 horse power and produced another iconic model. This was the pre-runner of things to come in today’s Porsches and has been over looked for many years until now. The one that this beauty was lacking, was an extra set of keys. It came with only one set of the original keys. No problem, right? I will just go to the Porsche dealer and get some new ones, simple fix. Well this is where the plot thickens to say the least. This isn’t my first rodeo, and I knew something would come up. It seems that Porsche has the ignition key blanks and the lighted key head that go on the end of them. The rub is that they do not have the keys that go to the glove box and storage areas. 

The thinking behind that from Porsche was it would be too easy for shall we say, for an unsavory person to come into the dealership and buy the keys to relieve the owners of their belongings that were locked in the vehicles. It was up to the owners to find them if needed, and I definitely was one of them who needed an extra set or two of keys. I purchased three blank keys and the lighted heads and was off to the local lock smith shop for the glove box/storage keys. I was told they were a common type and should be easy to find. 

We live in the foothills in Northern California, about 50 miles from Lake Tahoe. Yes, it is the best place for all things Porsche, the roads are incrediable! Finding keys, not so much. The local guy didn’t have them, but use to work for a shop in San Francisco, CA. and assured me that they would have them, since they were an old shop and had everything new and old. I believe his words were “you want what?” That was a week later. He knew a guy in Dallas, TX. that would have them; 10 days later, no luck. He knew the guy who deals with all this odd ball stuff in Florida a sure bet. Off to Florida, and you guessed it, 2 weeks later he forgot about me, and sent me to a shop in No. Carolina. No luck there but gave me the factory info. where everyone gets them from just up the road. Alright, now we’re getting somewhere.

So, I sent them some pics. of the key I needed to the manufacture. WOW, what great luck the distributor has what I needed. How many do I want? Three please, credit card out, $21 and they were pretty sure these were the ones. When I hear pretty sure and it’s these and no other choices, I get nervous, again not my first rodeo. It seems the original company was sold to the big key company and no other choices. Another week goes by and finally see my key quest coming to an end so it seems. I went back to my local key shop to have the blanks cut, and no surprise here, wrong keys. I am one not to give up really easy, but my hopes are wearing thin at this point. I contacted the place back Florida and told them what had happen. It was a stroke of karma that a customer was there in the shop to say hi to his buddy. He was a car guy and had all types of old cars in the past, including a Porsche. He knew what I was up against. He told to try these two ladies, sisters Kathy and Paula, in Massachusetts. He said, they find him all the hard stuff that’s impossible to find. 

It’s worth the phone call alone because they are a couple of real characters to deal with. They sound like my kind of gals! So, I gave them a call and sent them a pic. They are definitely a real hoot to talk to. Kathy told me she would work on it but had to climb up a ladder and dig through some boxes in the back of the loft. She was sure they were there 2 years ago. They were having a heat wave that week and she wasn’t in the mood to crawl up there any time soon. The weather finally cooled off and Kathy took a look. “Richard, It’s Kathy how many do you want?” Four please I told her and it was just that simple. She laughed after she went up the ladder to find them because she realized she had a dozen on the wall and forgot to look there first. 

Should any of my fellow PCA’ers /968ers need them, she has them!! The key in question is a Dom 60- I/co. Click on the links below for a front and back view of the key. Contact Kathy / Paula at Common Wealth Lock, in Cambridge, Mass, 02140, phone 617-876-3301 and tell them Richard sent you! You will save 3 months of time looking for the white rhino of keys. Sharing and caring is a great reason why we are PCA members. It’s the people, and the coolest cars too! 

968 Stone guard replacement 2.0

Nine years ago I decided it was time to replace Minty’s aging and yellowed front fender stone guards. The job was pretty straight-forward and looked great when complete. Last year I was looking at Minty and was disappointed to see that the new replacement stone guards had already turned yellow! It was time to do the job again so I ordered up another set of replacements. But then I thought to myself, I do not want to do this job again and came up with an idea. 

First off, you must realize that the technology surrounding auto finish protection has improved significantly in the past 25 years. Some owners are even wrapping their entire car in the material! And there are a number of providers including 3M and Xpel. When you order a new set of replacement stone guards from Porsche you are still getting new old stock original material from nineties and in this case, that is not a good thing. So what did I do? I took my new replacements over to my local auto salon who also happens to be an Xpel dealer. For $35, one of the techs used my new original stone guards as a template and cut me stone guards out of the new Xpel material. They came out great and you can’t tell the difference now that they are installed. I’ll let you know in 9 years how they hold up. 


Start putting together your 2019 event calendar. Let me know if you are aware of an event that you would like to promote. A couple of events that I know of: 

2019 PCA Swap at Hershey (PA)/April 20th – I won’t be attending this year’s event as I’m away. Darn, but it looks to be a good one as always. 

2019 Porsche Parade – July 21st – 26th, Boca Raton Florida. I was all set to attend parade this year but then I found out that I have a big work project during that weekend so I can’t go. Darn. But I know many 968ers will be attending so you should consider it. It looks like a great location. 

2019 968 West Coast Gathering – TBD  Bob Furth and Kaj Hallstrom are busy putting together another west coast event for 2019. To get you prepared please enjoy this review of their 2018 event. 

Event Review

2018 Porsche 968 West Coast Gathering 

Again this year a group of enthusiastic 968 owners gathered on June 29th – July 2nd. We descended on the town of Sonora, CA in the Sierra Nevada foothills with our ultra-rare 968’s. The weather was fantastic, though very hot. The eleven cars performed super, even with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees every day. Our annual weekend get together usually draws 968’s from many states including Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Northern and Southern California.

We settled down in the classic old Sonora Inn and gathered Friday night to socialize and share some fantastic wines brought by our group. A quick briefing of Saturday/Sunday driving schedule took place.

On Saturday morning, bright and early, our route took us out on some tough winding back roads in very hot weather. The cars handled perfect. It just goes to show how well made these 25 year old beauties are holding up. 

Our first stop was at Moaning Cavern. What a relief from the heat it was to descent hundreds of feet into the deep and 60 degrees instead of 105. 

Our run continued north with more challenging (politely stated) roads and after turning south we stopped at Angels Camp Country Club for lunch and our yearly group photo. 

Saturday night it was dinner and social time at Eberz Restaurant in Sonora. 

Our Sunday drive started with breakfast in Columbia State Park before heading North. More windy roads would take us to Renwood Winery in Plymouth for a superb wine tasting and lunch. 

Another fun 968 Gathering complete….We are looking forward to next year’s event.