E-Newsletter – January 2021

The Matador rounds the corner…

Happy New Year. I hope 2021 finds you and your family well and looking forward to the promise of a much better year. Although 2020 “sucked” in so many respects for me it did turn out to be a great year 968-wise and the reason for that is the significant progress I made on my Matador 968 project. Like so many others, I found all my 2020 plans cancelled due to Covid which left me with time for projects and the Matador had been waiting patiently. For those of you that need a refresher on what exactly this project is let me bring you up to speed. Back in 2017 I was perusing eBay and found a rear-ended 968 that was for sale for either project or parts. Upon further investigation I learned that this particular 1992 968 was indeed a very special car. Of the 4,242 North American 968s only two coupes were factory equipped with special Matador Red leather interior and the car listed was one of them. Needless to say the badly beaten machine became mine with the intention of restoring it. 

Things started out great. After the car made the journey east from Colorado to Connecticut I went to work getting it running and with the replacement of a stuck fuel pump the Matador was up and running within a couple of months. Next up I had the hard hit rear end pulled so the car had four straight corner again and could move on its own. Finally, in 2017 I located a badly hit in the front 1994 968 in Massachusetts and was able to purchase the back half of the car and get it delivered here to Connecticut.

With everything needed to put the car back together things were really moving along well but then life shows up and changes things on you when someone you care about gets sick and eventually passes. With that 2018 was lost and I really didn’t have time to look at the project again until 2019. I would start it and move it around and look at it but that was about it. 

So as we moved into 2019 I spent more time reviewing the project and realized I might be in trouble. I had bodywork experience from working at a shop in college and had worked on cars for the past 30 years. I had welded and replaced panels and painted before but as I looked at the Matador I realized that I might be in over my head. I wasn’t exactly sure how to tackle the job and there was nothing to be found on the internet to help. Surprisingly there have not been a lot of rear corner 968 body replacements done (detect sarcasm here) so it looked like I was going to be a pioneer here. And there were many grey areas. Should I cut the panel here, or there? I could make an educated guess but would I be right? I needed some help if I was going to move forward so I went looking for it. 

Being a member of the Porsche club brings one many benefits and I have been a member since 1994! One of those benefits is that all those crazy Porsche enthusiasts are great resources for when you need help as well as the many businesses the club is affiliated with. So I contacted my local indie Porsche shop and told them of my project and the help I needed and they gave me a name. I spoke to the guy. He was a club member and said he could  look at the project but over the next six months I kept contacting him, scheduling a time for him to see the project, and then he would cancel out. After this happened a half dozen times I got the hint, he wasn’t interested. So, I moved on to a second indie Porsche shop who also gave me a name. This guy also listened to me about the project and what I was looking for and he said to send him some pictures so he could show his guy. I called a couple of times to see what they thought and finally got their answer. They weren’t interested. I was starting to get discouraged. Meanwhile a few people had contacted me about a need for 968 parts including an engine! Did I know where I could find one? I must resist. 

So I contacted a third Porsche indie shop and again was given a name, Jim. Things started out the same as with the other two interactions. I described what I needed and Jim listened but then things took a more promising turn. Jim told me that although he was a body man he really didn’t care for body work and painting but loved doing the metal work. It just so happened that my project didn’t need body work or paint work, I would do that. I needed help with the metal work so we started out with a perfect match on the project scope. Then Jim agreed to come look at the project and he actually showed up! 

Jim was a great guy. He had worked on tons of Porsches but had never done a transaxle car. I explained to him what I needed. I was looking to remove the damaged corner from my car, cut the needed section from my donor piece, and then graft the donor section on to my car. The job would be relatively defined with me doing all the cutting and getting everything cleaned up and ready prior to delivery to his shop where he would install it and make sure everything was straight. He agreed to take on the project and  visit me periodically while I did the preparation part of the project and offer any insight as I had questions on direction. With Jim committed I found the needed confidence to tackle the project. It was August 3rd, I put the car up on jack stands and prepared for surgery. The next few weeks were going to be quite a journey so I got out my spot weld drill and saw and went to work.

To be continued……

The Registry’s first French 968: 

I received my first registry registration for a French 968. The car is owned by Patrick in AZ. Patrick picked up the car in Belgium when he lived there and brought it with him when he moved to the US. The cool unique thing about French 968s is their yellow lights. This was a requirement in France when the cars were new. In order to drive the car in Belgium Patrick had to change out the yellow headlight bulbs and yellow fog lights. I asked him what it was like to drive the car with the yellow lights. He said
“I didn’t like the yellow headlight bulbs, in my opinion they didn’t work. They were not strong enough. This is accentuated by the fact that the light beam in Europe was set up lower than in the US. Now for the fog lights that’s something else, (they were) much better than white light. I had the impression that yellow light didn’t reflect as much. I wanted to keep the yellow fog lights but the Belgian local DMV didn’t let me.” Welcome Patrick. 

968 Tech: 

Registry member Jeff Hammond was kind enough to share this his experience on an update to the exterior temperature sensor. Jeff has a beautiful Cobalt coupe he has been working on. Thanks Jeff! 

This is intended to assist 968 owners with one potential repair for a non-functioning exterior temperature display.  In my particular case, I knew that the LCD display was functional, as I would get an initial reading of -38C on the display when I started the car, and the display would subsequently go blank.  At that point, I knew that the issue was either a problem with the sensor in the passenger side mirror housing, a potential short in the wiring between the sensor in the mirror housing and the display unit, or an issue with the display unit itself.

I started by verifying continuity in the wiring between the display unit and the sensor unit, which showed no issues.  The next easiest item to check was the sensor itself.  To access the sensor, you need to remove the mirror glass from the housing, and then unattach the motor for best access to the sensor.  I removed the sensor from the wiring, and tested resistance at room temperature across the two pins in the sensor.  I then placed the sensor in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes and rechecked the resistance to verify a change in value.  The sensor is #15 in section 809-05 in PET, part number 928.641.142.00.  The sensor did show a change in resistance, so I surmised this was still working appropriately.

I was left with the last item, the display unit itself.  Since the LCD panel was working, the only remaining thought is that there must be a problem with the display board preventing the signal from reaching the display.  It turns out that there was a broken trace on the circuit board.  If you look at the image, the fix that I created was to solder a jumper wire between the nearest source pin and the output pin.  Bench testing was done prior to soldering the jumper to verify that there was not continuity to the output pin, and that it did have continuity after creating the jumper.

It took a while to do all of the testing but ended up being a worthwhile effort since the display units are NLA from Porsche.  Total cost of the fix was a huge expense ☺ of $0.

At any rate, hope this helps the community, glad to answer any questions that you might have.  Maybe Jeff will have me do another write-up sometime in the future for some of the other projects that I have been doing on my car.

When is a 9 not a 6? The edged rear 968 emblem:

In last year’s changes issue of the E-newsletter you’ll recall I touched on the change in the rear 968 emblem. The earlier version has a slightly larger font and sharp edge and was only used on the first few hundred cars or so. In my parts stash I had an extra example of this rare emblem and was approached to sell it. After agreeing on a price I went to work cleaning them up for the new owner by installing new two-side tape and giving them a fresh coat of 3M trim black paint. It was at that time that I made a discovery. On the old emblem the “9” digit and the “6” digit are different unlike the later emblem where these digits are exactly the same. In the edged version the “9” has a smaller tail. You can see it in the photo below. Interesting. So if you are restoring your edged rear emblem make sure you get them back on correctly! 

C:\Users\jdcoe\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\N88C25XR\IMG_2335 (2).JPG

968 Delete Options:

Here in North America I am aware of three occurrences of option/equipment deletes for the 968: 

  • Sunroof delete on coupe – Option code 650 power sunroof was standard on the 968 coupe. That said a few demanding customers insisted on their new coupe not having a sunroof and asked that it be deleted. Of the 2,234 North American 968s only 6 were produced without a sunroof. 
  • Rear Emblem delete – This delete option actually got its own code, 498. If you wanted the rear end of your 968 clean of that emblem this no-cost option was available. 6 cabs and 78 coupes were produced with option code 498 and no rear emblem. 
  • Center console lid delete – In Europe 968 Club Sports received a tray in the center console instead of the lid. 16 North American coupes also had their console lid (code 423) deleted and came with the tray. 

Elsewhere in the global market other examples of delete configuration existed and recently I came across what might be an example of one of the most interesting ones. Option code 150. 

I recently received a register application from Katie J. all the way in New Zealand! She has a great 968 cabriolet that was actually produced for the New Zealand market. It is Rubystone red in color and has  right-hand drive and only two option codes, 573 which is air conditioning (standard for North America but an option elsewhere) and option code 150. And what is 150 you ask? It is a delete option, emissions system delete! Yes, back in 1992 not every country had converted to unleaded gas and New Zealand was one of them and this 968 was produced without a catalytic converter so that it could run on leaded gas!! Now that is a delete option. Katie told me that leaded gas didn’t actually disappear in New Zealand until 1996. You can see what Porsche had to do to be a truly global company. Interesting stuff! 


Jeff Coe