I hope June finds you well and you are enjoying that 968 of yours. I have already attended a couple of shows. It is great to get out after the past year. Below I have the second chapter on the Matador restoration for you and a number of additional articles for you. Enjoy the newsletter and summer.
The Matador rounds the corner, Chapter 2…
When we left the Matador in the last E-Newsletter issue things were about to get ugly. I was armed with dangerous tools and surgery was about to begin. As I moved through the next few weeks of the project I learned many things. One of which was to let the project speak to me and guide me along the way. Some things you just don’t know until you get in there and once you have learned something new a directional change may be in order. This happened a few times with the project.
I made two big decisions early on with the first one being a big one. The Matador was hit hard in the rear and the damage extended all the way to the trunk floor resulting in some crinkled metal. The good news was that my donor section had everything I needed to get all that bent-up metal replaced but the problem would be the work required. There was one small wrinkle in the trunk floor sheet metal that was in front of the spare tire well. No problem, I had that piece. BUT, and this is a big but, that wrinkle was right above the gas tank. If I wanted it gone then the gas tank would have to come out. Okay, no big deal, I have dropped tanks before. Ah, but not on a transaxle car, and guess what? Porsche is determined to use every ounce of space when they design their cars and in the case of the 944/968, the tank is wrapped around the transaxle itself which means the transaxle needed to come out in order to get the gas tank dropped. OMG. And on top of that, Porsche uses a ton of glue on the tank to make sure it is in there good and will never rattle. Looking at the tremendous amount of work needed I decided a scope adjustment was in order. I would leave that small wrinkle behind and do my cut in the spare tire well. Yes, the wrinkle would still be there but I decided that reduction in work scope was far worth it. Besides, I felt that the wrinkle would just be a small leftover of damage, giving the car a little “character”.
The next decision centered around where to make the cuts for the grafted piece on the donor section and the Matador. This was another major learning point: Porsche builds these cars well and they are extremely solid. In my previous non-Porsche projects I would typically just go to the 2-layer body panel seam and separate the two so that I could apply the new part. Not with the 968. The seams on these cars typically have 4 or 5 layers of metal sandwiched into a weld and I was looking to remove layer number 3! I had started working at the joint locations but quickly learned that separating the panel at the joint was not going to be an easy task so I decided to do what others have done and made cuts beyond the factory seam, with the intention of welding the two pieces together. You’ll see a photo example of this later.
So I went to work. Some of the repair areas were straightforward. I had to drill out spot welds and then separate the panels. I started with the donor section and drilled out many spot welds.
As I made cuts on the donor piece I then moved back to the Matador to make similar cuts and visa versa. Remember the old saying, “measure twice and cut once”. It was true here as well so I went slow, often making multiple cuts before calling an area complete. You can see at this point the spare tire well is now halved and the panel removed to expose the passenger side frame rail which was in good shape.
The cuts kept coming. Off came the wrinkled and battered quarter panel and my scrap metal pile started to grow. My welder Jim visited on occasion to approve my direction and provide guidance and slowly the damaged metal was removed from the Matador while the matching needed graft piece was cut from the donor section, just like a big puzzle piece!
This was about as ugly as it got. Notice the rear hatch was left on during the entire project. This would ensure that the new graft piece was in the correct location once installed. Another funny observation was that the Matador remained drivable during the entire project due to my decision to leave the gas tank and transaxle installed. This was kind of like being awake during surgery!
Finally, with great anticipation, the day came to marry the grafted piece onto the Matador. Everything had been removed from the Matador that needed to be and the grafted piece was cut just right with just a little bit of overlap to allow for the final welding that would come next.
I had my friend Paul come over for the big day because it would take two people to maneuver the grafted piece into position. Also, when the grafted piece was finally cut from the donor section it lost much of its rigidity so care was needed to make sure nothing was bent while handling it.
Finally, the grafted piece was placed into position. Holy cow! I couldn’t believe it when I first saw it. What a journey it had been to get to this point but it looked great! Now don’t get me wrong. As you see it in the photo above it looks great but really it was only sitting correctly on the Matador about 70%. After all, I was taking a part of one car and putting it onto another car. They weren’t going to match up perfectly. The remaining 30% of the adjustment was where I needed Jim. He would work to make all those final tweaks and cuts to get the grafted piece to fall into position perfectly before final welding but boy did it look good!
Next up, the day came for transport to the body shop. Wow! I still couldn’t get used to looking at the car with that straight rear sheet metal despite the fact it was only being held on by clamps and a strap but it was certainly exciting. The flatbed showed up and the time had come for the next chapter of the project. We were off to Jim’s to make these two big puzzle pieces into one!
To be continued……
Another “three tone” interior 968:
After following 968s for 25 years I always love it when I encounter the unusual examples. The cab below is only my second example of seeing a “three tone” interior car. What is that you ask? It is based on
interior colors. There are many “single tone” 968 interiors out there. Examples would include Black, Classic grey, and many of the Blues. In these cars the carpet, seats, full dash, and console are all the same color. Then there are also plenty of “two tone” interior 968s with Cashmere being the most common example. With these interiors we have two featured colors. Cashmere uses black for the second color but the light grey and marble greys are paired with another color such as black, classic grey, a blue, or even magenta. Even Matador red is considered a “two tone” being paired with black. The “two tone” interior was as wild as it got unless you went to the option sheet and started optioning up a deviated color option and that is what we have with this month’s example. Let me introduce you to Darin’s 1993 968 cab. It is in great shape and wears Slate grey exterior paint. The car is 1 of 47 North American cabs in this color.
As we move to the interior of Darin’s cab we see it was optioned with the “two toned” code TS light grey/black partial leather. The car is 1 of 3 when you factor in the interior. With this interior the standard carpet would have been light grey which is almost white. This carpet color looks fantastic but it is totally impractical being so light so it is not uncommon to see it with a deviated carpet option to black. Even with the deviated black carpet it would still keep the interior as a two tone (light grey and black), just with more black. What make’s Darin’s car unusual and a super rare three-tone is that the original owner optioned up the carpets in the deviated color of classic grey. So we are looking at light grey, black, and classic grey all in the same interior, a three tone. It is not a radical selection as the colors all work together but it is the first example of this combo that I have seen and only the second example of a “three tone” interior 968. I hope to see the car in person someday. Enjoy Darin.
1) Light Grey seats and console, 2) black dash and upper trim on door panels, and 3) deviated classic grey carpets on the floor and lower door panels. This deviated carpet option cost $62 back when the car was new and makes this car a “three tone” interior.
Option XG8, what are you?:
I’m not often stumped when it comes to factory 968 options but I was recently. When I was putting together the 968 coupe database I found that coupe NS820384 had option code XG8. When I checked my files I found plenty of X-code options listed but XG8 was not one of them. Looking at all 4,242 North American 968 coupes and cabs this car was the ONLY car with that option code. I made a note of it but left it as blank as I could not figure out what it was. 12 years later, wouldn’t you know it, the owner of that same car contacted the register! Now I made it a quest to figure out exactly what made this car different from all the others.
The car was a 1992 midnight blue coupe with a classic grey interior. It was optioned with partial leather, 17” Cup1s, hi-fi sound with amps, and a rear emblem delete. It also had that illusive XG8 option code. Looking at the photos the owner sent I could not see anything unusual. But there was one thing on the option code tag. This car had code 09981 which means that car was pulled from the production line for special handling. It had to be option code XG8, but what was it???!!!
I checked google and all my documentation, nothing. And then I invited my son Greg to join the hunt. He went to work and he found something. There was a 1991 928 Listed for sale with option code XG8. Looking at it further, it was described on the 928 as a painted rear spoiler in body-color. But that didn’t make any sense as the 968 coupe already has a regular production option code for that, option code 595. And the database told me that 412 of the 2,234 North American 968 coupes were equipped with it. But as I looked at my database closer I figured it out! I contacted the owner and he confirmed my suspicions.
The first 968 coupe to be produced with option code 595 painted rear spoiler was built in March of 1992. The car I was looking at, NS820384, was built in February. Thinking that XG8 might actually be the painted rear spoiler I contacted the car’s owner and sure enough, he confirmed that the car did indeed have a body-colored painted rear spoiler.
So what we are looking here is the birth of a new option while production was underway. Regular 968 production had been going on since September of 1991. Porsche had offered a painted rear spoiler on the 928 previously as exclusive option under option code XG8. Someone at Porsche decided to try it out on the 968 and NS820384 was the first car they tried it on in February of 1992. They pulled the car from the regular production line, as indicated by the 09981 special handling code, and painted the rear spoiler. They must have liked what they saw and a few weeks later the $213 regular production option code 595 showed up. Mystery solved and a cool factoid about NS820384.
968er Dan Dickson has a “Dead dash” experience to share with us in this issue. Thanks Dan.
Last summer, I noticed that the odometer on my 1992 968 cab stopped working. This wasn’t much of a surprise – after owning two other 968s and just about every version of 944, I’d become quite familiar with the annoying odometer gear issue.
I’d replaced the gears myself in other cars, but this time decided to be conservative. Pulled the cluster and sent it to Palo Alto Speedometer (thank you, Hartmut!). After the usual hassle of getting the connectors back in place, got the cluster back into the car, went for a drive, and life was good.
Until, about two weeks later, it wasn’t. I was driving and the entire cluster died. No lights, no instrument readings, nothing. I checked fuses and swapped relays – no good. I was convinced that the problem was related to the recent cluster work I had performed.
However, before subjecting myself to yet another episode of cluster removal and replacement, I decided to start the car – and everything was working again! I crossed my fingers thinking the problem had somehow resolved itself (we know this never happens, but one can hope) and took a test drive. About five minutes in, the dash again went dead. And this time, it stayed dead.
I did a bunch of research that night and, other than the fuse and relay solutions, a bad ground behind the dash seemed the most likely culprit. Ugh. Time to pull the cluster. Again.
But before I did, I again tried turning on the ignition. Still dead. I began to disconnect the battery but got interrupted by a phone call. I don’t know why, but when I returned to my garage, I again tried the ignition – and the cluster was alive!
I realized that the battery cables were the culprit – specifically the auxiliary on the positive side. Just needed cleaning. Problem solved.
Just wanted to share my experience and perhaps save someone else from a bunch of aggravation.
968 Owner story by Kaj Hallstrom
The story of the 1994 “Amethyst Dazzler” Porsche 968.
In search of the owners story
Well, it all started back in May of 1993 when a young lady Lisa (first name only to protect privacy) decided she wanted a Porsche 968. She went to the dealership in Joplin MO to order her dream car. They told her she could pick any color she liked but some would cost around an extra $2500 if she decided on one out side the standard livery. She picked her favorite color Amethyst Metallic and also added all the options she could find, including 17″ cup II wheels with color center metal emblem. This would be a model destined for 1994 with the correct VIN number RS.. They promised approximately August delivery. August came and no word from Germany. When she wrote to Porsche to inquire about the car they responded “what car”. That ticked Lisa off. She wrote back and told if the car was not delivered by 12/31 they could keep it. They asked again what color she wanted so she mailed a bra in her favorite color (amethyst) to Germany. They kept sending pictures of the progress on the building of the car to keep her happy. On December 27, 1993 the car was delivered to Lisa in Joplin MO. It was flown over by Lufthansa to Dallas and then trucked up to Joplin. In it, hanging from the rear view mirror was the purple bra she had sent earlier.
Lisa loved this car she told me. Unfortunately because of the weather it sat idle many month of the year. She had some issues being only 5″2. That ‘s why she ordered the car with the electric adjustable seats. She drove the car pretty hard, she claimed. People said she would kill herself in it. I guess daughter like father. Her dad had wrecked several cars in his past and actually walked away from these accidents.
Around 2013-14 things did not go well for Lisa. Her husband took all the money they had and left town. Lisa had to liquidate all her belongings but the 968 was the last to go. She had some serious back surgery over the last two years and was unable to drive the car. When selling the car she said to her son “That was rough”.
The new owner, Sandra, who lived out in Illinois picked up the car in Kenosha WI from a used car lot. The salesperson here knew nothing about the car. Sandra then took it down to Aurora IL where she lived at the time. Sandra drove it for a while before shipping it out via enclosed trailer together with her two motorcycles to California where she had relocated.
The way she looked on the sales floor when I found her
I had been looking for a well maintained 968 for 3 years. When I saw the add from Luxury Motors advertising a 1994 968 for sale (picture above) Sandra told me they tried to negotiate their buying price down because the motor was not working. It looks like the dealer had tried to open the top while still latched. Amazing how little knowledge of this model out there just a few years ago. Well the motors or more likely the gears to the motor was fixed when I picked her up.
She turned out to be the only (true, not re-vinned) 1994 Cabriolet painted in Amethyst Metallic. Only the 92-93 models was generally available in that color. So the C2S (color to sample) was ordered with all the extra options back in now September of 1993. The color alone was $2499 extra.
In the summer of 2018 I worked on the car for 2 month to get it ready for the Redwood PCA Concours d’Elegance. Below is what she looked like the morning of the show.
All the work paid off. I won the “Best of show” in the unrestored category.
Lots of fun with this car. She was featured in the Porsche magazine EXCELLENCE back in 2016. Always well maintained and used as my daily driver year round. (Yes, you can do that in Northern California) Many fun trips with the 968 gang happened over the last few years. We manage to get around 10 cars together for the annual West Coast Gathering. They came from California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona to cruise on the West Coast.
Winery visit in the Sierra Foothills. The Manufacturers suggested price in 1994, with all the options, was $58,848.00. I hope you enjoy your 968 as much as I have enjoyed mine. Kaj Hallstrom
Be sure to visit the register website. 968register.org. Thanks to Adam for keeping the website going!
PCA 968 Register Advocate http://968register.org/
968 Registry window clings are available – Would you like an official PCA 968 register window cling sporting our smart looking logo? They are now available for $2 including postage. They are approximately 3” in height. If you would like one please contact me. If you’ve sold your 968 or would no longer like to receive this newsletter please contact me and I’ll take you off the distribution list. If you are looking for a 968 or know someone who is let me know as I am often contacted with 968s for sale. If you plan to change your email address in the future please contact me so I can update the distribution list. Issue: 2021 #2