Happy 2022. I hope you are well and ready for an exciting year of activities with your 968. With much progress on the Matador project completed I hope 2022 sees it getting registered but I have to get by an inspection at the Connecticut DMV first so wish me luck on that. My last project with the car for 2021 was the wheels so the 17” Cup1s are fully restored and have brand new Michelin Pilots mounted and are ready to go on this spring. My winter has been a little challenging personally as I have been dealing with knee surgery issues but I hope I have them behind me in time for the show season. And speaking of show season, the 2022 Parade is being held in the Poconos of PA in June. It should be quite an event as parades always are and I will be there with at least one of the 968s. If we get enough of us in attendance maybe we can have an event or at least get together for a photo opportunity so let me know if you will be there.
On a sad note, I received word that Dick Petticrew passed. Dick was a great 968 fan, owning a beautiful amazon green coupe, and was the second person to hold the title of advocate for the PCA 968 register when he took over the title in 2002. He lived in AZ.
On a positive note, the 968s continue to receive attention. I’m sure you have seen some of the great auction results on sites such as Bring a Trailer and PCar and the 968 was recently named in Hagerty’s Top 10 collector cars that they are ”bullish” on. The register continues to grow with almost 700 members now including a few from around the globe. If you have anything to contribute to a future newsletter just send it to me. Let’s get through these last few weeks of winter and we’ll look forward to a year of fun with the 968.
Many years ago a 968er in Florida purchased a broken 968 cabriolet that had been parked for years in a very wet area of Florida. It was an amazing sight because it was covered in mildew and moss from being parked in the same location for so many years. It was a shame because the car was a stunner when new being Cobalt blue. He picked up the car and parted it out which was about all you could do. He referred to it as the swamp 968.
Fast forward 15+ years. I never thought I would see such a sight again and hoped that would be the case but last month I did. It all started with a forwarded facebook marketplace ad from Adam showing a 95 968 cabriolet that was for sale in Long Island for a super cheap $2,000. The car was not too far from me so my son Greg, who lives in nearby, took a ride down to see it. The sight was very sad and amazing.
10 plus years ago the car was a low mileage red 1995 968 cabriolet outfitted with a Tiptronic. The current owner had some interesting plans. He planned to have the 3.0 pulled and some sort of V8 conversion done by the shop. The car was sent to the shop, the engine pulled and sold, and then the project stalled for whatever reason and the car remained outside while funds were accumulated. Then disaster struck.
For those of us on the eastern seaboard we are all too familiar with Hurricane Sandy which struck the east coast in October 2012 and did much damage to the area. There were huge storm surges that brought water to places that had never seen it and if you were on the water, you were flooded, and that is what happened to this 968. It was completely emersed in ocean water. After the water receded the car remained in the same spot for almost 10 years. The top collapsed, the car started to rust, and it started to sink into the ground. By the time Greg saw it there wasn’t much that could be saved and the car was certainly too far gone to ever be restored. We considered picking it up but the cost of hauling it out of its long-time location and back to Connecticut just didn’t add up even when you factored in the usable parts. So, we passed. Someone else picked it up and I haven’t heard where it ended up.
Strange thing, after we were no longer interested in the car as a parts car, looking at it, it became almost an artistic display, having sat in the same location for so long and experiencing so much exposure. Greg’s photos are pretty cool and you can only make a vehicle look like this by leaving it in the same location for a long time. Sad, but beautiful in its own right.
Interior code QB, what are you?:
If you recall my article last year on option code XG8 you will also recall I was stumped at what the option was. It turned out to be the initial code used by Porsche for the painted rear spoiler option. Well, I have another one that has had me scratching my head, interior code QB. When I was setting up the North American 968 databases with the 4,242 produced vehicles I was able to recognize all the interior codes on all the cars except two. I had two 1992 cabriolets that had interior code QB, both were red, with black tops, and cashmere/black interiors. But the interiors appeared to be a mix of some leather but I couldn’t figure it out.
If you have visited the interior types section of 968register.org you would know we have three types of leather related interiors:
- • Full leather: At $4,190 (for a 92 Cabriolet) this option got you the most leather you could get with full leather seats and wrapped and stitched leather on the lower dash, console, door panels, and door pulls.
- • Full leather seats: At $1,957 this option got you full leather front bucket seats. Even the backs of the front buckets were leather.
- • Partial leather: At only $668 this was by far, the most popular option providing leather to the surface sections only (the part you actually sat on) of the front bucket seats.
The above findings were also supported by all the period sales documents I have. Interior code QB had leather and leatherette in it but I couldn’t figure out exactly what the mix was. I had codes for each of the above in cashmere/black (YA, LG, and LC) so what could QB be? A mystery for sure. Then, sure enough, one of the two cabs showed up looking to join the register.
I asked the owner for some interior photos and immediately saw the stitched and wrapped leather on the lower dash and console. So, was QB just another code for the YA full leather interior? Can’t be. So I went looking for help and found it.
I figured the 964 owners would be a good place to ask what was the difference between YA and QB, if there was a difference, and sure enough, a very knowledgeable individual spoke up and answered my question. It turns out there was a FOURTH leather interior option, not seen in any of the sales books and looks to have been offered only in 1992. That option, at a cost of $2,901 was, and get this…. Full leather interior with partial leather seats! A hybrid of the above!
This was an option that they offered for just a little while to get you all that cool leather around the interior and the only difference would be the backs and sides of the front buckets, and rear seats, where leatherette was used and you saved $1,200. Porsche must have changed their mind on offering it because it didn’t last beyond 1992 and as I mentioned, never made it into any of the sales brochures.
To confirm my findings I went back to the interior photos of the QB cab and sure enough, you could see that the cashmere leather seating surface on the bucket seat appeared differently than the cashmere leatherette on side and rear of the seat.
Mystery solved and thanks to my internet resource who helped me figure it out. Now all 4,242 North American 968s have an identified interior code.
A 968 like no other!
The first time I drove a 968 was in 1994. It was a used ’92 that was traded in at Continental Porsche in Fairfield CT. I drove my 944 turbo to the dealer for the test drive. I loved it but when I ran the numbers I just couldn’t make ownership work. It would be 2 more years before I actually purchased my first 968, in 1996. Since then I’ve owned 7 of them and have driven close to a 100 but I have never had a 968 driving experience like I did a few weeks back.
I’m often contacted by individuals to let me know a particular 968 is available for sale or in the area. I’ve also done a half dozen Porsche parades and numerous other shows so I’ve seen many other 968s over the years. But a few weeks back a PCA buddy contacted me to let me know a 968 had found its way to Wayne Carini’s place in Portland CT, F40 Motorsports. We all know Wayne has some choice machinery at his place and it was great to see a 968 join his inventory. I received a couple of photos of the newly acquired cabriolet. It looked very clean in Cobalt Blue Metallic with a cobalt blue top, but that is not an overly rare combination with 26 being produced for the North American market. But then I noticed something unusual. On the fender of the car I noted the ROW (European) turn-signal repeater light so I knew I wasn’t looking at a North American market vehicle here and as I looked closer the most amazing difference appeared. This car was a right hand drive 968!
Now, there is not a lot of variation of the 968 model over its four year model run. Yes, there are coupes and cabriolets, 6 speeds and tiptronics, club sports and M030 suspension cars, and various individual options but nothing huge when comparing the cars. But when you come upon a right hand drive model, that is a pretty major difference.
I contacted Mike at F40 about the car and made an appointment to see it in person. When I got to F40 the 968 was parked right out front. As I approached it the car looked like a clean 968 but in a pretty standard configuration. When we popped open the door and I saw that RHD interior, wow.
Just sitting in it was crazy as the steering wheel was on the wrong side!!!
After receiving the keys I started the car and the sound of the 968 inline 4 cylinder was very familiar. Then Mike asked, “would you like to drive it?” I responded “no” as I would not trust myself with the most unusual driver orientation but then he said to just try it out around the parking lot. Okay, that seemed safe enough so I put my seatbelt on and shifted the car into drive. Wow, I can’t describe to you how bizarre it was to drive a RHD car after 23 years of driving left-hand drive 968s and 44 years of driving other left-hand drive cars. I looped the front parking lot and then returned her to her parking spot. So oddly different.
Next up was the tour of how a global company like Porsche goes about making a global car for different sales markets. It was fascinating to see the differences and similarities between this 968 and my 968s, especially with the engineering work that needs to be done to make a right-hand drive vehicle.
Just a short list of my observations:
The battery was in the left side cubby in the trunk on the UK car. My guess is to make room for everything being on the right side of the car. In my car, the battery is in the engine compartment, on the right side and that same cubby area in the trunk is used to hold the portable air compressor.
Hood opener – On my car, it is on the left side of the car and it was in the same location on the UK car. Interesting that Porsche chose not to move this. So, if you are in the driver’s seat in the UK car you have to get out and go over to the left side of the car to pop open the hood (or is that the bonnet?) This obviously saved Porsche some redesign money.
Exterior VIN location – On my car, the VIN is on the left side of the car, under the windshield, off the A-pillar. On the UK car, it was in the same location, away from the driver. I thought it was strange that the VIN wasn’t on the right side of the UK car with the driver.
Airbags – All North American 968s have dual front airbags. This UK car had the optional driver’s (right side) airbag and no airbag for the passenger. Interesting.
Headlight alignment adjustor – standard on all European cars is the headlight adjustor. I knew about this but had never seen it in person. It is a dial on the console which allows you to adjust the line of the headlight beam based on the load in the car that you are carrying.
It was such an experience to see and drive this unique 968 that it made my day. Thanks to Mike at F40 for the test drive. He saved me the funds I had planned to spend on a trip to the UK in order to drive one of these!
Will I be adding this machine to my fleet of 968s? Nope, I have 3 right now and have my eye on a couple more so no room but it would definitely be an experience to own this unique car. If it sounds interesting to you, head over to F40 and contact Mike. The car is clean and has been well cared for based on all those maintenance stamps in the book. And one thing is for absolute certainty, if you took ownership of this car you would definitely be the only Cobalt Blue right-hand drive 968 at any automotive event!
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: 2022 #1