Restoration romantic 1: Ingredients for the perfect porsche vacation

1y ago

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Michael and Tara Benet of Lincoln Trail Region (link is external) in Illinois were itching for an adventure to enjoy Michael's recently restored 1967 Porsche 912. The midwest in December isn't sports-car friendly, and so the Benets started looking west for their getaway. Michael's blog series, Restoration Romantic, will document their journey to California and shine light on what it takes to ship your Porsche and enjoy it in a new location. Stay tuned!

By Michael Benet

There are many great things in this world that we all can enjoy every day. The sun, the moon, the sound of a loved one laughing. Birds singing on a summer afternoon. The tone of a piano or well-played guitar. I have come to love and cherish them, which got me thinking…

I am going to be half a century old. Yes, 50, a milestone that I insist on celebrating. As much as I have become aware of all of the wonderful and fantastic things that we all get to experience on a daily basis, I still wanted to bring in my fiftieth with even more enjoyment and gusto. And to me the perfect list of ingredients for bringing on this milestone would be as follows: One part beautiful passenger, one part vintage Porsche, one part gorgeous scenery, and one part smiles. But how could I bring them all together?

Figuring out that last part started with a casual planning session with fellow PCA member Dr. Brian Cox. A consummate Porsche collector in Rocky Mountain Region in Colorado, his taste runs from a 1960 356 coupe to a 2004 911 GT3 and late Cayman. Brian and I spoke of beautiful Napa Valley in California and the several wineries that our wives would surely appreciate. Most importantly, by the looks of our search of Napa Valley, there will be wonderful roads to drive and explore, making it the perfect place for our trip. And the mid-December timing of it means there should be less traffic and palatable weather for my Midwestern taste. And the wine? Oh yes, there will most certainly be wine.

Which left me with a couple more crucial decisions: Which vehicle I should take, and how to transport it. The vehicle choice was simple. I walked through my garage, past several offerings from Germany, past a prime example from Italy, and right to my three-year restoration project: A 1967 short-wheelbase 912 coupe with a sunroof. This will be the car of choice. This will be my chariot to romantically tour the Napa Valley with my wife. This will be the car that I will turn 50 years old in while enjoying all of the things that make me smile.

This Tangerine 1967 Porsche 912 has been part of my life since the 1970s. I would catch glimpses of it through my mother’s office window, parked at the local fine arts center across from her office. When it wasn't, the owner probably was driving it to Chicago on a business trip.

Decades later, the Porsche repair facility I own rebuilt the engine and increased displacement to 1,720 cubic centimeters. I kept an eye on the car for many years as it would stop by for service and repairs, and then helped a friend and customer procure it. In his care, the old 912 became a home garage project that didn’t see completion. Noting my appreciation for the Porsche, he sold it to me after some persistent negotiation.

The 912 was ordered for European delivery. It was well equipped to be a driver’s car. The options list (verified by the Certificate of Authenticity) consists of a five-speed transmission, full leather interior, seat headrests, Talbot mirror, Fuch alloy wheels, Pirelli tires, Koni sport shocks, electric sunroof, bumper horns, wood steering wheel, fog lights, tinted glass, and no radio. A great list of options and everything you would want in a driver’s car, and the optional Tangerine color accentuates its sporting intentions. It retains its original engine and transmission and has been maintained following Porsche’s recommended service intervals.

I performed a full aesthetic restoration that started three years ago, and with help from many of my vendors and staff, each panel was reconditioned, each interior bit was renewed, and many mechanical parts were refreshed. My plans to drive this car on a regular basis compelled me to make adjustments to it with daily driving in mind. Weber carburetors and electric ignition were installed, and modern sound-deadening material was placed at strategic locations within the car. These updates, along with special personal touches, such as factory hound’s-tooth material seat inserts, make for a wonderful drive. And pretty soon, a wonderful drive in Napa Valley.

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