Restoration Romantic II: Planning and preparing the 912 for transport
Sunday, December 14, 2014
By Michael Benet
The venue is set, the car chosen. Now, how exactly do I send a great little Porsche 912 across the country for me to meet upon arrival? Good question.
Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I was president of my local PCA Region, Lincoln Trail (link is external) in Illinois. As part of a great, centrally located Region, I would occasionally get requests to look at cars for sale for out-of-state PCA members, or even to set up events for other Regions that were hoping to join us for a Porsche fling. I took pride in assisting with these requests, as I felt that this was what being a part of a great club was all about. It was fun, and I remember it like it was yesterday.
Naturally, I felt I could reach out to a fellow PCA Region contact and see if they could offer any help and/or suggestions. Well, it worked — just like in the old days! Several Sacramento Valley Region members offered assistance and quickly recommended my new friend, Brian Sanders, who was super friendly and, as a fellow 912 owner, a crucial asset for planning and executing my trip. Our conversation started with an email and progressed to the phone to discuss logistical details. We spoke of timing for my car’s arrival and how his location, about 60 miles from Napa, would work in conjunction with our plans. It seemed to be perfect, and I felt good about securing a transport company quote and working through the scheduling with Brian. So let the shipping quote’s roll in!
Over the years I have had good luck with several shipping companies, so my short list of transport options was already made. Several months before the trip, I inquired about availability during December. All three on my short list — Intercity, Reliable Carriers, and Passport Transport — felt that they could accommodate me. When it came time to book a carrier in November, I ordered quotes on the Internet, and, to my surprise, the difference in cost between all three was within $100, allowing me to choose a carrier based on delivery time and driver availability. I made a round of calls to each company and ended up going with Reliable Carriers, as it could all but guarantee that my car would arrive at Brian’s ahead of time and right at budget. After securing a spot, I began the process of making a list and readying the vehicle for this California jaunt.
Sending your vehicle across the country to meet you at another location need not be a daunting task. Starting with a (vintage) Porsche is a favorable thing because they are reliable and welcome the challenge. However, my 912 had just undergone a three-year aesthetic restoration and had yet to be fully shaken down. Yes, it was fully assembled, and all of the parts were present and accounted for. But had every bolt been checked? Had every stone been turned over? Had every widget been rectified? No, probably not. Fortunately the car seemed reliable, and I feel that I am capable enough to tackle any small issue that might rear its head. So off to pack the car!
First to go in was the factory toolkit. Extra fan belt? Check. Screw drivers and pliers? Check. Spare spark plugs? Check. How about a wrench for the plugs? Check! Not wanting to leave anything to chance, I packed an additional kit consisting of spare wire for electrical woes, Allen wrenches, adjustable wrenches, and vice grips along with other essentials for parking lot repairs, such as tape and ties and even a spare fuel filter. Simple cars require simple tools, and these days a 912 definitely qualifies as simple.
What else might come in handy? In case of a dead car battery, I packed a lithium-ion jump-pack that also doubles as a charge port for all types of electronics. It came with adaptors needed for anything electrical, and it’s so small that it fits in the palm of my hand. I confirmed that the spare tire was ready and a jack was in the “frunk” (front trunk), and then tossed in a first-aid kit because you never know when you or others might need one.
I used a simple checklist to make sure the tire pressures were set, the fluids were topped off, the door locks worked, and the lights all functioned. I also loaded the glove box with carburetor jets, in case the climate change demands an adjustment. Don’t forget your insurance card and any other owner documents. Finally, I loaded the basics, including a car cover and spare fuses.
Before handing the keys to the transport driver and loading it into the trailer, I made sure the Porsche started and ran well — important because the car is foreign to the transporter and I don’t want him to have any issues. With that in mind, don’t forget to point out the shift pattern, especially if the transmission has a dog-leg first gear!