- Porsche has been restoring old vehicles itself since 2002
- Original components of the Porsche 911 preserved as far as possible
- Even small modifications cause problems
The glorious resurrection of a Porsche 911
The Porsche 911 2.5 S / T at the Le Mans race in 1972
Up to 2000 working hours and 600,000 euros go into the restoration of rare vehicles in Porsche‘s classic car workshop. Some are even allowed to take a very special immersion bath.
Njust a pile of metal. Dented, rusted, rotten. The Porsche 911 stood before Uwe Makrutzki two and a half years ago. The mechanic rubbed his hands. The Porsche, which many thought was junk, was a coveted collector’s item. One that was worth completely dismantling and rebuilding true to the original.
Makrutzki heads the in-house restoration company at Porsche AG – a classic car workshop within a company that makes its money with new cars. A contradiction? No. Almost all manufacturers who can look back on a long tradition now offer restorations in their own factory. Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Lamborghini and VW also honor their old models.
They have spare parts reproduced and, through their dealer network, also offer service and maintenance work – including complete restorations. It is not even the main thing that you can earn new money with old sheet metal. Above all, companies are concerned with carefully and expertly maintaining their brand heritage.
The Porsche 911 before the restoration
The racing car that Uwe Makrutzki was so happy about was only built 24 times. After a factory tuning, it was called the Porsche 911 2.5 S / T and cost 49,680 D-Marks. Exactly this specimen won the GT class at Le Mans in 1972, drove in Daytona, Sebring, on the Targa Florio and the Nurburgring. American racing driver Mike Keyser and his German colleague Jurgen Barth sat at the wheel.
Porsche has been restoring old vehicles itself since 2002
Porsche has been restoring its customers’ cars for decades, and the Classic workshop has officially been in existence since 2002. Three years later, Porsche Classic was added, which, in addition to factory restoration, also takes care of the spare parts business for vehicles whose production ended more than 15 years ago . Among other things, Porsche reproduces the fittings from the 911 classics built between 1969 and 1975.
In the workshop, which is located at the bodywork and assembly plant in Freiberg am Neckar, 60 vehicles are parked on three floors, 30 are processed in parallel. Another 40 vehicles are waiting in another hall. “We get inquiries from all over the world,” says Makrutzki, whose hands have already passed over 100 vehicles. The waiting time for a full restoration is one and a half years, for a partial restoration you have to wait around five months.
The first contact is usually made by email. Using a few photos, the Porsche professionals estimate the scope of the work and give a rough estimate – it can be between 200,000 and 600,000 euros. If the customer agrees with the offer, the Porsche will be brought to the factory. The specialists check the car, refine the initial assessment and agree a time frame with the customer. Then the Porsche is first parked in the external warehouse. The problem: of the 19 employees, only three specialize in dismantling and assembling classic cars.
Original components of the Porsche 911 preserved as far as possible
“We want to save everything when we dismantle it. Employees should try to get every cable, connector and clip, ”says Makrutzki. That takes a lot of time, but it is profitable, as with old models like the Porsche 356 pre-A many parts need to be remade. "We do have drawings and samples of all original spare parts, but they can no longer be easily installed in old vehicles," says Makrutzki.
Therefore, whenever we can, we use the original component. ”The restorers outsource metal work such as electroplating, tin-plating, zinc-plating and chrome-plating to external companies. "But these are official Porsche suppliers who meet our standards for new vehicles," says the workshop manager.
The body of the 911 is being reconditioned
Source: Photokunst Sabine Braun
The enormous effort does not pay off for every vehicle. That is why the restorers in Stuttgart specialized in early and rare Porsche vehicles. These include the 356 and 911 F models, which rolled off the production line in Stuttgart from 1964 to 1973. Then there is the super sports car from the 1980s, the 959.
"With this model, we look after around 80 percent of the cars built," explains Makrutzki. “We use employees who produced the car at the time. They know every screw by their first name. ”On the 959, his team also does maintenance and repairs, on other vehicles this only happens if they have also been restored in the factory.
A restoration takes between two and a half and three and a half years. If you add up the waiting time, a customer has to be patient for almost five years before his car is delivered. Up to 2000 working hours go into a restoration, the mechanics need around 1000 hours for the body alone.
The sheet metal is treated with special care. Porsche is the only restoration company to offer a nine-stage cathodic dip painting on. For this purpose, the body is mounted on a kit car, receives a digital code and is lined up in Zuffenhausen on KTL-Strabe. New vehicles are also sealed in this electrochemical process. “We bathe the vehicles in the paint line in normal production,” says Makrutzki. “To do this, our cars have to be clinically clean. Otherwise we will pollute the bathroom – and that will be expensive. "
So that the restored Porsche does not rust, it is subjected to a cathodic dip painting
The advantage of the nine-stage KTL is one hundred percent painting. The body is chemically stripped in a caustic bath. It rotates on its own axis, all cavities are flooded with the special liquids and then primed. After the KTL bath, the painter from the factory restoration receives the car and begins to apply the paint. Layer by layer. Optionally with modern and resistant or with historical paints. “The owner decides which process we use,” says Makrutzki. “However, we recommend modern paints.” After a curing time of around eight weeks, final assembly can begin.
The modern painting process is not the only optimization. Even if originality fetishists turn up their noses: Instead of the original single-circuit brake system, the mechanics mount the 356 a two-circuit system for safety reasons, the new pads are asbestos-free, the brake discs are internally ventilated, the wheel bearings are more durable. Thanks to a steel carcass, the tires offer more lateral force. "All of this is for safety and cannot be seen at first glance," says Makrutzki.
The Stuttgart-based company does not do hard tuning like Singer or Magnus Walker. “Of course, the customer is king, but we have little leeway when it comes to changes. As the Porsche department, it is our goal, on the one hand, to carry out restorations as original as possible and, on the other hand, to adhere to our high quality standards, ”he says. It makes no difference whether the car is 18 or 65 years old.
The Porsche 911 2.5 S / T is waiting to be picked up
Source: Victor Jon Goico
Customers seem to like it. For milestones such as the finished body or the wedding, i.e. the merging of engine and body, some owners travel extra to Stuttgart. “They usually ask five times when the car will finally be finished, that’s how euphoric they are,” says Makrutzki. However, it usually takes a few more months to get that far. The vehicle is carefully assembled, the engine run in a few hundred kilometers. Only after a comprehensive functional test and a final oil change, as well as with freshly set valves and carburettors, does the car go into the hands of the customer.
Then he not only receives his new, old car, but also a restoration box. This includes: a book and a DVD with all photos of the restoration as well as a plaque as a seal of approval for the factory restoration. “A restoration on this scale does not always pay off economically,” explains Makrutzki. Customers often put the emotional value of their vehicle above the cost of a complete restoration – because they want a perfect car. "
Even small modifications cause problems
Just like the Swiss racing car fan. His scrap Porsche was not complete, many parts were missing, including the engine. They had to be searched for and reproduced. The owner delved deep into the history of his car and found out which racing driver had driven which time in which race. He had the racing engine rebuilt by an external tuner, and the wedding took place at Porsche.
The cable harness gave the specialists a headache: In some cases they had to knit it again from handwritten sheets. There were also a few problems with modifications such as the dual ignition system, the roll bar, the seat consoles, the fuel pump and the second oil cooler. “The car was a racing car ex works – and thus configured very differently than a production car,” says Makrutzki.
After the restoration, the 911 looks like the original decades ago. Technically it is even slightly improved
Source: Victor Jon Goico
Fortunately, he found a retired employee who oversaw the 911 S / T 1972 project and helped with the restoration. For the pale yellow paintwork, they had to mix five different tones with minor differences until the result satisfied the restorers and the owner.
Incidentally, he doesn’t want to spare the resurrected car. Instead of gathering dust or mutating into a trailer queen, the old racing car will soon be racing again. In July it will be on display at Le Mans – just like 44 years ago.
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