904 Driver

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At this point, the chain of ownership becomes murky. Published accounts differ, but the 904 somehow ended up back at Buehl’s lot, where it may have sat unsold for several years until Alex placed his want ad in Hemmings. Buehl’s call prompted a long heart-to-heart discussion between Alex and his wife. To meet the $4,800 asking price, their 911 would have to be sold and their entire savings pulled out of the bank. Says Alex: “This was a lot of money at the time!”

They decided to buy the car, allotting another $1,600 for a 906-spec flat six because Buehl told them the four-cam flat four wouldn’t be suitable for street use. His advice hit home on the drive back to Michi­gan; after 600 miles without a hitch, 904-028 nearly met its demise in Detroit’s stop-and-go traffic. Just blocks from home, with the engine loading up and coughing back through the carbs, Alex smelled smoke. The four was on fire!

By a stroke of luck, there was a fire station a few hundred yards away, and an alert fireman rushed over to extinguish the flames before major damage resulted. After the near miss, Alex installed the flat six, and the four has been in storage ever since. “To this day, I don’t know if that engine is damaged,” he says with a shrug.

One year later, the Pollocks decided to drive their 904 to visit their parents in Florida, a 2,600-mile round trip. There was no room in the car for anything other than a few essentials and an overnight bag, so they shipped their luggage.

Somewhere in rural Kentucky, at about 2:00 AM, the 904’s VDO speedometer registered 168 mph for a brief moment. Asked what his wife had to say about that, Alex grins. “She didn’t say a peep,” he says. “But I thought her hand was going to crush my arm!”

When they got to Florida, the proud couple was surprised by the reaction of family members; most if not all of them said they were crazy to come all that way in the fiberglass racer. The car’s cost drew criticism, as well. “You are so stupid to spend all of your money on this!” Alex’s mother cried. “It’s loud, it stinks…it doesn’t even have air-conditioning!” But as the 904’s value bagan to climb after a few years, his mother eventually remarked that her son had made a very smart purchase.

Alex says he doesn’t speed in his 904 these days because it’s too noticeable and too valuable. In fact, he’s never gotten a speeding ticket in it. Its value hasn’t kept him from using it, though: Since 1972, he’s driven the 904 nearly 35,000 miles and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. He’s still a regular at local PCA events, and he still takes the car out on nice days. And, on one of the last pleasant days of fall in Detroit, Alex and I met up to do just that.

Also from Issue 185

  • Chris Harris on the 620-hp 911 GT2 RS
  • Chris Harris races for Porsche at the 'Ring
  • A two-owner, D-I-Y four-cam 356
  • Driving the most expensive 997 of them all
  • Is Porsche's second Cayenne good enough?
  • American driver Patrick Long steals the show
  • 996s and 997s, the greatest daily 911s?
  • A new driver sensation
  • Turbo club racing 911s with a modern twist
  • 2010 Cayman S stance adjustment
  • Our 914 gets seals, an interior, and audio
  • M96 rear main seals
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