Mild Mod

Also from Issue 192

  • Interview: Matthias Müller
  • 2012 Cayman R
  • Huschke von Hanstein
  • 1998 911 Carrera S Cabriolet
  • 1962 356B cabriolet
  • 1979 914-6
  • 1987 944
  • Buyers Guide: 356 and 912
  • 2011 Cayenne
  • Tech Forum
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After having 911S front brake calipers restored, Welles paired them to original-spec rear calipers. Braided stainless-steel brake lines, a new master cylinder and Hawk brake pads round out the changes. A few years earlier, Welles had upgraded his 911’s original Fuchs to 15×6-inch “deep sixes,” which were restored by Wheel Enhancement. Before the 911 was put back on the road, fresh BF Goodrich G Force Sport 205/60R15s were installed.

After installing the restored gas tank, Welles put an Optima battery in the “smuggler’s box” in the front trunk and plumbed a later Carrera oil cooler into the right front fender. He assembled the body carefully, and with an eye on cost. Most exterior trim was restored, and what couldn’t be restored was replaced with new, O.E. components. He salvaged and renewed rubber gaskets when possible.

Welles turned to lighting next. A set of H4 headlights found their way onto the car, as well as new signal lenses all around. “One of the real labors of love was restoring the impossible-to-find Hella 139 fog lamps, which were bent and pitted,” says Welles. “I restored the lenses by grinding them down and then polishing them to remove the pits. The bodies were then straightened and chromed.” The worn-out reflectors were welded up and replated. The final exterior touch was the installation of a 911E badge on the engine lid. Welles says the badge is not intended to represent the car as something it is not but rather as a tip-off that the 2.7-liter uses E cams.

“I did most of the interior myself with the exception of the seats and headliner, which I left to the pros,” says Welles. His research revealed that purchasing the vinyl through wholesalers can save some money: “All of the vinyl to redo my whole interior was less than $200, and it is German (and) correct.” A layer of Dynamat was installed on the floors and the roof, while the firewall was covered in a more modern and effective sound-deadening. The floors got another layer of carpet padding before a new Haargarn carpet kit was installed.

“One of the trickiest things to get right in an early 911 are the door pockets,” opines Welles. “Inevitably, they sag.” To repair the pockets and ensure they would retain their shape, he stripped them down and then reformed them by wetting the cardboard they’re made from. “When the shape was right, I fiberglassed them so I won’t have to worry about this problem again.” Just Dashes restored the armrests and Welles recovered the door panels himself before assembling everything.

Keeping with his budget build, Welles had his admittedly mildly cracked dash repaired and redyed by Fibrenew. “The dashboard looks brand new and the repair cost was less then $100,” he says. “I only had minor cracks, but I think this would work on far worse cases.”

The cosmetic end of the interior was rounded out with replica Recaro sport seats from GTS Classics, redone rear seats, a Momo Prototipo steering wheel, and the addition of modern, retractable seatbelts. The renewed dashboard houses the car’s original VDO gauges, which were cleaned and serviced by North Hollywood Speedometer. Like the car, they benefit from some hidden upgrades.

“The clock is now a quartz unit that actually keeps time,” quips Welles. The combination gauge was upgraded to the 1974-style setup with an oil-pressure warning light, allowing it to take advantage of the oil-pressure sensor integrated into the later 2.7-liter engine. “The original tach was upgraded to a solid-state model, which the MSD will work with,” says Welles.

After mulling over how to combine an original appearance with a great, easy-to-use stereo, Welles came up with a solution: “Parrot makes a small Bluetooth controller designed to integrate an iPod and a Bluetooth phone into an existing stereo.” The controller comes with a small LED display — small enough to fit inside the 911’s existing tachometer.

At Welles’ request, Hollywood Speedometer cut a small window in the bottom of the tach’s face for Parrot’s LED display. A later tachometer face with a high-beam indicator in a different location left room at the bottom of the tach for the control panel display. The correct, early markings and redline were then silkscreened onto the later gauge face.

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