Once the car was done, I wanted to be sure it was properly insured. The cost to build it was significant, but the price to replace or repair it would be staggering if a shop has to do all the custom work I did. While I found it impossible to insure the car for what it would cost to build again, I eventually got to an agreed value I am comfortable with. It took numerous phone calls to the management at my insurance company, and I had to provide detailed cost sheets, receipts, and many photos.
I persuaded the company to insure the car for $75,000 under a classic car policy, an amount paid to me should a total loss or theft occur. I highly recommend insurance with an agreed value. Without it, you might get a check for “Blue Book value” in the event of theft or total loss. Were that to happen to me, I would not be able to build a replacement car. Luckily, the project was well-documented and I obtained a great policy for just $450 per year.
While far from being comfortable when surrounded by phone-toting commuters in busy California traffic, I was now fully insured and wanted to drive the car to Excellence headquarters so that Pete Stout could see what my blood, sweat, and tears (and money) had produced. I felt he had to flog the car a bit on some back roads he knew well to really appreciate it.
When I arrived, Stout circled the car. He seemed impressed with just about everything, but was particularly keen on the black paint, quietly uttering the words “it may be the best black I’ve seen.” Stout is highly detail-oriented, so if you make it through his critical inspection without too much abuse, you can be sure you’ve built something to be proud of.
After I handed him the key, we took off, heading for sinuous Marin County back roads. He was enjoying the drive but was reluctant to shift down to first gear at 40 mph, the car’s “sweet spot” due to its custom gearing. Of course, such a downshift would result in a blown motor in most street cars, but my re-geared 914 loves first all the way to 53 mph. Once Stout got over that mental block, the fun began.
Unfortunately, it ended quickly.
Fifteen minutes from Highway 101, the engine had a momentary hiccup. It came back to life, though, so I assumed some water was in the fuel. Then came my life’s most embarrassing moment: Project 914 3.6 died and, with my editor at the wheel, coasted to a stop. Silence. I wanted to crawl into the front trunk and hide! Instead, I teased Stout, saying he just doesn’t know how to drive such a great car.