Rust Never Sleeps

Also from Issue 196

  • 2012 Panamera S Hybrid
  • Tuned Cayman: Manthey M315
  • Interview: Michael Keyser
  • New 2012 911 Carrera!
  • Cayman R vs. Boxster Spyder
  • Carrera GTS vs. Cayman R
  • "The Fastest Speedster in the World."
  • 1970 911T: Gray Wolf
  • 997 GT3 RS at Sebring
  • Smart Buy: 1992-1995 928 GTS
  • Buyers Guide: 914, 986, 987
  • Tech Forum: M96 Savior?
Buy Excellence-196-cover
Rust Never Sleeps 1
Rust Never Sleeps 2
The "Drive Safely" Mobil Pegasus, while not OEM, almost could be considered original equipment. Owner John Straub chose to keep relics from the car's past.
Rust Never Sleeps 3
Stored in a barn for decades, the 911's interior is still in good condition. The driver's seat was replaced with an unrestored, vintage bucket seat that is similar to what the factory used in 356 race cars and Speedsters.
Rust Never Sleeps 4
A set of original 15 x 7-inch magnesium Minilite wheels were fitted to the rusty 911. Tires are sized 195/60-15.
Rust Never Sleeps 5
Rust Never Sleeps 6
Rust Never Sleeps 7
All wear parts and rubber were inspected and then replaced or rebuilt, hence the engine bay's cleanliness.

“It was apparently a minimally optioned ‘plain Jane’ normal ’67 that had some racing aspirations at one time,” says Straub. “Although it was only a four-speed and not an S model, Mobil Pegasus emblems had been hand-painted on the front fenders and a Talbot mirror was attached to the driver’s door. Riverside Raceway decals adorned the rear quarter windows and a racing plaque was affixed to the glove box. The stock muffler had also been gutted.”

The “hot rod” coupe probably sat outside the teacher’s home near the beach in La Jolla, and that’s where it started rusting. After seven years of daily driving, the 911 coupe was sold to Straub’s friend, who parked it in his non-climate controlled garage in nearby El Cajon. It would sit there, untouched, for the next 34 years.

With his enthusiasm for the car kick-started, Straub decided to go completely through the mechanicals and return them to stock, “as new” condition. With helpful advice from the Early 911S Reg­istry’s online forum, he began rebuilding the motor, transmission, brakes, and suspension. Straub remembers that period well.

“I was going to do the motor overhaul myself but didn’t have time,” he says. “So I took it to my friend Brant Parson at Shamrock Racing in El Cajon. Brant pulled the cylinders off, honed them, added new rings, replaced the guides, and rebuilt the original 2.0-liter engine to original specs. The original Weber carburetors were restored and an MSD tach converter was added along with a new Bendix pump with the correct decal.” To prevent fuel issues, the gas tank was cleaned and all the supply lines were replaced.

The original 901 four-speed transmission came next. When it was pulled apart, everything was in great shape — even the synchros were undamaged. So the gearbox was simply reassembled with new seals. The brakes and suspension were another story. When Straub first sat in the car, the brake pedal went all the way to the floor. Further investigation revealed a laundry list of items that needed to be replaced: master cylinder, brake lines, brake rotors, shocks, and all of the rubber suspension bushings. In addition, the brake calipers needed to be rebuilt, and the pedal cluster and shift-coupler bushings were toast.

When the outside of the car was reevaluated, it was determined that all of the original seals and rubber were rock hard, so most of these items were also replaced. Although the rest of the body was literally covered with flaking paint, rust, and small dents, Straub continued in his belief that it should be left alone. He did have one more idea for completing the car’s look, though.

Earlier that year, a set of original 15×7-inch magnesium Minilites became available from Straub’s friend Don Anderson. They had been on Anderson’s Speedster, which had been updated with disc brakes. When Don decided to go back to stock brakes, Straub bought the rare wheels. Now that he had the perfect car to put the wheels on, Straub mounted 195/60R15 Fal­ken all-season performance tires and installed longer studs on the non-flared 911 to make everything fit.

Connect with Excellence:   Facebook Twitter