With its original California black plate, original dealer license frame, “Drive Safely” Mobil Pegasus, and Cibie Biode headlights, the coupe was ready to roll.
Straub wasn’t quite done yet, however: He had a special addition for the interior. Luckily, this part of the car had escaped the ravages of salty air, heat, and time. The black dash and door panels were nearly perfect, the carpet was unworn, and the OEM rubber mats appeared to be in great shape. All of the dashboard lights and gauges worked, including the clock. And the old “1st Pacific International Grand Prix” dash plaque on the glovebox lid was retro-cool, too. The car also came with a gorgeous original tool kit complete with Messko tire gauge.
The only thing the cabin was missing? A cool seat.
Straub had just the item in mind. He had the good fortune of locating a real vintage “GT” or “Ferrari” seat that predates the more commonly found early 911 race buckets. This is very similar to the version originally used in factory 356 race cars and Speedsters, but was built wider to fit 911 seat rails — 17.5 inches between the center of the seat hinges. The “GT” seat Straub purchased was unrestored, with patina-perfect brown corduroy inserts.
“It’s like sitting on cardboard,” Straub gleefully admits, referring to the seat’s original padding, or lack of it. Straub smiles bigger when he shares the observation of his friend, Skip Shirley: “The seat and wheels are worth more than the car!”
Straub didn’t care. He just had a feeling about the car. Confirmation that he was onto something came when he showed the rust-bitten coupe at 2010’s Coronado Speed Festival, “A couple of early 911 enthusiasts, Dave Eck and Mark Motshagen, started drooling all over the car’s ‘old school’ bits and told me that I should never paint it. I realized then what I had was a ‘time capsule survivor’.”
So what’s this honest but cosmetically challenged car like to drive? Climbing into the driver’s seat is like stepping back in time. In fact, it feels like somebody left popcorn in it from last night’s drive-in.
Whatever padding that was there has changed into something else. You sit on top of the seat more than in it, but the side bolsters do offer some support. The old race bucket sure looks authentic, though — and the leather-clad lap belts and over-sized wood steering wheel only add to the effect. Easy going and laid back are in the owner’s nature, and so it is with his car.