Olive Tart

A chance encounter with an early 911 leads to an S-T conversion—38 years later.

May 18, 2012

Also from Issue 202

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  • 1958 550A Spyder: Badly burned car restored
  • 1984 911 Turbo: 700+ hp ethanol conversion
  • 2012 TechArt 991S: First drive
  • 1962 356 Carrera 2000 GS
  • 1970 914
  • 1982 924 Turbo
  • Smart Buy: 1984-86 Carrera
  • ACC InnoDrive: Driving an autonomous Porsche
  • Meet the man who founded IMSA
  • Hydro-Pneumatic
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ON A SPRING AFTERNOON IN 1974, A YOUNG MAN WAS STROLLING TO dinner in Manhattan when he caught sight of something familiar yet mysterious.While Porsche 911s had never really interested him, the one at the curb was different. The young man’s dinner party would have to wait. This deserved a closer look.

The German machine had a set of fender flares that swelled like the curves of a voluptuous screen idol. Beneath them were familiar alloy wheels, but much wider than normal and wrapped with sticky racing rubber. A peek inside revealed a roll hoop and a pair of fixed-back racing seats.

I’m there when the same man, now 38 years older, twists the ignition key to a car that’s occupied a corner of his mind through college, marriage, children, and career.No, it’s not the flared beast he gazed upon that spring Manhattan day. This Porsche is his own creation, but it has clearly been inspired by that car.

An uncharacteristically juvenile grin crosses the face of this pleasant but serious personality. This will be his first drive in a car he has planned out to the finest detail. This will be a good day.

There’s no way of knowing what Tom saw parked on that Manhattan street 38 years ago.Whatever it was, the modified Porsche burrowed its way deep into the psyche of a quiet guy who, in his own words, “didn’t really care for 911s.”

Tom’s recollections suggest the car was most likely a variation on a 911 known as the “S-T.” Homologated for Group 3 and 4 GT competition, the model was offered as a sports version of the top-of-the-line 911S between 1969 and 1972. “911S-T” was the factory’s internal designation for a 911S ordered without option code 470, 90 excellence AUGUST 2012 which included the comfort equipment separating the upmarket 911S and 911E from the basic (and lighter) 911T.

While 911S-Ts were constructed on the main production line, they were sent to Porsche’s competition department to receive a host of modifications and optional equipment before delivery.As a result, the cars differ in many details. Production numbers aren’t easy to pin down, either, with some saying 114 examples were built while others believe the number of factory-built S-Ts to be much lower. Certainly, a number of ex-factory 911s were modified into “S-Ts” with components that Porsche made available to customers through an instruction manual/parts catalog titled Information Regarding Porsche Vehicles Used for Sports Purposes.

What Tom probably saw was a 911 that had been modified by a privateer racer or enthusiast, but its appearance fit the basic S-T mold: an early 911 with wider wheels, large fender flares, and no ducktail. Getting the general look is not rocket science. Tom, however,wanted more than the general look when he dropped a tired 1971 911S off at Auto Associates in Canton, Connecticut in 2008. He wanted a thorough and exacting S-T conversion.

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