Olive Tart

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Scott McPherson, a principle at Auto Associates,was entrusted with the mechanical aspect of the project.He demonstrates the stoic understatement New Englanders are known for when he says the project—which came to be known as Olive Tart—is “based on a recipe we had done before.” That recipe

included hard-to-find factory parts so rare that one wonders whether it might have been easier to open a zoo that features only unicorns and mermaids. Tom was undeterred; he would assemble the necessary parts.

Of course, a good recipe and great ingredients will only get you so far. Even with the best ingredients and a proven recipe for dark chocolate cake, how many of us could really give Betty Crocker a run for her money? Similarly, a project like this one takes more than a concept and a pile of parts. It takes skill, commitment, and something more: flair. You’ve got to make the right call, time and again.

Consider this car’s unusual color.When the 911S rolled into the shop in Canton, it was wearing the same bright red applied to so many cheap restorations of the 1980s and 1990s. Tom could have chosen traditional German white or silver, but the paint tag on his 911’s door jamb was stamped 3939S. The S indicated a special-order color, and the four digits identified it as Olive. Tom mulled his options and then made a decision:He would restore the car in its original and unusual color.

“Although this 911S is a hot rod, it just didn’t seem right to go for a color change. So it’s going to be Olive!” said Tom at the time. It was a risky call, but it would prove to be the right one.

The project moved forward, as many do, with a bit of luck. Shortly after work began, an old 911 race car came into the shop for wider fender flares. Per the customer’s instructions, paint and body specialist Ken Bronsord cut the existing flares off the old race car. These turned out to be factory steel S-T flares, so they were set aside for the Olive Tart.

Meanwhile, other important body parts were added. A pair of new old stock (NOS) aluminum door skins from the Vasek Polak collection were fitted to the original doors’ inner structures. Responding to an ad for old racing parts in Massachusetts, Tom found an aluminum factory roll bar in a dusty basement where it had sat for 30 years. Later, he learned about a small stash of original parts from a wrecked factory S-T in Germany. Included was an optional fiberglass hood with balsa reinforcements. It still wore its original livery, identifying the car to which it was originally fitted.

An aluminum engine lid, complete with holes for rubber hold-downs and aluminum rain shields above the intake stacks, completed the lightweight lid set, while an aluminum rear valance was trimmed to accommodate a factory 911R/S-T rally exhaust. Other factory-style modifications include gussets in the engine bay and around the rear shock mounts, gussets on the factory jack points, and a front shock-tower brace made from spherical rod ends and a 917 rear suspension strut.

Also from Issue 202

  • F.A. Porsche, 1935-2012
  • 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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