Scowl Wagon

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
  • 1971 911S-T: Olive Tart
  • 1970 914
  • Smart Buy: 1984-86 Carrera
  • ACC InnoDrive: Driving an autonomous Porsche
  • Meet the man who founded IMSA
  • Hydro-Pneumatic
Buy Excellence-202-cover
Scowl Wagon 0
Scowl Wagon 1
Scowl Wagon 2
Scowl Wagon 3
Scowl Wagon 4
Scowl Wagon 5

Griffin hesitates to guess at the number of hours spent — or the number of beers consumed—during his six-month process to get the car back in working order, but he knows exactly when his first drive was.“It was on my birthday,May 14. Until that day, every free hour I had in the evenings was spent on the car. I’d get home from work at five or six o’clock, get a beer, go into the shop, work until nine o’clock, go into the house, eat dinner, shower, go to bed. Every night.”

With all but fine-tuning complete, thoughts turned to Porsche Parade 2011, which was scheduled to start in late July in Savannah,Georgia.Griffin had never taken a car to Parade, so when it came time to register, he had no idea how his car should be classified — restoration or preservation. “I read the rules, and they said a preservation car has to be mostly original and have 75-percent original paint.”

That seemed to best fit Griffin’s work on the 931; the restoration class, by way of comparison, called for cars that had been“…rebuilt, repainted, reupholstered, recarpeted, trim replated, etc. in a comprehensive manner.” Despite at least one suggestion that the front-end metal work might tip Griffin’s work toward restoration, he stuck to his initial thought process.

From Griffin’s standpoint, that turned out to be a good decision. Few people have the stomach to fully restore a 924 or a 944, so it came as no real surprise that the restoration group for those models had no entries. “At least in the preservation group, I had plenty of competition,” he gamely offers.“There were some really nice cars there — every bit as good as mine, and better.”

The strength of that competition, though,meant that Griffin’s initial goal of a third-place finish was not met. Judging demerits were given for utilization (Griffin had only owned the car for nine months
and 1,500 miles prior to Parade), a couple of small door dents that would have been difficult to repair without repainting, loose seat belts, brush marks on the dash, bleached carpeting, excess suspension road debris, and incorrect under-hood foam. He was also dinged for a non-original steering wheel, radio, and battery. To Griffin’s credit, the judges couldn’t initially locate the welds from his front-end repair. He’s plenty proud about that.

Given that 2011 was his first time at Parade, and coupled with the fact that his total cash outlay to bring the 924 Turbo to its current condition amounted to approximately $3,200 (including the original purchase price), Griffin is rightly pleased with the result.

“All in all, it was a good experience,”he says. “I learned a lot, enough that I’m going back to try again.” It will be with a different 924 next time, though, as this particular Porsche has already been sold. Some might think it a bit peculiar that he would be so quick to part with something he poured so many hours (not to mention, beers) into during such a concentrated time period, but Griffin strikes us as more of a “journey” than a “destination” kind of guy, and we really like that.

Besides, he admits to maybe keeping his next 931 a bit longer. “Yeah, I just bought another Scowl Wagon—a red ’82 Turbo, number 633 (of 876),”he says.“It’s even nicer than the white car. It’s been sitting almost as long. I intend to take it to the 2013 Parade.” And with well over a year to prepare it, we won’t be surprised if the competition has their hands full in Traverse City, Michigan.

Connect with Excellence:   Facebook Twitter