With the crucial drivetrain and wheels transferred over to his new project, all of English’s worries seemed to be behind him. If only life were that simple…
Tracking down the remaining pieces that would take his project beyond the previous one might be challenging in the time remaining. Or would it? Luckily, the global early 911 community is small, and English has many friends.
Since the primary visual cues of a 911R are its external oil filler, plastic louvered rear quarter windows, and built-in indicator lights, English had to make sure these were as authentic as possible. Californian Brad Davis provided a reproduction aluminum 911R oil tank with the correct dimensions, baffles, and cap — made after he researched a real 911R oil tank and got input from fellow 911R enthusiast Ernie Wilberg. Dave Bouzaglou at TRE Motorsports in North Hollywood supplied reproduction Plexiglas windows, plastic door handles, decklid hinges and straps, a replica 911R roll bar, front indicator lights, and more.
An original 911R hood latch was sourced from a gentleman in Germany who had the correct, barrel-shaped rubber strap. The rear lights were a swap-meet find and are the correct color of amber on the outside and amber and red on the inside. At a Los Angeles literature meet, English was able to buy real factory 911R decals. Early Euro headlights using clear U.S. glass lenses were installed, though English plans to swap them for clear Plexiglas lenses eventually, because that’s what R4 wears.
The steering wheel is a Monza repro sans horn button from Bob Aines of Zuffenhaus. A correct, on-the-dash 911R-style horn button came courtesy of Andy Boyle in the U.K., and the distinctive dual-ignition switches were found online from a seller in Finland. Amazingly, English’s ’67 912 already had 911R-style holes in the dash where the horn button and ignition switches would go.
Like R4, the car has a 100-liter, steel fuel tank with a short fuel-filler neck, not one recessed into the front lid as commonly seen on the production 911Rs. The car also has its gas gauge deleted, so a wooden ruler is used and an amber light goes on when the fuel level gets low. A cargo net from a Toyota dealer completes the front trunk.
The winter of 2011-2012 was spent finessing fiberglass panels as well as crafting the oil-filler hole, front vents, and indicator-light receptacles. After primering and block-sanding the car, English was ready to apply paint. He chose Ferrari Fly Yellow in lacquer, a less expensive but close match to the bold, almost fluorescent lemon yellow used on R4 as restored by Canepa.
“I shot paint in my garage during March 2012 using plastic sheeting and a gravity feed spray gun,” says English. “I put down about nine good coats so I’d have plenty of material to color-sand and buff. The door jams, engine bay, and trunk were painted in matte black to emulate the finish of R4.”
When the project was finished, English took it to a local transfer station with a quarter-tank of gas. The weight scale reading caught him out: 1,786 pounds. “I knew it was light, I just didn’t know it was that light,” exclaims English gleefully. “It’s exactly what the real 911 R4 weighs!”