First, JT stripped the car to the bone and took it to a place called The Strippers, where it was immersed in a bath of acid for four days to remove every vestige of paint. Then the shiny clean body was given four coats of red-oxide primer to completely seal the surface. After that, it was off to fabricator extraordinaire Danny McLoughlin at American International Racing in Burbank for extensive structural reinforcement and modification.
Although the late Dan McLoughlin was a consummate fiberglass artist, much of the new bodywork was rendered in steel. Danny then made molds of the new pieces, probably so they could be replaced with much lighter laminates later on. But that somehow never came to pass on JT’s ex-Forbes-Robinson car, which still wears the steel pieces to this day. And then, much later, when the 914-6 was in Franklin Wong’s possession, Wong discouraged replica production in order to maintain the originality of his own car.
JT recalls how he would exhort McLoughlin to go wider and wider on the fender wells during the fabrication process, resulting in a space now sufficient for 11-in.-wide tires in front and fully 15-in.-wide rubber on the rear. The hugely flared fenders feature slots and louvers and are bridged by ground-effects sills that help complete the racy profile.
McLoughlin also fabricated a custom front airdam and decklid for the car, both from fiberglass. The rear-wing-support towers are also in fiberglass, though the wing itself is formed from metal. The results, as one can see, have turned the generally rectilinear 914 shape into something much more muscular.
After this convincing transmogrification from the tablet-shaped original 914 form, it was only fitting that the underpinnings be made to match the promise of the aggressive appearance. So the car was then taken to Troutman and Barnes for chassis modifications. JT recalls the work done there in great detail. He describes the process like this: “Dick Troutman made a jig for the car and turned it upside down, and we put about 150 hours on it and re-welded every suspension pick-up point and made it very, very strong.
“We made a special roll bar out of the best chromoly steel tubing, which bolts into the car and allows the top to go on with the roll bar in place. Then we added one of those Porsche factory kits to strengthen the suspension pick-up points, and we Rosetta-welded every piece on so that it is absolutely perfect.
“Then I got Harry Kotrell to make some special bearing covers to go over the rear wheel bearings for the rear arms. That was quite a feat in itself. We had to find a 20-in. lathe to swing the arms, and we made these collars for them and then put in those double ball bearings. Then we heated up the collars to go over them.