Maverick

Also from Issue 218

  • Shark Werks 540-hp GT3 RS 4.1
  • Technical primer on road wheels
  • Top German tuners in a top-speed contest
  • Porsche and the English Patient
  • David Stone: Unsung hero of the Monte
  • Recreation of the 1968 Monte Carlo winner
  • Project 911, Part 3: Engine
  • Dennis Simanaitis on racing and horns
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Mayo bought a used pair of rear Koni external adjustment shocks, as used on Trans-Am 911s, from Don Ahearn. He also installed a ’68 and later dual-circuit master cylinder and added a BMW brake fluid reservoir, partitioned internally to individually feed each circuit. “The beauty is it’s round and mounts in the same location as the original.”

For upholstery, all the S-specific interior pieces were still there, so Mayo simply had them recovered in the correct material and added a black headliner. The car’s original sound deadening was kept, because this was to be a cross country driver. Mike Kuhn of Mayo Performance applied a perlon carpet kit from Autobahn Interiors after deleting the rear seats for a lightweight, practical look. Floor mats are the thin ribbed rubber “industrial” type used in Porsche’s competition cars.

“For cooling I used SC oil lines and a ’84 911 front fender cooler.” Mayo explains, “Even on the hottest day the oil temp never goes above 190 degrees F. For the right exhaust noise, I took an old junk muffler that someone once attempted to make into a sport type, patched it up, and made it look like an R-type muffler. Of course, the car needed some competition lighting, so I bought vintage Cibie hood lights.”

Period-correct Cibie and Gulf logo decals were commissioned for the front fenders using vintage photos. The ’68 Monte-Carlo Rally decal came from M. Campuzano, and the side stripes and engine lid letters were sourced from Bob Tilton. Rubber hold-down ties, a hood prop, and factory dead pedal were added for functionality. The ’67 headlights, single silver wiper, and green faced S gauges were simply cleaned up, completing the no-frills look. Mayo chose not to use grafted-in 911 R turn signals, a louvered deck lid, or drilled door handles—as had been done by other innovators many years before. He acknowledges, “It’s an R Gruppe car, but not a copy of any particular 911.”

There were the usual rough spots along the way. One of these involved Mayo’s vintage 100-liter plastic BASF fuel tank. This trick piece looks the part and provides a driving range of about 400 miles from 26 gal., compared to the standard 250 miles with a stock 16.4-gal. tank. It was fastened down using 914 gas tank strap ends, and a 5.0-in. hole was cut in the hood for the center fill opening. When Mayo put gas in the old tank for the first time, it was leaking by the next morning. He immediately called Mark Allen of Vintage Excellence for one of his steel reproduction 100-liter tanks. When it arrived the filler neck was off by two inches. Mayo won’t go into detail as to how he fixed his plastic tank but admits, “Lowe’s was involved.”

Then just six weeks before departure, Mayo started the ’67 S engine after it had been sitting for almost two years. An intake valve momentartily stuck and was hit by a piston. Mayo continues, “Engine out, head off, replace valve. So much for being on schedule! Of course the ‘while I’m in there’ process started, and I took time to install the correct S cams.

“Two days before my trip, I went to position the engine lid grille. I discovered most of the delicate little mounting studs were broken. So I decided it was time to make a lightweight version: ‘Hmm…what can I use for the mesh?’ I saw the bottom of an old aluminum screen door in our scrap-metal pile. The mesh looked close to OEM. Two hours later, I had a fake 911 R grille on the car.”

In typical fashion, Mayo put the car on the road for a test run the night before he left for the Parade. But it turned out he wasn’t quite done. The alternator chose the 11th hour to die, so he changed that out around midnight. Mayo finally left for Savannah with 10 miles on the car. Luckily the 3,000-mile round trip was uneventful with only one burned fuse. Turns out he needed that fuse for his radar detector. Mayo arrived unrecognized, cleaned the car at the Parade, entered it in the street modified concours class and achieved a second place out of five entries. Two months after the Parade, Mayo drove his Gulf-liveried 911 S to the opposite coast for the 2011 Rennsport Reunion IV in Monterey, California. “For a car that had sat for nearly 30 years, I was obviously trying to make up for lost time,” he remarks. The journey included a small convoy of other Porsches from the southern USA. About 150 miles into the trip his speedometer suddenly stopped working. Since his fuel sender had also been acting up, he now had no fuel gauge and no odometer. “This was no problem while traveling with the other 911s. I just filled up when they did and didn’t pass them. However, when we got to California we all split up,” recounts Mayo. “I topped off in Merced, headed up to Modesto to pick up a friend, then continued on to Monterey from there. After commuting around RR IV for two days, we headed back to Modesto. We were about 40 miles from our destination when the engine coughed and quit. Out of gas! I had completely lost track of the distance traveled from that one fill-up in Merced. Sometimes even 26 gallons isn’t enough!”

Practice makes perfect, and Mayo kept touring in his ’67 S coupe, now nicknamed “Quick Vic” (for factory driver Elford). He first traveled to the annual Texas Hill Country Rallye in April, which Mayo helped organize, and then to the 2012 Porsche Parade in Salt Lake City, where he won his autocross class. Finally he visited the eastern R Gruppe Treffen called “Bergrennen” in West Virginia that fall.

At each event, Mayo would be called upon to be “MacGyver.” He would rescue a fallen comrade by troubleshooting the most obscure of problems. It’s said he can repair a 911 MFI system to race-ready status with a strand of human hair. On one tour, Mayo repaired a set of points with a paper clip and a tie wrap. Legend has it he once used his own belt to keep a 911 alternator running for 57 days straight. Then there’s the story about how he accurately measures compression ratio by using a dummy cylinder head made from Plexiglass so that real cubic piston dome volume can determined with a burette.

Although his knowledge of 1964-73 Porsches is encyclopedic, Mayo’s modesty about his innovative modifications keeps him out of the spotlight. That hasn’t prevented his friends from realizing he’s one of the true 911 hot-rod innovators, one who’s always giving of his time without commercial concern.

So the next time I’m at a concours and someone says, “Original is best,” I’ll turn and say, “When it comes to outlaws and mavericks, you may just be right.”

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