This 1973 Porsche was driven off the lot, used briefly, and then carefully parked and covered in a Michigan garage. It wouldn’t see the light of day for three decades. It would emerge from its long slumber a 700-mile 911T with beautiful paint and an immaculate interior. That’s not what makes it unique, though.
It’s the details that will blow you away. The chrome, aluminum, and rubber trim is all original and all looks new. If soft 36-year-old rubber seals sound impossible, consider the car’s original tires, which have no cracks in their sidewalls. The kicker, though, is the fact that the car still had its factory fill of motor oil until 2008.
“It’s a veritable time capsule in every way,” comments Kent Moore, a Southern California Porsche enthusiast who owns the car today. “That’s been the reaction of everyone who has looked at it. Crowds gather around it. It’s a new car — it is absolutely showroom fresh.”
Moore calls his four-wheeled find “The Raymond Allen 911T,” making good on his promise to preserve and show the car as it was when Allen had it. He heard about the car in early 2008, when he got a call from Michigan. It was his old friend Casey McCarthy, a fellow car nut who knew Moore had an affinity for older Porsches.
“He asked me if I’d be interested in a ’73 911T that was part of the estate of a friend’s stepfather,” begins Moore. “The car was in Rochester, just north of Detroit. He went on to tell me the 911 had only 700 miles. I literally almost fell out of my chair. I screamed, ‘Yes…YES!!’” McCarthy had heard about the 911 through a member of his band who was Allen’s stepson. McCarthy told Moore he might be able to “pull some strings” to help him get it.
A few days later, Moore had Lynette DeMonte’s phone number. When he called, he learned that Allen had been a real car nut and had owned a number of interesting, low-mileage vehicles when he died at the age of 80. In addition to the 911T, Allen had a 10th Anniversary Pontiac Trans Am with just over 2,000 miles, a pair of 1975 Bricklins, and a 1980 Mercedes-Benz 300SD he bought new and drove for just 1,320 miles. DeMonte explained that Allen, a facilities painter for General Motors, put the miles on his everyday drivers, the last being a 1989 GMC Sierra 4×4 he logged almost 200,000 miles in.
DeMonte remembers Allen as “a wonderful man, selfless but quite private… He liked to collect nice things for his own enjoyment. His favorite, though, was his beloved Aubergine 911T, which he drove only occasionally over the years.” She remembered sitting in the car several times, but she never got a ride.
“We had a very nice chat,” says Moore. “But she told me that the car was tied up due to a probate technicality. Everything, supposedly, would be worked out soon.” As days turned into weeks, Moore was on pins and needles. He spent hours on the phone with SoCal Porsche expert Roger Grago and eventually asked him if he knew someone in the Detroit area who could keep a secret. Grago directed him to the R Gruppe’s Midwest Chaptermeister, Curt Egerer.
“Curt agreed to confidentiality, recalls Moore. “He said the car was about 30 minutes away from him and that fellow R Gruppe member Jared Rundell would assist him with the inspection. He then called Lynette, who said it would be okay for them to come by for a look.” On a still-snowy afternoon, Egerer and Rundell made their way to Rochester.
They found Allen’s 911T under a cover, crammed into a small garage next to the Mercedes. The T was painted Aubergine (025), a standard but fairly unusual color, with a Tan leatherette interior. They carefully removed the cover, revealing a dusty but gleaming 911. They opened the doors as much as they could, lifted carpeting and checked the battery wells. Egerer took some digital photos and, a few hours later, sent Moore the following email:
It’s just a stunning piece. I still can’t get over the original batteries and cables — how can they be that clean even if the car wasn’t ever driven? You would think there would be some tarnishing or weathering of some sort, but the white plastic battery cases look factory new as you can see in the photos. The other thing that stood out like a sore thumb was the dash. It is perfect, with no cracks. But it was the finish of the vinyl that both Jared and I couldn’t get over. It has a very flat finish with no sheen whatsoever — not unlike what you see in a modern-day Audi or M-B.
After just one look at the photos, Moore called DeMonte to tell her he wanted to buy the T. She said the problems with the estate hadn’t been ironed out, but that she would keep him informed. Her next comment sent a chill down his back.
“She said ‘somebody else’ was also interested,” cringes Moore. “I found out from Curt that this somebody was a Porsche guy, too.” Moore was persistant; when he had to leave the country on business, he emailed DeMonte, pleading with her not to sell the 911 until he returned. She promised not to, and kept her word. Once the probate air had cleared, Moore was able to make an offer. Unfortunately, the other interested party made an offer, too. Moore suffered many restless nights before DeMonte called him back.
“She informed me that they would sell the car to me — because they believed I was sincere about showing the car extensively in the name of their stepfather, Ray, and the family,” he explains.
When Moore went to Michigan to seal the deal a few weeks later, he and his friends found that Allen’s home was a treasure trove of collectibles. Allen had purchased all manner of Porsche goodies, including Porsche Design aviator sunglasses (“Just like Elvis wore,” quips Moore) as well as key fobs, a jacket patch, and the like. He had even kept the sales brochure and booklets he took home from Tom Sullivan Porsche-Audi in Birmingham, Michigan. These showed an Aubergine car with a Tan interior — just like the one he ended up ordering.
That 1973 911T, number 9113102403, came with an unusual choice of options. Allen didn’t want a sunroof, but he did check the box for air-conditioning. Says Moore: “And, although it has S gauges and trim, it’s got a vinyl interior. It also came with an AM/FM radio and ATS cast-alloy “cookie-cutter” wheels with Dunlop tube-type ‘Dog-bone’ radials. The delivered price came to $10,769.92.
“It’s a 1973.5 model, so it has the first application of CIS injection,” continues Moore. Porsche had adopted Bosch’s K-Jetronic injection on F-series 911Ts in January of 1973. Labeled Type 911/91, the final 911T flat six delivered 140 hp at 5700 rpm, equal to the previous 911T engine with mechanical fuel injection.
Moore carefully loaded the 911T into an enclosed trailer and headed west. When the car arrived in Southern California in May 2008, it went directly to Scott’s Independent Service in Anaheim. Scott Hendry and his assistant, Dan Reese, were charged with “re-awakening it.”
While Hendry and Reese assessed the mechanical aspects, detailer Mark Payne put his talents to work on the cosmetics. He was so delighted by the car that he took time to write a short piece about it for 356 Club Magazine (Summer, 2008). The paint, noted Payne, had oxidized a bit. There was also mud on the bottom of the car, along with spider webs and a layer of dust. But, he wrote, “this is one of the best-preserved cars I’ve ever seen. Nothing is missing. There are no scratches from the usual bicycles or lawn mowers. The overall condition…is fantastic!”
Moore wanted to leave the Cosmoline underbody coating intact, a move Payne agreed with. “(Porsche) was very generous in some spots and a little less in others,” remarks Payne. “This coating is the first thing to go when you buy a car, but, for this car, the coating remains.” Since the car had never gone back to the dealer for its 1,000-mile check, the engine and transaxle still had their original Cosmoline, too. The valve cover nuts and drain plugs had not been touched.
“The motor needed general cleanup,” recalls Hendry. “We removed the dust and grime, but we left the coating alone.” After intensive de-griming up top and underneath the car, Payne carefully applied blue 3M masking tape to all exposed bodywork edges and went to work with his polishing wheels, compounds, and wax. “The paint responded very well and the car looks new,” remarks Payne.
Mechanically, the Allen T needed very little. The car wasn’t running when it came in, so Hendry put it on a lift and gave it a once-over. Then he and Reese went to work. Says Hendry: “I happen to own a ’73.5, too, so I’m pretty familiar with this model.” The first step was draining the fuel tank, fuel pump, and lines.
“It’s only had three tanks of gas in its entire life,” marvels Hendry. The tank was surprisingly clean and showed no signs of corrosion. “We took the fuel distributor off for cleaning; the plunger operated properly. Underneath, the sump cover plate had leaked badly. The plate was carefully removed and the original-fill oil drained out. The leak had damaged the cover’s black paint, so we had to repaint it.
“When we replaced the cover,” continues Hendry, “we used a gasket of modern material. The old gaskets were just cheap cardboard.” The disapproval in his voice is palpable. “When we reinstalled the plate, we used the original washers and nuts, making sure the polished sides of the washers were facing up. We left the valve covers alone — so the engine has never had its factory valve lash adjusted!”
Hendry was concerned about oil, gasoline, and water condensation that had settled in the 911T’s exhaust system. So, once the engine was running with fresh oil, he raised the idle to about 2500 rpm and just let it run. “The cloud of smoke was rather dramatic,” he chuckles. After about half an hour, though, the exhaust cleared right up. He says the condensation had created a few pinhole leaks in the muffler, but not enough to warrant replacement.
“We were prepared to pull the muffler and the engine tin to get in and deal with any timing-chain noise, but there wasn’t any,” he says. The brake system, however, required attention. “The left front and right rear calipers wouldn’t function, so we replaced all the flex hoses, several of which had deteriorated and collapsed. We pulled each brake pad for examination — they were fine — and there was no significant rust on the rotors, so everything went back together.”
With the car running and road-worthy, Hendry turned his attention to other systems, starting with the air-conditioning — which wasn’t blowing cold. Says Hendry: “Open the dictionary to the word ‘porous’ and you’ll find a picture of the factory A/C lines!” He and Moore decided to leave the system alone. A recharge was in order, but they saw no practical reason to do it on a car that won’t be driven. Once a pair of new OEM-type batteries was installed, everything was buttoned back up.
“Our goal was to make it look as if we hadn’t been in there at all,” says Hendry, who is thankful to have had the chance to work on such a car. “It’s extraordinary. The vinyl smells new. There is no crunchy feel to the seats, no sense that the vinyl has become brittle, that the carpets have shrunk. It all has a new, supple feel.”
He’s right. The car’s only visible sign of aging is a slight delamination of the interior rearview mirror glass. After that, it’s a total time warp. The original orange paper sticker on the retracting antenna is visible through the left door-hinge post, and looks as if it was installed yesterday. Even the original Dunlops look fresh.
“They have flat spots, but that’s okay,” says Moore. He and his friends are still trying to figure out why these 36-year-old tires — along with all of the rubber trim on the car — have no cracks and show no sign of deterioration. Hendry thinks it may be due to a lack of ozone exposure.
In the meantime, Moore has fulfilled his promise to Lynette DeMonte and her family. He’s presented “The Ray Allen 911T” at the Huntington Beach Concours, the Newport Beach Concours, the Palos Verdes Concours, and “Cars and Coffee” in Irvine. Each time, the pristine T and its incredibly complete documentation have wowed onlookers. Moore is determined to keep miles to a minimum, but was kind enough to bring it out so that we could get some photos in daylight.
“I fire it up regularly,” he says. “But, of course, I don’t drive it unless it’s entered in a competition. It’s transported everywhere.” The car starts instantly and idles smoothly. From the crystal-clear instruments to the sparkling off-white headliner, there isn’t a single scratch or mar in the interior. The same is true outside. The glass is unmarked, and the underbody looks like it just rolled off the transporter at the dealership.
“How this remained a secret from the outside world still amazes me,” Moore says. “I’ve got Curt and Jared to thank for it. Without their help — and Casey’s — it would have never happened. I’m one lucky guy.” Lynette DeMonte says she feels pretty lucky, too, having found someone who enjoys taking care of the purple Porsche her step-father treasured.