Kermit was the 73rd 911E Targa produced for 1973, and my first Porsche. Kinda special.
After looking for a year, I found the car I wanted in August, 2003. The prior owner had painted it Guards Red - badly. It had some minor rust at the bottom of the Targa bar on the passenger side and the passenger side rocker, but the repairs were done to remove the rust and restore the integrity of the body. Mechanically, the car was in good shape. The car was sold to me and restored by a shop in Westport, CT. They did a bare metal repaint on the car that ended up really being a full upper body restoration. The two front fenders were removed, they were cleaned up and rustproofed with POR-15, and the mating surfaces on the body that the fenders attached to were replaced. There was no work done on the suspension or drive train. The car had recently had a new clutch installed, and the transmission rebuilt, and new brakes and calipers.
The work began on the car in February, 2004, and I flew out east to see him for the first time and pick him up on October 27th, 2004. As part of the restoration, I purchased a set of highly desirable Sport Seats, and found a small fabric mill to reproduce the original wool Houndstooth Fabric from the 70ís. The seats were restored by Autos International, in the original style vinyl with the Houndstooth inserts. The headrest posts and seat rails were replated. The rest of the interior is pristine. The dash has no cracks, and the door pockets and panels are like new. The visors are like new, with no splits. The carpet was replaced with original style German Velour from Original Fit Interiors, and I bought a set of cocoa mats for the floor, just like the car had in 1973.
The trunk and engine compartment were repainted, and the engine detailed. The headlights were converted to Halogens but left in the original Deco Style trim. Relays were added to protect the original wiring and headlight switch. The battery boxes on the car were solid, so we had two new batteries installed to go back to the original weight balanced design. I even found an original hood ornament and had it restored to its original red-orange glory.
Even though the car was delivered with Cookie Cutter wheels, it now has a set of Fuchs in great original condition. Even the spare has a Fuchs on it. And the tires may last for a few more years if I stop doing AutoX.
The car had 132,000 miles on it when I bought it, and it seems there may have been major engine work done on the car in 1986, but we can't be sure - I have a detailed written estimate of the work that may have been done, including a full listing of parts. The engine and rest of the mechanicals are in excellent condition. And the more I drive it, the better it seems to run!!
The Certificate of Authenticity confirms that Kermit is a numbers matching car. The engine and transmission are the same ones that were originally delivered with the car. It has been repainted in the original Viper Green. The paint used for the restoration was single stage DuPont ChromaOne. I shied away from a clear coat to retain the original deep look of paint that you can get by polishing and waxing a car like this. Kermit was originally delivered with a complete "S" instrument package (all of which work - including the clock!!), and steel front S spoiler. The car now has a period correct Blaupunkt Frankfort radio (as delivered).
Other than the appropriate mechanical upgrades, the only modification to the car was the addition of a 28 brass tube fender mounted oil cooler. (The cooler is from a later model car, but the oil lines are correct for 1973. The oil cooler is non-standard on this car, but keeps the engine temp below 200 degrees even on the hottest days in AutoX. Cool oil means a longer lasting engine. The car was delivered with dealer installed A/C, but I decided to remove it. An undamaged blower cover was installed, and the holes through the fender have been repaired, so the remnants of the original A/C install have been totally removed. I even found a smugglerís box cover to put back in the hole where the blower was, and had it painted Viper Green.
I am currently doing some AutoX with Kermit, Concours and Rallyeing. And it is the most fun I have ever had driving a car. I have decided to do the regular maintenance work myself, even though I have only changed a car's oil before. To date, I have changed the oil, the alternator, replaced the front wheel bearings, the fender mounted gas overflow tank, the fuel injectors, and Iíve adjusted the clutch. The Targa top needs some work, but I did put a new headliner in it last year to replace the shredded one. Looks great on the inside, but it was a challenge.
This year, Kermit won his class at the only Chicago PCA Concours he entered. It was my first Concours as well. Made me feel really good about the kind of restoration that was done on the car. Had some great comments on the paint job and the condition of the rubber (a real problem with 30 year old cars) from judges who had won national concours competitions.
The car is a real head-turner, not just because of the color, which is very retro and very rare, but because of the way it runs. It will keep up with the best of the 911Sí and I have beaten several modified cars in Autocross competitions. As with any of these cars, there is always something that you can find that you want to do with it. But this car should continue to provide years of enjoyment with a minimum expense. And since I have always wanted an original, classic sports car, it has served its purpose perfectly. They don't get any better than a 1973 911E Targa!!
Here's the latest. I left my former employer, and had to give up my toy. So, I have turned Kermit out to pasture with a new owner. Hopefully, some day soon, I'll be able to pick up another one -- maybe in Aubergine!!