In late 2006 my passion for Porsche that had been kindled by owning a boxster lead me to search for a 911. In February 2007 I found a lovely, well used 964 carrera 2 coupe in GP white and embarked on a new adventure. This running report is about my 964 that would be used for high days, holidays and track days and be a 'project car'. It wouldn't matter if it spent time waiting for things to be fixed as it wouldn't be used as a daily driver.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Thoughts from Two Trackdays (Oct 08)

October saw me take the car on both the trackday at Rockingham and another day at Curborough sprint circuit with a bunch of 911s. By the time we arrived at Rockingham the car was wearing it's full trackday fun clothes - the red carrera decal had been complemented by Red Porsche Script on the Windscreen and was wearing the red wheels.

Both Rockingham and Curborough were tremendous fun. What they both have in common is that they have some twisty hair pin bends so they really test the agility of the car. And I have to say that although slow/twisty turns are not the forte of 964s, I don't think the car was as good as it should be. I believe this is caused in part by the smaller/narrow wheels. With these fitted I'm finding that I have to work much harder to get the car to turn in (it's essential to use the brakes on turn-in) and there is a lot of understeer when back on the power (nail the throttle at the apex and will simply drift off the track). In short the car is short on grip in the corners yet the tyres, Yokohama AVS sports, are known for their good dry grip. So it must be a combination of the smaller width of the tyres and the narrower track that they create when on the car (outer edge of the rear wheels gets pushed in to the arches a good 15 mm more than when the 17 inch wheels are fitted).

Although some of the excessive understeer could be dialed out with a 4 wheel alignment (particularly by adjusting the camber on the front wheels), I'm loathed to do that at the moment because I'm aiming for new suspension early next year which will require it to be done any way. My benchmark is that the car handles the bends better when wearing its 17 inch boots. The problem here is that my 17 inch cup wheels are replicas and are quite a bit heavier than the 16s which impacts on the straight line acceleration. However, I recently picked up a set of Porsche original Boxster S 17 inch wheels which when fitted to my boxster will free up the existing boxster 17 inch wheels for use on the 964. So these will go on for the next trackday in a couple of weeks time and once the Conti rubber is worn out (should only take the day) I can look at putting some trackday rubber on these rather than the 16s.

Some photos from Curborough:

Carrera Decals (Oct 08)

With a trackday at Rockingham with the gang approaching I decided to dress the car up with some carrera script decals. They were a bit fiddly to get looking nice but thankfully Mrs B lent a second pair of hands, so that we made a nice job. A key part was to remove the Shark fins so that the decals disappeared behind them.

As a final touch a Sunscreen was added:

Just after the decals were added I was asked to write a '964 owners view' for a buying guide that would appear in the December 2008 issue of 'GT Purely Porsche'. The photo above was published in the magazine.

Exhaust Modfication (Sep 08)

While waiting for the bodywork to be completed I got the opportunity to buy a nearly new cup bypass pipe for the exhaust (£80 vs the new price of about £200). This replaces the standard primary silencer. Having done some research on the various 964 exhaust modifcations available I decided that this one provides the best bang for buck.

Firstly, as shown in the pic below, it gives a significant weight saving over the standard primary.

And most importantly the weight is shed in the best place - the middle of the car. Below is a shot of the bypass in place that shows where the inlet connects to the cat:

The second reason for choosing a cup bypass is that it supposedly releases a few more horses from the engine. How many seems to be a point of debate. Somewhere between 5 and 15 extra bhp covers the range of most people's claims.

The final reason for the change was to tune up the noise the exhaust makes. Give it a bit more growl but not so much that I would fail noise tests at tackdays. Have a look/listen at the clip below and see what you think.

More Rust to Attend to (Sep 08)

The episode with rust causing the recent MOT fail (see earlier) brought it home to me that despite popular opinion, these cars can suffer from rust as they get on in life. Although galvanised there will be problems in certain places and these problems need to be addressed. So a couple of weeks ago I decided that it was time to stop ignoring what looked to be a few little rust spots on the NS rear quarter panel and get them sorted. As you will see below it was not before time because little spots are not always as little as they appear.

First was the rust around the NS door mirror. This was there when I bought the car and had never got any worse according to the PO. Rust had set in under the base of the mirror before the newer mirrors had been fitted.

All gone now (ignore the paint on the seal as that was there before and is not overspray from the repair)

All the other rust problems were on the rear quarter panel. It was pretty messy inside the light cluster. When I got the car the original tail light was still fitted (see earlier in thread) and the seal design trapped moisture inside the wing. The light design was changed later so that the wing is vented but the damage had already been done to mine:

All the rust had to be cleaned out and some nifty welding done to repair it. Then it got lots of coats of paint and waxoyl to protect it from the elements:

Associated to this there was a problem in the engine bay. What looked to be light rust on the gusset plate turned out to be extensive when I prodded it with a pen. I was pretty gutted when I found this:

The rusty panel was duly cut out, replaced and painted. Again some waxoyl was applied behind the new panel and a smear on the surface that you can see when the engine lid is open.

Finally there was some signs of rust just above the plastic sill cover:

When I took the sill cover off, 18 years of road dirt came out and it was a lot worse than I thought!

This required some extensive welding to repair it and the whole area behind the sill cover was cleaned and coated with waxoyl to prevent future rusting (I'll need to waxoyl it every couple of years). I haven't got a photo with the cover off but the repair is stunning. Here it is with the cover back in place:

Here are a couple of shots of the newly painted rear quarter and door:

I also took the opportunity to get a new headlamp ring painted to replace the old NS one which had always been a bit rusty and in constant need of touching up:

All the work was carried out by a small local body shop (who had been recommended to me and who had already done the front tub repairs). I let them have the car for a couple of weeks so that it could be fitted in between any urgent jobs that came in. This kept the price down a little and I felt comfortable that it wouldn't be a rush job. The price which including much welding, prep and paint came to £500 + VAT (on top of this I supplied them with the new headlamp ring and rubber seals for the sill cover). I would summarise the work they did as a superb finish on the exterior panels you can see and they were very thorough in the repairs and protection applied to the bits that you can't.

Harnesses Fitted and Trackday (Aug 08)

A trackday at Oulton Park was the first chance to try out the new seats. Prior to the day I fitted 4 point bolt in harnesses and a guide bar. Strapped into a racing shell is a completely difference experience. Not only do I feel more secure behind the wheel but also more connected to chassis and what it's doing. You feel like you can really lean into a corner and find out how much grip there is. In short I'm very pleased with what they have done for its on track ability.

Prior to going to the track I swapped out the Pagid sport pads with Pagid RS15 (grey) race pads. These have taken the brakes to another level. I got no where near their potential on track and ended up taking off too much speed before arriving at the corners. I'll need to re-assess my braking points next time out to make sure I get the most out of them.

I think I'm pretty much done with mods for this year (wallet could do with a rest) but I'm planning on doing something about the suspension and geometry next year to tackle some of the understeer that I like to get dialed out. This is illustrated quite well in the video of me from my friend Tony's Boxster S - you can see how much wider I go on the slow corners compared to the 'camera car'. Saying that, in the very last session I drove the car a lot harder through the bends and found that there was a lot more grip underneath me than I thought there was. I caught up with an Exige and followed it round for 3 or 4 laps without losing any ground on it. So maybe it's me that causes some of the understeer.

First Major Rust Problem (July 08)

The old girl failed her MOT at the beginning of last week (July 08) due to some nasty rust at the rear of the front tub. Grounding of the front and general erosion of the underseal over her many years had created a water trap where the plastic undertray butted up to the un-protected front tub. The floor of the tub is a welded in panel and had rusted through at the rear. It was regarded by the MOT guy as structural rust and therefore a fail. Consequently it was sent down the road to a body work specialist for diagnosis of what could be done.

Thankfully it hadn't developed to the point where the boot floor had to be removed and replaced as this would have been horrendously expensive. Not to mention the car being off the road for at least a month. The repair involved grinding away the rust and welding it back together and then applying a new layer of underseal. I'm no expert but it looks a very tidy job to me. Oh and it was still a very time consuming job and a stab in the wallet at nearly £500 including the MOT!