Just joining us? Read Part #1 of our Rolling Restoration Series here
When beginning the restoration process, one of the first items of business is to complete a proper and thorough examination – an annual physical for the car, so to speak. This helps us get a more in-depth idea of the condition of the car, and avoids the likelihood that there will be as many surprises down the road. This step is imperative to planning out a successful restoration, and being able to give the owner an accurate idea of the work that needs to be done. When a car has been in the family for a long time, the owner(s) usually have a pretty accurate understanding of the general condition of their car since they know how it’s been driven and kept. However, as is the case with Valdy, when a car has passed through multiple owners and has not been kept in a heated storage facility when not on the road (and no, the side of the road in summer doesn’t count and the rain is not the same as a car wash), the general condition can be a bit more of a mystery as the elements aren’t always favourable to the car. Even when the exterior looks decent enough to the naked eye, it is not uncommon to find rotted out and rusty floor boards, pipes hanging on by a thread, and parts clunking all over the place on a car that has been kept outside for more years than it should have been. No current or prospective owner likes to hear the news that the restoration process is perhaps more intensive than they are willing or able to undertake, so in order to give each customer a fair and accurate representation of the general condition of their car we prefer to do a full inspection where appropriate to do so. It was therefore a top priority for us to do a full walk-through of Valdy, both on the ground and on the hoist, and see what we were getting ourselves into. This step is crucial to allowing us to plan out each and every step of the restoration process and make adjustments to our action plan as necessary.
A proper inspection has multiple components, but in its simplest form we are looking at the condition of the exterior body shell, the interior, the mechanics, the electrical systems, and the underside. Keep in mind this type of examination is relative to the age of the car, as well as other factors such as how it’s been stored.
The Exterior Body Shell:
Upon the first walk around of the car, the exterior body shell of the car appears to be is in quite good condition. Sure, there is some surface rust and the paint is rather spotty and tired, but all things considered the degree of corrosion is minor and there aren’t any panels missing. The wheel arches aren’t bad, and after a proper tidy-up they’ll be perfect. Overall, the shuts and gaps are pretty nice, and will only require some minor attention. When we lifted the bonnet to examine it, we found that the front bonnet slam panel does need to be repaired, and the bonnet itself is rusted through underneath. It is repairable, unless of course someone out there has a spare bonnet for a ’67 Porsche 912 that isn’t rusted away that is just taking up space in their garage? Keep an eye out at yard sales, folks – you never know what treasures might turn up in between the Tupperware pile and Christmas decorations from 1985 that you will inevitably see at the side of the road this summer.
Overall exterior body shell condition: 5/10
In a previous life, Valdy has already had a re-trim. Unfortunately, as can be expected with a car that has stood and been neglected for years, the interior is worse for wear with torn seats and musty carpets, and will all need to be replaced unless of course passengers are willing to wear masks when in the car. Good news is nothing is missing, and since we were planning on installing new carpets, seats, and the like anyways the condition now isn’t an issue. As you will remember from Part 1 of our series, the seat ratchets are not reliable, either, so those are definitely going to be done!
Having already taken Valdy for a test drive, I had a pretty good understanding of the general condition of the engine as well as the work that would need to be done in order to get it in top shape. We had established that Valdy drove remarkably well for a car that had barely moved for 8 years, but prior to lifting the car up on the hoist and as part of the inspection process, I did a compression test on the engine. Diagnostics revealed that there was low compression on 2 of the cylinders, so even though the car doesn’t drive that badly now, the engine isn’t operating anywhere near what it is capable of. By rebuilding the engine and transmission as part of Valdy’s makeover, both the power and level of driving enjoyment of the car will be significantly increased.
The Electrical System:
Good news – all of the electrics appear to be working! No fire extinguishers had to be used during the inspection (always a bonus) and we didn’t see any misguided sparks, which is most definitely a good sign. We’ll be giving the electrics a full overhaul to ensure that the wiring is safe and up to standard, but things don’t look too bad at all upon first glance.
With the compression test over and done with, I secured Valdy on the hoist and began to lift the car up about 6 ft. so I could walk under and check things out. I was optimistic that I wouldn’t have too many unpleasant surprises when I started snooping around with my trusty flashlight – after all, how bad could it be? – But experience has taught me to never be overconfident. Getting under a car can be a bit of a wildcard. Sometimes, the cars that look the best on the outside are a complete mess underneath, and sometimes those that look worse for wear aren’t in that bad of shape on the underside. Besides, just when you think the car is in great condition underneath, you can find yourself with a concussion from a rusty exhaust pipe that chose that exact moment to fall off and hit you on the way down. Thankfully, walking under Valdy did not result in an ER visit or a tetanus shot. Valdy for the win!
While poking and prodding my way around Valdy, I was pleasantly surprised. The suspension on Valdy is in surprisingly good condition – remarkable really for a car that stood for so long. While far from what they’ll be when the car is done, the brakes also weren’t in too bad of a state. Of course, we’ll be putting in new seals, pipes, and the whole lot to bring the braking system up to speed…or lack thereof. I was also pleased to learn that Valdy has Koni shock absorbers, and we will hopefully be having these reconditioned.
My inspection also revealed some not-so-great news: it appears that at some point in time, a well-meaning individual or company thought they were doing Valdy a favour by repairing the floor with flat sheet steel. Unfortunately, the end result is less than desirable and not structurally sound so we are going to cut the floors out and put new ones in. Granted, it wasn’t so bad that the floor boards fell out while I was driving the car and had to Flintstone it all the way back to my shop (oh what an adventure THAT would have been!), but the standard is nowhere near acceptable.
Overall underside condition: 3/10
Once I was satisfied that I had sufficiently poked and prodded my way through Valdy, I lowered the car and moved it into its own bay so I could begin setting it up for a full dismantle. While I was doing the inspection, Dave was also working behind the scenes and ordered the Porsche certificate of authenticity. This piece allows us to determine the cars originality, and we are thankful to have another piece of Valdy’s story fall into place.
At RWM & Co, we believe that rolling restorations don’t have to bleed the owner dry. With careful planning, skilled craftsmanship, and a thrifty Scottish parts scout, it is most certainly possible to deliver the car of your dreams without breaking the bank. With that in mind, we are wondering if we can’t call on you, our fellow car friends, to help us complete the car and de-clutter your houses and workshops at the same time. Think of it like a personal ad for the car…
Hi, I’m Valdy. My papers say I’m 47, but don’t let that fool you – on the inside, I’m no more than a young and spry 25. I like long drives on twisty roads, exploring unchartered territory, and taking my friends out for the afternoon. I may look a little worse for wear right now, but after my tune-up they tell me I’ll be running better than I ever have. Can you help me get back on the road? I need some new-to-me parts to help me get my second lease on life and become a more improved version of myself.
In all seriousness, if you or someone you know might be able to help us bring back a piece of Canadian history, we’d be most grateful. We are looking for the following items for Valdy:
o Front bumper
o Front indicators
o Front chrome grills
o Front overrider
o Bonnet slam panel
o Koni shock absorbers (or a connection to have the current ones rebuilt)
o Brake rebuild kits
o Main floor pan
o Rubber seals (all)
o Red leather interior
o Period rally/competition seats (if they’re in red leather, all the much better!)
o Race harnesses
o Carpet set
o Door lock set
o Gear box (1st and 2nd syncro mesh, or complete gear box)
o Engine parts – any!
o Exhaust system
o Heat exchangers
o Rear bumper moldings and overriders
o Engine cover grill
o 4 Tires
o Seat ratchets
o Paint & supplies
o Chrome strip for under both doors
o Tool kit and jack
o Owners manual
o One of the chrome letters of the Porsche script…rumour is it that someone on the Spring Thaw (with a car that has the initials TT) has an original set?!?!
If you can help us out with any of the above-listed items, or put us in touch with someone who can, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 778.683.7554.
All things considered, Valdy is in better condition than one might expect when only looking at the exterior and we are confident that we’ll have the car running and looking better than ever. Stay tuned for Part #3 of our Rolling Restoration Series as we delve into what it means to dismantle a car, and plan the restoration process from start to finish to avoid surprises and stay on budget.
See you on the road,
RWM & Co.