Category Archives: Rolling Restorations

Quick Valdy Update

Hello friends! We’re just popping our heads above water for a few quick minutes to share a little bit about where we are at with the Rolling Restoration of Valdy, the Porsche 912 that we’ve been entrusted with.

As you might remember, last time we outlined the results of our diagnostic testing and assessment on the car. With a benchmark set, we began the process of dismantling the car so we could begin to really sink our teeth into the project.

valdy5

As anyone who has ever taken apart anything can attest to, one of the biggest concerns with a restoration project that has been scheduled over an extended period of time is that parts will get misplaced, or vital information will be forgotten when it comes time to re-assemble the car many months (or years) later. We are always careful to document the disassembly process thoroughly, and ensure that any components that are removed from the car are labeled and organized accordingly. Let’s just say we go through a LOT of Ziploc bags and Rubbermaid tubs over here…after all, it’s amazing just how valuable an old, rusted out part becomes when another one cannot easily be found or created. Even eBay has its limits, as anyone who has started (or attempted to complete) a restoration can attest to.

The majority of the disassembly process was handled by our in-house Porsche aficionado & expert, otherwise known as Alex, and “supervised” by my son Charlie who happened to be visiting from the UK while this was happening.   I’m so grateful for their continued enthusiasm for the project, and really appreciate their passion for Valdy. I’m also grateful that only one of them is on payroll, and the other agreed to trade his time for Tim Horton’s hot chocolates and vague promises of an early inheritance.

After we had a little paparazzi action in the shop – in other words, taking a million and one pictures of the car, from every angle – we got down to business. Lest you think we are trying to give the Kardashians a run for their money, fear not: as good as our memories are, it can be hard to remember every little detail of every car we have in the shop and photographic evidence is invaluable to preserving our sanity.

valdy1

It probably goes without saying, but prior to disassembling a car the battery must be disconnected, along with the hoses and wires connected to the engine. Safety first! The car was then drained of its oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and gas, which we safely recycled and disposed of.

After removing what was left of the exterior trim, we began by removing the larger pieces off the car first; namely, the engine hood, bonnet, and gas tank. We then removed the front and rear bumper. Everything was relatively straightforward, which was wonderful (but slightly unnerving at the same time – is this too good to be true?!). Unless of course you count a minor gas spill that happened while removing the tank…but we won’t talk about that one. A good reminder to double-check that the tank is 110% empty before moving on, right guys?

When it came time to remove the fenders, we were met with a lot of resistance. Apparently, they were glued on with a rubber substance of some sort, and determined to stay on the car. Let’s just say Valdy could have been driven at 100 miles/hr with no bolts attaching the fenders to the car, and they still wouldn’t have fallen off. A little lot of manpower later (and maybe a power tool or two), they were pried off and set aside while someone went for a little visit to their Registered Massage Therapist.

With all of the major exterior components removed, we got started on the interior. As you’ll remember from our last update, the interior has had a re-trim at some point in time but the car is more than overdue for a facelift. We removed the seats first, and then all of the carpets. This allowed us to get a proper look at the metal floorboards, and gain a more thorough understanding of the overall condition of the frame of the car. As we quickly discovered when we had Valdy up on the hoist for the inspection, the floors were replaced with flat-sheet steel at some point. Leaving the floor at it is is not an option, so it will be redone along the line.

valdy4

Certain makes of cars are more prone to issues than others, so when we’re disassembling a car we are always keeping an eye out for any problems that weren’t apparent during the initial inspection. Porsche’s are notorious for having buried rust spots in the door pillars and kidneys, which we want to know about now rather than in 6 months. Thankfully, the front wheel wells look really good, with no other surprises or hidden problems so far. Unfortunately, the rockers aren’t as lucky – they have most certainly been covered with bondo at some point, and we are expecting to find rust behind them. Oh the suspense! Luckily, we have repaired more than our fair share of rusted out panels and feel confident that we’ll be able to handle whatever comes our way with this car.

And that’s it! As you can see, disassembling a vehicle properly is time consuming and labour-intensive, but we believe it’s well worth taking the time to be methodical and strategic in order to save time, money, and therapy bills down the road.

valdy2

Where do we go from here? In our next installment, we’ll walk you through what we’re doing to the mechanical side of the car – the engine, trans axel, brake system, clutch, and suspension are all (over) due for tune ups and rebuilds, along with the starter, alternator, and exhaust components.  Will the mechanics be what we are expecting, or will there be any hidden surprises? Stay tuned…

Valdy’s Official Inspection

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.

slam panel

 

Overall exterior body shell condition: 5/10

The Interior:
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!

seats
Overall interior condition: 4/10

The Mechanics:
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.

engine leaks
Overall mechanics condition: 5/10

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.

no-fire-extinguisher-174
Overall electrical systems condition: 8/10

The Underside:
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.

front suspension
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.

floors
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 Bonnet
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 Radio
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 rwmandco@gmail.com 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.

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