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Body Work - Reconstruction

Porsche - Body Work - Reconstruction
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The perfect form:
The 911T now has its original shape and gap dimensions once more

The clear lines and contours are now visible again. The Porsche is regaining its original form. With the same slim and sporty silhouette as ever before. In the same way as a picture is slowly brought into focus, the contours of the original are becoming gradually more distinct. It is no longer necessary to just imagine what is happening here: the bodyshell of the 911 T US version, year of construction 1973, has been restored to its original state. In every detail.

“Revive the Passion”, the joint project of Porsche Club of America (PCA), Porsche Club Coordination and Porsche Classic, is fully on schedule. The complete restoration of the 37-year old 911 model from Los Angeles will be finished by the summer of next year. This highly desirable gem will then be raffled off among PCA members and handed over to the lucky winner at the Porsche Parade in the USA in August.

The winner can already look forward to a completely new classic car, a car embodying a level of beauty that will withstand any critical examination. The form is perfect and the gap dimensions are correct. After completing the complex body work, this accuracy is the most important achievement for the employees in the Porsche Classic workshop. This is because experts judge the quality of a restoration not least by the exact contour lines. After all, the body of a car is just like a tailor-made suit: everything has to fit exactly.

This sounds easier than it is, particularly when the last crucial millimetres are involved. The work requires a good eye, patience and precision. Above all, however, an original straightening bench is needed, and only Porsche Classic has this. The bodyshell is fixed exactly on this in order to weld on and align the missing parts with millimetre accuracy.

For the 911 T, the experts completed the front end with a new end section, including battery boxes, fuel tank support and closing panel. New wings and side sections were also fitted on the left and right. The new underbody was fixed in position and the seat recess behind the driver replaced. Since this part is no longer available, the mechanics produced it once more on the basis of original drawings. The side supports under the B-pillar were also replaced. These parts cannot be seen but are needed for body reinforcement. The body becomes “soft” if these parts are rusted or damaged.

After completion of the welding work, all seams and joints are subjected to a special treatment. Porsche uses tin for this, as tin was already used on the 356 models in the fifties and is significantly more durable than the filler compound often used.

The tin is heated, applied to the corresponding locations, smoothed with wood and then ground flat with a special tin plane.

The specialists also paid great attention to the doors. While the door frames of the original vehicle were preserved, new door panels were fitted. In addition to the doors, it was also necessary to fit and align the headlights, tail lights, engine lid and luggage compartment lid. To do this, the experts first mounted all locks and rubber damping elements on the corresponding parts. Exact production of the original gap dimensions is a science in itself. Working on the straightening bench is particularly important for this operation. This is because only a straightening bench allows a bodyshell to be fixed in such a way that it behaves exactly like a complete vehicle with engine in the rear that is standing on the road on four wheels. For a Porsche in particular, where joints and gap dimensions have always been important details of the typical design, even very small deviations are quickly noticed. That is why the experts took many hours to align the parts correctly.

The headlights, lights, locks and rubber elements are then removed from the bodyshell again. On its journey back onto the road, the 911 T has therefore now achieved its perfect form down to the very last gap dimension. All preparations for cathaphoretic dip painting are thus complete. This is also how things have to be, because it is practically no longer possible to change any of the form and joint details after uniform and thorough priming with the electrically charged fluid.