What is a Porsche Classic Factory Restoration?
Inside the Stuttgart workshop where experts bring classic Porsche cars back to life
Close-up of man reading classic Porsche car repair manual
When it comes to a restoration, no one does it quite like Porsche Classic Factory Restoration, says its manager, Uwe Makrutzki. With its team of highly qualified craftspeople, you’re in the very best of hands, he tells us
To owners of a classic Porsche, their car is part of the family. So, when it comes to entrusting someone to restore it, they head to the experts. And that means a Porsche Classic Factory Restoration. At its long-standing workshop facility in Stuttgart – and, since 2018, a sister operation in Atlanta in the US – talented experts with decades of experience working on Porsche cars use both time-honoured and modern techniques, unique historical documentation and the availability of special, original tools to repair and restore classic Porsche vehicles to their former glory. Whether you have a 356, a 911 (Type 996) or even a Carrera GT, the aim is to care for your car, maintain its authenticity and return it to you in its original, perfect state, says Uwe Makrutzki, the manager of Porsche Classic Factory Restoration in Stuttgart.
View of Porsche Classic workshop with bays containing cars
Inside the Porsche Classic Factory Restoration workshop in Stuttgart
Why do people want to restore a Porsche, Uwe?There are many different reasons as our customers are individuals with their own reason for bringing their vehicles to us. For some, it is all about originality. They are always stunned about what we can achieve – a complete restoration, returning their vehicle to its original factory-new condition. For others, their deep knowledge and passion about cars motivates their dream of becoming the architect of their own vehicle. They have the knowledge, the master plan to create their own restoration. Often, our customers have no idea about the car, no experience or knowledge about what can be done. But the car they want to restore was their father’s or mother’s – so the restoration comes from the heart. Emotions drive these projects. It really makes things exciting for us. Every project is unique, and we are constantly shown how flexible we need to be.
Close-up of screws scattered on workbench
When a car arrives at Porsche Classic for restoration and disassembled, every nut, bolt and screw is documented
Why do customers choose a Porsche Classic restoration? What makes them special?They come to us because we are the manufacturer, because we have the original tools and because our people are the best technicians. Our methods are unique. For example, Porsche is the only brand who puts a classic car back into the production line for a cathodic dip coating, which is amazing protection against corrosion.We must restore the body shell to this ‘110 per cent’ quality – that is our claim – otherwise, it wouldn’t be possible to bring the body shell into the production line and that would destroy the process. So, it must be totally clean and all the materials we use must be approved directly from the factory. There are independent workshops with fantastic bodymakers, with great skills and experience, but we want to do that 10 per cent on top.
Close-up of classic Porsche car repair manual
The technicians at Porsche Classic reference manuals and guides used to build and repair the original cars
Occasionally, there are parts not available – for example, for the oldest cars, like the Porsche 356. But we have people who are geniuses in what they do who, all by hand, carefully and painstakingly create body parts from scratch to manufacturer standards. They are absolutely perfect. Created by real artists in their craft. You just can’t buy this experience elsewhere.What are the different options available for a Porsche Classic restoration?When a customer comes to Porsche Classic, we begin with discussing their vision. It’s very important to create a common strategy. One option is to restore the car to its original, perfect state. Alternatively, there are a lot of customers who do not want to over restore. They want to keep their car’s patina – which they see as its soul.
Classic Porsche 911 in workshop undergoing bodywork adjustments
Even at this early stage of the restoration process, there’s still a beauty about a stripped-down Porsche
Can you explain the process that customers go through when deciding to have their car restored by Porsche Classic Factory Restoration?It starts, of course, with a customer deciding to restore his car. Usually, the customer has a clear vision for the process, which we discuss together. Naturally, this will include advice and support on our part. Ahead of the vehicle even arriving at us, we clarify the condition of the vehicle by personal customer contact and with existing image material that covers the entire vehicle. The most important information we need is their vehicle’s VIN number. This unlocks many things from our historical archives about their particular car. The experts there then research every bit of information they can get about the car and provide it to us, so we have a clear picture.
There’s constant communication between us and our customers, a dialogue, a relationship. I cannot repeat it enough, restoring a car has a lot of emotions tied up in it
Uwe Makrutzki |Manager, Porsche Classic Factory Restoration
They give us a very honest assessment about the condition that the car is in and what is necessary as a first step, before we disassemble anything. Then we are able to give them the first calculation of the potential cost before we enter a first agreement.Then we get the car in for a deep dive and settle on the contract to begin disassembling it into its many thousands of parts. Once we have the final contract to proceed, we set a timeframe and the final cost and specifications – and then the journey really begins.
Person using angle grinder on metal bar in a workshop
There’s a reason why most Porsche Classic restorations take around three years to complete – the cars are ‘remade’ expertly by hand
Restoring a beloved Porsche sportscar for someone is quite a responsibility, isn’t it?Absolutely. Which is why it’s very important to figure out with the customer what is his or her dream. If you are unable to recognise this, then you won’t be able to consult with them properly – and you will never be able to build the car that is personal to them. Our customers come to us because they trust us with realising their dream. We must ensure that we understand everything, every last detail, in order to create their dream together with them. And if some things are not possible, for whatever reason, we also look for the best solution.
Close-up of classic Porsche which having its body panels welded
Just like the early days of Porsche, body panels are welded by hand
There will always be a debate about whether to keep the patina – ie, the evidence of the ageing process of a car, like its paintwork – intact. How many customers ask for theirs to be kept like this?Ten years ago, I would have given the answer of ‘most of them’. Today? It’s just a handful. More often than not, it is because a younger family member has inherited the vehicle from an older family member. For them, patina can sometimes translate as being bad, old and not very attractive. Myself, I am a bit of a romantic when it comes to this, but I like that you can have a combination, too. It’s fascinating to see a ‘new’ car develop from the old one. But for those cars we restore where we keep much of its originality, emotions are almost always the driving factor. There’s a lot of history in a classic Porsche – and we take care that it stays that way.
Every day for three years we say ‘Good morning’ to the car and at the end of the day, ‘Good evening’ to it
Uwe Makrutzki | Manager, Porsche Classic Factory Restoration
There are times when we have to consult a customer that to change a colour, for example, is not always a good solution. That to destroy the originality of the car can destroy its value too. Our main business is to keep the originality protected. Of course, there are also customers who bring us a car that has already been modified, in its colour or its chassis, for example. And they want us to bring it back to its original specification.
Inside Porsche Classic workshop showing cars being repaired
Home from home: the vehicles being restored at Porsche Classic soon become members of the family
We are also part of the Sonderwunsch [‘special request’] programme. Here the customer becomes part of a project team consisting of experts from Porsche Classic, Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur and the Style Porsche design department. Together, the team designs and then creates a highly individual, one-of-a-kind car. In creating this Factory One-Off vehicle for themselves, the customer experiences the development of their idea close up, from the perspective of a project manager. They will be involved from the initial design sketch stage right through to constructing their highly individual sports car. But the spectrum does not only include a Factory One-Off. We also realise Factory Re-Commissioning projects in order to fulfill individual customer and material wishes.How long does a Porsche Classic restoration take?Even for a restoration where the patina is retained, you have to calculate three years for the restoration. On average, for example, bodywork takes about 1000 hours. Other things are going on in parallel to this. So, when the car is completely disassembled, the bodymaker gets the shell and other parts, the engine specialist gets the engine, the gearbox technician gets the gearbox. This makes it very challenging for the person in control of the project, the workshop manager. The plan they make needs to have a continuous flow.
Close-up of hands holding car part over a wooden bench
There are tens of thousands of classic Porsche parts available. And if there isn’t one? Then the Porsche Classic experts just make or even find them
Our capacity is limited by the fact that we have just 15 technicians and we are responsible for the whole worldwide market, supported by our Factory Restoration experts in Atlanta.But it’s a fantastic journey with a lot of milestones and our customers are always welcome to visit us, to be part of this journey, and take a close look at what is going on with their car. There’s constant communication between us and our customers, a dialogue, a relationship. And this relationship sometimes turns into friendships with the people who work here. As I said before, and I cannot repeat it enough, restoring a car has a lot of emotions tied up in it.
Detail of metal templates used in Porsche Classic workshop
Available for every Porsche, these body frame gauges are used to ensure that new bodywork is a consistent fit on the cars
Some cars are presented to you in a very bad state – like barn finds that have been neglected for decades. Are they approached the same way?Of course. Currently we have two very interesting cars we are working on. We have a 911 2.5 ST rally car. I mean, wow – these are very, very rare. But it’s in poor condition. And the second really interesting project is another rally car – a 911 Monte Carlo from 1973. It’s been raced hard, and of course, it’s had several accidents and crashes, so has had many body repairs in the past. It’s simply unrecognisable.It means that their bodies are no longer anywhere near the original because they’ve been repaired by using parts from everywhere. But both cars are being restored to 110 per cent, to its original condition using original parts as much as possible. Sometimes we have to build them from scratch, in other cases the Classic Special Procurement colleagues make great efforts to find the parts.
Wooden steering wheel of a Porsche 356 that’s undergoing restoration
Whether you have a Porsche 944 Turbo, 911 rally car or a 356 Spyder like this one, all classic Porsche cars can be considered for restoration or even for a service
Can you tell us about the engineers and technicians you have working for you at Porsche Classic Factory Restoration?We are fortunate to have very experienced technicians. Many of them worked on the production line and in the factory service repair workshop, but we also have younger technicians who are very familiar with the newer models that come under the Porsche Classic designation. There’s no single technician, no single team member, who has the complete range of knowledge of all the types of Porsche, of course. They concentrate on their speciality. Over the decades, this combination has proven to be the secret to our success.
Porsche 911 revealed from beneath protective covers at Porsche Classic
Goodbye and good luck: a fully restored Porsche 911 (type 930) ready for collection by its owner
Do you get attached to the cars? How do you all feel when they leave Porsche Classic Factory Restoration for the final time?It’s an immense feeling of pride that we have done it right. Happiness that we have been successful. And there will be sadness. Every day for three years we say, ‘Good morning’ to the car and at the end of the day, ‘Good evening’. You can reach out and touch it, feel it and talk with the car. These technicians who have worked on it will probably never get to see the car again. When they leave our workshop for the final time, it tends to be forever.
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