Car of the Week: 1965 Porsche 911 coupe

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{Editor’s note: This week’s “Car of the Week” comes from Old Cars Weekly reader Dave Hedderly-Smith. He is the proud owner of a short-wheelbase 1965 Porsche 911 coupe  – VIN No. 301814, No. 1,814 off the 911 assembly line. }

By Dave Hedderly-Smith

I bought the car in 1984 in Nevada and drove it daily for several  years.  From 1984 to 1985 it went up and down the Alaska Highway and then to the East Coast before settling into Park City, Utah.  The engine is out of a 1967 911S (No. *960348*); I rebuilt it in my Park City condo’s living room in 1986. The car went into the first of four body shops for a new paint job in 1991 and emerged in 2008. Then it went into my garage, and it took me eight more years to finish the job — mostly fuel and oil changes and thoroughly disassembling and cleaning out the carburetors, putting all the body pieces (fenders, doors, etc.) back together, replacing the old headliner, and putting new (out of a mid-80s 911) front seats in it. At this point the car was far from concours, but pretty darn nice. It was running, but not really running well.

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In 2016, I concluded that the value of the car had grown such that it really needed to be professionally cleaned up. I took the car to Lundquist Restorations in Sandy, Utah, initially to have the paint cut and buffed and the carburetors rebuilt.  An original $8,000 job grew substantially, and the work done finally included the cut and buff on the paint; refitting pretty much all of the body panels; installing a new deck panel and repairing and repainting two rust areas below rear windshield; straightening, refitting and repainting left front fender; removing the fuel tank, and cleaning it out and resealing it; rebuilding the carburetors; replacing the battery box support and refitting the A-arms. Plus, they installed an essentially new interior including a new rear shelf panel.

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The car is not 100 percent original. First off, the engine obviously isn’t the original one. But the 160-hp 1967 911S engine with the Weber carbs is a vastly superior engine to the original 135-hp engine with the Solex carbs. In 1975, the car had an electric “American Sunroof” installed; it looks like the original Porsche sunroof and works perfectly. I have the serial number from the installation, and the company was still in business last time I looked. The new front seats from an ’87(?) 911 are leather and electric adjusting and much more comfortable than the originals. I have retained the old seats, of course, although they need to be reupholstered. The wheels currently on the car are 15-inch polished aluminum wheels from a mid-1960 Porsche 356 “Outlaw.” They are 5 inches wide (vs. 4.5 inches on the 911’s original wheels) to better accommodate a modern wider tire. Of course I have retained the original chrome wheels and hub caps.

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I have a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity for the car. It is titled as a 1966, but per serial number and the COA, it is a 1965 and came off the assembly line on July 20, 1965. The original Webasto gas heater is still in the car. It worked back when I drove the car regularly, but we haven’t tried to get it working (and I don’t intend to – it was scary and loud in the 1980s!). I have the original radio, too.

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The photo of the car in primer is circa 2000. That’s my now 22-year-old son in the driver’s seat!  The car is currently in winter storage in Salt Lake City.

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