After countless hours of restoration work, the 968 Club Sport body will soon be ready for a full repaint in its original Guards Red. It will then be refitted with all of the parts that have been meticulously scrubbed and sandblasted over the last few months.
As we near the latter stages of the project, here is an update on the restoration from the team at Porsche Centre Guildford and Premier Panel Skills, our Recommended Body Repairer.
This year, with the support and guidance of our experienced Porsche-trained Technicians, we have used the restoration project as an opportunity to give our Apprentices invaluable experience restoring an older Porsche model back to its former glory.
The project has been hugely beneficial in the development of our young team. The Apprentices had to follow the original 20 year old manual very closely when stripping the car down part-by-part. Following the older manual to the letter, while using current day best practice when necessary, initially proved a challenge, as Jake Ferguson, Porsche Centre Guildford discovered. “The project has been a real eye opener as to how the process has changed over the years. In a way many aspects are still very similar, but now with the technology we have on hand, we can do a lot more with fewer steps”.
Remarkably, Porsche Centre Guildford and Premier Panel Skills have serviced this very 968 Club Sport before. Two of the mechanics at Premier Panel Skills that have been working on the 968 Club Sport restoration project were also present for this encounter over ten years ago when the previous owner broke down near Porsche Centre Guildford on a trip to the legendary Spa-Francorchamps and Nordschleife race circuits in Belgium and Germany.
“It’s a shame to see this once much loved car so worn out and faded. Back in 2005 it was a beautiful Porsche in bright Guards Red and geared up with a roll-bar to take on the race track. It was a proper sports car. I look forward to seeing it again as good as new”, Jamie Woods of Premier Panel Skills.Find out more: The history of the 968 Club Sport Restoration Project
Over the last few months the car has been dismantled to its outer shell with many of the parts, including the suspension and running gear, stripped to just the component parts in preparation for full refurbishment. After the removal of the engine, gear box, exhaust and steering rack, the 968 Club Sport was transported to Premier Panel Skills. The car has been sitting unused and exposed to outdoor conditions for years, and as a result, the body and parts that were removed have suffered from extensive corrosion and have accumulated excessive dirt. Sandblasting however, has been a highly effective technique in restoring parts back to an exceptional standard in order to prime the metal for paint.
Due to major corrosion, the 968 Club Sport had to be put up on a ramp to sandblast off loose parts, stone chips and any corrosion on the body. “If not done thoroughly, dents, chips and bumps can appear after the paint job even if they were not apparent before”, explains Josh Mays of Premier Panel Skills.
“Considering how dirty and eroded the car was, you would not believe these were the same parts we dismantled; they now look like they've come straight out of the factory. Unfortunately most of the rubber components are either worn out or degraded and all of the suspension components have required a full overhaul; as did most of the major running gear", Mark Manlow of Premier Panel Skills.
As expected when restoring a 20 plus year old car, the restoration project has not been without its complications. In newer vehicles, the electrical systems are far more complicated. Newer vehicles are however assembled in a modular fashion allowing for easier disassembly and assembly. “There is always a worry about damaging parts when disassembling an older model, as some components can be very difficult to get hold of or can be very expensive”, says Mark Manlow of Premier Panel Skills. “I have been involved in many restorations to varying degrees from just minimal fine-tuning restoration to full concourse rebuilds. This one in particular had very bad corrosion from being left outside for years and years. Some parts were impossible to remove and had to be cut off, suspension bolts snapped off and ABS sensors broke up and had to be drilled out.”
Due to additional parts that were stuck on, new engine mounts, clips and bolts had to be ordered. “This project has been incredibly filthy, spending hours under or in the car trying to remove or loosen parts with little success," says Jake Ferguson of Porsche Centre Guildford.
Premier Panel Skills have finished re-plating and started refitting the suspension and underbody parts. The engine bay and underside were sanded back, re-textured, and painted ready for the refit of components. After being put in the oven, the small brackets and suspension parts from the 968 Club Sport have been repainted in Rally Black. The suspension springs which have had to be replaced have also been coated in yellow paint to resemble their original condition.
Specialist parts, including the power steering pump, the oil filter housing the balance shaft front carrier and wheels, could not be sandblasted. Instead, an aluminium paint spray was applied followed by a laser coat. All corrosion was removed from the wheels and then they were powder coated.
At Porsche Centre Guildford, the engine has been fully dismantled to its bare component parts for cleaning and rebuild. Many of the parts have had to be replaced such as piston rings, main bearings and a new cylinder head. Jake Ferguson from Porsche Centre Guildford said, “We are just doing some final preparations to the engine so it’s ready to go straight into the 968 Club Sport on its return. In an ideal scenario we'll be able to put the engine in and the car will be working fine from the off and problem-free. That would be great.”
The finish line is now in sight. The restoration project has been a fascinating transformation so far, with the 968 Club Sport starting to resemble the iconic Porsche it once was.
The faded paint on the body is to be fully stripped and sanded down ready for a complete respray in the original Guards Red paint; just as the 968 Club Sport would have appeared in 1994.
On the return of the body from Premier Panel Skills to Porsche Centre Guildford, the remaining parts will be reassembled and the fully restored 3.0 litre engine will be reinstalled. From there the 968 Club Sport will undergo some final testing to then be finally driven for the first time in years.Video: Phase 1 of the restoration project, the 968 Club Sport
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