My Dad has always been one of those guys that can fix anything, build anything and if he doesn’t have the right tool for the job, he can probably make one on his lathe or forge one out of some steel he has laying around. The hands of a master craftsman, the mind of an engineer, and a constant need to learn new things made for a lot of hobbies and one hell of a well equipped garage. For example, here he is with the custom race car he built…using the dining room table for a workbench if the stories are true 😂
While I may have inherited the engineer’s mind, and I certainly got a full dose of whatever causes one to obsess about the next cool thing, I’ve never been the “do it yourself” master that my Dad is. As car obsessed as I am, I’ve always outsourced anything beyond the basics. One of my favorite memories was the time my Dad and I worked on my 78 SC Targa which was in need of some major engine work. We decided to do the work ourselves and he was going to show me how. We had an absolute blast prepping everything, dropping the engine, etc. but in the end, I chickened out on the hard stuff and got a shop to do the top-end rebuild. I regret that decision and wish I had pushed through my fear and finished the job with him. Still…we managed to have a lot of fun!
As I’ve gotten older, a bit of that DIY mindset has taken hold. Maybe my patience has increased, my fear of failure has decreased or some latent gene finally kicked in.
We have a tradition in our family where over long breaks, each person gets to pick what the whole family does for a day. I love this tradition. It’s the reason I’ve done flips at a trampoline house, enjoyed my first pedicure and why I know what a cat cafe is. When it was my turn, I asked the family to join me for a day at The Shop. I’ve been wanting to get a new exhaust installed on the Spyder and instead of paying a mechanic to do the work, my plan was to enlist the help of Gabe and Shep for the install while Meg captured the memories as only she can.
The 718 Spyder is almost a perfect car. The one area that is a small disappointment is how it sounds. It doesn’t sound bad, but for a glorious 4.0 liter engine and the exotic looks, the exhaust note is just a bit anemic. Porsche does what they can, and they even give you a button to make it a bit sportier, but with noise restrictions around the world and cost considerations, I think the exhaust is a compromise. After a ton of research and countless hours spent learning from other owners on sites like Rennlist, I looked to Kline for the solution and to Eric at Supreme Power for the best price and support. Kline makes some of the best exhaust systems for the most exotic cars in the world. Their fit and finish is perfect, they sound great without being too loud and they are half the weight of the factory exhaust which makes a big difference. For something that lives hidden away under the car, they are also a thing of beauty (this photo is taken from the Kline website):
The plan was to get there at 10, get the car up on the lift and then let the exhaust cool down while we enjoyed brunch at Derby. It’s pretty sweet to have a car club with lifts, all the tools you need and an on-site restaurant! After brunch, we got to work. Gabe and Shep were a big help and Gabe was by my side, doing at least half the work if not more, for the entire day. We had fun with power tools, pretended we were a F1 pit crew with the impact wrench, bloodied some knuckles, laughed, sweat, swore and worked through challenge after challenge. It’s pretty simple job if you have the skills and you know what you ‘re doing. We had neither of those advantages and I was reminded of a joke my Dad says a lot, “I’m slow, but I make a lot of mistakes”. In a few cases we had to phone a friend and ask some of the other folks in the shop for some advice. Thankfully we got a few pointers along the way. With a crew of three and a professional photographer onsite, we managed to take a 2-3 hour job for one pro and turn it into a 5-6 hour job. It was a perfect day.
All of the photos below were taken by the wonderfully talented Meghan Jones. A photojournalist and artist that we are lucky enough to have capturing all the wonderful moments in our lives! I can’t thank you enough love for spending all day taking photos of three wannabe grease monkeys 🐒 .
Some other cool photos Meg took while at The Shop:
I can’t thank my family enough for being willing to spend an entire day working their butts off helping me customize the car. Having you there helped give me the confidence to tackle the project and made it 1000% more fun. Dad…I don’t think you have to worry about me challenging your status as the King of DIY…but I’m starting to work my way towards Prince 🤴
Updated 1/21/2022 – In our original install, I skipped an important step of removing the exhaust mounting bracket from the Porsche muffler and re-using it on the Kline muffler. Oops! I returned a few days later and fixed it all up. I really just wanted to excuse to go back to The Shop and keep working on the car!
For reference, here is the step by step process we created for installing the exhaust – Kline Exhaust Guide
Here’s a quick video after the install on the way home. Low quality but it gives you an idea of what this sounds like.
This whole experience ended up being turned into an article for our local PCA magazine, The Spiel, including a cover shot! You can see the digital version of The Spiel here: