Showing The Suspension Some Love

I live in a part of the country where you just can’t get away with speeding, at least not for long. Eventually some Bellevue motorcycle cop is going to get you or the back road you found will be too full of bicyclists to really enjoy. Outside of track days or the occasional high speed tunnel run (about 10 seconds) you just can’t take advantage of crazy horsepower or top speed. But you can have a really good time with a well sorted suspension without drawing too much attention.

When I bought my car I knew it might need new shocks and that was confirmed the day it arrived. After confirming the front struts were Boge I was able to order all of the parts that I would need. With the expert advice and wrenching from Steve at Auto Services West we are going to get this car fully sorted with a full compliment of Elephant Racing upgrades:


Image from Elephant Racing, I just love this visual.

In addition to replacing the worn out factory shocks with Bilstein HDs all around I decided to complete the Turbo Look suspension by adding the Turbo Tie-Rods, Adjustable bump steer kit and new front and rear bushings:

Here are a few terrible iPhone shots of my car on the lift getting ready for the suspension upgrades. It’s the first time I was really able to poke around underneath.  Damn…this car is clean and original. Thanks to the previous owners for taking great care of it!

A Blast From The Past

My first Porsche was a 78 SC Targa that I bought when I still lived in Northern Virginia. I was driving home from college one day and saw a beautiful white Porsche sitting in a grass field with a for sale sign on it. I went home, grabbed my Dad and went to take a look. I had read all about buying used cars so of course I kicked the tires, looked at the battery and opened the engine compartment. Basically I had no idea what I was doing. Fortunately my Dad did so after a thorough inspection and a long test drive we decided the car was solid and I bought it for $10K. I wish that I had held on to this car but eventually I needed some money and I sold it. I always knew that I would come back for another one someday.

I recently mentioned to my parents that I only had one photo of my old 78 SC and it was just a low quality digital capture of a framed print in really rough shape. Well as always my parents have come through and surprised me with some other photos that I thought were long ago lost! Thanks Mom and Dad for finding these and sending them my way.

78SC Side

Looking at it now, it’s no wonder I fell in love with it the second I saw it!

78SC Rear

It might not be as wide as the Turbo-Look but it still looks great.

78SC Front

This was taken on Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park.

78SC Head Engine Bay

The car needed a top-end rebuild and my Dad and I did some of the work ourselves.  Well, we dropped the engine ourselves 🙂  Such fun!

78SC Engine Out

Two things to note about this image.  I had no idea what I was doing but fortunately my Dad did.  And apparently I thought it was cool to wear a Taz hat.  Oy vey!


A Great Porsche Day

Saturday is typically my morning to sleep in late, but not today. The Redmond Exotic car show held every Saturday in the summer was having their once a year Porsche day and John Walker was having his annual Porsche swap meet. I’ve been looking forward to today for over a month. It required me to get up early, enjoy a fast drive to Redmond and then a nice drive back to the Phinney Ridge area before heading home again. Any excuse to put miles on my car AND spend the day around other Porsches, owners and enthusiasts will work for me.

Exotics at Redmond

This was my first time attending and I didn’t know what to expect so I showed up early, arriving a little after 8 am. Holy crap, there were already hundreds of Porsches there and the main strip was completely full. The big back parking lots were filling up quickly. This was turning out to be a huge show even with the occasional rain shower.  I was directed to my spot by the nice volunteers and then spent a few hours walking the lots, seeing all of the beautiful cars and meeting some really great people.

My car was quite pedestrian compared to the beauties at the show:

The lots were full of row after row of gorgeous air cooled 911s:

This amazing RUF Turbo R was a show favorite, at least my favorite, and the owner was a super nice guy to talk to.  I’m glad to know this rare monster of a 911 lives in West Seattle too and I hope to see it on the local roads soon.  No, I won’t be offering to race it 🙂



And some nice older models:

And some race cars that looked fast standing still:

Okay, there were also some newer models there as well.  As beautiful as they are they just don’t compare to the older models in my view:

And finally some non-Porsche distractions.  There were a ton of other cars from Ferrari to Lamborghini, etc. but I was here for the Porsches:

And finally I ended the day driving to Phinney Ridge to check out the John Walker swap meet. I arrived pretty late but there was still a lot of activity. People talking cars, people selling parts and one guy so excited about his new Fuchs that he jacked his car up in the parking lot and swapped them right there.  I was too busy looking around to take many photos but for some reason this collection of brake calipers caught my eye:


My First “Project”

When I bought this car I had images of wrenching on it myself, doing all of the maintenance, teaching my two boys all about how to work on cars etc. But the truth is that I have no freaking clue what I’m doing. My Dad is a genius when it comes to working with his hands. He’s built race cars, custom knives, beautiful furniture…the list goes on and on. Somewhere buried deep in me must lie some dormant genes just ready to come out right? This car is going to help me discover them. Slowly.

The Project

My car needs new shocks, it’s bouncing all over the place. No, I’m not actually going to replace the shocks myself, that’s a 201 class and I’m still in 101 territory. I just needed to confirm a few things about the suspension. I just needed to know the type of front struts that I have and I needed to know the size of the rear sway bar so that I can get some replacement bushings.


Tools ordered, car jacked up for the first time and the best helper in the world ready to lend a hand!


The front wheel is off, just look at those beautiful 930 brakes!  Now time to discover who made these struts…


It’s Boge for the win!  A set of Bilstein HD inserts made for the Boge struts will fix my bouncy ride.


It turns out my M491 Carrera has the standard 21mm Carrera rear sway-bar and not the 20mm 930 sway-bar.

Time to order some suspension parts. I know this might seem like the stupidest little project but for a guy that isn’t use to working on cars it was a nice confidence booster that getting the car in the air and handling simple work is no big deal. Maybe I’ll try to tackle this suspension upgrade myself after all…


Northwest Porsche Saturday Breakfast

After staying up way too late and enjoying a few too many gin and tonics my alarm rudely went off at 6:30 am. But I jumped out of bed ready to go because I was setting out for a nice long drive. Sun rising, cool but warming temps, the top down. Better than coffee to get me going in the morning. Okay, I needed some coffee too.

I set out to meet up with a group of Porsche enthusiasts that drive from the Snohomish area down to Issaquah on back roads and end the drive with breakfast and car talk. Since I was coming from West Seattle I got to enjoy a 45 minute drive to the meet. I arrived too late to make the convoy so I had fun carving up the roads from Snohomish to Issaquah all by myself.  Literally, there was nobody else on the roads.  It was beautiful.  Thanks to a good group of folks for including a new guy in their tradition, it was a great morning. Here are a few pictures of the cars that participated:

No More Miami Vice Rockers!

I had to leave town for most of this week on a business trip which gave me the perfect opportunity to leave my car in the capable hands of Mark from Eurotech Bodywerkes.  The task was simple but critical.  Remove those boxed rocker panels that to me scream Miami Vice and put back the standard 930 rocker panels.  Mark did an amazing job and the car is back the way it was meant to be!  Now I have nothing against boxed rockers on an appropriate car, like the late 70s slantnose that was sitting next to me in this photo:


Ahhhh!  It’s such a relief to get the standard 930 rocker panels back on the car.  I’ll leave boxed rockers to the slantnose cars.

And here is a reminder of what the car looked like from a similar angle with the boxed rockers:


They Didn’t Forecast This

It’s been hot and sunny in Seattle this week and I went to bed with a forecast of slightly cooler but sunny weather for today. I hit the garage in the morning, put the top down, snap on my top cover and head out for my morning commute. West Seattle is a tad gray but not too bad. The temp is nice enough but with a slight chill, giving me an excuse to see how my heat works. It works a heck of a lot better than my AC 🙂 After going through the Mount Baker Tunnel expecting to see blue skies, blue water and Mt. Rainier I’m greeted with this:

weatheronthewayDark skies above me and even darker skies ahead! Rather than pull over and put the top up I step on the gas pedal and decide to race the rain. I’m happy to say that I was pulling into my building’s garage as the first raindrops fell and for today I beat the rain. That isn’t always likely to happen living here in Seattle.

My First Drive

We got back from vacation at 1 am and if it wasn’t for my two exhausted young children and even more exhausted wife I would have been tempted to go out for a late night cruise.  Instead I simply put my eyes on the car for the first time in person and went to bed.

Five very short hours later my alarm went off and it was time to head to work.  For the first time in a long time I was looking forward to my long commute.  I quickly put on my license plates, got inside the car and started off on my first drive!  A few initial impressions:

  • I really should have taken more time to get familiar with the car before hitting the road because simple things like mirror adjustments and climate control are still a complete mystery to me.
  • I think the car has a nice aftermarket stereo but who cares…the sound of that engine is better than anything coming through the speakers.
  • This car is tight.  It feels news, shifts smoothly and runs like a dream.  I’m sure I’ll experience my share of issues but for now it’s like driving a very old new car.
  • I honestly forgot how hard it is to do slow speed maneuvering in a car without power steering.  Backing out of my garage was a nice little workout!
  • That smell…I missed that smell.  It’s different from my older SC but still an amazing combination of oil, fuel and leather.  Unmistakably Porsche.
  • It’s so much fun to drive that I almost blew past my exit and headed for a drive in the mountains.  But that’s for another day.




Taking a rest after a fun drive to the office!

Safe and sound

Thanks to Holt for prepping the car so well and for Image Auto Group trucking it across the country.  It arrived safe and sound.  Our street was too small for the giant semi so they unloaded on a main street and drove it in.  Time to start having some fun!

photo 1

Quick snapshot of it coming around the corner

photo 5

Tucked away in its new home

The first project will be a drive to Eurotech Bodywerkes to get the boxed rocker panels off the car and put the standard 930 rockers on.  The boxed rockers are too Miami Vice for me and I think the standard rockers accentuate the aggressive curves a lot better.  If anyone is looking for a set of boxed rockers for their own project just let me know.