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    1. Member OptimusGlen's Avatar
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      74 R90/6, '98 XJ, 914
      02-29-2016 09:15 AM #1
      I had been hunting for a project car for some time. Sold my D2 Audi S8 and picked up an old Jeep for a daily driver/winter/tow vehicle and all that was left was to get something old and fun. Always had a soft spot for Porsche so was looking at the 914/924/944s because that is what my budget allowed. Actually had a few 944's lined up that all fell through. This 914 popped up on Craigslist around midnight last Thursday, I saw it around 6:15am while brushing my teeth and messaged the seller immediately. Deposit put down on it sight unseen (you'll see why at the end) and arranged to meet that evening to exchange the title for some cash.

      So the car... It was a California car and the owner brought it up to Minneapolis in the 80's. He daily drove it for several years, always storing it in the winter. One year his brother got in a fender bender, bashed up the front bumper a bit and the drivers side fender. After that he kept it in the garage, starting it occasionally, and then one day just stopped. That was over 20 years ago.



      Fast forward to when I went to look at it Thursday night. It was surreal, it was EXACTLY like a "barnfind" in the Forza Horizon video games. Some small talk while we walked up to the garage, he unlocked the door and lifted it. And there, sitting in the middle of this run down garage in downtown Minneapolis and coated with a dim light from a bulb as old as the car, was this dust and dirt covered 914 with a dent or two and chewed up interior. I was living the dream.

      I gave it a look over, about 30 seconds worth, then we went inside and exchanged the title for the cash and made the plan to tow it home. Friday I went and got it, tucked it away in my garage, and have been crawling all over it the last two days figuring out what I've gotten myself into.

      So, why did I essentially buy a car from 1971 that is notoriously good at rusting out in the most important places? Well, first, the ad mentioned a bit of it's history, the whole garaged/California part. Second, the ad mentioned that the targa top can be removed and put into place with no binding, indicating strong sheetmetal on the frame. Third, $1,100. Yes, eleven hundred US dollars. Stupid cheap. Stupid stupid cheap. I knew that if the frame was too far gone I could part it out and come out ahead. Or weld up a bunch of it and make a rat with wide fenders. Fortunately for me, it gets even better.


      Once I got it in my garage I immediately started pouring over it. Looking at all the common spots that these rust literally from the inside out. Which brings me to exhibit A:


      This is what they call the "hell hole" It's the most common weakness of the 914. The battery sits just above this and over time acid and water ingress eats away the battery tray, and then everything that's below it. For reference, this is the corner directly behind the passenger seat. In the engine compartment. This spot weakens from battery acid and pooled up water, and this part of the chassis is the cars backbone, so once it's gone, the car is done. This car has a lot of surface rust here, this is after hitting it with a wire brush and sucking out all the loose stuff, but the whole area is remarkably solid when poked with a pry bar.

      Here it is with the trunk lid removed, in my garage, next to a pile of parts and receipts and books that came with it.



      Interior is bad, will need new foam and I'll recover the seats and dash.



      Fender wells are clean. Dirty, but clean.



      Underbody has some surface rust that will be cleaned up.



      Front trunk is clean too!



      My favorite design aspect of the car, the engine hatch.



      Rolled it outside after cleaning it up a bit to get some sun.



      And another angle, lots of sun in the lens though.



      And that's where we start. Plan is to drop the engine and refresh some things, take care of any rust, rebuild things like the brakes and interior, and then just drive it.

      Oh, and do a 5-lug swap.
      Last edited by OptimusGlen; 10-27-2016 at 05:21 PM.

    2. 02-29-2016 09:24 AM #2
      Love it.

      Can't wait to see progress, I've always had a soft spot for these cars.

    3. Member karl_1052's Avatar
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      02-29-2016 09:30 AM #3
      I will give you $1210 for it.

      That is a 10% profit.

      "The Sebring is an extraordinary car. Ugly to behold and hateful to drive, it is not cheap, elegant, comfortable, practical, prestigious, clever, economical, luxurious, well designed, well thought out or, if the rental car I drove in America this year is anything to go by, especially well made either." - Jeremy Clarkson

    4. Member OptimusGlen's Avatar
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      74 R90/6, '98 XJ, 914
      03-08-2016 10:19 AM #4
      I've started stripping things down, quickly realizing that I wish I had more garage room. Might need to park the motorcycle and trailer outside for the summer.

      First stop was the interior. I was aching to see what the floors looked like under the ratty old carpet. As a reminder, here is the "before" shot.


      I ordered up an all new carpet kit, then got to work pulling it all out.



      So far the floors look clean. haven't touched any of the insulation yet though. A quick aside, the metal is all pretty strong. I did the functional test of removing the top and opening the doors, then measuring the amount of deflection between the static position and when a fully grown man (me, 240-250lbs) steps into the interior. The distance between the windshield frame and the roll hoop shrinks by 1-2mm. Because of this, my plan is to do a quick restoration without much metal work in hopes to have it going this summer still. I will remove surface rust and seal etc, but wont be welding in any new panels. THEN, next winter, tear it down again and fix the rust that I do find and weld in panels as needed.

      Ok, back on track.

      I met up with another 914 guy that's local, who said he may have some seat parts I could use. I went to his place and was awe struck. 4 old 911's, 2 914's, and 2 356's, all in various states of restoration. He was actually doing lead-fill bodywork on the 356. Super cool. Anyway, he had a loft full of parts, and I managed to convince him to sell me a set of early seats.

      For those that don't know, the early cars had a fixed passenger seat that was incorporated into the cabin back pad. The later cars had two normal seats. He had enough parts that I could have gone either way, but my car was an early car, and it's unique to have a fixed passenger seat, so I went with that.

      So here are the new seats all cleaned up and conditioned. The passenger seat bottom bucket (essentially the lower bolsters) is my original part and everything else is "new" (to me). I also ordered a new drivers seat bottom cover from 914rubber but that hasn't arrived yet.



      I have a Momo hub adapter in preparation for a Renown steering wheel that I will eventually have once the model I want is back in stock. In the meantime I grabbed this vintage Cisa wheel. I'll cut the leather down with some emery paper and reseal it, then run all new thread. Should be pretty neat when finished. It has a really nice feel to it.



      Dashboard will get recovered as well, but I will probably end up doing that myself.



      I pulled out the gas tank. Sheet metal under there, and in the front trunk, is all looking great. I wont even need to touch it. Tank is full of decomposing gasoline from 21 years ago. Lots of crud. Since I'll be running a brand new pump and lines, might as well clean out the tank fully. So I'm weighing options. DIY electrolysis, DIY tank restoration kit (i.e. the POR15 kit or Caswell plating epoxy kit), or bring it to a place that specializes in doing this and just drop it off with a big check.

      Also discovered that the wire harness up front has some chew marks, several wires that show through. Not surprised, and was even expecting it when I found the mouse carcass under the driver seat. The same gentleman who sold me the seats may have an early harness I can buy from him, we will see.

      And finally, I have a friend that does PDR. I sent him a picture of the dented fender and he's optimistic. I'm skeptical. He will be swinging by on Thursday to see if he can work his magic.


    5. Member G0to60's Avatar
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      03-08-2016 10:25 AM #5
      Very much in for this build. Very good find and it looks like most everything is solid. I look forward to the updates.

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      03-08-2016 11:47 AM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by OptimusGlen View Post
      ...And finally, I have a friend that does PDR. I sent him a picture of the dented fender and he's optimistic. I'm skeptical. He will be swinging by on Thursday to see if he can work his magic.

      Wow, if he can fix that I'll be mighty impressed. The stretch where it folds will be pronounced. I would think you'd have to straighten it, add a relief cut or two and weld it back together to get it like you want it. In for this (and everything else this thread promises).
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    7. Senior Member .LSinLV.'s Avatar
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      03-08-2016 12:00 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Air and water do mix View Post
      Wow, if he can fix that I'll be mighty impressed. The stretch where it folds will be pronounced. I would think you'd have to straighten it, add a relief cut or two and weld it back together to get it like you want it. In for this (and everything else this thread promises).
      Agreed, PDR works great on newer thin 8ga metal, but not on older 16ga metal
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    8. Member
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      03-08-2016 12:08 PM #8
      Excellent find and project!

      Great you were able to find a local contact for the seats and maybe other parts in the future.

      I've got a near mint Cisa wheel. Never seen another one. The one I have is from an early '70's Audi Fox. If your interested in it instead of a Renown send me a PM.

      Otherwise, in to see this come together.

    9. Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
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      03-08-2016 12:29 PM #9
      I'm in for more.
      Lots of VW stuff|Rare Scirocco parts!
      The family: '55 Ford 351C, '70 TR6 262Olds, '80 Rabbit AAZ, '84 C30 350, '88 Scirocco 9A, '97 Hardbody KA24E, '01 TJ 150AMC.
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    10. Member Nealric's Avatar
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      03-08-2016 12:35 PM #10
      Wow, fantastic find

    11. Member WaHelios's Avatar
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      03-08-2016 01:49 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by OptimusGlen View Post
      So, why did I essentially buy a car from 1971 that is notoriously good at rusting out in the most important places?
      It's a 914...they are all notoriously good at rusting...everywhere.

      Get it running/driving, then start fixing pieces at a time. They are slow, but are a blast to drive. Addictive little cars.

      I really enjoyed mine...but alas the opportunity-of-a-lifetime RS (along w/ a Corrado teardown) kicked them out of the garage so they ended up getting sold to a friend (along with my M5, I swear we just trade cars back & forth ).

      Last edited by WaHelios; 03-08-2016 at 01:58 PM.
      If they ain't a little too wide, they ain't wide enough!

    12. Member weezintrumpeteer's Avatar
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      03-08-2016 01:59 PM #12
      Looking forward to your progress

    13. Member titleist1976's Avatar
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      03-08-2016 02:03 PM #13
      If my parents sell their 912 (in a little better shape than your 914) for $1,100, I'm going to be pissed.

    14. Senior Member dubdaze68's Avatar
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      03-08-2016 02:14 PM #14
      It is too bad that the repaint monster got a hold of the front bumper.

      Also: Would look good on Gas Burner repops.

      Last edited by dubdaze68; 03-08-2016 at 02:19 PM.
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    15. 03-08-2016 02:23 PM #15
      If you're interested I know a few guys building those type 4 engines out to about 3 liters. Those engines will put a smile on your face

    16. 03-08-2016 02:33 PM #16
      I used to HATE these cars when I was a kid way back when they were brand new. I absolutely hated the looks of them. Now, I am completely in love with them. I used to see a gorgeous green one when I would go grocery shopping with my wife and son on sunny Summer Saturdays here in Indy. I haven't seen that car in a while. I would look longing at it and wonder what it is I used to hate about it. Great job, please keep us updated!

    17. Member OptimusGlen's Avatar
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      03-08-2016 02:59 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by dubdaze68 View Post
      It is too bad that the repaint monster got a hold of the front bumper.
      While I cannot guarantee that mine were not repainted, it was an option to have the bumpers color matched instead of chrome.

      Edit: Correction. The base model had color matched bumpers and the B pillar didnt have the vinyl or chrome. The appearance package added those items.
      Last edited by OptimusGlen; 08-04-2016 at 10:36 AM.

    18. Senior Member Mr.Tan's Avatar
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      03-08-2016 03:03 PM #18
      Looks like a fun build. i'd love to get my hands on a 914 some day. my dad had 2 while i was too young to enjoy/remember much of them.

    19. Senior Member dubdaze68's Avatar
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      03-08-2016 03:49 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by OptimusGlen View Post
      While I cannot guarantee that mine were not repainted, it was an option to have the bumpers color matched instead of chrome.
      Huh. Learning never ends.
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    20. Member OptimusGlen's Avatar
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      03-10-2016 09:13 AM #20
      While I'm waiting for parts I thought I would start on the steering wheel. It's a vintage Cisa wheel I got off eBay. Leather was faded and stitches torn.




      Started out by pulling the leather off, removing all the bits of thread, and sanding down the leather to give the dye something to hold onto.



      Next I dyed the leather using Kiwi black. Worked well I think.



      Fired up the sewing machine. The adjustments on my machine wouldn't give me a long enough stitch, so I had to manually run the stitches through all of the existing holes. Very time consuming and required a bit of focus. I'm using a heavy duty outdoor thread.



      Once all 6 stitches were run, I went to work on the lacing. I stopped after the first stretch because it was late.



      I'll be finishing it up today and sealing the leather. I'll post another pic then.

    21. Member jmaddocks's Avatar
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      03-10-2016 09:38 AM #21



    22. Member GoHomePossum's Avatar
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      03-10-2016 09:40 AM #22
      Nice work with the stitching. That takes patience! I would get frustrated after about 5 minutes and quit
      I now have an InstaGram: emmettlodge

    23. Member chucchinchilla's Avatar
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      03-10-2016 09:48 AM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Air and water do mix View Post
      Wow, if he can fix that I'll be mighty impressed. The stretch where it folds will be pronounced. I would think you'd have to straighten it, add a relief cut or two and weld it back together to get it like you want it. In for this (and everything else this thread promises).
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      03-10-2016 09:56 AM #24
      I love this voyage! In for awesomeness.
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    25. Member Crispyfritter's Avatar
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      03-10-2016 10:28 AM #25
      Awesome attention to detail!

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