Welcome to Part 5 of our grand FactoryTwoFour Porsche Backdate Build! In January 2015 we started a series on the broken bolts and knuckles of this project as we turn our Miami Vice 80's Porsche into a unicorn 1972 RS 2.7. As the project comes to a close we are re-running all the past updates so you can stay up to speed. This installment is sponsored by TRE Motorsports.
Well here we are, at the moment when we turn the 80’s-tastic fat bottomed 911 of our backdate project into a svelte 70’s star with sleek lines and subtle curves. I am, of course, speaking of the moment(s) wherein I get rid of the huge impact bumpers our project came with and replace them with the new fiberglass face and tail. It’s about time.
We’ve been some time getting here. First tearing the car apart, then refreshing the brakes and suspension, to that dreaded surprise rust repair, and now to this fun stuff. Making our 911 look the part of a dead sexy 1970’s sports car. It’s not necessarily an easy task however. This isn’t exactly a bolt-on procedure. Fiberglass is notoriously finicky to fit well – pieces need to be massaged, formed, bent, coaxed, and politely asked to fit properly. There is also a huge variance between suppliers of these bumpers, and if you want any chance of keeping your wits and hair during the process you need to start with the best possible.
For Porsche backdate projects, the best are TRE Motorsports. This Van Nuys, California based shop cranks out some of the finest custom Porsches in the world. Once you start even flirting with the idea of getting a 911, you’ll hear about TRE and see examples of their work. They will kindly sell you everything from brake upgrades to full 2.7 RS backdate bodykits (what I bought). From racing to posing, there’s something here for your Porsche. A quick look around the forums confirms that their pieces are some of the highest quality you can find, and their service and know-how are second to none.
I picked up the full fiberglass bodykit and lovingly carted it back to my garage and my waiting 911. Job #1 was installing the iconic ducktail. The simple switch from 80’s whaletail to 70’s ducktail (what is it with Porsche and animal names?) was a massive visual change, and one I think for the better. Now while this seems like it should be a simple bolt-on process, it is not. All fiberglass body panels, regardless of car or make, need massaging and tweaking. From differences in production and curing to every car being idiosyncratic with it’s own history. So with that, I was off and sanding the leading edge of my ducktail to make a more perfect panel gap between it and the rear windscreen. This process was as simple as lightly installing it, checking where it was rubbing against the body, then sanding that section back until it fit like a glove. Step two, still at the rear of our project, was the rear bumper.
This was a more challenging step, and for better or worse I invented my own solutions as I went along. Off came the huge 80’s impact bumpers and muffler, on went the svelte bumper. Not content with this upgrade, I chose to fiberglass over the existing exhaust hole in the bumper to create a flush look. My planned exhaust will be running under the bumper, so no cutout is required. Finishing off the rear was a set of racing tie-downs to secure the ducktail to the bumper, and give the 911 massive street cred.
Next up was the hood. I needed to replace my hood because older 911s had longer front fenders (more on that in a moment) and longer hoods to match. Replacing the hood also aided in weight reduction – as did replacing both those Miami Vice bumpers. All in, the weight savings on the body were very significant. The hood went straight on, but will need a little persuasion with heat and some weight to get the curve to match my car’s perfectly. This nicely bolt-on fiberglass piece was the front bumper to finally give my car that beautiful RS look, replete with front tie-downs as well.
Lastly, there was some metal work to be done. Because the 1970’s cars had longer fenders (with their turn signal housing directly attached to the side fender) than my 80’s car, I needed to attach some fender extensions to recreate the period correct bumpers. I gave this the ol’ college try, I really did. And I failed hard.I couldn’t get my head around to weld these extension pieces on without having major modifications to either the fenders or the extensions themselves. Finally after much hammering,welding, and cursing, I ran crying back to TRE for assistance. They graciously offered to weld up these pieces for me so I could be sure the face of my dream car came out right. I drove up to their shop (yes, without a muffler. It was awesome), browsed all the wonderful Porsche pornography that is always being worked on or is parked outside, and left my baby in their care. When they were done, I came to pick up the car and was greeted with the face of the 2.7 RS. My 2.7 RS. At this point, I want to make love to my car. My ratty, stripped of paint, sunroof held in by duct tape car. She was beautiful, if mismatched and in-progress.
Now while structurally she is looking the part, there is still some body patching, finessing, and painting to be done before she is supermodel hot. So that’s what I’m tackling next – stripping, grinding, blending, and prepping. I might even find some time to work on the car too…
If you would like to follow the nitty gritty details of this build, they are posted on a Porsche technical forum here.