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vroom vroom
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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70T - A story of happiness, despair, and hope

Okay, so the title may be a bit of hyperbole.

Even though this is my first day as a member and my first post, I feel like I sort of know some of you. I've been lurking occasionally since about this time last year and I want to thank you for the accumulated knowledge and expertise that makes this board such a great resource.

About a year ago I decided that I wanted an early 911, something that was probably inevitable and most likely caused by being dragged around the Pomona swap meets since before I could walk. After several months of reading everything I could get my hands on including this board and shopping around I found a straight, rust-free, low mileage 70T that needed some cosmetic work and some minor mechanical fiddling for a great price. I couldn't help myself and in February of this year I had myself a new vehicle. Since I know how this board feels about pictures, here are a few of my car in happier times:





I have a little bit of mechanical aptitude and have worked on a couple of 356s, so with Wayne's books and the board I was able to put in some turbo tie rods, perform a valve adjustment, tune it up, put in new shocks, fiddle with the electrical system, get the shift coupler bushings replaced, and tune the Zeniths to fix a pesky backfire on deceleration. The car ran like a top and handled just like you'd expect a 911 to handle. All was great for several months as I enjoyed driving the heck out of my car, becoming more and more pleased every time I turned the key.

Enter one hot and smoggy mid-July Southern California afternoon. I'm heading back to the office after dropping a coworker off at the local Avis and head into an intersection on a green. Before I can figure out why the guy to my left is piling on the brakes a white blur comes out of nowhere and turns my longhood into a shorthood. Sadness, thy name is '02 Windstar.

Here are a couple of pictures at the accident site. The minivan was going really fast and I suppose I was lucky she only clipped me up front. The front bumper was basically sheared off and the left fender was crumpled over onto the tweaked hood. The right fender looks ok to the eye but it may not be totally straight once the car is put on a frame rack. After I gathered my wits the helpful APD officer and I rolled the car around the corner to where the pictures were taken.




Some woman in a Honda ran into the tow truck, but that's another story.

Here's another picture of the damage after I stripped most of the front trim. Please excuse the dirt, we had our first drizzle of the not-summer season here in SoCal last night.



At this point I had a damaged 911, a police report blaming the other party entirely, and a splitting four day headache. I took the car to a reputable body shop who wrote me an estimate while both my and the other lady's insurance company adjusters did their thing. The good news: not much damage to the unibody, the suspension is great, the car will be easy to put back as good as new for a reasonable price. The bad news: $8k worth of OEM or reproduction parts on top of the labor and painting estimate, bringing the total for a complete as-new fix to just north of $13k.

Note: I have AAA and the lady who clocked me has Infinity

Why only pricey new parts on a 35 year old German car, a car 11 years older than me, you might ask? The answer is that good used parts such as fenders, hood, etc are "impossible to get" if you work for a body shop or insurance agency. They know because they checked for about 8 hours. Who am I to argue with them, right?

The next step of the insurance process is an appraisal to determine what the car is worth and thus what they're willing to pay for repairs. Naturally, the "unbiased" insurance appraisers came in a little low for my taste and they decided they were going to total the car. This didn't sit well with me, so I decided I wanted to get it fixed myself.

What followed was a barrage of appraisals and counter appraisals, offers and rejections, and rounds of phone tag that turned into weeklong games of chicken. Last week, over 2 months after the accident, I was able to settle with AAA for a reasonable sum to conduct my own repairs and a most importantly retain a clean title. For what its worth, I believe that AAA did the best they could to work this out within their policies. The problem is that their policies are designed to work for a '02 Explorer and not an early Porsche. Infinity on the other hand seemed to believe that they could barrage me with their appraisal, notice they were going to salvage it, notice that I had accepted the salvage, and a check all on the same day after ZERO contact with me since I told their appraiser where to see the car. The icing was the check for well under 1/3 of what AAA was finally willing to settle for. Check, meet shredder. Shredder, meet check.

As it stands right now I have my health, I have my repairable car, and I have the time to get the job done right. I'm in the process of stripping the car down and pulling the engine/trans to fix some pesky oil leaks and a grinding synchro. Once I get the painted car back from the body shop I'll put it together and get it back on the road. I plan to return the car back to its native Metallic Silver from Earl Scheib quality Guards Red and make it look like a million bucks.

I am also posting a WTB thread over in the Parts For Sale forum in the hopes that some of you might be able to help me out by selling a couple of good fenders and a hood. I found a great front bumper for cheap in Ventura so I'm just a few panels short. The insurance foot dragging meant I had to pass up some parts at the Ventura Autofest and Pomona has been fairly dry the last couple of times.

Sorry for the long-winded first post, but it is hard to compress 8 months into just a few sentences. Thanks for the opportunity to vent and all the great info here. I've had nothing but great experiences with Pelican Parts as a store and their 1-day ground delivery within Southern California. I look forward to becoming more involved here and with you guys out on the road.

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Old 10-16-2005, 04:10 PM
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a number of us have "been there done that".....good luck with your repairs.
welcome to the board
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Old 10-16-2005, 04:31 PM
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Thanks, I'll be sure to post the finished product down the line.
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Old 10-16-2005, 04:35 PM
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Welcome Matt

There's nothing better than getting to know your car when she's naked

Be glad you're over in SoCal and not anywhere else in the world where early 911 stuff is truly hard to get!
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Old 10-16-2005, 05:02 PM
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Matt,

Wow, What a first post. Great 911.

Welcome to the Forum. I see a new project in process.

I sympathize with your insurance hassle.
A few years ago Karen did a full slow gainer with the ’85 Land Cruiser – 1-owner original paint, perfect condition, everything properly maintained -385K miles and ready for another 500K. Well you know the kind of offer. They pay $1300 and keep the salvage. I was incensed; had it been reasonable at all we would have accepted it, but no, they were just out to cheat us. I did my “due diligence” and comparable was $15,500 (some are just as enthusiastic about early Land Cruisers as we are about early 911s). We settled on $9800 and we kept the salvage (still spares for the garage queen replacement ’84 LC that now has 275K.)

So back to fun stuff.
I see you are taking the opportunity to return your T to wonderful condition. What was hidden by the Earl Scribe? The biggest issue with your T is rust. Anything you can do to prevent future rust is extremely worthwhile. The inside of every double panel is not painted, coated or anything – just rusting. Yes, even in SoCal. Go look at rusty 911s of the same age (’69-‘73). Go find some track cars under construction where you can see the entire tub without interior or sound deadening. You will be able to make yourself a plan.

What else are you going to do?
We can make you a list of every possible thing to look at.

There will be some issues from everything just sitting since July to whenever.

Best,
Grady
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Old 10-16-2005, 05:08 PM
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Matt - you sound like a very determined guy and I suspect this car will look better than ever when done! Keep us posted.
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Old 10-16-2005, 05:11 PM
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Grady and John,

Thanks for your kind words. My guess is that enough naive people fall for those shady tactics that they figure it is worth a try. FWIW, had I allowed them to salvage out my car I could have retained the "wreck" for $1200.

I don't know if the car was actually painted by Earl, but the quality level of the paint and the partial mask job with copious overspray on the rubber leads me to believe it was either his chain or one of their bretheren.

I have found very little rust so far. The car had a little surface rust in the battery box that I was able to clean up after I bought it and it will take a little pounding to get back just right. When I bought the car I noticed that the driver's front fender lacked the factory undercoating and may have been replaced but the gaps and fit were good. As I remove parts I'm keeping my eyes open for any signs of rust and see if I can get paint in where it will help me in the long run.

I'm slightly nervous about the rear window area as the rear window seal was shot when I got it. The car was mostly stored inside but I'm not sure what I'll find under the carpet. I've done a little probing but not enough to declare it ok yet.

My plan at this point is to finish stripping the exterior and interior. The car sat for a long time and has the usual neglected 911 oil leaks at the valve covers, the breather, and probably a couple of other places I haven't seen yet. I'm going to strip all the sheet metal off and see if I can figure out exactly what I need to do to deal with the leaks.

The previous owner (the 3rd) claimed that the car had 74k original miles and had never been opened up, but I'll get a better idea if this is true when I get the engine out. The shift coupler was misaligned when I bought it (and allowed me to haggle a better price) but at least one and possibly two synchros need to be replaced. I hope it doesn't need a full rebuild as it sounds good in gear and doesn't pop out, but that is another potential surprise.

After the car comes back from paint I would like to put in a new headliner and carpets. The drivers seat has taken some wear but the passenger one is in great condition. Likewise, my door panels and dash are nice but the dash pad could use some work.

My biggest issue with the interior is probably going to be A/C related. The car came with a Coolaire A/C system and the under dash extension containing the vents has some cracks. From what I've seen this is going to be a problem to fix. I don't really need the A/C but I'd like the underside of the dash to look nicer. Do you have any ideas?

The car has been sitting in a dry area since the accident covered with a car cover and black plastic. Now that it seems to be getting a little moist outside I will be trying to move it indoors until it is time to go get fixed. I'm very wary of moisture getting in while the seals are out.

Thanks,

Matt
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Old 10-16-2005, 05:28 PM
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$13K to fix?? That car should have been totaled. Walk away and spend 13K on something newer that might even be worth $13K. Don't get emotional. There's a half dozen 911T on ebay today at bids under $8K. At least get a 911S if you want that vintage.
Or move up to SCs. I'm told they can be had for $10-12K perfect with all updates.
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Old 10-16-2005, 05:34 PM
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If you're shopping directly out of the Stoddard catalog (or wherever they got the numbers) its easy to get an astronomical price for parts. I will be able to put it into great condition for what the insurance gave me and have a great time doing it.

SCs are nice cars, but I'm a carb guy.

I've looked at several cars in the last couple of months and none of them have had quite what I'm looking for. I've gone so far as fly to Fort Worth (that white 67S sunroof that was on ebay a couple of weeks ago) and haven't found one that appeals to me quite as much as fixing my current car.
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Old 10-16-2005, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tsuter
$13K to fix?? That car should have been totaled. Walk away and spend 13K on something newer that might even be worth $13K. Don't get emotional. There's a half dozen 911T on ebay today at bids under $8K. At least get a 911S if you want that vintage.
Or move up to SCs. I'm told they can be had for $10-12K perfect with all updates.
I was wondering if you would chime in with your words of wisdom . I guess you never drove an enthusiests 911 .
My wife drives my 82` SC . She prefers her G35 in every respect .
My early cars I wont let her drive . Too much to lose if she wrecked .
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Old 10-16-2005, 06:07 PM
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Hello Matt:

I was born and raised in Arcadia. I still live right in the neighborhhod too (Monrovia).

If you think you can fix your 70T, definitely do it. That thing is waaay cooler than an SC--yuk (joking of course)!

It is good to have another Porsche lover in the area. All the other Porsche's in my immediate area are water cooled with the exception of one Porsche 910.

Anyway, welcome. I think saving your T is a very good thing that will bring you loads of good karma in the end.

Sincerely,

Mike
Old 10-16-2005, 06:11 PM
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I do agree with Tsuter that you should source another car and sell the wreckage . You could end up with $3-4k for that car . Add that to the claim payoff and find the year and color of your choice . $15k will buy you a very nice daily driver T model .

Kurt Williams
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Old 10-16-2005, 06:11 PM
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Kurt,

I thought long and hard about doing just that. I have been a similar situation before. My other car is a '66 mustang convertible that was stolen from my parents driveway and stripped out when I was a little kid. The insurance settled out with a clean title and enough money to get it the way it should be. I rebuilt that car with my dad when I was 16 and really enjoyed the project.

tsuter was right - there is an emotional attachment involved. However, I think that since its pretty much a wash financially between fixing and starting over I'd rather spend the time and get my car just the way I want it. Everyone needs a hobby, right?

Mike,

I work on Myrtle just south of Duarte, so I'm pretty familiar with the area. Maybe I've seen you around?

Matt
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Old 10-16-2005, 06:25 PM
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Matt, many of us will give you sane advice about moving on with your money and finding another car but it's advice that we probably wouldn't take ourselves.

I think it will be a great project to rebuild and it is likely that many of the ebay cars mentioned are rougher in person and have rust that the owners don't even know about.

My SC was damaged recently and the quote for a fender, wheel and some paint work was over 4500 bucks. Luckily the Jackass that caused the wreck had good insurance. It was Farm Bureau and they cut the check in 5 days.



Do what makes you happy because 99.5% of these cars are for driving and not investments. Good luck

Chuck
Old 10-16-2005, 06:48 PM
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Whether you buy my fender & hood or not, you made the right choice, because the rese of the car is a 'known quantity' as opposed to a $12K car that's being sold needing $2500 or more in repairs.
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Old 10-16-2005, 07:05 PM
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Bill and Chuck,

Thanks for the support, I figured I'd get a mixed reaction but I feel pretty satisfied that I'm doing what is best for me.
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Old 10-16-2005, 07:14 PM
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Matt On the subject of the coolaire a/c you can take it out(I ripped mine out. It was made of some real cheap plastic.) Then find some under dash knee guards and they will fit right in the place of the a/c under dash. It will give you more room also.
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Old 10-16-2005, 07:30 PM
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Tony,

I'll check that out, it would be a big improvement. That cheap plastic did not hold up well over the years compared to the rest of the car.
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Old 10-16-2005, 07:38 PM
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Matt, I looked carefully at the pictures of the damage and you are right: you are very lucky she clipped you on the front instead of hitting you broadside. There was some serious force involved to do that damage. Glad you're ok. Hold firm on your valuation and either the insurance company will come around or you can take them to small claims court. Give me a shout if you need some encouragement or suggestions on what to do.

Mike
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Old 10-16-2005, 07:40 PM
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Mike,

Yeah, she didn't even slow down and it took her over 50 yards to stop. The nice thing about mid afternoon is that there are plenty of witnesses.

I guess I wasn't very clear, I did settle the claim last week for a generous sum for repairs as I see fit and a clean title. As soon as I accumulate the necessary parts its going in.

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Old 10-16-2005, 07:56 PM
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