A Morning Coffee in Georgetown-356SC

April 8, 2022
Cameron Luther
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In late March we had a week off of school and I took full advantage of that by going home to work on some of my families cars and getting everything out and exercised. This included the 1965 356SC sunroof coupe which I took to McPherson College my freshman year and for which this website is centered. This car has just the right mix of patina, both original and older finishes, mechanical refinement, and style with the bumper badges, 4.5 inch Fuchs, ski rack etc. Other 356s will be experienced but this will always be the car which I reference as a great driving experience.

I wanted to do a proper drive in the SC aside from just taking it out and getting it up to temperature. I was on the phone with a good friend from Potomac who suggested I go into Georgetown, DC first thing in the morning for a cappuccino. It was a simple trip like this which led to a whole vintage car adventure. Around 6 I back out of the driveway, taking a detour on the way to M street to be able to traverse the Chain Bridge and snake up Clara Barton Parkway on the way in.

I had so much fun driving into a relatively empty Georgetown, a sight similar to a blue moon, and walking around as the city started to come to life, that when my Father and I were taking out our Irish Green 77 targa later in the week, we decided to do the same thing.

One street I enjoyed in particular was Cecil Place. It stems right off off the C&O Canal so I spotted some of its picturesque homes while sitting on the front patio at Blue Bottle. It is an interesting spot as its a quiet little neighborhood right in the middle of one of the busiest parts of Georgetown. The blooming cherry blossoms and bright colored store fronts certainly provided a nice photo opportunity.

I really enjoyed exploring undiscovered alcoves and storefronts right in my own “backyard”, and would recommend this route to anyone looking to do something a little bit different one morning, just go early enough to beat DC traffic! Below I have linked a video of the first trip, if you have a Porsche or other sports car you would like to sell email me at cameronsluther@gmail.com.

250 GTO Encounter-Amelia Island 2022

April 3, 2022
Cameron Luther
0

This years Amelia Island was definitely one of the highlights of my spring, it was also an interesting year for Amelia, as the event returned to early March, and has been acquired by Hagerty. I arrived Friday afternoon and went straight to meet my father and some friends at the Gooding and Company sale. David Gooding and his team always gather a great selection of sports cars and other vintage cars for their sales, but this one spoke to me in particular, featuring many Porsche factory race cars, like this 1974 IROC RSR, driven by AJ Foyt. This 3.0 litre RSR brought 1.475 million dollars, over 100,000 above the high estimate, and arguably a fair price for 1 of only 15 chassis built for the IROC series.

This may look like a 904, but the chassis tags label it as a 906, and the catalogue labels it as a “904/6”. So the story with this, and 5 others like it, is that they were the first 6 906s which Porsches built. The tubular chassis is closer to a 906 than a 904, but it has a 904 body draped over it. This is how they left the factory, though they were all factory werks cars powered by a 2.0 litre flat 6 rather than a 4-cam. This Porsche hammered at 2 million even and was purchased by a collector sitting behind me who has already street driven it! This unique 904/6’s value presents a perfect situation for the phrase “Find Another”.

This is the first 2000 GT Toyota produced, and it was campaigned by Shelby American Racing when new. A regular 2000 GT is already a highly desirable vehicle, and one converted in period by Carrol Shelby has to be the ultimate example next to the car used in the James Bond film “You Only Live Twice”. If you collect Shelby related sports and racing cars this is a must have for the ultimate collection of them and this is the only one.

Which strolling between the RM Sothebys auction and the front driveway of The Ritz Carlton, I noticed some interesting cars parked up in preparation for Sundays Concours. The 917 on the left is 917-015, belonging t0 Bruce Canepa, it is a gulf 917K which achieved first overall at the 1970 24 Hours of Daytona. Under the cover next to the 917 is a very special car we will discuss below. All the way on the right is a BMW E36 M3 finished in the ultra rare shade of Mint Green, presented by Gabe Nakash.

This 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO series one was featured in a class entirely made up of red Ferraris during Sundays Concourse portion of  “The Amelia”, it is always surreal to see one of the original 35 cars built in the flesh, and to hear it run was the cherry on top.(Seen in a Youtube video below)

This 1968 Porsche 907 was part of the iconic 1-2 finish at that years Sebring 12 Hours. It is fresh out of a restoration and was presented by Canepa Motorsports. I was amazed at the correctness of this restoration, in particular the chalky sheen of the paint which is talked about a lot on this era of fiberglass Porsche prototype racers looked just right.

Here is the aforementioned “car under the cover”, a Cunningham C4R. This was presented by The Miles Collier Collections at The Revs Institute and is the only unrestored C4R of the two which exist. This car along with its twin C4RK were retained by Briggs Cunningham until moving to The Revs where they reside today. I was able to spend a lot of time studying both of these while interning with The Revs this summer and they are truly mesmerizing in original finishes and incredible history, being American built cars which competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1952.

This Murphy bodied Duesenburg Model J Roadster comes from the family collection of Judge North. It was given to the Judge by his father in college and remains in the same unrestored condition today.

Here is the fastest Porsche 935 built and the last 935 to race at the 24 Hours of Daytona, winning overall. It was constructed and run by Kevin Jeanette with Preston Henn. Henn’s businesses “The T-Bird Drive In” and “Swap Shop”, along with Brumos, were sponsors of the racing Porsche. This car has never been restored.

Porsches most significant win at Daytona was arguably in 1973 when this 2.8 litre RSR, driven by Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood, won First overall against all the GT and Prototype class competitors! It was a true battle to the end with the body sustaining lots of damage at the time, the interior still seems to present a lot of original materials and finishes.

Here is another look at the Swap Shop 935, with a mechanically injected twin turbo flat 6 but together by Alwin Springer at ANDIAL, the company responsible for putting together many winning racing Porsche engines at Daytona and Pikes Peak.

This Porsche 550 Spyder is 550-0031. In 1956, a young Swiss engineering student convinced his uncle to let him try out some engineering principles on his newly acquired 550. He designed and fabricated the adjustable wing and it was tested during the 1956 Nurburgring 1000 km. It was so successful in qualifying that it was immediately banned.

Here is a vehicle which I did not fully understand until my friend Stephen circled me back around for a second, more detailed look. This is the BMW M8 Prototype, which is a wild one off, no limits to the engineers imagination creation, powered by an individually throttle body injected v12. If this engine sounds familiar, it should as it is the same power plant used in the elusive McLaren F1. This M8 has hundreds of other one off details inside and out and is truly a treat to see in person, from what I hear this is one of the only times it has left the factory in Munich.

I spotted this parked by the side of the road on the way out. It is a 1976 912E, finished in Bitter Chocolate Brown with a Cork vinyl interior. This was special for me to see in person as it is the same color combination as my 1977 911S was delivered in and I have never seen the spec in person.

It was great to catch up with the Alumni and the National Advisory Board members of the McPherson College of Auto Restoration, and a special thank you to Matt Goist for providing the Model J for the occasion. Below I have linked a short video from The Amelia. If you have a vintage sports or racing you would like to sell please email me at cameronsluther@gmail.com.

1977 911S-Trim Disassembly

March 29, 2022
Cameron Luther
0

Progress continues on my 1977 911S coupe, and some interesting discoveries have been made. As I have been going through the process of disassembling all the exterior trim, I have been stockpiling supplies to strip and refinish the paint. The second owner of this 911 always referred to its original shade as Sepia, so I never bothered to check the factory color code, stamped into the drivers side door jam, until now. As it turns out, the non-metallic brown offered in 1977 was Bitter Chocolate, or Cockney Brown. With this in mind I had a batch of solvent based single stage paint and primers mixed using the factories color codes. One thing I wanted to do off the bat was to remove all of the air conditioning components. This is a dealer installed unit, and therefore it will remain on the shelf, this will lighten the car a considerable amount and it will present closer to the way it was originally configured at the factory in 1977.

My only experience in G-model 911 trim disassembly prior to this moment was removing the front bumper and lower facia from another 77, an Irish Green Targa for repainting when I was 16 working for Tag Motorwerks. I definitely learned a lot of things about these cars through this process, and the condition of mine in particular. Lots of trim needs to be refinished, repaired, or replaced, but I didn’t get into this project to complete it to a standard less than that which I am capable of, so it will be done correctly no matter how long that takes me.

Another positive surprise was the abundance of areas which, when cleaned up, reveal factory Chocolate paint. These included the inner fenders as well as the engine bay, and certain sections of the door jams and window frames. I did find a few minor areas which need metal work related to isolated rust and small damage, but nothing which can’t be fixed.

The next steps will be to remove the sunroof and other small components prior to masking all openings and chemical stripping, which I was originally going to do to the floors as well, but will now be leaving them alone because of the level of originality which they exhibit. I have link a Youtube video below documenting the process. If you have a similar car I would love to hear its story and I am always interested in purchasing vintage sports and racing cars, so email me any time at cameronsluther@gmail.com.

1977 911S-The Journey to Sepia Begins

January 29, 2022
Cameron Luther
0

This is my 911, it’s a 1977 Porsche 911S coupe which was finished from the factory in sepia brown with a cork full vinyl interior. It is a US spec car, although it was fitted early on with European specification heat exchangers and amber Euro taillights. I fitted Bosch H4 headlights and a Bursch sport muffler, as it had a stock style Dansk unit fitted and I am on the hunt for a factory Bischoff 74-77 Euro muffler. What attracts me so much to a 77 is the weight. 77 is the last year of both the magnesium engine and transmission case, as well as the final year of the narrow fender square wheel offset cars. This combination gives the car such a nimble feel.

The car had AC installed by the dealer, and as I want it to be configured how the factory built the car, I will remove the unit, document it and shelf it. I chased this car while working in a Porsche independent shop throughout high school, and finally was about to purchase it in December of 2019 while attending my freshman year at the McPherson College of Automotive Restoration. After getting the car running and fixing the brakes I was off! I drove it out to Kansas from Alexandria, Virginia.

This car means a lot to me because it was owned since 1981 by the man who mentored me and taught me everything I know about working on vintage Porsches. When the time came to pull the engine for a look at the top end, I decided that if I was ever going to return it to its original specifications, the time was now. I don’t intend to do anything half way so the body and the whole undercarriage will be refinished in sepia, after being chemically stripped by hand to bare metal. Because of this I decided to acquire a Stoddard Body cart and spent an afternoon with A Lot of help from my classmates, getting it mounted.

The next steps will be removing all the trim and stripping the body panels, all of which will be documented here through blogs and videos. If you have a car like this or any other interesting vintage sports or racing car I would love to hear it’s story. Contact me anytime at cameronsluther@gmail.com Photos courtesy of Mason Duffy and Porsche Club of America.

 

E-Type Engine Removal

December 12, 2021
Cameron Luther
0

This is a 1968 Jaguar E-Type roadster, commonly known as a series 1.5, differs from a series 1 in its headlights, center switches, and some minor mechanical details. These cars present an interesting bridge in the gap between the series one and two.

Still being powered by the same 4.2L inline six as the 4.2 series ones, produced between 65 and 67, this roadster is arguably the most quintessential  E with a full synchro 4 speed gearbox and British racing green paint.

This Jag belongs to a friend who has entrusted me with carrying out a mechanical restoration. The car was bought out of an estate with unknown mechanical history, and the engine is locked up. Over this series of blogs we will be disassembling the car, restoring most mechanical components, and reassembling with the intention of perfect mechanical operation.

With any E it is highly helpful to remove the bonnet in order to get access to the engine and front suspension, but it is important to note it is a steel panel. This makes it massively heavy and so it should be done with at least one other person.

For storage purposes it is best to put it on on its end and make sure all the edges touching the ground are protected.

Removing this massive cast iron inline six was certainly a change of pace from Porsche engines which can be taken out in a day or less,  but I have learned so much already and really love XKEs so the more I can understand about their mechanical workings the better.

After some investigating it looks like the head gasket was replaced without resurfacing the block or head and so it never stood a chance as far as sealing properly. Luckily everything looks to be in nice original shape so the goal is to make it look like no one has messed with it, but have it running as it did when new, if not better. A video of the disassembly is linked below. If you have an interesting of vintage sports car I would love to purchase it, email me at cameronsluther@gmail.com

Pink Pig 356-On the Road

December 7, 2021
Cameron Luther
0

This 1965 356SC “Pink Pig” was raced in the 1994 La Carrera PanAmericana by its constructor, Klaus Selbert. I met Klaus and purchased the car from him last winter, and have been working to get it roadworthy since.

Klaus took the car to La Carrera and a few other driving events and since the late 90’s it was stored inside.

I rebuilt the fuel and braking systems, but I was having some issues with the car going lean from 4-6 thousand rpm. Luckily I was able to bring it into my schools open shop and diagnose it with professor Curt Goodwin, and my friend Cole Miller

With the float height readjusted and main jets cleaned we were off to the races, Viva La Carrera! If you have an interesting sports car I would love to know the story about it and purchase it, email me at cameronsluther@gmail.com. Video below

 

Amelia Island Concours 2021

June 6, 2021
Cameron Luther
0

 This year’s Amelia Island Concours was an absolute success, it was definitely an amazing effort by Bill Warner and the team who put it on because it is really the first major car event post Covid and it was no small feat to be certain. I was super glad to be a part of it and thankful to the McPherson College of Automotive Restoration for allowing me to come along on the trip. One of the features was a class of 935s and included in that class was this 934.5 belonging to David MacNeil.

In the days prior to the Concours itself, there are forums, auctions, and other smaller shows occurring so it is definitely worth coming a couple days before Sunday for those events. Incredible things can be seen around the Ritz and in this case in the parking garage with an alpha 6C and a 56 speedster.

Something which made this Amelia Island particularly stand out from others was it was also the start of my summer internship with Revs Institute in Naples Florida. They brought seven cars to the event and I was able to work with the team that was on site there and had a fantastic time meeting them prior to starting at the museum. Here I am with Pedro Vela, a member of the Revs team who is super active in caring for their cars at events as well as restoration and preservation work on the museums Automobiles. Here we are in the McLaren F1 022 which was shown at the cars and coffee and the concour. It was incredible to experience a car which has played such a large role in automotive history and one which is so different from anything else offered today as far as supercars.

022 was featured at the McLaren dinner Friday night and so we were tasked with putting it in the ballroom which was quite an interesting process to be a part of.

Here is a really special Corvette both to enthusiasts of Corvette and enthusiasts of sports car racing due to its significant race history at the 1960 24 hrs. of Le Mans under Briggs Cunningham. It is owned by Lance Miller, who, with his father Chip put on Corvettes at Carlisle and have been collecting rare Corvettes for many years. Unfortunately his father passed away a few years ago but his legacy is carried on through Lance showing car .

Prior to experiencing chassis 022 I had been aware of the McLaren F1 and had many friends that saw it as their dream car. I knew they were special cars but really learning about one and experiencing it in person definitely shifted my understanding and appreciation for the engineering and design that went into them.

One thing I was really looking forward to seeing in person was the sale of this 1960 Corvette. It is related to the above number three car in that this is the number one car which Briggs Cunningham campaigned at Le Mans, and the car which he piloted. Like the number three car it was converted back to a road car by Bill Frick after the race, though unlike the number three car, it was then heavily modified over the years. It no longer retains its engine or transmission but the important thing which it retains is it’s chassis tag as the bodywork and interior are so altered that the next owner will be affectively restoring the car around that tag. This car is also particularly interesting because it was discovered by Lance Miller and was initially bought by Kevin McKay the authority on Corvettes, who had discovered number three for Chip Miller. So they had somewhat of a promise that if they found the other car Kevin would receive it. The unfortunate thing is that legal battles ensued over ownership of a third-party someone who claimed their father had owned the car in the 70s and that it was stolen out of his driveway. The interesting thing about that is that all those legal battles and controversy were covered in articles in Sports Car Market and so it was very publicly known in the vintage car world. Despite this none of that was mentioned in the auction catalog or any of the press releases before the auction. Luckily, rumor is the new owner is the grandson of Briggs Cunningham and the car will be correctly restored and the Cunningham family will have an heirloom returned to them after so many years. It sold for $685,000 which was well under the one to $1.5 million estimate, so I am happy that the buyer was able to get a deal on the car but I feel bad for the two people who owned it prior to the auction that fought over it in court for many years and I’m sure spent far greater than the sale price of the car trying to claim ownership.

This is a great 935 which was restored a couple of years ago by Kevin Jeanette and his team at Gunnar Racing and debuted at the last Rennsport Reunion. It presents fantastically as all their restorations do and I loved the touch of the pink pig livery car cover.

The is quite an interesting car, it’s a Ferrari 275Gtb competition speciale which was raced by the Scuderia Ferrari team at the 24 hours of  Le Mans in 1965 and then went through a couple of private owners after that, the last of which being Preston hen who owns the swap shop in Florida. This car is been on display there as have many others for many years. He recently passed away but his wife is still showing the cars which is great to see, and this car is also maintained by Gunnar Racing.

On the surface this Corvette may look like stock stock 56 with a cool preserved 60s custom paint job, but in addition to that it is quite a special factory experimental car to develop the Rochester fuel injection for the street cars. It raced as well in the Bahamas speed week and the factory applied white with blue stripes is below the gold paint so the owner is having the gold paint effectively surgically removed to expose the original liverie.

Speaking of special 275Gtbs here is a four cam model with many unique features optioned through the factory, and the coach work of course in this case custom being carried out by Pinnin Farina. This car is cared for by Paul Russell and Company and is presented in largely original condition with its perfectly worn green leather interior just begging for its owner to hop in and take it down an interesting road, also worth mentioning is the color combination overall of this champagne color with green which I’ve certainly never seen on a Ferrari let alone any sports car so it is welcoming to see, as unique colors are just a bit more interesting.

I achieved a dream of mine during Amelia Island with help from McPherson College as well as Revs Institute which was being in a car at a Concours as it took the awards stand, and in a McLaren F1 no less it was a surreal experience. In this picture we are flanked on the right by Cam Ingram and his client in a split window Pre A 356 with tons of unique features to the 1952 model year. Cam operates Road scholars in Durham, North Carolina, one the finest Porsche Restoration facilities in the world.

Rolling on to the Concours field is the 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker with a stunning body which is evocative of prewar boats and planes. This particular car achieved best of show at the 2017 Pebble Beach concour and for good reason it is elegant sporty and restored to perfection with respect to being correctly done.

On my way out of town I was able to visit Dan Davis at The Brumos Collection. Brumos Porsche has played such a large role in the history of Porsche and particularly in their competition within the United States. The facility is modeled after a Ford plant it is a beautiful brick building with large windows, but don’t be fooled by it’s vintage looking exterior the interior is completely state of the art and the cars are in an ideal climate. This is really the ultimate home for any car collection but especially for a group of Porsches which are tied to such a long legacy of racing in America it is an example to be set in the execution of a publicly shown collection or museum.

This was a fantastic event and it makes me that much more excited for the Monterey Car Week and The Pebble Beach Concours because of how seamlessly this event was put together despite the year which COVID-19 has occupied. Below I have linked my video coverage from the event. I am super interested in vintage European sports cars and vintage competition and racing cars and I’m always looking to buy and collect them. If you or someone you know has one I would love to discuss it with you. Shoot me an email anytime at cameronsluther@gmail.com

 

La Carrera 356-Ate Brakes Rebuild

March 15, 2021
Cameron Luther
0

One of the items that needed to be addressed on this 356 and any car that has been sitting for multiple years is an overhaul or rebuild of the braking system. In this case it is a custom set up of Ate 924 front calipers, stock 356C rear calipers and an Ate dual master cylinder for what I believe would be an early short wheelbase 911/912.

Necessary tools for this job are a synthetic lubricant for reassembly, WD-40 or something similar for cleaning up caliper piston cylinders, a grease gun or hydraulic gun of some sort which can transfer hydraulic pressure, a set of caliper kits, and ideally a tray of some sort to retain any liquid which comes out of the calipers as you disassemble and reassemble them.

Part of the reason why this 356 features 924 front calipers is that it has a 924 front steering rack. This was so that when it was running the 2000 mile La Carrera PanAmericana race the stock torsion bars would not become compromised, and instead it has McPherson strut front suspension. Attached below is a video of the whole process. If you or someone you know has a car like this or just an interesting old sports car or a vintage car be sure to shoot me an email at cameronsluther@gmail.com.

La Carrera 356-Weber IDF Rebuild

March 13, 2021
Cameron Luther
0

These are a set of Italian built Weber IDF downdraft carburetors which are mostly seen in Porsche four-cylinder applications. They belong to a 1964 356C, but are not factory items on this car. This is a custom built car for the La Carrera PanAmericana race in Mexico and part of that is that it got these Webers for increased performance on this 2000 mile endurance race. The car ran the event in 1994 and has largely not been driven since that time. I am bringing the 356 back to roadworthyness and part of that is going through and disassembling, cleaning, and re-gasketing these carbs.

Here’s the car. I will do a full length feature on its backstory and the man who conceived it. Below is a link to a YouTube video in which I rebuild the carburetors. If you or someone you know has an interesting vintage sports car or any vintage car with a cool story be sure to email me at cameronsluther@gmail.com.

 

Potomac Cars and Coffee

December 15, 2020
Cameron Luther
0

This past Sunday we had perfect sunny weather in the middle of December, so it was the perfect day to take out the 365SC for a drive up the GW Parkway to the cars and coffee held in Potomac, Maryland.

Part of what makes an event like this fun are the roads on the way to and from and surrounding them, winding twisty sections perfect for a Porsche or other european classic sports car like this Mercedes 250SL.

After the event I drove the car around the area pretty much all day and it served as a great reminder of the durability of the 356 as a classic car. The car exhibited the exotic handling and a great sound of the fairly simple pushrod flat four on its factory Solex Carburetors.

I was able to ride in a friends Ferrari 308 which had a lot of similar traits to a 911. It felt light and nimble in corners, it was not supercar fast on paper but was very visceral in reality, and especially with the targa panel removed the stock exhaust tone, these added to the overall quick feel of the car.

I was also able to ride in a Lamborghini Countach in amazing untouched original condition with wear and patina in all the right places. I got the full experience with this Italian Bull as you will see in my latest Youtube video linked below. If you have a car similar to the ones mentioned in this blog I would love to buy it or even just hear the story on it. Feel free to email me any time, cameronsluther@gmail.com.

Potomac Cars and Coffee Video