1972 Porsche 911E
Porsche 911 "R"
Magnesium engine case, stroked 2.9-liter engine
Stayed in original owner's possession for over 26 years
Original ordering paperwork with listed options
Restoration done by Wilhoit Restorations
Large file of original documents and maintenance paperwork
Short 3rd, 4th and 5th gears with Quaife limited slip differential
Equipped with factory air conditioning
Upgrades done by Canepa in 2008
Ordered on March 9th 1971 and completed on September 8th, 1971, this Tangerine orange Porsche 911E began its life with Staff Sargent Willie J. Small. Originally intent on ordering a 1971, Small was told that Porsche was no longer taking orders for '71 cars at the time. Changing his original order to a 1972, he optioned the 911E with black leather seats, USA-equipment for left hand drive, factory air conditioning, a Blaupunkt "Frankfurt" radio, tinted glass all around and a rear tow hook for a total of $9,080.36. He shipped the Porsche from Stuttgart to Houston, Texas on December 17th of 1971 and started his 26+ year ownership of the car.
Shortly after the 911 was delivered to Small, records show that he and the Porsche moved to California. An ever-caring owner for his car, the 911 would remain well serviced during Small's entire ownership with numerous records and maintenance documents to show for it. With the last registration for the car indicating Willie being the owner in 1998, the Porsche would then change hands for the first time and be sold to John Wilhoit of Wilhoit Auto Restoration. Wilhoit purchased the car on behalf of its new owner, Carl Akins, in late 1999. With the 911 now in his possession, Akins would put the Porsche through a meticulous restoration that yielded the perfect result: A built, bespoke and truly world-class outlaw Porsche 911.
Beginning at the end of 1999, Akins would start the restoration process for the 911 and take more than two years to carry out this meticulous project. In charge of completing the restoration, Wilhoit began by stripping the Tangerine tub down to every last piece of hardware, cleaning and prepping the tub as they went along. Color matched to the original Tangerine orange from the Porsche factory, the now prepped Porsche tub was resprayed to perfection. The interior was given due attention, making sure that it would be something to enjoy being in at all times. Factory Sport Recaro seats were installed, along with the rest of the interior given new finishes and materials. With the rear seats removed to save weight, the interior was covered with leather. With the custom sound system installed by Wilhoit, the interior of this 911 causes feelings of withdrawal as soon as you step out of the car.
The mechanicals of any 911 restoration are something to spend some time on, but Akins decided that his car should be something unlike anything else underneath. Scott's Independent, Inc. in Anaheim, CA worked closely with Akins and Wilhoit throughout the build. The engine from the case up is anything but ordinary, sporting a NOS Porsche 911 magnesium crankcase, along with a NOS crankshaft. Custom Carillo connecting rods, Mahle 2.9 liter lightweight pistons and cylinders, special copper head gaskets, custom Elgin camshafts, racing valve springs and titanium retainers, magnesium throttle bodies ported to the Carrera heads, custom rebuilt mechanical fuel injection pump, twin-plugs with an ANDIAL distributor, and SSI headers with a custom sport exhaust that gives the 911 a spine-tingling wail at full throttle. This in combination with other engine components is good for a 257 naturally aspirated horsepower on the dyno, almost doubling the 911E's original output. Scott's also rebuilt the 5-speed transmission from the ground-up, adding a shorter 3rd, 4th and 5th gear to the box, a more modern shifter along with a Quaife limited slip differential.
Suspension was a critical component to harness all of the extra power now being created, and Wilhoit was keen on which modifications were needed. New bushings were installed everywhere, new torsion bars (22mm and 26mm), new sway bars, new Bilstein sport shocks and struts were added with raised and decambered spindles, new Porsche Boxster brake calipers with drilled rotors, stainless steel brake lines and Pagid sport pads taking care of the corners. Custom steel wheels were made by Wilhoit to have an understated presence but wide enough to use larger and stickier tires. New aluminum trailing arms, late adjustable spring plates, sport engine mounts, and a strut tower brace were added to ensure handling matched the car's newfound performance.
While these major upgrades were being completed, other items on the Porsche's list were checked off. Every piece of plating was refinished to factory specs, A/C lines and components were either replaced or rebuilt, new headlight and tail light assemblies were sourced, and NOS fog lamps were installed. Then as a special homage to the 911R, the 911E emblem was replaced with a custom badge that was created by a jeweler that was placed on the rear decklid. With its final pieces completed and assembled in early 2002, the Wilhoit and Scott's built 911 "R" was finished for Carl Akins to enjoy.
The 911 arrived at Canepa on February of 2008 with 6,201 miles on the odometer. Unsurprisingly, such a unique Porsche sold within a month of it arriving and would sell to its new owner on March 21st, 2008. Before leaving Canepa, the owner requested that a 1972 Porsche 911S bumper with splitter be added to the front of the car, giving the front end of the car a more aggressive presence. With its work done, the owner would take the car and put it in his collection and keep it for more than a decade.
Upon arriving back at Canepa just recently, the 911 was looked over with familiar eyes and does not disappoint. Restorations done by Wilhoit Automotive Restorations hold up quite well and stand the test of time, and this 911R homage is no different. The paint is in immaculate condition, with the interior looking as though the final pieces of leather were just stitched together and put into place inside. The engine growls at idle like a car that has something to hide, with its revving and acceleration letting you know there is something much more underneath than your regular flat six. Only needing a slight cleaning and a light foam pad polish to present the car as it looked a decade before, this Tangerine 911 "R" is sure to delight any Porsche fan. With its contemporary style with mechanical underpinnings intent on making the driver enjoy every minute of being in the 911, this is a driver's car through and through.
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