This article was also published on our sister site, InspiringLifeOver50.com
The Official 924S944.com oldest Granddaughter will be fifteen years old this summer. In Florida, you can get a “restricted” driver’s license at 15, called a “learner’s permit” in other states. Her parents drive a Kia van and a Subaru BRZ (with a six-speed manual.). Since her dad/my son’s first car was a hand-me-down 1978 924, and he didn’t get killed in it, the thought naturally occurred that her first car may just be a 924S. Automatic.
We found and purchased a neglected automatic 924S here in central Florida last March with the intent of making it HER car. SHE would do all the work required to fix it up, and SHE would learn about her car and cars in general, along with tools, machines, shop equipment, cleanliness and such along the way. So with the new 924S944.com Global Headquarters up and running and her 15th coming up, it was time to take the covers off and get to work.
Last weekend we put the car on the concrete in front of the shop and she cleaned it inside and out. The car had not been driven in years, so there was a pretty good amount of gunk on it and in it.
This past weekend, the mechanicals become the focus. She installed a new battery and found that the starter would not turn. So she installed a new starter from the 924S944.com inventory and just like that – it turned over. Next was a compression check.
We showed her how to remove the plugs, then all four came out, followed by a compression check with a gauge that was at least sixty years old – a family heirloom. With Granddaughter on the gauge and the 10-year-old Grandson on the ignition key, she progressed from cylinder to cylinder. (One problem, though – reading the analog gauge…not so easy for a young-un in a digital world.) Anyway, the readings were all around 170, so the engine seemed to be healthy. New plugs, change the oil and filter, dump in fresh 93 octane, and guess what – it started. No smoke, but it took a bit for the lifters to quiet down.
Check the automatic transmission on the lift – the wheels spin like they are supposed to. Brakes are firm. So go for a little ride around the yard.
Runs and drives, turns and stops. Doesn’t get much better than that.
There are plans to redo the brakes completely, including rebuilding the calipers and doing new brake lines, rotor and master cylinder. Belts, hoses, fuel filter and fuel lines, water pump – all the normal things on the list of “neglected maintenance.” We also acknowledge that there will be some surprises. From there we go on to the cosmetics.
The white paint isn’t the best, but it isn’t bad, either. The jury is still out on whether we will bother with it. The interior needs new upholstery and carpets, which will be sourced in “her colors.” The original linen interior will be replaced with new dark blue carpet coupled with vinyl upholstery in cobalt blue with linen vinyl inserts to match the door panels. (Thanks to StockInteriors.com and Only944.com/Kyle Yost). We have used both vendor products for carpet and seats in the past and have been really satisfied with the results.
When the mechanicals are all sorted, we will drive the car around town to be sure that there aren’t any other little gremlins lurking. Then in late summer, she will begin her driving lessons in her refurbished-by-her Porsche 924S. She has already named her “Abigail.”
We are estimating that we will have less than $3,500 in the car when completed…not a bad deal at all. And as an added bonus, she will be able to continue to work on it herself with the help of a Dad and Granddad who have more than a little knowledge to share.
Giving a 16-year-old a Porsche to drive as a first car is a subject for debate. However, we had that same debate some twenty-five years ago with our own son, and we decided that it isn’t the car, it’s the driver. We trust in her, and we will provide her with all the care and teaching and lessons that we can provide. We know that she will need to acquire some good judgement and even a bit of wisdom along the way.
Whether it’s a 150 horsepower automatic 924S or a 150 horsepower automatic Kia, it really comes down to the nut that holds the wheel. She will build the car; her parents and grandparents will continue building the driver.
Kevin Duffy is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Daytona State College in Florida and a dedicated car guy. He divides his time between teaching criminal justice topics in the online environment and working on/driving cars, particularly Porsches. Kevin is one of the principals in InspiringLifeOver50.com.