–by Ralf Dossmann, GGR Historian
Time flies… it’s hard to believe but 10 years have passed since the 50th anniversary of GGR and since I was honored by John Celona and the board to carry the club’s “Historian” badge. At the time, I had been the proud owner of a 1973 911T for a couple of years and felt the urge to get a bit, but not too much, involved in club activities. The “Nugget archival project” seemed just about right, and with the help of many local magazine donors we got it completed right in time for the big day in 2010. What a fest it was!
On and off over the past decade I thought of other potential contributions to the club, but life got in the way until… basically today!
Surprised that John would still answer my phone call and meet me for coffee at Peet’s in Belmont, he and I had started to discuss the idea of a “Historian blog” in which we would share stories and trivia around all things Porsche. So here we are, welcome to our first edition, right in time for GGR’s 60th anniversary. I truly hope this entry won’t be the only one… but you have to start somewhere to find out right?
For this first publication I wanted to share a personal Porsche story that goes back to October of last year:
I don’t know about some of you, but I tend to spend a good amount of time “window shopping” cars, especially Porsches, on craigslist and ebay. I am still the proud owner of the aforementioned 1973 911T (with flaws but in fairly original condition, which is exactly the way I like it). Being able to read up on other cars and their stories, look at pictures, compare similar cars and their features gives me some pleasure and relaxation. For years, I was also trying to find a car that would come “close” to mine in terms of year, model, mileage, condition etc.
So, one day back in October, I was out again window shopping and came across an ad on craigslist which looked very interesting. Those of you who follow the early 911 market know that there are far fewer early stage 911 ads on CL nowadays, compared to even 5 years ago. And you will understand that I got somewhat excited when I saw a 1973 911T posted in Burlingame, a few miles from my house. It was a 1973.5 CIS (like mine), a sunroof coupe (like mine), with some S-upgrades (like mine) and the seller had posted many pictures including one of the car’s VIN. Like most of you, I know my 911’s VIN by heart and immediately recognized the historical significance of this “finding” on CL: The other car’s VIN was only 8 (eight) lower than mine .. 911.310.1667 versus 911.310.1675, about 100 or so closer than anything else I had spotted over the years.
Both cars were manufactured in January of 1973 – of course I had to dig deeper. Were they possibly produced on the same day over 46 years ago? Would the seller agree to meet with us (my 911 and me) and be able to tell me more about his car? I immediately emailed the anonymized CL contact from the ad but didn’t get a reply in a couple of days. My second attempt was more successful and, long story short, the seller turned out to be a classic car dealer in Burlingame who sold the car on behalf of a long-time friend. John from West Coast Autosport invited us over the next weekend and the Porsche playdate was on! He is a nice guy, knows a thing or two about Porsches and we had a long chat. The car was very nice too, fairly original, and John was kind enough to open his lot for a quick photo shoot of both cars.
My next task was to solve the production date puzzle. Like most of you, I own a decent number of Porsche books. But all of those even in combination with the Internet would not be able to produce a reliable date. According to the Porsche 911 Red Book, 1944 1973.5 coupes were made for the US market in 1973.
Who would be able to help me? I remembered an acquaintance I made at the Porsche Parade in Monterey in 2014. Paul Gregor was the marketing manager for Porsche North America at the time. By coincidence (?), we ended up watching a FIFA soccer world cup match together in the sports bar of the Hyatt Regency hotel. He must have had a weak moment when he gave me one of his business cards. It turns out that over 5 years later he was still with Porsche and had even moved to Stuttgart in the meantime (more about Stuttgart in a future post, maybe). So, my email to him did not bounce back, in fact he responded the next day and told me he would get in touch with the Director of the Porsche Archive! I got really excited – again..
Here is what I received just a couple of days later:
- Date of invoice for both cars is the same
Date of production is not
As such, the two cars were not built on the same day
Difference for Chassis / final Assembly is one day (17 & 18)
o (this would be the production date)
Difference production date Gear Boxes one day (17 & 18)
Difference production date Engines two days (15 & 17)
This is the story of 2 cars that were in the same factory at the same time 46 years ago, and “met again” 46 years later and 6,000 miles away from Stuttgart.
John sold the car a few weeks later, I will hang on to mine for some time to come and may continue the quest for VINs 911.310.1674 or 911.310.1676. Anyone in the GG region drives a 1973.5 911T? Please check your VIN!
Thanks to John and Paul Gregor and his team. My first blog, ever, done. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and will ask for more. If you have suggestions for future topics, please send them along .