Around Sept 2000 I was talking to my wife about getting a project car (no more specifics) and extending the garage for the extra bay/workshop, to my amazement she was not only supportive but enthusiastic !!! So the plan began to take shape ....
We had drawings done for the workshop and I began to start looking around just to get an idea (you know how it goes) for a suitable car. I like my 91 just the way it is, so what would compliment it ......
So time to get the track bug me thinks, waaaaaay back after I had just got married my friend Rad (who went on to be a 911 owner) and I came up with a plan down at the pub to race a 924 in the Porsche series. We worked out the budget and that we'd take it in turns to drive, of course the plan got better the more beers we consumed. Upon returning home we sat down and I began to explain the plan, I hadn't got much beyond car & race when an evil of immense proportions came my way. Rad went very quiet and I was told in no uncertain terms that I had responsibilities now .... I guess she saw car & death :-( Many years later I am obviously much more mature etc .... track here we come.
An early S4 5 speed in good mechanical health would seem like a starting point, don't want any garage queens as modifications will be needed. At the end of October while in the UK a candidate came up but by the time I had seen it and enquired it had gone. Well I kept looking and in February decided to give Mike a call in NC to see if his car was still up for grabs, I had not gone this far afield before for obvious reasons but I thought well we'll see how it goes and if it works out great, otherwise nothing lost.
It was highly unlikely I would be able to see the car in person so I posted a message on Rennlist asking for volunteers to give the car a once over, Randy Page was the first to reply and managed to drop by on a business visit which was very much appreciated. See his report here.
Mike has a custom exhaust with a cat bypass, he had put the cat back on about a week before and was lacking the correct hardware so one of the exhaust clamps was coming loose, this was the ominous rattle Randy had heard. Mike was also kind enough to put me in touch with prior owner John Ogle who had owned the car for 4 years, is a PCA member and a 928 mechanic.
I called John who was very talkative and more than willing to bend my ear about 928's and his old S4, seems I got to know more about the cars history than Mike !!! So John got hold of the car after a divorce dispute and the car was found in some woods with all the glass smashed, this explains the scratches (from being driven into the woods) and trim missing around the windows. A result of missing windows meant there was water damage to the interior, warped rear panels and the seats were a mess, quarter panels were replaced with fiber glass items from an 81 and the seats were re-upholstered in vinyl (hmmmmm).
John was also a DE enthusiast and took too many revs in a long turn and blew the original engine (spun a rod), he replaced it with one from a fire damaged 88, stripped it to the short block and replaced all gaskets/belts etc ...and fitted the GTS oil pan baffle. Mileage on the 88 engine was 62K and he said he had 5-10K on the engine when he sold it. Also during his ownership 5th gear syncro went south, stripped the gearbox but apart from the syncro everything looked good.
Air con had also been upgraded to 134, presumably during the engine replacement, guess why John sold the car ?? Needed the money for a divorce settlement !! This car is tainted !!!
It was refreshing to hear an honest opinion on the car and with this information and Randy's report I decided the car was nearly exactly what I was looking for, mechanically sound but cosmetically challenged. Burgundy is not my favorite interior color so if it didn't look great, a good excuse to update and change the color !!
So made Mike an offer and after mulling it over he accepted, now to get the car back. Not long after I was having a beer with fellow 928er Levi and mentioned what was going on, well it so happened he was in between contracts and if I wanted he would drive it back for me, cool. Cheapest enclosed transport was a whopping $1650 so driving it back looked more cost effective.
Then the car started acting up, it would stall for no apparent reason and the only way to get it going was to remove and re-attach the battery. At first it was very intermittent and then a week later it was nearly impossible to drive, after a number of false leads turned out to be the EZK unit. Mike fixed this and also gave the car an oil and filter change for the journey. During this debug time Levi had a contract come up and didn't look like he would be able to make it but we found a cheap flight that worked, March 19th turned out to be the big pick up day.