This is the eighth in a series by Howard LaPlante on his early experiences with cars.
The 1966 Porsche 911 was not up to the usual quality standards that I had come to expect after enjoying the 1965 356 C. As I had mentioned, the 911 had many problems, but the worst by far were the many oil leaks. When the dealership requested that I bring the car in and leave it for a week or so. It became apparent that the factory was aware of the problems. They tore the engine down and replaced all the oil seals and gaskets! This solved the oil leak problems. However, the Solex carburetors still gave problems ( erratic idle, flat spots at certain RPMs.) But it was still the most arresting car on the road!
Please excuse me as I go back a few years in my memories. It has just come to me that there was an incident that occurred when I was still in the farm equipment business that is worth telling. I had a mechanic's helper named Butch. He was a real character! For instance, he always predicted the weather for the month ahead by the weather on the last Friday of the month. When the weather differed, he always had an excuse. We gave him a hard time, but he was a dependable, hard worker.
Butch had always driven Ford cars. He had bought a new Chevrolet in 1928. But that purchase only lasted until he drove home from the dealership, stopped at the mailbox. After stopping, the car would not move! The differential had stripped a gear! He found a ride back to town to the Ford dealer and traded the Chevrolet for a new Ford Model T! He stuck with Fords after that! Now in 1961 he traded his 1950 Ford for a new Ford Falcon Futura, 2-door coupe, very new, very different; it had bucket seats with seat belts and a 101-HP, 170-CID, 6-cylinder engine. Ford advertised the car as having outstanding fuel economy, 30 MPG! Butch was very proud of his new car. In fact, we all soon became rather tired of his bragging about the wonderful fuel economy! One of the mechanics and I came up with a practical joke. We knew that Butch filled up with gas on Friday night. Without telling anyone, on the following Wednesday we put a gallon of gas in his car. The next week he was bragging about his gas mileage! The next week we put in two gallons, his bragging increased! The next week we put in three gallons! Oh but he was exuberant, it was beyond belief! We managed to keep a straight face!
Then the next week we siphoned out a gallon! Butch did not say anything! The next week we siphoned out two gallons! Butch was very quiet! The next week three gallons! Butch took the car back to the Ford dealership and complained! They told him that "gas mileage did vary a great deal when the car was getting broken-in." Butch never said anything more about gas mileage! And neither did we!
Back to 1967 – the 1966 911 continued to aggravate me every time that I drove the car. It was just not anywhere as good a car as the 1965 356 C. So when the dealership approached me with a possible trade for a new 1967 Porsche, I was rather open to a trade. The dealership had a car that really caught my attention, Irish Green with a brown interior with houndstooth cloth inserts, seat belts, and the new Fuch forged alloy wheels. (The same wheels that were on the new 911S !) Also a wood-rim steering wheel, and Blaupunkt radio with short wave!
A trade was made. The car was now back up to the standard that I had come to expect after owning the 1965 356C! An enjoyable car in every way! Many wonderful, carefree miles were put on this car. It elicited admiring glances and comments everywhere I went. This car stayed with me for two years, despite the best efforts of the dealership to arrange a trade. Not only was I very happy with the 1967 model, but, the 1968 models were the first year of major emission control regulations that required an air pump on the engine. This resulted in a lot of backfiring. In addition, the car now had the federally-required side reflectors on the side of the car just ahead and back of the parking lights. Not pretty! The car was not to my liking, and besides I really liked my Irish Green 1967 911!
To be continued.