How to Find the Porsche Restoration Shop You Need!
Ok, so you want to restore the old Porsche and bring it back to its former glory. This sounds like a simple goal and indeed, there are a number of amazingly skilled shops out there that can do exactly that for you.
The question is, what do YOU mean by restoration? The term restoration essentially refers to taking an older Porsche and bringing it back to near new condition. However, as simple as this definition seems, there is a very vibrant divergence of skilled shops that have taken this concept in various different directions. From preservation, to restoration modification, to outlaw and concours – let us broaden your horizons to what’s possible with that old air-cooled gem.
What Do You Mean By Restoration?
Restoring a classic or vintage Porsche to its former glory is only half of the story in this dynamic and rapidly growing market place. If you’re looking for a restoration shop to take a 356, 911, 912, 914, 930 or 964 to a fully restored point, there are some amazing Porsche restoration shops around the country. We have a comprehensive list of them here.
It’s essential, however, to match your expectations of a Porsche restoration to those of a specific shop. The Restoration or Restomod of a Porsche has a number of variables that can dramatically affect outcome and cost.
So, you have to be clear of what you mean by restoration, before you begin a meaningful conversation with a shop. Buffing and restoring paint on a car is a radically different interpretation of restoration, when compared to the $1M concours rebuild of a rare Porsche. Here is how the market breaks out:
Driver Restoration or Preservation Shops
For many, this is a great way to go. A driver or street restoration or preservation is all about taking an older Porsche and keeping it in the best shape it can be in. Truly using preservation, might be the true meaning of the classic or vintage car.
At a recent cars and coffee meet locally, the conversation inevitably turned to, do you repaint and restore or leave the car with the original looks and issues that have developed over the years? Opinion was split, with some quite vocal on the “leave it original” side. There were also a number of unprompted and inappropriate stories shared of what happened in those front seats 50 years ago! Maybe the original memories prompt us to leave the car in the original condition?
There are a number of local shops with extensive skills to restore, maintain or preserve your Porsche listed here. In addition, many local specialist shops have skills and expertise stretching back to when many of these cars were new. So, they can easily preserve and maintain your classic for you.
Concours and Show Quality Restoration Shops
Full original concours cars are restored accurately, or as close to the way the original factory production intended. The key here is authenticity and originality – everything on the car should be original or replaced with a remanufactured part that matches the original in every detail. Generally, this should be reserved for rare or highly collectible examples of the Porsche brand.
A show quality restoration of a Porsche, on the other hand, typically produces a beautiful car that you can drive to show, wow the crowd and drive home. In this type of restoration, we’re not looking for perfect authenticity and we’re more focused on practical and beautiful results. This is a restoration that is suited for cars that are not so rare you dare not drive them. A show quality restoration is usually more than enough for most car collectors and sits at the high-quality end of the standard restoration business.
At this end of the market there are some wonderful craftsman who can re-create original parts. A good example would be Pete’s Custom Coachbuilding. Pete and his team of craftsmen focus on advanced metal-shaping fabrication – literally coachbuilding cars from the ground up. These types of skills are very rare these days.
Restoration Modification – Custom Built Porsche
They say you should never meet your heroes. So, you jump in the Porsche from the Steve McQueen era and after 5 minutes you realize that the pedals going the wrong way, the lumpy unresponsive air-cooled engine, the scary not quite there brakes, and the point and hope steering are not for you. Climbing out, you realize just how rough the ride really was and that those seats definitely wont work with your aging back! Hero to zero in a blink of an eye.
Enter Restomod (restoration modification). This is the art of taking an older car and updating all those tired old ways. A restomod car has the timeless appearance of the original classic, yet underneath the car is full of modern technology and high-performance parts. For example, this type of work gives you the beautiful aggressive looks of an air-cooled Porsche, combined with the smooth performance and comforts of a water-cooled car.
There are a number of companies around the country that specialize in restomod Porsche. Some, offer off-the-shelf designs while others lean towards a more bespoke way to build each car specifically to your individual tastes. A good example of that is Perfect Power, whose green monster, won the best air-cooled car at the 2019 Amelia Island show. Sol from Perfect Power, can essentially build you a modern high-performance monster in a classic design. That’s sure to put a big smile on your face!
Outlaw Porsche Customization
The outlaw style customization combines vintage Porsche looks with more modern components and in some cases, extreme body lines. The outlaw folks are not afraid to really alter the sheet metal and significantly change the look of cars. Think of this as genuine custom car stuff, just done on a Porsche platform.
The original outlaw style modifications to the 356 body are amazing to behold and highly desirable. However, some later outlaw cars often have moved into a significantly more questionable area with mechanical changes as well. For example, popping a Chevy V8 in the back of a 996 doesn’t seem like the right thing to do in terms of Porsche restoration!
More recently, some examples of heavily modified off-road Cayenne’s have appeared and a number of companies are seriously looking at ways to update and re-use these older SUVs.
We listed what seem to be the most serious players in the outlaw Porsche market here. This sector of the market is growing rapidly and will no doubt go through some serious changes over the next few years.
So, do you buy that new 992 or take an old classic and make it perform like you always thought it would?