Rob Dickenson's 1969 Porsche 911RObsession
"Ya got too much shit with ya, boy."
That was Grandpa's way of telling me I over-packed for a hike. Although he was pushing 70, Grandpa could hike circles around me, largely because he made every step count. Grandpa wasn't into excessive living. He was a minimalist, a core-needs type guy. If something did not serve a purpose, it was jettisoned.
I'm pretty sure my grandpa was reincarnated as this yellow-brown 911R that now belongs to Rob Dickenson. Pared down to the bare essentials, it is loud, unpolished, the antithesis of smooth. It's a raw collection of mechanical bits bolted together with the sole purpose of going fast. In other words, it's perfect.
If you wanted to find a fantastic example of 1960s-era racing chic, look no further.
"The concept behind this car was to build an old-school caf racer brimming with parts cherry picked from 1967-1973, a defining era of 911 racing history," says Dickenson.
Obsession z Old School Cool
"It had to have a '60s vibe to it... no outrageous spoilers or wings but rather things like Talbot mirrors, a center-mounted fill tank and side-mounted oil coolers."
Dickenson bought the car in 2003 from Hans Lapine, head of modeling at VW's advanced studio then in Simi Valley (now in Santa Monica). Lapine's father was Tony Lapine, head of styling at Porsche in the '70s. Remember the 928? That was Tony's.
Hans had converted the transmission from the Sportmatic to a manual 901 'box. He kept the original 2.0-liter motor while Dickenson bought a '78 3.0 from one of his rolling models to replace it. Bob West in Oxnard did the engine conversion with Weber 40s, SSI heat exchangers and a custom muffler by Bob Wake. The subsequent work was handled by Dave Bouzaglou's TRE Motorsport in North Hollywood. TRE installed a new oil cooler in the right front fender and front brakes from a 3.2 Carrera including cross-drilled rotors. The rear brakes were left stock. A set of Bilstein Sport struts and shocks were installed along with 18mm front and 26mm rear torsion bars. The anti-roll bars are Carrera RS-spec units with a front RSR-spec strut brace. The rear flares were pulled twice at TRE by master metalworker Joe George. The paint is a slightly tweaked Bahama Yellow applied by Kevin Mentzer at Automotive Innovations in Van Nuys. Harvey Weidman refinished the Fuchs alloys in an RSR style including a rough, anodized surface. Tires are BF Goodrich Sport.
"It weighs 2,120 pounds and is loud, noisy and smelly. In truth, it's rather slow unless whipped," Dickenson says. "The engine has done well over 250k miles and leaks oil like a bastard. I just keep topping it up and it continues to go.
"The car gets regular outings to the track where I thrash it mercilessly. True to its Caf Racer inspiration (the rear badge reads 911CR) I use the car daily in Hollywood, hopping from one watering hole to the next in an attempt to look like I'm doing something useful.
"I'm closely affiliated with the RGruppe where I stand around at meetings pretending to be Steve McQueen, just like everybody else."
This style of Porsche is becoming popular with those looking to uncomplicate their driving experience. More than a few successful car designers and engineers own older 911s and keep them as pure as possible. It's a concept the RGruppe boys have taken to heart.
1969 911E Sportmatic
Longitudinal rear engine, rear-wheel drive
Rebuilt 3.0 SC motor from 1978 911, Weber 40mm carbs, SSI heat exchangers, custom TRE exhaust, RSR rear muffler
901 five-speed manual
Bilstein Sport struts and shocks, 18mm front and 26mm rear torsion bars. Carrera RS anti-roll bars. Front RSR strut brace
3.2 Carrera units with cross-drilled rotors (f),stock assemblies (r)
*Wheels and Tires
Fuchs alloys, 8.5x15 (f), 9x15 (r) BF Goodrich Sport, 205/50-15 (f), 225/50 (r)
Talbot mirrors, aluminum center fill tank, side mounted oil filler, 911R rear taillights, titanium 911R-inspired rear deck hinges glass-fiber rear decklid, custom rear fender flares
TRE roll bar, period late '60s Recaro racing bucket with regular sport Recaro for passenger retrimmed in basket weave vinyl with brass grommets, Momo Prototipo steering wheel, period radio (tuned to classic rock)