Featured: GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our 1972 Porsche 911S Targa Film Shoot In England

GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our 1972 Porsche 911S Targa Film Shoot In England

By Petrolicious Productions
March 19, 2019

You’re a Porsche enthusiast running his own restoration and sales operation in the UK. A client’s request for a 1973 Carrera RS sends you to Japan to inspect a possible candidate, and the shop owner mentions another unique Porsche you should see before you fly home later that day. You find a rusty, dust-covered Targa that hasn’t moved for decades. What do you do? For Alan Drayson, founder and proprietor of Canford Classics, the decision was simple: it had to be saved. Saved, but not restored, for how could you erase the history of a Japanese 911 barn find in pursuit of a shinier coat of paint?

As Alan puts it, “You used to see old cars on the road.” Today that’s not really the case like it was even just a decade ago, and it’s especially rare to see anything from the enthusiast set of automobiles that hasn’t been at least partially restored. That’s not to cast shade on a nicely done restoration job—Alan has made a living doing this kind of work at Canford—but there are certainly more cars being “brought back to their original condition” (AKA, erasing originality—funny how that works) than there need to be. It’s sort of like the de facto response to any classic car with a history or even a hint of value appreciation that isn’t in brand-new condition: restore it!

Bringing back rusted shells that would otherwise turn into scrap metal can be considered a noble action, but we still need some imperfect examples of old cars to balance out the scales. This 1972 911 S Targa is the perfect example.

To begin with, it’s a pretty rare bird spec-wise: left-hand drive but a Japanese-market car, a 2.4 S model in Targa configuration. Beyond that, it only has 52,000 original kilometers registered on the odometer, and Alan says this Porsche has been off the road far longer than it’s been on it since 1972. The car came to him—as they so often do—when he wasn’t looking for it.

After completing his phD in geomorphology, Alan’s wife (then-girlfriend) convinced him to keep pursuing his work with classic cars (throughout his university years Alan would work on cars at night and on the weekends, which helps to explain why a young college kid was driving a Signal Orange 911 to classes every day!, and Canford Classics was the operation that came of that conversation. Fast-forward to the more recent past, and a client of Canford Classics has tasked Alan with sourcing a 1973 Carrera RS.

Alan’s friends in Japan had a car in mind for him to come check out, and so Alan made a quick day trip from England to Japan to vet the car. With just enough time to spare before his flight back home, he has time to check out another early Porsche 911 that his Japanese hosts think he might be interested in. That car is this car, the rusty and crusty but original 911S Targa starring in today’s film.

In shiny post-resto condition, it would still make for a compelling car given its spec and history, but to do a thorough overhaul would remove part of that equation. A car that has mostly sat parked in unceremonious storage will have a different kind of patina than the type that’s earned at the track but that doesn’t mean the story needs to be glossed over with a fresh coat of paint and some patches of fresh metal spliced into the rust spots. Talking about the rapid rise in the classic 911 market that took place over the last decade is to beat the deadest of horses, but this car stands as a refreshing antidote to every rushed resto that the 911 price chart compels people toward. If you saw this Targa parked next to a pristine example of itself at a car show, which one are you going to look at first? Which owner would you be more interested in meeting?

Drive Tastefully®

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dave wakaman
dave wakaman
5 years ago

Nice film and article, and a nice guy too, who once stopped to see if he could help with my stricken classic car (not a Porsche!)
There is definitely a feeling of a “kick-back” against trying to make old cars new again. Recently spoken to a fella commuting throughout the winter in his ’59 MGA – looked as rough as old boots and all maybe all the better for it.
And Alan is right: once seeing a car that wore its’ history honestly, warts and all, was common place, not now.

5 years ago

It is such a nice car.
Seeing all the cars getting redone and they look like from the factory is somewhat nice but, in my opinion, takes away from the character each car has developed over the years of ownership. This is the reasone I love seeing unrestored cars so much.

Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer
5 years ago

This is a great story and a fabulous old car. I love the attitude of this fellow towards restoration considering he makes his living doing just that.

I don’t think I’m alone in being somewhat bored and occasionally baffled by the restoration “industry.” I look at my Alfa Spider with its poorly repainted hood and trunk lid and I’m inclined to leave it alone after seeing this video.

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