Sold: 1970 Porsche 911E ($175,000)

1970 Porsche 911E ($175,000)

March 3, 2015

Photography by Gil Folk

Sold by Exact 10 Motors

At a Glance

We recently came across this pristine tangerine–on–black 1970 Porsche 911E for sale and while an early 911 always catches our eye, this one’s history piqued our interest. We will get to that story in a moment, but first, a bit of background on the 911E model.

The Ideal Early 911

Dubbed “The Secret Weapon from Zuffenhausen,” the 1970 Porsche 911E was the quickest model in their product offering at the time. Ironically, the E was introduced as the successor for the 911L as a “luxury” model with a new 2.2 liter engine, and intended to be a more usable option positioned between the 911T and 911S (Touring and Sport, respectively). Ventilated brake disks coupled with aluminum calipers and the first iteration of the longer wheelbase provide honest driving feedback, supporting the popular notion that the E boasts superior road holding to its sister T and S models. By replacing the Weber carbs with Bosch mechanical fuel injection the 911 “Einspritzung”, German for injection, delivers 158 BHP and is most thoroughly enjoyed in the low range where the torque band is plentiful.

What’s so special about this 911?

What intrigues us the most about this particular 911E is its eccentric connection to the porn industry. Yes, porn. James Mitchell of the infamous Mitchell brothers, treated himself to this very 911 on December 24th, 1969 from Carlsen Porsche in the San Francisco Bay Area. This purchase was likely due to the highly successful opening of the Mitchell Brothers O’Farrell Theatre, a dual purpose film studio and adult cinema built in a former Pontiac dealership. Considered pioneers of adult entertainment, Mitchell’s most famous production was “Behind the Green Door”, a film which went on exhibition at the Cannes Film Festival and impressively grossed $25 million on a $65,000 budget. The movie turned its lead actress, Marilyn Chambers, into a controversial overnight star, as porn was a steep contrast to her previous gig as the cover model for the wholesome “Ivory Soap” Procter & Gamble household brand. The making of “Behind the Green Door” was the plot and focus of the film “Rated X”, where Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez portrayed the Mitchell Bros.

Some critics argue the Mitchell brothers brought an artistic and storytelling element to their rather linear discipline because their filmmaking heralded the arrival of “Porn Chic”. Controversial figures, but also highly social, the Mitchell brothers held court in San Francisco with a compendium of stars and political figures, among them ex-mayor Willie Brown, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas author Hunter S. Thompson, Aerosmith, and former Black Panther Huey “Doc” Newton.

A local newspaper profiled the second owner’s purchase experience with Mitchell, noting the 911E was collecting dust on a soundstage in South San Francisco when he came to scope out his potential purchase in 1970. Legend has it the car may have been featured in a production of the Mitchell brothers. The 911 spent about a year and 4,000 miles with the porn tycoon before being purchased by Jay Milligan, a Mountain View City Administrator who kept the car for the next fourteen years. Quite the career change one might say. In the article written about Jay’s experience, he mentions noticing the Porsche had some injuries from customs agents who had inspected the car for drugs at the Mexican border, alluding to some of the adventures this car might have had. When Jay purchased the car he found notes from Mitchell’s secretary in the glove box reminding him of warrants for his arrest, along with various police inquiries. This was the transition of the Swinging Sixties to the seventies after all.

Nuts-and-Bolts Restoration

This particular specimen is vehicle 244 of 677 Karmann bodied Coupe’s out of a total 2,904 911E’s manufactured in 1970, and has spent its entire life on the West Coast. Fitted with the comfort package, the car includes features such as the alloy front brake package of the 911S, velour carpeting, leather steering wheel and alloy rocker trims. This car, part of Porsche’s first generation of long wheelbase 911s, is a numbers-matching 2.2-liter model that comes with full documentation (including a Porsche Heritage Certificate), the original tool kit, jack, owner’s manual, and wallet. Outside, the car still sports its original 14-inch Fuchs alloy wheels in their factory anodized finish and with original weights. The front tires and spare are all Michelin XAS and are believed to be the tires on which this car was originally supplied.

The underpinnings have been entirely refreshed as well, and with meticulous attention to detail: all bolts and fittings have been cadmium plated; the hoses have been replaced; all bearings and rubber bushings have been replaced, and the suspension components have been powder coated. The optioned hydropneumatic struts have since been replaced to improve handling, which has been a common modification to E’s since new.

Given the car’s superb, rust-free condition prior to restoration, the team at Exact 10 Motors in Pleasanton, California, aimed to keep the car as original as possible. Before any work was done, the entire car was cleaned thoroughly including the floor pans which were scrubbed from underneath to show their original color. As a testament to wonders of Nevada’s dry air, all of this car’s fittings still retain their factory plating.

With no history or evidence of accidents, the underside retains its original factory finish and the floor pans are dent-free and still sport the Porsche protective “shutz” (shield). The exterior was stripped and repainted in its correct hue of Tangerine, or “Blut Orange.” The body trim, chrome, glass, rubber, lights, and the original Hirschmann antenna are all in excellent condition, with every component being refurbished as necessary. The US-spec “sugar scoop” headlamps were updated with new European style H1s.

The interior, which remains almost entirely original, was completely disassembled for detailing, with each piece brought back to showroom condition. The carpet and dealer-fitted coconut overmats, which had faded over the years, are immaculate after being re-dyed to the original black. Other new interior pieces include a new headliner and dash top. The period correct Blaupunkt radio, however, still plays through the original in-dash speakers.

You can check out photos of the complete restoration process here.

Our Take

Prior to the recent surge in market prices, early 911’s were not always considered a collectible priority, and as such, finding one in this condition is now a difficult chore. We’ve scoped around the online marketplace for comparable cars and the bulk of the alternatives definitely need some labor and love.

At an asking price of $175,000 it is at the quality end of the 911E market, but has the right balance of originality and restoration to support its market position. If you’re looking for an early 911 to actually drive and enjoy, it is priced roughly $40-50K below the more peaky 911S models of the same series and condition, and arguably the better choice if you are seeking a more usable 911 of this vintage.

Petrolicious wants to help find this car a new home as we are keen to see the stewardship of this E return to the interesting side.

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