Flatsixes readers haven't heard from Project 944 GTS in over a year, and in that time we haven't been wholly idle. The car has seen a lot of use, and a fair amount of work has been handled by professionals rather than myself. As it happens, most real mechanics don't like bespectacled Porsche nerds hanging over their shoulder with a camera, making some of it hard to document. Annoying, but worth considering if you wish to maintain a good relationship with your mechanic. This past weekend I installed some new seats in Project 944 GTS, and figured it was time to update everyone on the status of the car.
Work Borne of Necessity
For reasons unrelated to the 944, 2018 was a busy year for me. I got married back in August, and my wife and I opted to use the Porsche as our transportation to and from the wedding. This moved up some planned maintenance to ensure that I wouldn't leave my wedding in a haze. A cylinder head rebuild that I had planned for this winter got bumped up to before the wedding, and took the car off the road for a few weeks. Being a ~90k mile S, the valve guides were worn, and the car was prone to occasional oil smoke.
This led to some, "well, while we're in there," services and modifications. As most of you are aware, this can be an expensive rabbit hole to fall in to. The previous owner had modified the factory exhaust, eliminating the rear muffler and installing a resonator in its place, terminating in a chrome oval tip before the rear bumper. Coupled with a rich running condition that was present when I bought the car, the underside of the bumper was scorched and sooty. Though I had addressed the richness, the exhaust system really had to go.
While the head was off I decided to replace every part of the exhaust. Everything from the exhaust manifold gasket to the back of the car required a re-think. A set of headers were sourced from the good people at MSDS, and I had them ceramic coated by Jet-Hot. My mechanic then fabricated a custom stainless-steel exhaust system. This included a 50-state high-flow catalytic converter secured with V-bands, a single Borla muffler, and a simple slash-cut tip.
The new system is significantly quieter at idle than the previous system, which has improved relations with my neighbors. The new exhaust is also less bellowy throughout the rev range, and sounds more like ripping burlap than unchecked-flatulence at high RPMs. Thanks to the rebuilt head (which unfortunately, doesn't look much different from the outside), the car feels far stronger, and has lost its penchant for burning oil.
About a year ago, a family friend and Porsche enthusiast passed away. Upon his passing his brother enlisted my dad's help to clean out his barn, which was then a trove of spare parts and some oddball non-Porsche cars (including an ASC-Mclaren Mercury Capri convertible). While many things were sold off, they found a set of grungy sport seats, and asked if I wanted them. Being filled with cleaning-confidence from hours of Larry Kosilla Youtube videos, I gladly accepted the seats.
The seats were completely caked in ground-in dirt. When I initially got them they also smelled a bit off, so they went in to storage at my house for a while to let them air out. After cleaning with foaming upholstery cleaner and a soft brush, the seats rapidly looked better and better. With my optimism apparently justified, I rented a steam cleaner, and gave the seats a few more passes. After this they didn't look new, but I was shocked by the transformation.
Swapping seats in a 944 is not much of a job. Six bolts secure both seats, and are easy to remove with an allen key. Perhaps the most challenging part of the job was reconciling my own cleanliness with how much stuff worked its way under the inner seat rail over three decades fixed in place, including about $2 in mixed change.
Unfortunately, the weather has not been conducive to getting the car out for a drive. The car is stored in a family member's garage, atop a 1,500 foot long dirt driveway that is currently sheeted in ice. While I certainly would have made it to the base, getting the car back in the garage would have been nearly impossible. Hopefully it'll be just a few more weeks until I can actually retrieve the car from its winter retreat.
We are not done with Project 944 GTS, and more changes are on the way for the car, which really needs to earn its moniker. Watch this space for more updates!