Any Porsche in a storm

Stahly pays the price of a long lunch

MICHAEL STAHL

IT’S been five months since my last 911 report and I’m surprised to see that we’ve done only 1400 kays. That included an enjoyable solo weekend at the Bathurst 12 Hour, where I did the full day on Sunday, getting to the track at 5:15am.

It was stinking hot at Bathurst. While my heart went out to the guys actually racing, my mind was on my car’s dashboard and rear parcel shelf, sitting for 12 hours under the blazing Bathurst sun. If a Porsche implies things about my manhood, that’s more than negated by my willingness to cover the interior with my kids’ travel blankies.

Fast-forward a few months and Sydney was freezing, in a week of rain storms that uprooted trees and flooded suburbs. I drove across town for a lunch, parking the 911 out in the open. When I returned two hours later (hey, ’80s car, ’80s lunch schedule), it wouldn’t start. The engine would crank for several seconds, momentarily jam, crank again – but no spark. The rain kept pelting down. You might imagine that the engine grille would sluice water over everything, but Porsche is cleverer than that. The engine bay was bone dry.

Not knowing whether it was electrics, fuel or something to do with the apparent Armageddon, I suspected the devious Motronic DME relay. It took just five minutes to plug in the spare one that Carrera 3.2 owners learn to carry with them. No result.

Head hung in shame, I called the NRMA’s roadside assistance. I only became a member when I bought the 911 three years ago. Now I’m sold on these guys.

Not that the patrolman was able to get it going. Eventually, I hung my head a second time as a flatbed truck was called. By then it was about 5pm, too late to take the car directly to ‘my’ mechanics, father-and-son Carlos and David at Cavaco Motors.

The trip home was punctuated by downed powerlines and a huge Moreton Bay fig that had pancaked a near-new Golf R (as one wag tweeted to me: “Packaging compromised by trunk volume”).

The 911 still wouldn’t spark the next day, so it was back on a flatbed that afternoon.

David called at 9am next day. The distributor cap had been giving high resistance readings (I know nothing about electricity, except that it hurts), so it was replaced. A misfire prompted the boys to install six new plugs, too. All told, including $155 for the second tow, it was an $800 exercise. Which, on the positive side, still pales next to a 1980s lunch bill.

PHONE A FRIEND

Porsche experts Cavaco Motors are frequent phone counsellors to stressprone Stahly

H2oh-oh

FOR a car that has no water in it, the 911 pays pretty good attention to water management. Old-fashioned rain gutters may be un-aerodynamic, but they do allow F p m m the window to be left open a crack when you’re immobile in a downpour. That said, the small cockpit is prone to fog quickly at the best of times.

OurGarage

1989 PORSCHE 911 CARRERA 3.2

Date acquired: May 2012 Price as tested: $65,000 (estimated) This month: 1346km @ 9.0L/100km Overall: 19,927km @ 10.5L/100km acquire teste 19,92