Classic car restoration company ABCar Oldtimers is in a race against time to restore a vintage Porsche 911 that was probably driven by famous Polish rally driver Sobiesław Zasada. The team is using the latest technology, including 3D printing. If work is completed this year, the car will be back on the road for its 50th birthday.
The Porsche 911 from 1969 was found by automobile journalist Patryk Mikiciuk, who decided to give it a second life by featuring it in his popular show on Polish Porsches. Initially, the plan was to restore it based on the 911 Carrera RS 2.7, the legendary version of the 911 built for the approval of the racing version, but taken apart, it turned out to be a rally car.
After a short investigation, the team found a clue indicating that Zasada, who won the European Rally Championship several times and was a long-term consultant for Porsche, probably used the car for racing (it was most likely a 911 ST). The team’s aim is to recreate the Porsche 911 as it was at the end of its racing days.
Working on the project, the specialists face challenges at every step. Original parts are difficult to find and numerous alterations and repairs over the years obscured the car’s original appearance. Time is of the essence, as ABCar Oldtimers often spends months finding and ordering individual parts with no guarantee that they will be in usable condition. Parts made from rubber are especially sensitive to the passage of time, crumbling and falling apart.
Restoring the vintage Porsche is a huge logistical endeavor. The whole team is involved, from designers, tinsmiths and mechanics to painters and upholsterers. The tinsmiths’ work has almost been completed, culminating in the widening of the wheel arches and creation of unique bumpers. The team took the bold step of using the latest technology, printing the bumper in six parts, which will be used to make a composite mold for casting the final part. This is no easy task: with no original part to rely on, the bumper model will be designed using photogrammetry, based on photos of the car’s front.
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“3D printing is incredibly helpful. It speeds up work and limits costs linked to prototyping individual parts. Compared to mold milling, it reduces costs by an order of magnitude. This is our latest project working with Zortrax printers. We use the M300 Plus and M200 models when prototyping molds and creating missing parts, such as bushings or gaskets. We will now experiment with using the printers to reconstruct the engine. We will print out individual parts and adjust them to the engine, and then mill, roll or cast them using the appropriate materials,” said Bartłomiej Błaszczak, Design & Engineering Director at ABCar Oldtimers.
The whole restoration process could take a year. Success will be measured by the car’s performance and structural similarity to the original. The team is determined to use authentic parts or recreate them as faithfully as possible. With only a handful of old photos miraculously found in the archives, this will not be easy. Yet with reverse engineering and new technology, specialists can breathe new life into vintage cars.
“Work on the Porsche continues. There are undoubtedly surprises and challenges ahead, but we are doing everything to have the car back on the road this year for its 50th birthday,” added Błaszczak.