When Patti and I lived in New Jersey (I was station at McGuire Air Force Base in the 1980’s) we looked around for a 911 or a 914, but most of what we saw was trashed or rusted beyond what the asking price was. We continued our search right up until we got transferred to Alaska in the spring of 1989.
Searching for a Porsche in our early years in Alaska took a back seat to all this state had to offer in the great outdoors. It wasn’t until the spring of 1995, I was working in the Mat Valley and on my way back to Chugiak that I noticed a white 914 for sale in front of the Pioneer Strip Mall on the Parks Hwy about a mile before you get into the limits of Wasilla. At first glance, it looked like it was in good shape and didn’t notice any rust or body damage of any kind. I mentioned it to Patti about what I saw, and she said…”why don’t ya go there tomorrow and take a look at the car?” It took me about 2 seconds to think about it, but said in a calm voice, “ok, I will” but in my mind, yelling…YEAH BABY!
I kept an open mind recalling what trashed Porsche’s we looked at in New Jersey and didn’t set to high of expectations on the condition of this 914, being in Alaska. So the next day I stopped and was surprised that the 914 was in good condition. The fellow that was selling it owned a muffler shop that is no longer in the strip mall but he was a nice fellow and gave some history on the car. It’s a 1973, 914, 1/7lt and he was the second owner. He bought it from the original owner in California who purchased it new, from the Porsche dealer in San Diego. It was this woman’s daily driver until 1988 when she ran it out of oil and cooked the engine. He bought is as is and had it for a few years before moving to Alaska. Before they moved, he rebuilt the engine but left off the fuel injection and put dual Dellorto carbs on the car but could never get it to run right. (Imagine that) But, here is one of the key buying points, he kept all the fuel injection parts! So, I took it for a test drive and besides the car running like it had a bad cold, the car drove and handled very well. One of the other buying points, it had been repainted the original color (Light Ivory) but was not prepared very well, but there was very little surface rust if any or any bondo on the body…what a find, for any 914, especially in Alaska…very little rust at all! So, I asked why he was selling the car? He needed some cash to use for a down payment on a house he and his wife were buying. His asking price was $3000.00. Before I pulled the trigger on the deal, I made sure I laid eyes on all the fuel injection parts…once I saw those, we shook hands, wrote him a check for $3,000.00, and drive it home to Chugiak. I beeped the horn coming into the driveway and out came Patti, smiling from ear to ear. “Let’s go for a ride…” we drove around for an hour, then picked up our other car I left at the strip mall, and went home with “SNUFFY.”
Now, it needed some TLC which started right away that summer of 1995. The biggest issue was getting those Dellorto carbs off and fuel injection system back on. I wanted to keep the car as original as possible. The 1.7lt engines were designed to only run with fuel injection…not carbs. Some of the other engine options for the later 914 were much easier to adapt to carbs than the 1.7lt was. Along with some other issues, it was easier to drop the engine and transmission to work on it that time. I replace some leaky seals and gaskets, removed those carbs and replaced all the fuel injection parts and slid the engine/transmission back in. My Dad was visiting Alaska at that time and he knew his way around the inner workings of anything mechanical and was a big help. We connected all the vitals, crossed our fingers and had a fire extinguisher handy, turned the key and it started right up and ran as smooth and it did off the showroom floor. That day, the family all got a chance to drive and ride the 914. It was an experience, especially with my Dad, I will never forget.
I named the car after my Dad’s plane he flew in Burma in WWII, “SNUFFY” For the next 18 years, Patti and I built many fond memories driving around Alaska and having fun at PCA. SNUFFY is still on the road to date, getting some TLC from time to time and building more sweet memories in the Great White North.