Porsche 911 1972 T long term test

The 1972 Porsche 911 is a single year only model, with one special feature unique to this year. The external oil door.




Early Porsche 911s were renowned for their tail-happy handing. All the way through the development from 1965, designers were working on ways to keep the car facing forwards.

Initially they added lumps of iron to the front bumpers. The effect was to bring more weight forward, and it worked.

Then they increased the length of the wheelbase to make it less twitchy. It worked also.

Then in 1972 the designers moved the oil tank in front of the rear axle. So, this required access to the oil tank via the rear guard.

However, this caused an even bigger problem than driving off the road backwards. Apparently, service station attendants started filling the oil tank with petrol, even though the oil door clearly showed “OIL”. So, this feature was moved back to the engine bay for the 1973 model year.

At the factory

Here are some archived photos of the Porsche factory in mid 1971. The cars they are making here have oil doors, so they are 1972 models. Nobody can say for sure, but it is likely that the 1972 Tangerine 911 T which was our long term test car is being bulit in these photos.

I find that pretty amazing.

The author of these photos is unknown to me. If they are yours, please let me know so I can assign copyright to you.

Extended delivery

So, it is no longer 1972. It is actually 2014.

I started looking for this car at the start of 2013. I spent 18 months searching for this car all over the world. Finally located it in Idaho, USA. Within 24 hours I had agreed to purchase it, sent the funds and had that feeling of “what the hell have I done”.

That was in August 2014.

After leaving the importing up to the experts (and they were great), and after paying GST and LCT, the car arrived at the workshop.

I first laid eyes on the car in the workshop as it was going through necessary compliance changes. It required different coloured indicators, left hand traffic headlights, rear seat belts for my kids and (most annoyingly) the speedo was re-faced from MPH to KPH.

Collection Day

After almost two years since I started looking for this car, it was time to collect it, get it registered and drive it home.

January 13 finally arrived, and the weather was raining harder than it had for months prior. Roads were being closed due to flooding. And I am supposed to drive my left hard drive Porsche through flooded roads for the very first time. I had never driven an early 911 before. I had never driven a left had drive car before. And here I was doing it in a storm in a major city.

Oh well…….time to jump in.

First thing I noticed was the “tightness” of the car. For a car built over 40 years earlier, everything just felt new. The doors, the steering, the seats (well the seats WERE new).

Me wearing my silly grin in the Porsche 911 1972

Initial impressions

February 2015.

So far, I have had my 1972 911T for a couple of weeks. Some initial lessons I have learnt.

1. Left Hand Drive is an amazing experience. It is such a natural way to drive after the first few minutes. My right hand, although it does have to hunt sometimes for the rather long shifter, just gets the change overtime. Right hand for me is dominant.

2. Love the opening rear quarter windows. Seems to induce so much more sound from the air-cooled flat 6.

3. Many people are drawn to the car. I get people stopping in public to talk to me about the car. People look when I drive past them. I get fingers pointed. I have received a few “thumbs up” from the road workers around here (either that, or they were warning me of more potholes coming up ahead)

4. I am not missing the air conditioning. Sure, it’s hot in Byron Bay this time of year. So, I just bring a change of clothes with me if I’m driving longer than 25 metres. It’s the simplicity of the entire package.

5. My radio works – who would have thought.

6. The car feels much less sure-footed than the 993. At a couple of km over the speed limit, the car gets much more flighty than in the 993 at the same speed. However, I seem to prefer this one, as it has more feedback at lower speeds. It is more involving and more smile inducing at lower speeds.

7. The brakes are heavy.. So much heavier than my others. Just had to adapt my braking distance and my right leg strength.

Some of our trips

August 2015

The weather has cooled and the roads are dry. Spent the afternoon hitting the hinterland roads from Byron Bay, through Mullumbimby to Uki.

October 2015

Nimbin has long been held as a “special” place in our region. Wikipedia states that Nimbin is notable for the prominence of its environmental initiatives such as permaculture, sustainability and self-sufficiency as well as the cannabis counterculture. Writer Austin Pick described his initial impressions of the village this way.

It is as if a smoky avenue of Amsterdam has been placed in the middle of the mountains behind frontier-style building facades. … Nimbin is a strange place indeedAustin Pick

So it was on this quiet Saturday morning that a few of us gathered to have breakfast in Byron Bay, followed by a leisurely cruise to Nimbin. Let the video show you more…..

Rennsport Australia 2016

Me: “I think i might pack up the two boys, aged 3 and 6 and drive to and from Rennsport Australia in Sydney. ”

My Wife: “How long will that take ?”

Me : “Well, we can probably do the return trip in around 12 days”

My wife ” <stunned silence>

And so it began.

Our trip to Rennsport.

2,500 miles over 12 days.

Two boys in the back of the 911

Luggage on the roof.

We travelled down the coast, stopping at different places on the way. Museums, strawberry farms and lots of food and toilet breaks.

Some of the photos of the trip to Sydney, the days at Rennsport, and the trip back again.

The car performed perfectly, 2,500 miles.

12 days of chatter from the boys in the back.

4 laps of Mount Panorama while photobombing Magnus Walker.

The car did develop a slightly sticky throttle, which actually helped with the few hours of freeway driving we had to cover each day.

Ever since our return, my (now) 7 year old wants to “do it again” and wants to know when the next Rennsport is on.

Cars and Coffee

People’s Choice

The Porsche 911 was awarded the very first People’s Choice award at Cars and Coffee Byron Bay. This award is awarded by the general public – both participants and visitors alike.

Porsche 911 1972 T winner of Peoples Choice award

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