The Porsche 944 proved to be the most successful car line in this motoring giant’s history until the later introduction of the Boxster and 997 Carrera. There were more than 150,000 of these torquey cars whose brilliant handling and refined engines offered brisk performance and a touch of class.
Unfortunately brilliant and refined are not words we’d use to describe the work that other bodyshops had carried out on this Porsche 944. Touch of class is quite far from our lips too. Here is a tale of what lies beneath.
The car was looking pretty sorry for itself when it arrived with us. It was badly rusted, in dire need of a respray and had accident damage to its rear. The car’s owner told us that it had been at another bodyshop for a long time but they had not been willing to tackle the challenge.
We love a challenge so we assessed what needed doing and made a start.
Unfortunately we were not going to be able to purchase all the new panels as some had been discontinued. We set to work carefully cutting out the rusted areas and crafting repair sections from new mild steel sheets. Each one of these is cut and folded until it exactly matches the shapes and curves of the car and then they are welded in place. This was completed for the following areas:
- Near side front wing lower section
- Near side rear lower front and rear sections
- Near side sill
- Off side front wing lower section
- Off side rear lower front and rear sections
For the off side sill we sourced a new panel so the old one was cut out and replaced.
The rear end of the Porsche had been hit quite hard leaving the rear panel and floor to the boot badly damaged. We cut the rear panel off and found we could access the boot floor’s damage. We put the car onto our pulling bench and, with a pulling dozer, clamps and chains, managed to straighten it out. We welded the new rear panel onto the car and – with all welding, re-fabricating and new panel work complete – we were confident the end was in sight. Until, that is, we came to what lies beneath the paintwork.
The car had suffered at the hands of a poorly executed paint job. Whoever had done the work had not used the right equipment and the paint was bubbling, blistering and had no cohesion. We were going to need to strip the car back to its bare metal and start again.
As we stripped back the paint what we saw increasingly concerned us. We discovered several body repairs that were not just shoddy but potentially very dangerous. The off side rear wing, for example, had been ‘repaired’ but the swage line in the middle of the wing had not been replaced. We put right the bodywork that was needed and now we really were ready for the finishing touches.
Our dent and rust free Porsche was primed with an epoxy primer which is chemical resistant and offers excellent adhesion. We next place a guide coat over the primer so that we can sand everything down really smooth – and see where we have already sanded – before we apply our final top coats.
Next we applied three coats of basecoat: this covers the primer and gives colour but no shine. For that glossy look you need clearcoat (or lacquer as it is sometimes called). We mix this with hardener to offer more durability and spray on two coats for a Porsche that, finally, looks as good as new with no surprises lurking beneath.