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TC Satisfaction

May 31, 2015

This weekend I completed a rebuilding of the TC’s brakes.  When I built the car, 20 years ago, I had the original cylinders brass-lined and put in all new pistons and rubber.  Two decades later – despite changing fluid every 3-4 years- enough crud had accumulated that during a drive earlier this Spring I started losing pedal, suggesting a fluid leak. Plus I’ve had a new set of hubs and halfshafts around for a couple of years waiting to replace the worn originals which had gotten quite clonky.

How satisfying.  Cylinders all honed, new rubber, lots of fresh new DOT3 to flush it all out and refill the system, new shoes on the front axles (rears were OK), and new, tight hubs and halfshafts.  My initial test drive last night was very satisfying.

Also got new wheels when I bought the hubs/shafts, so I’m saving up for a new set of Dunlop B5s….

This season I want to flush the cooling system thoroughly, and at the end of the season maybe drop the sump and see if there is something wrong with the oil pickup.  TCs are known to oil starve on hard cornering if the oil level is down at all, but 7617 seems a little too sensitive.

Earlier this Spring, the 911 got all new fluids and filters.  I couldn’t get the clutch hydraulics to flush well with standard technique, so it gave me an excuse to buy a new tool, a power bleeder.  Now that’s a treat to use.  The car’s at 120k+ miles, and the only non-iatrogenic trouble it’s ever given is the original A/C compression pooped out a few years ago.  The thing is a tank.

Two extremes of the world of cars as expressions of sporting engineering.  The TC, arguably the single machine responsible for the introduction of “sports cars” that those outside of the plutocracy could dream of owning – and therefore paving the way for Porsche, the Corvette, and dozens of other less-expensive English, Italian, and Japanese brands – was a collection of mundane parts-bin pieces but done so in a way that stood on a solid racing heritage to deliver sporty accessible motoring to regular people.  It remains beautiful, elegant, sporty, but operationally fussy – not a car for those who don’t really want to be involved.  Contrast the 911 (air/oil-cooled —- I will not comment on the current batch of water-cooled things currently made); origins from the VW parts bin, but evolved over 5 decades into an incredible piece of engineering and production elegance which still after decades of hard daily use exudes quality, strength, and huge rewards for driver involvement.  And, as much fun as the TC is to drive, it is not a machine for modern crowded roads.  The 911, on the other hand, remains a superb road partner in all modern settings, despite its age.  I have no preference between them, both machines are best driven on the interaction of hands, feet, seat and brain.  They are both machines I can reduce to nut and bolt and reconstruct and so they are ultimately fix-able for as long as I care to drive.

Not much like that made anymore.  Certainly not when it comes to automobiles.

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