1976 Porsche 911 ROW non-sunroof Coupe-Continental Orange, truly spectacular car!
1976 Porsche 911 Rest of World (ROW) Coupe-
My very first 911 was very similar to this car, it was a 1975 German market 911 coupe in Silver Metallic over Black. It was cosmetically a 5-footer, had a reasonably nice interior and the typical 2.7-liter with broken head studs. But as a teenager it was the best 911 I could afford and it sure left an impression. Since that day I have been smitten with the mid-year (1974-1977) cars. Why?
• Light and elemental- with each generation the air-cooled cars gained dreaded mass. So while power ratings kept going up, power to weight ratio was staying fairly constant. Less mass is not only less mass to accelerate, but also to brake, turn, etc. There is no replacing lightweight! Now this coupe is particularly light, but more on that in a moment…
• Narrow rear hips and bright work! When I was younger I always thought a 911 looked better with black out trim, how wrong I was! I simply love all of the shiny bright work on these mid-year cars, couple that with the traditional narrow rear hip profile and you have a winner!
• 2.7 liter motor- Sure there are known issues with them and the late Bruce Anderson hated them with a passion BUT the last of the Magnesium cases mean less mass in back and boy do these things like to REV! Sure the 3.0 and 3.2 are more reliable and make more torque, but at the tradeoff of less personality. I own several cars with 2.7’s and cant get enough of them!
• Amazing colors- in this era Porsche was still willing to be a little “out there” on the color palette. By the early 80’s Porsche had moved more conservative and out went the bright primary colors and loud interiors and silver, black, white and red came in vogue.
So now on to this particular car:
This car was sold new at Schmidt and Koch Porsche in Bremerhaven, Germany on 4/7/1976. The original owner was a German dentist who bought it, as he was excited that in 1976 Porsche offered a 6-year rust guarantee being as though 1976 was the 1st year these cars were 100% galvanized. He had the car for the first few years and then sold it to a US military surgeon who was stationed at Ramstein. This US physician enjoyed the car while stationed overseas so much that he had the car shipped home to him upon his return in 1983. Somehow he was able to avoid having to do ANY type of conversion on the car, so it is 100% as it was delivered including Euro lighting, gauges, emissions (or lack thereof!) and trim. He enjoyed the car as his everyday car in Eastern Washington for over 20 years and was always enamored with it. He traded the car in to a local specialty dealer in the mid-2000’s and it found a home with a very talented local PCA member. This new owner did the bulk of the updates and refresh on the car including a complete bare shell repaint, interior refresh, etc. The quality of his work is impressive. I purchased the car from him in 2013 after being just struck by its amazing color combination, condition and very rare specification.
One of the most amazing things about this car is simply how basic it is. Even in 1976 the US spec 911 was getting more luxury oriented and heavy, not to mention having to meet new, stringent emissions standards. In Germany, this was not the case, so this car is as close to ideal as you could find. A few of the high points:
• No sunroof, no AC, no power windows, no radio, no tempostat, no automatic heat control, no fog lights, no door beams in the doors, no impact shocks in the bumpers, no thermal reactors, no oil cooler. Simple, simple, simple and LIGHT!
• Emissions- In the US in 1976 these cars received thermal reactors, which literally COOKED these 2.7-liter cars to death, EGR and a 5-blade cooling fan that truly was designed to make these cars run HOTTER for cleaner emissions. Heat is the death of an engine and take an already thermally stressed engine, make it run hotter by design and then strap exhaust incinerators to the bottom… This car never had any of that equipment, in fact it came with the 74 and earlier style exhaust from the factory that is the #1 upgrade for these cars. Sounds better, runs better and doesn’t stress the car.
• True Euro Spec- Original H4 lights, euro rear lenses, early style exhaust, euro rear bumperettes, euro front markers, no door beams, no bumper shocks, early style exhaust, all metric gauges, etc. It was imported and never converted, very rare in this era.
• Paint- the car is in an amazing period color, Continental Orange. After ~230km of daily use the paint was tired, so the car was stripped to a bare tub and completely refinished. The paint on this car is simply gorgeous and draws compliments, stares and thumbs up wherever it goes. It does show a few small areas of errors in the prep work, they wont show in photos but if you catch it in just the right light you can see some subsurface defects. The car is still very competitive in the car show world, but those few flaws keep it from being an absolute top tier car. Think local PCA level winner, but not at Parade.
• Exterior trim- every trim surface on this car is nice. From the deco trim, to the bumper bellows, glass, gaskets, lenses, etc… are truly excellent. To a purist this car makes several deviations from original, but everything is in the era correct vein. Front spoiler and rear ducktail were added, but the original lid is included and it was painted to match as well! Wheels were swapped to 16×6” and 16×7” Fuchs, but the original date matched 15×6” wheels are included as well. I debated about installing the original lid and wheels, but frankly I just like the car as it sits!
• Interior- The interior of the car is VERY nice! When the car was put back together any items needing attention were dealt with. The following items were new: headliner, carpet, door pockets, coco mats. The original dash (very rare 1 year only item) is flawless, the gauges and dash trim are likewise pristine. Rear seats and panels are all original and the front seats were swapped for a 1981-1984 style OEM sport seats in original leather, with just enough patina to look “right”. The steering wheel shown is a period Nardi wheel, but the original 4-spoke wheel is included as well.
• Engine- The car has 263,000 KM or roughly 163,000 miles. I don’t have a record if the motor has been rebuilt, but I suspect so at some point. I recently had John Walker due a full major service including all fluids, filters, plugs, belts, valve adjust, valve cover gaskets, etc. He also performed a compression/leak down at the same time indicating its currently healthy but not new either with good, even leak down in the 8-12% range. The car makes great power, runs well and is fairly dry. If driven at least weekly it doesn’t even leave anything on the garage floor, if left to sit a couple weeks or more it will leave a couple dime sized drops. This just means you should drive this car! It does have all the correct updates such as Carrera tensioners, pop off valve, MSD ignition, etc. I recently drove it 800+ miles in 24 hours and it ran like a Swiss watch.
• Driving- The 915 shifts well, the clutch effort is light and mid pedal, brakes feel smooth and solid and it drives like a nice 911 is supposed to. I love that it doesn’t rattle, have wind leaks or any other irritating type issues. Everything works and its turnkey ready. The only thing I don’t like is that the previous owner installed a shift kit that is raved about on Pelican (don’t want to name names) and while it does shift precisely the elimination of much of the factory rubber bits means more gear rattle and noise than I like. If I keep it I will reinstall the factory shift mechanism.
• Accessories- The car comes with some really great documentation and fun pieces including: original VIN matched owner manual and service book from Porsche Bremerhaven in the correct red pouch, jack, original/correct tire pump in the blue case, show quality tool kit (but slightly later model than 76), tire gloves and plastic, cool period decklid emblems including 200k award, etc. It also has a fairly complete service history and a letter from the longtime owner detailing his history with the car. I have also collected a large lot of period information including factory brochures, marketing materials and even 1976 German and US Maps.
I could go on and on and I am sure I am forgetting some things, but the photos speak for themselves. It’s truly a stunning car, with a great history, in an amazing color with a super desirable light ROW spec. I have enjoyed this car greatly, but recently bought another mid-year and I am trying to thin the herd a little bit. Wouldn’t this car look great in your garage?