Text: Wooley // Photos: Jason Scott
One of the many things that make the Porsche 911 cool – is that they’ve always been a little raw around the edges. It’s not about the price tag. You don’t flash ‘em like a designer watch. Yeah sure, they’re pretty enough, but Porsche’s pedigree lies more in greasy knuckles & exit speeds… rather than premium valet spots. A true driver’s car.
Old Porsches have stories, and/or histories that are sometimes a mystery to trace. They’ve traded hands, paint, parts, and miles… and not all of it has necessarily been recorded & accounted for. They’ve been passed around through time, loved & worked, to arrive in the present day. Some worse for wear than others. But that’s ok, because the real appeal to 911 ownership, is that most of these cars HAVE been used…
Before they were classics, they were race cars.
And that’s the reason we’re featuring Mike Van Sicklen’s 1975 Carrera. Mike was a 911 guy long before the 911 was an investment. In 1980, he purchased this car from a dirt-floor garage in Ohio… from a flight attendant who acquired the car in a divorce (let that be a lesson fellas).
Mike already had two 911s at the time, so he sold this one to a buddy. However, that same buddy would sell it back to him after one year and a respray. At that point, Jeff took this car racing for the next 10 years as his local PCA/SCCA autocross car. Using it, racing it, adding pages to its story.
It then became an H Class Racer in PCA Club Racing – maintained and conditioned by Kelly Moss Motorsports in Wisconsin. As Mike eventually moved on to faster series’, and this car (lovingly nicknamed The Turd) retired to a quieter life under a car cover.
…Just an old race car.
In 2012, Mike moved from Nashville to Houston, and during the move, the car was drug out of the clutter, and shipped back to Kelly Moss Motorsports for an eventual restoration into an IROC Tribute car.
But then air cooled values began to shoot through the roof, and it was decided to build a sleeper instead, keeping the purity of the original car intact.
What Kelly Moss does exceptionally well, is allow these cars speak for themselves – rather than shouting over them. They don’t have a ‘brand image’ to throw over everything they do, forcing cars into their own will. But rather they let each creation be a reflection of the individual car’s story… combined with a careful understanding of the owners intended uses & interests.
The tired 2.7-liter engine went back on the shelf, and Rothsport prepped & shipped in a fresh vario ram 3.6-liter with beautiful Jeff Gamroth custom stainless headers, connected to a factory GT3 Cup muffler from a 997 Kelly Moss racer.
Kelly Moss reconditioned the oil lines & oil tank, and replaced the old center oil cooler with a larger & more efficient Earls cooler + new Aeroquip lines and mounts.
Before they were classics, they were race cars.
Brian Copans (of Porsche Motorsports) rebuilt the magnesium-case 915 with race-prepped gears & bearings, and he installed a WEVO intermediate bearing plate, billet diff cover, and gated shifter. The 7:31 rack/pinion stayed in the car (fitting for street use), and Kelly Moss installed 930 stub axles and custom axles to help handle the 3.6 power.
Suspension components have been modernized with an Elephant Racing ‘Advanced Technology’ rear suspension, new bushings all around, TRG adjustable sway bars, mono ball strut mounts, and front strut bars.
Lex Carson from MCR Suspension fabricated the-first-ever set of gorgeous remote reservoir double adjustable struts with raised spindles and bump-steered steering arms.
993 Big Reds with Pagid Orange brake pads slow the car down. And Kelly Moss carbon fiber brake duct diffusers send cooling air to the backside of the rotors. All brake lines and components were replaced using Kelly Moss race parts.
Custom 16×8 and 16×9 BBS magnesium-center race wheels with 225/50R16 and 245/45R16 Pirelli Trofeo Rs keep the car mostly under control.
Over 50 hours went into massaging the MA Shaw front & rear composite bumpers to improve the fit, and incorporate the titanium GT3 center exhaust tips and heat shield.
In the front compartment, a NOS 1973 RS 80-liter plastic fuel tank was sourced. Kelly Moss updated the quirky old-school German fuse panel to modern reliable spade type fuses, and also installed individual relays for the new H1 headlights.
Autobahn Interiors recovered the original Recaro sport seats. They also provided the cork leather dash, RS style lightweight door panels, and carpet. Rennline aluminum floor panels hide under the carpets. Mike’s ‘lucky’ Sparco alcantara steering wheel (it’s been in 4 of his race cars) is attached to a Rothsport GT3 style quick-release hub, and peer over renewed gauges AND a STACK 10,000rpm tach.
The result is a clean-sleeper of a 911, that belies this car’s history as a racer. An understated street-prepped terror.